Perhaps you've heard of guest blogging and even thought about pitching an idea or two, but aren't quite sure if it's worth your time. After all, just this fall Google's Matt Cutts called for moderation when guest blogging, stating in a YouTube video:
“It shouldn't be your full-time job.”
One point Cutts emphasises is that if your only form of promotion is guest blogging and solely with the intent to drive traffic rather than reputation that you might be going about it all wrong. On the other hand, website owners gain access to new clients and see upticks in traffic from guest blogging on other sites and also from having guests on their own sites.
So, Should you Guest Blog?
Cutts may caution against too much guest blogging.
However, marketing guru Kalie Moore suggests that guest blogging has big payoffs that may not be immediately measured but are there in the perception of what a guest blogger does.
“Your audience knows and loves you, and with guest blogging you are gaining exposure to a wider audience who will eventually know and love you too. There is also an authority that comes with guest blogging. Anyone can start a blog, but with guest blogging it is assumed that to be invited as a guest blogger you have to be an expert.”
Imagine that you're a reader. You visit a site you regularly visit, read a great article on a topic that interests you, realize it is from a guest blogger and click over to check out their site. Despite what some in the SEO sector advise, sometimes common sense has to win out. It stands to reason that you will gain new site visitors through guest blogging.
Social media consultant Brian Honigman agrees, stating that “the benefits of guest blogging as a technique to help build credibility online have continued to grow as content becomes an increasingly valued component of brand marketing strategy”.
The bottom line? Guest blog, but do so with a plan.
Seek out sites that match your expertise. Write quality content that establishes you as an authority in your field. Don't overstuff content with backlinks. Write the same, high quality content you write for your own site, and guest blogging will pay off with massive traffic over time.
The Other Side of the Coin – Guests on Your Blog
The other side of this equation is allowing guests to sent material for your blog. While this can be a good idea, it can also be a terrible idea.
More material for your blog
High profile posters bring traffic to your site
Reach new readers that follow that writer
Trade opportunities – they post on your blog, you post on theirs
You have no guarantee of the quality of the work and may have to do massive edits to get it up to par.
If you get tied into a site that is filled with spam, it may make your site take a hit or appear less professional.
Guest bloggers often write guest posts in their spare time, which means you're their last priority.
Guest bloggers may not be familiar with your style and guidelines, which can make the quality of your site go down.
Ultimately, it is a good idea to consider guest posts, but be selective in which ones you actually take and post on your site, edit them thoroughly and track where the traffic is coming from for them to avoid any issues.
Tools to Get Started
Analyze those in your industry to find those who are influencial. Then, visit their websites to see if they have a blog or hop over to their social media pages and follow the links. Once you find some people with influence in your niche, you'll want to connect with them.
You can utilize Followerwonk to help you see how socially active different bloggers are. A socially active blogger is more likely to run a high traffic blog and also to give a shout out to your guest post. Probably the best feature of Followerwonk is that you can “find and connect with new influencers in your niche”.
Use the compare tool to see how you stack up to the competition and to find others in your particular industry, which can in turn lead you to their blogs and an opportunity to pitch a guest blog idea.
Topsy analyzes tweets from 2006 forward. Find out who has the most social influence for a particular product, brand or keyword. You can also set Topsy up to send you alerts about new developments in your nice. The site offers a 14-day free trial where you can not only check out key influencers but get their contact information.
Locating Guest Blogging Opportunities
If you're looking for opportunities to guest blog, or if you are seeking guest bloggers, MyGuestBlog offers both opportunities for blog owners. One of the things they offer blog owners is unique site content. For guest bloggers, they offer the opportunity to “build your brand”. Register for free to get started.
Blogdash is an all-in-one tool that offers you the opportunity to guest blog, to find guest bloggers and to analyze others in your field. On top of that, they offer a blog that has useful marketing tips, such as explaining why the traditional press release no longer works and news on traffic building tactics.
Guestr allows you to post your website for free to seek guest bloggers or to find places seeking guest posts. Over 20 categories, including:
Jerry Low's 101 Sites That Accept Guest Posts List
WHSR's Jerry Low offers a comprehensive list of sites that accept guest posts, what their guidelines are and who to contact. Some of the sites on this list of 101 sites include:
Now that you have an idea of some of the blogs you might like to submit to, you'll want to come up with a plan of action. Creating a guest blogging campaign should be your first step. Make a list from the top site you'd like to guest blog for on down and work on two or three sites at once. If you send out a mass e-mail to every site on your list, you may wind up with more requests than you can fulfill, which won't present you in the most professional light.
Next, contact the first few sites on your list. You'll want to send a professional sounding letter, but it needs to be personalized with a pitch geared to that site. Sending out a bulk e-mail or something that sounds spammy may get you on the list of worst guest blogging pitches ever, which is the last image you want for your company.
Finally, follow-up by producing the best blog post you can for those who agree, but be sure to follow their guidelines for their website. Now, all that's left is to sit back and enjoy the traffic.
About Lori Soard
Lori Soard has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 1996. She has a bachelor's in English Education and a PhD in Journalism. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines, online and she's had several books published. Since 1997, she has worked as a web designer and promoter for authors and small businesses. She even worked for a short time ranking websites for a popular search engine and studying in-depth SEO tactics for a number of clients. She enjoys hearing from her readers.