Raleigh Inbound Marketing has a variety of industries that we provide a regular monthly blog writing service for. Ranking well on Google these days takes some creativity and effort to develop back links from relevant sources. Why not provide a piece of content to another website and control the link quality and keyword anchor text (the hyper-linked words). Our blogging system has made me think how to cross-promote each of our clients using these blogs to gain those important back links.
Businesses need quality content on their blog plus are looking for ways to get in front of new prospects. Guest blogging is a topic that not many businesses know how to take advantage of. It can solve problems such as getting fresh content, positioning your website in front of a new audience, and receiving a back link from a trusted source.
Many small and medium size businesses who don’t have a dedicated marketing team creating content lack the ability to be able to take advantage of this highly effective strategy. First you need to find an opportunity, then reach out to the website owner to ask if they accept guest articles. After you submit your article, the process doesn’t stop. Promoting the article is very important.
My 10 step process for successfully guest blogging
1. What is my objective for posting an article on another website?
There are many reasons for sending an article that you took time to write or that you paid a writer to write. Be clear on why you are doing it. This clarity will guide your research into finding a website to ask. If you are outsourcing the research, being clear will determine the quality of the research results.
- Am I trying to get a back link?
- Am I trying to get attention from another audience?
- Am I trying to build a relationship with an influencer?
- Am I trying to increase my thought leadership?
2. What are my requirements?
In order to identify a company I’d like to ask to publish my article I set some benchmarks. Again, this helps a researcher to find quality prospective companies to ask.
- Do they blog regularly? Look for blogs that have posted something within the past 3 months, hopefully post regularly.
- Are the blogs well written, quality articles? I can overlook this if their social media presence is strong. My guess is it’s not if their blogging is not quality.
- Is the company a complimentary business, not competing? Obviously we don’t want to promote or help our competitors. Examples of complimentary businesses: a mortgage broker and a realtor, a web designer and a marketer, an auto mechanic and auto body shop, an OB/GYN and Psychologist, a business coach and CPA, equipment sales and leasing agent, a general contractor and plumber.
- Is their audience who I want to get in front of?
- Are they someone who I want to get in front of? Maybe they except guest blogs but are located outside of your geographic area.
Social media is critical because once the article is written, it needs to be pushed out and put in front of a large audience. Evaluate the company’s social presence to determine if they meet your requirements. This is another reason why businesses should have a strong social media presence and seek followers that match their target audience.
- Do they have social media profiles? Are the profiles on platforms where your audience is, where you have a profile and want to build a following?
- Do they have a following on those profiles? If so, how large?
- Do they post regularly?
- What is their engagement level? Do they receive likes, shares, and comments on more than one post?
3. The Ask
We are all inundated with emails from our contact us form from people trying to sell us their SEO services or salespeople selling their products and services. I lost count of the number of contact forms from my site and client’s sites telling how they can get the site to the first page on Google.
Set up for a Win-Win.
Make sure to communicate the benefits of why they should allow your article on their website. If you both share a target audience and are complimentary businesses, then explain how you will promote the article after its published is important.
Let them know how many Twitter followers you have, or how many fans are on your Facebook, or the quality of your LinkedIn profile for those of you in the B2B space.
The easiest way to start is with your Sphere of Influence. These businesses are complimentary industries who do not compete but can feed you business. They are the ones who get the client first and then can refer you. So, who can feed you business?
Keep in mind, this is not something where “I link to you and you link to me.” When guest blogging, the person who writes the article gets the link back to their site, however, it is not necessary, nor a good idea, for the writer to put something on their site linking to the article.
How will you ask?
- Use the site’s contact form.
- Find a person’s email address and send a standard email.
- Your LinkedIn connections. Find the owner on LinkedIn and send a message.
- Tweet at them. Find a Twitter account that makes sense and @ mention with a question “Do you allow guest blogs?”
- Of course, a good old fashioned phone call.
4. Have a Plan B.
If their business doesn’t allow guest blogs, ask if they would like to post an article on your site. If they say yes, follow up with an email outlining your expectations and start an open dialogue on the topics.
My expectations are:
- 300-500 words
- Informative or educational. Not “salesie”, no selling of their products or services.
- Images must be purchased stock photos. We will rename and resize on our site but we must be sure the guest blogger owns the image. If it is a photo we can tell they took, we will allow it.
- Resource links are welcome
- No more than 2 anchor text links within the article. Blogger needs to identify text to be linked.
- Optional Author Bio. 2 sentences about who the blogger is and link to their profile is acceptable.
5. Negotiate a topic
Every article has a keyword focus, topic/angle, and title. Before writing the article, review the company’s website with your objective in mind.
Everything online comes down to keywords. It’s a driver for the Internet. Determine what keywords (phrases) match your business and the company’s objectives. What do you both have in common?
An inspired blog title. Writing creative blog titles might not be your forte so start with researching the keyword.
- What are some blog titles already written?
- Can you tweak the titles some?
This type of research will help you come up with a topic or angle for the article. Ex. If you are targeting knee replacement surgery, the angle could be how a surgeon evaluates a patient’s need for the surgery, and the title could be “Are you a candidate for knee replacement surgery?”
Once you have created a list of 3 blog titles with angles, email to your contact and ask them to select one they would prefer on their site.
6. Send the article by the deadline.
After the blog title and angle has been chosen, find out if the company has a blog posting schedule. If they do not, give them a date they can expect to receive your article.
If they do have articles already scheduled out, when could your article be fit into their rotation?
We post our blogs on the first and third Monday each month if doing 2 blogs a month. A guest post is needed by the 25th of the prior month to be scheduled to publish the following month.
Business integrity is important to your reputation so deliver the article by your deadline. If you are serious about developing a relationship with someone who can help your business, don’t miss your deadline.
7. Follow up with company
- Remain in contact with the representative or business owner until they have notified you when the article is scheduled to be published.
- Check their website for the link to the article.
- Check the links in the article for accuracy.
8. Promote on your social media
Here is your opportunity to publicly thank the company for allowing your article published on their site.
Hopefully the company will post the article on their social media profiles. When they do, you should leave a comment, retweet, and share onto your social media profiles.
Using a scheduler, such as Hootsuite, write posts to promote the article on all your social media profiles. Mix up when they are scheduled. Since you might have many of the same followers on different channels, posting the same thing on all profiles is not a best practice. The scheduler allows you to see when a post is scheduled on different channels in order to create variety.
Build your relationship by reaching out quarterly. Who says you can’t post again? Building a relationship with a company consistently might help you remain top of mind for referral opportunities.
10. Use the article to get future opportunities
When I first started my business one of the best ways for me to get new clients was to talk about what I was doing with my current clients. I am doing what I am saying.
As you are asking businesses for guest blog opportunities, make sure to include links to articles that you have written.
Have you ever considered writing for Huffington Post? Build your arsenal of guest blogs to showcase your expertise.
We have a variety of blogs that we write and post on. If you would like to post a guest article, please contact me with your topic. If it meets our criteria for one of our resources, we would be glad to include it.