We have already covered how to start and scale blogging outreach and best platforms to use in detail and how it can help businesses build authority and reach new customers. This post focuses on guest blogging aka guest posting, it’s benefits and industry best practices.
A large number of businesses, both small and big, are realizing the potential benefits of guest blogging, including promotion, generating awareness and getting some quality backlinks to the target site. However, businesses need to be careful with their guest blogs to achieve their goals and avoid search engine penalties.
What is Guest Blogging?
As the name suggests, guest blogging is a SEO and content marketing technique that involves publishing blogs on 3rd-party sites to achieve different objectives, including backlinks, generating more traffic, adding readers to the subscriber list and creating awareness.
Guest blogging creates a win-win situation for both the content publishers/guest blogging sites and individuals/businesses. Blogging sites get the content they need to keep visitors engaged while businesses get exposure and can reach more potential customers.
Blog posts are not meant to be excessively promotional. Instead, they are written to educate the target audience, essentially making it an inbound marketing technique. Promoting your brand excessively in guest blogs can do more harm than good. The main objective of guest blogs in most cases is to generate inbound links through relevant and quality content.
Like most other marketing techniques, guest blogging has also been abused a lot to generate backlinks without offering much in return to the reader/publisher. That’s why businesses need to be careful with their guest blogs and follow the best practices (covered below) to avoid penalty from search engines like Google.
Guest blogging should not just be viewed as a tool to build links, which often results in low-quality content. Instead, it should be viewed as a relationship building tool by providing readers with something useful and relevant to what they are searching for on a particular site. However, it takes time and consistency to build strong relationships, so guest blogging is not a shortcut to anything.
Benefits of Guest Blogging
Guest blogging has the potential of becoming a powerful tool in the marketing arsenal for attracting and engaging the right type of visitors. The key benefits of posting blogs on other sites include:
- External links help build domain and brand authority
- More traffic to the target site through quality links
- Increases awareness and credibility
- Helps build and nurture relationships within the industry
- The feedback from guest blogs can help businesses fine-tune their online and offline marketing strategies
- Helps build strong social media profiles even if you are not getting a lot of traffic in return
- Helps discover new business opportunities within the industry
Quality blog posts are a great way of providing readers with useful content by sharing your experience and expertise on a particular topic. In return, it enables businesses and individuals to establish their authority within the industry and expose themselves to new audience. Regularly posting new content allows delivering new perspectives and keeping the target audience engaged.
Guest Blogging Best Practices
Find the Right Target Audience/Niche and Create Relevant Content
Posting a software related blog on a fashion site is not likely to generate relevant traffic. The content has to be industry-specific in order to target the right audience. Understanding the target audience of a blogging site is essential in determining how it overlaps with your customer base. It’s recommended to choose industry specific blogging sites , which your target audience is more likely to visit.
Generate Unique Content, Consistently
Guest blogging is not about posting a blog once and hoping for it to keep generating traffic to your site. Visitors are not interested in reading the same thing over and over again so bloggers have to get creative and keep them engaged with fresh and relevant content. Only unique, informative and highly relevant content can entice visitors to find out more about your businesses. That’s why you should save your best topics for guest blogs with catchy (but not fishy) titles and subjects.
One Link Per Post
It’s better to only link back to your own site once in a guest post (with nofolow attribute) to be on the safe side and avoid search engine penalty. Although you might have to sacrifice SEO, you’ll still be able to reap promotional benefits while avoiding penalties. Nofollow attribute is a qualifier that tells search engines not to associate/crawl the links to your site. It might seem counterintuitive, but it works well especially when you are just starting out.
Choose the Best Authors for Your Content
This applies to individuals as well as businesses. Individuals should post their best content and ideas to build authority, while businesses should pick the best authors who have a proven track record of writing engaging and useful content.
Spend Some Time to Research for Blogging Sites
Researching for reputable and trusted blogging platforms is essential in reaching the right audience. Not all sites accept guest posts so you need to do some homework and get in touch with them to pick the right ones. While there is no shortage of blogging sites, you need to list them down according to your industry instead of posting on sites that entertain just about all types of blog posts.
Be Clear About the Objective
Some businesses want to start guest blogging to promote their brand and increase exposure, while others want backlinks to their site. It’s important to have a clear objective so you can make a blogging strategy accordingly. For example, the target site should have a good domain authority if the objective is to generate backlinks.
It’s Not Just About Creating Content
The main objective of guest blogging is to build strong relationships through useful content. This is possible when you maintain a sustainable relationship with the content publisher/blogging site. Giving communication a personal touch can help a lot in this regard. Gathering information about the owner, reading their blogs and following/commenting on their social media profiles can be a good starting point and is more likely to get you noticed.
Pitch it the Right Way
You got to pitch the content perfectly in front of the publisher and target audience to make a difference. It’s better not to take rejections personally. Instead, you should try to improve the pitches when trying on the next blogging site in your list.
Follow up emails might be necessary in many cases, but try to follow up only once while giving a considerable gap between your emails. Let the publisher know that how your content can be useful for their readers and how you can contribute to their site. You have to give something of value to them in order to get something in return.
Promote Your Gest Blogs on Your Social Media
Guest blogs deserve the same amount of promotion on the social media as your own blog because it can reach a large pool of people if it offers real value to them. Let your followers know whenever you publish a guest blog through your social media profiles, email newsletters and other channels you use.
Keep an Eye on Important Metrics
Analyzing and monitoring the response on your guest blogs can help you understand what works best and what does not, which can also be useful for the offline marketing strategies. Monitoring and analysis tools such as Google Analytics, Buzzsomo and Foxmetrics provide a good view of key performance metrics and enable you to determine if your blog posts are meeting the goals.
Don’t Ignore Reader Comments
Reader comments not only provide you with valuable feedback, it also offers an opportunity to show that you care about them by reading and replying to their comments. Reciprocating helps build a relationship with the reader and rapport with the publisher. Leaving quality replies to comments does not take a lot of time, but can leave a positive impression and pave way for future opportunities.
It’s also important to gracefully handle bad comments, which are inevitable even with the best of your content. Most blogging sites automatically send you notifications when a visitor comments, so make sure to respond as soon as possible.
Channel New Audience
With guest blogging objectives set in place, it’s important to channel the new audience properly and keep the target site prepared to handle them. It’s recommended to make the target website ready before publishing guest blogs to make sure they can be added to the subscriber’s list without a hitch. The backlinks should land the visitors to a page according to your objectives. For example, if the objective is to add subscribers, the backlink should redirect them to the subscription form.
Instead of excessively promoting your brand, the primary objective of guest blogging is to create a lasting and positive impression on the minds of the readers. It’s also not just about securing a few posts and requires keeping up with the readers as well as publishers. If done properly and thoughtfully, guest blogging has the potential to become a powerful tool in any marketing strategy and can help establish your brand within the industry.