A blog is a great online marketing tool for any business, especially those who are virtual, for many reasons. But sometimes your audience is limited to fans who subscribe to your posts or newsletter or follow you on social media. So how do you reach new audiences, communities and customers? One answer could be guest blogging.
What is guest blogging?
Guest blogging is the process for allowing someone who is not you to write a blog post on your blog.
Typically, the owner of the blog writes the content on their blog, but they can seek out other people, with similar experience or expertise, to write a post. This provides a different writing voice and expertise to the blog readers, and allows the blog owner to present material that is outside of their normal content.
Why is guest blogging a good thing for a blog?
Let’s start with the blog owner.
For them, bringing in an outside resource can provide value or expertise that the blog owner does not have. It is probably related to their main topics, but could extend the type of content found on their blog. It can provide a new opinion, related topic or new solution to the regular blog readers.
This can help the blog owner reach new people who are interested in this guest blog topic and to be discovered by new keyword searches.
Additionally, when a blog owner seeks out new content it means that they have a large readership that is a go-to resource for many readers. They are looking to increase the amount of content or to increase the variety of content on their blog (or both) and most likely it’s a place that gets a lot of views and traffic, which is good for a guest blogger.
For example, Susan the blog owner writes about gardening in her big backyard. Her blog covers topics like converting large areas into garden beds, planting multiple types of plants and foods in her garden, and how to plan out a medium- to large-size garden. She recognizes that not everyone has a large area for gardens, so she brings in Kathy who blogs about small gardens in an apartment setting.
While this is not Susan’s expertise, Kathy can provide information for a different group of readers who live in apartments. Perhaps someone will search for “balcony garden” and come across Kathy’s post on Susan’s blog. Susan can diversify her blog content with the help of Kathy’s knowledge.
Let’s talk about the guest blogger.
Why would it be a good idea for a blogger to write content that is not on their own website? You may think that this is waste of resources since the blogger wants to bring traffic to their own website or establish themselves as the expert on their topic.
These are good arguments, but there could be more benefits than consequences:
- The blogger can reach a new community of readers (and potential customers) who may not have heard of them before.
- The blogger can establish themselves as the expert to a new group of readers.
- The blogger can get traffic back to their own website if they can provide their website link or social media profile links (this depends on the blog owner.)
- They can blog about their guest blogging experience on their own website.
- They can share that guest post on their own social media.
- They are providing good networking karma to the blog owner and they could agree to an exchange where the blog owner also writes for the blogger.
- They can boost their own profile by associating with popular or leading blogs.
For example, Mary is a coach for women who want to go back to work after having kids and blogs on her own website. She has a small following of women who read her blog for advice and tips. She wants to reach more women to help them so she decides to contact Julie who has a large business and blog about careers, networking and applying for jobs. Mary offers to write some guest blog posts that target anyone who is reentering the work force after taking time off.
Mary uses her knowledge and expertise to provide a unique look at this situation to the readers of Julie’s blog. Julie can offer a new topic to her audience and Mary’s content is seen by a people who may not have heard of her. When Mary’s website link is provided in the byline of the post, she finds that the traffic to her website goes up and she gains some new subscribers.
How to find guest blogging opportunities
There are really two ways to find blogging opportunities.
- First, you can approach blogs which you read regularly and have similar topics to those you already write about.
If you’re an entrepreneur perhaps you read blogs about entrepreneurship and self-employment; these can be great places to which you can provide your unique experiences or expertise.
The downside is that these blogs may not accept guest bloggers or they may have a staff of writers who do the blogging. It’s good to check and see if you notice other people writing content and how big or small the blog is before you approach them.
2. Second, you can seek out blogs and online news sources that actively seek out guest bloggers or writers.
Susan of Beyond Your Blog keeps a blog of just guest blogging opportunities. She has a weekly newsletter that informs you of new places to submit writing and has categorized and organized places to submit writing based on topic, content, and whether or not you get paid when your article gets published.
If you have any interest to start guest blogging, I would sign up with her. You can also do a quick Google search for “guest blogging opportunities” and lots of results will appear with lists of places that accept guest bloggers.
A combination of both approaches above is a good thing. Not all those who accept writing will be ideal for you, and not all those blogs you read will accept your guest posts. But the intersection at both could be your winning ticket!
How do I get started?
Once you’ve found a few places that you’d like to write for, who may or may not accept guest posts (you can always ask!), you’ll need to give them your content. There are two ways to do this.
This method is ideal for places where you’d love to guest post but you’re unsure if they accept guest posts.
First, browse their blog and make notes about:
- the kinds of topics they write about
- their writing style
- the amount and type of research that goes into the posts
- the variety of media used, i.e. images, videos, screenshots
Once you have this information, you can write your content so that it is similar (not the same) in style to theirs. You want your content to align with theirs so they can keep their blog consistent while providing new content.
It’s important that as you go through their past content, think about how you can write your own topics that precede or follow the topics they already have. For example, if the blog owner has a post that is all about cooking a holiday meal, you could pitch a topic that is how to decide what kind of party to have for the holiday, or how to ensure that your guests have a good time at the holiday party. In this way you’re providing content that supports the content they already have and provides additional value to the current readers.
This method is for sending in content those those blogs or news sources that are actively seeking guest blogging contributions.
If a blog is looking for guest bloggers they usually have a webpage or clear instructions for what they’re looking for, what to submit and how to submit it. These contributor guidelines by One Woman Shop are extensive but ensure that the style of the content and content itself that is submitted aligns with the style on One Woman Shop.
Seek these out on any website looking for guest bloggers and make sure you follow them! You wouldn’t want to put a lot of work into a post or article and then have it be rejected because you didn’t attach something or your tone doesn’t match the blog. Most bloggers/business owners are busy and while they want new content don’t have the time to do lots of edits or track down something that wasn’t where they thought it would be.
Also note, that sometimes you have to submit many times before your article is accepted. Huffington Post is notorious for being difficult to be published, but in doing so can be great for your writing or business. Beyond Your Blog has a guest blogger who explains that “persistence pays” in terms of her journey in getting published on HuffPo, and even a Top 10 Tips For Getting Published on Huffington Post (that’s part 1, and here’s part 2).
Is guest blogging for me?
Whether writing guest posts is a good idea for your writing skills or your business, you’ll have to figure that out yourself. You may ask yourself if you have time to devote to writing additional content or to find the best places to approach. A virtual assistant can do some of that online research for you or help you get your articles ready to submit.
But it has to make sense for your business. Is writing something you like to do? Do you already network with industry colleagues? Do you find most of your customers or clients through web traffic to your website or blog? If you answered yes to any of these questions (and ideally all of them) then guest blogging is definitely a method you should look into. Good luck!
Would you consider guest blogging?
Let me know in the comments below.How to find new customers with guest blogging: a how-to guide to get it right Click To Tweet