Image by kwerfeldein
In a session I did with Brian Clark at Third Tribe last week Brian made the statement – Guest Posting is the New Article Marketing.
In days gone by the way one of the best ways to build a website’s ranking in search engines and to pull in traffic was to write articles for article marketing sites and allow others to republish them on their own sites. In return you’d get a link or two back to your own site.
While I know some bloggers do use article marketing as part of their promotional mix the evidence that I’ve seen lately shows that links in these types of articles tend to count for less than they once did as Google gets smarter in the way that they rank websites.
I wouldn’t write off article writing completely but in the last couple of years we’ve seen the emergence of guest posting as a primary way for bloggers to build their profile, traffic and generate some SEO Google Juice to their sites.
Over the last few years I’ve seen numerous guest bloggers really build careers for themselves in a variety of niches. People like Leo Babauta and Chris Garrett are two that come to mind who built solid reputations and sizeable audiences for themselves through the tactic of guest posting.
While Guest Posts can be a great tactic to use to grow your presence – as someone who uses quite a few guest posts on my blogs I’ve noticed an incredible variety in the quality of guest posts that I’m pitched. I get 20-30 guest posts per week – I couldn’t use them all even if I wanted to – but there are some things that make some guest posters much more attractive to me than others.
In this post I want to explore 10 things that I’ve noticed about the best guest posters that set them apart from the field. These things make them more attractive to me as a blogger evaluating a guest post – but they also make the guest post more effective – which has flow on effects for the guest poster.
1. Offer Your Best Posts
I chatted with one blogger a few months back that told me that his guest post strategy was to give away his 2nd rate posts as guest posts to other blogs. He kept his best stuff for his own blog and whipped up half hearted posts for guest spots.
While I understand the temptation to keep your best content for your own blog and give a half hearted effort for other blogs if you want to maximise the chance of getting a guest post published on a well known blog and you want to maximise its impact upon the readers of that blog – you need to keep the quality up in your guest posts.
2nd rate posts are not likely to get published and if they do – they’ll not drive you the traffic that a first rate post would do.
So take the time to carefully craft your guest posts and to make them as useful as possible.
2. Use Images
This will vary a little depending upon the blog you are submitting to but I know if a guest post is submitted to me that has a good creative commons licensed image with it that I am much more likely to use it.
I love images – they lift a post to a new dimension and make it attention grabbing to readers – if a guest poster goes to the effort of finding such an image I’m always impressed.
3. Optimize the Images
If you do send in an image to go with the post make sure you take a few moments to optimize it and make it ready for posting. By this I mean:
- reduce the file size of the image so it’ll load fast
- make sure the image width will fit into the post box on the blog you’re submitting to so that the blogger doesn’t need to resize it
- name the file something that will help the SEO of the post (use a keyword in the heading).
These things are all small touches that can not only make an impression upon the blogger but help the post load fast, look good and rank a little higher in search engines.
4. Do a Little On Page SEO
While we’re talking search engine optimisation – take a few moments after writing your post to think about SEO. You might not think there’s any reason to do this and that its the blog owners job – but if your guest post ranks well in Google you’re more likely to benefit from the post for the long term as it’ll continue to attract traffic (it’ll also help pass on some Google Juice to your own blog through your byline links).
On page SEO includes making sure you work out what keywords you want the post to rank for and then using those keywords in places like the title of the post, header tags, image alt tags etc.
5. Format Your posts
Another tip to think about before sending off a post is to look at the styling and formatting that the blog normally uses for its posts.
For example – does the blog use headings in posts? If so – what header tags does it use? If it’s <h3> tags, put your own headers into <h3> tags.
If the blog uses blockquotes – consider using that. If the blog has a byline in a certain style or format – include yours in that format. The more ready your post is to publish the better.
6. Send posts in the Right Format
This leads me to my next point – wherever possible send your post to the blog you want to appear on in a format where it can easily be copied and pasted into the back end of that blog. I LOVE it when guest posters send me text files already marked up into html so I can copy and paste them straight in. I generally do a little re-formatting but it is so much easier if things are already formatted in html to some extent.
The best way to do this is to simply write the post up as a draft in your own blog – then copy and paste the html out into a plat txt document to send over. If you’re including images I generally would attach them to the email and indicate in the post where they should be inserted.
If you’re not sure about what format the blogger prefers to receive guest posts in – shoot them an email to ask. Alternatively some guest bloggers I’ve worked with will send two versions of a post – one in a Word Document and one in html.
7. Link to Other posts on the Blog
One technique that some of the very best guest bloggers go to the effort of doing is making sure that their guest posts interlink to other posts on the blog that they’re submitting to.
This is good for a few reasons including:
- it shows the blogger and their readers that you’re familiar with the blog you’re writing for
- it helps the SEO of the blog you’re submitting to
- it gives readers more to read and increases page views on the blog you’re writing for
It certainly takes more work to do this step but it does make an impression.
8. Monitor and Interact in the Comments of the Post
Some guest bloggers feel that their job is done when they send the post off to the blogger for their consideration. However the best guest posters going around see this as just the beginning.
One extra task that can lift the guest post to another level is to monitor the comments being left on the post and interacting with those who read it. This shows a willingness to followup with readers and can make the post more useful to everyone.
9. Promote the Post after its launched
One last task that can also make the post all the more effective for both you and the blog you’re writing for is to take some time out once the post is live to promote it to your own network.
Link to it on your own blog, tweet about it, submit it to other blogs in the niche to see if they’ll link to it, promote it in forums, email it to your newsletter list…. etc
The benefits in promoting the guest post are numerous:
- it makes an impression upon the blogger who is using your post (which could lead to further guest posts or opportunities)
- it can make an impression upon people in your own network to see that you’re published elsewhere
- it can help the SEO of the post to have it linked to (which has flow on effects for you both in terms of traffic and SEO)
All in all – the more successful the post is the better for all concerned so do take the time to give it some promotion – as if it were your own.
What Tips Would You Give Guest Posters to Help Their Posts Become Exceptional?