3 Keys to Guest Blogging Outreach

June 20, 2012By

Guest blogging remains a hot topic in the blog world.

The concept is not new. Folks have been guest blogging for years on the Web. As long as there have been blogs there have been guest authors writing for them.

And guest writing is not a new concept even on the Web. Any publication – newspapers, magazines, journals, etc. – have all had guest authors from time to time to go along with the regular writers. It’s always been a win-win situation for both the writer and the publication.

In the case of guest blogging for business owners and managers guest blogging offers the opportunity to speak to an established audience. Businesses are always looking to expand and grow. Advertising is one way to get your name out there and get response. Another is to work on earned media and a form of earned media is guest blogging.

In return for the guest blogging opportunity the owner of the site receives content. For the relationship to work the guest author needs to provide content that is valuable to the readers of the blog and to the owner of the blog. This typically means the blog post cannot focus entirely or even really at all on what the guest author is selling.

The most common guest blogging situation involves the guest author providing expertise on a topic they know well. The goal is to provide interesting and valuable information for the blog’s audience. This is what the blog owner is looking for and in return they gladly offer an About The Author section on the post.

This usually includes a link to the guest author’s website. If the article is good enough readers will follow the link to learn more about the author. A connection is made. The reader discovers the new brand and the path down the sales funnel is started.

Some will say the traffic and attention isn’t as important as the SEO benefit from the link. I disagree. Blogging is not as much about SEO anymore as hit has been in the past. Blogging is about referrals and guest blogging is a great way to get those referrals.

For new blogs guest blogging is a great way to provide something in return for access to a target audience. It’s something I encourage more now as businesses look to build their own blog and to grow their company.

If you’re interested in guest blogging here is the process I use to reach out to blog owners.

1. Research

Each of these are important for successful guest posting, but I feel the research is the most important. You need to find blogs that fit your target audience. It’s important that your efforts have the highest potential possible to yield results. You need to know you can provide something the audience finds interesting so they search for your company and start on the sales funnel for your services and products.

The research phase also includes reading posts and comments on the blogs you do mark as potentials for guest blogging. You want to make sure you’re familiar with the popular posts on the blog. You want the post you write to do well. Learn what the audience is looking for. It’s important not to assume, but it’s hard to avoid it.

2. Contact

This is about more than just the email. Read the blog. Comment on the blog. Interact on Twitter or LinkedIn with the blog owner. Do what you would want someone to do with you before asking for something. This seems to improve your chances of hearing back when you do reach out with email.

Now, you can simply reach out with an email. It does work. I usually like to at least come up with blog topics to present in the first email. I like to mention that I will link to other posts on the blog. I’m not talking about linking back to my own blog. I’m talking about linking to other posts on the owner’s blog. This is something blog owners love, but it takes extra effort.

Give the owner about five topics to choose from. It gets the conversation started. Make the email about them. This gets the author at least intrigued by the prospect of your guest post.

Another way to reach out is to write the post first. This has worked for me. You can do all the work above and write the post and then reach out. This can get some response, but make sure you let the blog owner know the post is original. That is something blog owners are wary of because duplicate content is embarrassing.

With the writing approach you do extend yourself a little bit more. It takes effort and you might hear crickets. I’ve been leaning toward the first method lately for this reason.

3. Writing and Interaction

Once contact is made it’s time to get writing. You want to put extra effort into guest posts.

I find there is a balance of maintaining your own voice as you would on your own blog and writing for someone else’s site. I’m not sure why, but it’s a little more difficult to let loose when you’re writing for someone else. You feel obligated to provide something really good. Let your guard down a little bit. The blog owner wants you to be yourself.

Make extra effort to fix spelling and grammar. You want the post to be as ready for publishing as possible. There might be revisions. Always respond with excitement and eagerness to make changes so the post can be published as soon as possible.

And use images. Blog owners love photos and screenshots.

Finally, make sure to share your post with your own audience. Interact with any comments that are written. The guest posting is not always done when you deliver the post. You want to make sure the post is successful. The blog owner will appreciate a successful post. They might even refer you in the future if you write well.

Plus if the post does well it means more exposure for you and your brand to a new audience.

And that’s why we write guest posts in the first place.