This guest post is by Alexis Grant blogs of The Traveling Writer.
Now that you’re convinced of the benefits of guest posting and know how to create content editors want, it’s time to ask yourself: am I really getting as much as possible out of my guest posting efforts?
Most of us guest post as an after-thought, making time to pitch a post here or there when we can scrounge up a few free minutes in our schedule.
But you wouldn’t approach your blog without a plan, would you? And you wouldn’t approach your job without a plan either! Since most of us are aiming to make money from blogging, why be lackadaisical about your guest posting strategy?
When I first began guest posting, I was in that same boat, brainstorming guest posts whenever I could squeeze an extra few minutes out of my day. But once I realized just how much guest posting was helping me sell my eguides and gain new subscribers, I decided to take it more seriously. I decided to actively take my guest posting to the next level.
Rather than submitting guest posts in a once-I-finish-all-my-other-work fashion, I created a plan that would help me keep better track of my ideas, pitch more editors and bring more eyes to my site.
The master doc
How’d I go about creating this strategy? With the king of all planning tools, Google Docs.
Using a spreadsheet, I created a column for each one of these phrases:
- Editor at publication
- Contact info for editor
- Topic of post
- Date I pitched the editor
- Editor’s response (whether the pitch was accepted)
- When I submitted the post
- When the post was published
- Outcomes (like traffic peak, new subscribers, sales of products).
Not only will organizing your guest posting efforts in this way help you keep track of where you’ve pitched, the response you’ve gotten from each editor, and which pieces you need to write, it will also help you zero in on what’s working.
By tracking outcomes from these posts—even if they’re somewhat anecdotal or vague (example: you gained ten subscribers when a certain post went live, even if you’re not certain all those subscribers came from that post)—you’ll be able to recognize which blogs are helping you reach your goals.
This is important because you might expect the blog with the most readers to give you the most results, and then find out that a different blog—one that focuses on your niche, for example—is actually better at helping you bring in sales.
It will also help you see weaknesses you didn’t know you had. Once I set up this doc, for example, I realized I needed to better track where sales of my eguides were coming from. That prompted me to finally learn how to add tracking codes to my links, which is helping me become even more effective in my blogging efforts.
And here’s one more plus: know all those random ideas for topics and target blogs that hit you while you’re driving or in the shower? Now you can add them to your strategy doc, so those brilliant ideas don’t disappear.
One more way to optimize
Now that you’re on board with taking a strategic approach to guest posting, here’s one more idea for getting the most out of your guest posting strategy.
Once I decided to make this a priority—because growing traffic to my blog and increasing sales is my ultimate goal—I assigned one of my part-time business team members to the project. “Hold me accountable!” I told her.
Having an employee (or intern, or writing buddy, or someone you found on oDesk) oversee this process could help you keep on track, so you’re sure to hit your goal of submitting however many guest posts you’ve decided to write each month.
But even if you don’t have someone to hold you accountable, this strategy doc will hold you accountable to yourself. You’ll easily be able to see who you’ve pitched, which ideas have worked and which haven’t, and whether certain posts have brought the results—traffic, product sales, subscriptions, and more—you hoped for.
Could this system work for you? Could you approach guest posting in a more strategic, more organized, more effective way? Share your ideas in the comments.
Alexis Grant is an entrepreneurial writer, digital strategist and author of How to Create a Freakin’ Fabulous Social Media Strategy.