One of the best ways to get exposure for your business is by appearing as a guest blogger on other people’s blogs. I’ve made it an integral part of my company’s marketing strategy: we want to keep bringing new visitors to our website, some of whom will turn into customers. When another blog can introduce your business to their audience, you’re often going to reach people who had never heard of you before.
So how do you go about getting your guest blog post published?
You’ll need to focus on these three things:
- finding a blog with the right audience to pitch your guest post to;
- crafting your pitch with a short, to-the-point email; and
- writing an awesome blog post
Let me break those three down for you so you have everything you need to get your next guest blog post published:
(If you’re a beginner blogger, not to worry; we’ve got you covered with these 6 ground rules for blogging for your business!)
1. Quality readers over quantity
You need to think about the audience you’re trying to reach and not just about the number of readers a certain blog has. Why would you spend time writing and pitching your blog post if the audience of that blog isn’t going to be interested in your products or services?
If you’re a pediatrician, don’t try to get published in a blog that targets other pediatricians in their audience. Are other pediatricians going to be your next patients? Not likely. You should be targeting parents who are interested in getting information about children’s health online, so look for blogs that cater to those interests, and pitch to them.
How do you go about finding those blogs that reach a particular audience? By putting yourself in the audience’s shoes and go searching for them. Our favorite search tools for blogs are:
Plug something like “children’s health blog” into these search engines as if you were a potential client of yours searching for the topic your own content addresses, and check out the top results. You can actually get an idea of popularity with the Alexa rating at alexa.com; you’ll want to pitch to blogs that have a higher rating than your blog (a.k.a. closer to #1).
2. The Perfect Pitch
If you’re aiming to get published by major online publications with hundreds of thousands of readers, you’re going to have to include your completed post in your pitch. But if you’re starting on a smaller scale (which you should definitely do), you should be able to get a “yay” or “nay” with a simple pitch email.
When composing your pitch email, make sure to include the most important information: the title and the main concept of your post. You don’t need to give excessive details unless they ask for them; the idea is to keep it short so that neither you nor the person who’ll receive your request have to spend too much time on it.
Here’s an example of one of my own pitch emails that got a positive response in less than a day:
Don’t forget to include links to your website, your social media profiles, and to any other similar guest posts if you’ve had them published; whoever you’re pitching to will want to check you out before putting your name on their blog.
3. Writing Your Best Post Ever
We go into a lot of detail about how to write great blog posts inside Social Media Marketer, but here are the absolute basics to keep in mind:
Defining what to write about is often the biggest roadblock for small business bloggers. So how do you decide? Check out what’s working and what isn’t for other blogs. You can get a fairly accurate view of the “health” of a blog post by looking at Facebook shares and retweets on Twitter. Look at some competing blogs and do some analysis of their healthiest (and least healthy) blog post topics. You can also check out Google Trends to see what’s getting the most attention in your industry. Don’t get stuck in the “everyone’s talking about it so that means I can’t” trap. Once people get interested in a topic, they love reading lots of different takes on it. It’s a great idea to add your own into the mix!
There are lots of conflicting views on the optimal post length, but there’s no need to guess about the best practice for the blog you’re writing for. Just check out the average length of the articles in their “featured” section – they tend to be the most shared or the posts with the most comments.
Unless you’re writing for a renowned medical journal or your favorite national newspaper, simple language is your safest bet. Your readers need to understand you in order to take in your message, so resist any temptation to get too technical or flowery with your words.
A Must-Click Headline.
This can be one of the hardest parts of creating a blog post because of the importance in drawing in more readers with just one line. Portent’s Content Idea Generator not only helps you come you come up with some great topics to write about, but it’ll give you a crash course on killer headlines as well. When you’re stuck on coming up with that great headline, start there and watch how the ideas start flowing. One of the writers on my team will jot down every bad idea in her head related to the blog post in order to stumble across that perfect title, so don’t despair if your first idea isn’t the best one! This is a skill that can be learned, just like any other.
With so many blogs out there jammed pack with new content every day, you have to give readers a reason to stick with your post for longer than a few seconds. So give them something to stay for: the juicy details. I don’t mean personal details (although sometimes that can provide value to a post if it’s relevant), but rather the examples or behind-your-business anecdotes that people can really dig their teeth into.
I’ve found that the blog posts on LKRsocialmedia.com that get the most comments and the most positive feedback are the ones in which we talk about how we run this particular business. We get intimate and share numbers like sales growth, conversion rates, top referrers and detailed marketing strategies. Our readers often thank us for sharing this kind of information, and the relationship between my company and our community continuously grows deeper.
(Another great example of a blogger whose posts are full of detailed information is Neil Patel. Check out his tips on being an all star blogger as well as other posts that really get down with the details of digital marketing.)
Write your blog post wherever you feel most comfortable: in an email, Google doc, Word, a cafe napkin. When it’s time to send it off, just convert it to a text doc that’s easily copy-paste-able (Word or .txt file is fine). If your post is long, break it up with some good subheadlines so that the eye of the reader is drawn to each section. Remember: the blog owner is likely going to do some (or a lot of editing) but delivering it in its best possible shape makes their life easier, and they’ll remember you for it. Spell check, reread, and recruit another pair of eyes to make sure your post reads coherently to someone other than the author.
Keep in mind: you’re not going to get your guest posts published every time. Even if your topic is extremely relevant and your writing amazing, your post simply may not good fit for the blog you’re pitching to. On the other hand, sometimes your pitch and the post will be okayed and up and running in no time. I recently had an idea for a post about a topic I felt strongly about. I wrote it up and pitched it to PandoDaily, a blog I had no relationship with whatsoever. My post was up on their blog the same day.
The key is to not stop yourself from pitching because you think you aren’t well-known enough, or that your audience isn’t big enough. Blogs need fresh content on a consistent basis to continuously engage their audience. By doing the heavy lifting (a.k.a. writing), guest posters are a tremendous help to blog editors everywhere. It doesn’t matter who you are, but if you can provide high quality content to their blog that their readers will love, you’ll get your “yes.”
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