Recently, I've had the privilege of writing unique or sharing previously written articles for several credible organizations:
Forbes - Lessons in Lead Valuation From Facebook's Acquisition Strategy
Digital World Expo - The Ethics, Laws and Tips to Success with Email Marketing
ProBlogger - SEO in the Fast Lane: Your Legit Shortcut to Readers, Sales, and Search Rank
Plus, a few others pending both online and offline...
As I mentioned in the BV Buzz Video, guest blogging provides several benefits. Here, I expand upon those benefits and provide advice on how you can find places to guest blog.
1) Exposure to an audience you wouldn't normally be able to reach
Similar to good public relations efforts, having your message exposed to an audience that doesn't already know you is basically free advertising. When done properly, you can leverage someone else's audience to help drive traffic back to your website, increase both your company and personal brand awareness and generated additional business opportunities.
2) SEO benefits with high quality backlinks
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a marketing tactic aimed at increasing your visibility on the search engines. Google, when making a determination on where your website should rank in its search results, looks at many factors. One of the most important factors is who's linking to you. If you have a link back to your website on a high profile website, your website is seen as more credible than competitors that might not have such high quality back links. Usually, you'll have the opportunity to link back to your website in the guest blog where you get attribution for writing the article or even in the body of the article itself if it's relevant to your article and isn't overly self promotional.
3) Professional Editing
Depending upon the place where you guest blog, your article may need many revisions due to comments from a professional editor. This can help improve your writing skills, give you experience working with a professional editor and help you target your message more precisely to their audience. This does mean an article may take on different angle from where you originally started, but ultimately, a well edited piece ends up being a higher quality piece.
Should you get posted in a high profile publication, your credibility increases and your personal brand benefits. You can use this as leverage when pitching guest articles to other publications.
The good news is that all publications are looking for great content so the guest blogging opportunities are far and wide. Subject matter experts are needed for a variety of topics and with content being king, it's an easy sell.
Where to Guest Blog
Obviously, guest blogging for the most high profile websites you can is what you want, but it's not just about the quantity of readers you're reaching. You want to reach your potential customers. If you provide services exclusively to customers in your back yard, it doesn't make a lot of sense guest writing for a blog that only reaches consumers located 2,000 miles away from you.
Pitching article ideas is similar to pitching the press to write about you with the exception that you're doing the writing and it's not an overly self-promotional piece. Make sure to do your homework on the person to whom you're sending your pitch. You don't want to send irrelevant article ideas and end up having your bad pitch going viral via social media.
There are a lot of smaller industry specific blogs that can provide the right kind of exposure to your target demographic, but at the same time, open up additional possibilities. They can even lead to more permanent and paid writing gigs.
If there is a professional editor on the site where you'll be guest blogging, expect to get many revisions to your article. Sometimes, you'll start out writing with one point in mind and the piece will take on a completely different point. However, that's okay, because this can result in a new piece that can be written for your own blog.
Word count can sometimes be a limiting factor. Some of my longer posts can go over 1,000 words, whereas I've had to try to get my point across more succinctly in 800 words or less. This provides less room for back story.
The other thing is that you usually must give first right of posting to the publication. They don't want you running the piece first because they don't want to be seen as delivering old news. Also, you may or may not have the ability to run the piece even after it's been posted on the guest publication since they may want exclusivity. Make sure to work out those details ahead of time so that there are no surprises.
A lot of work can go into sourcing guest blog opportunities, pitching articles and then actually writing the articles. However, you may be able to get other websites to republish previous articles you've written on your own blog, especially if they are relevant to their specific audience. I've done this several times as you can see with some of the examples from the beginning of this article.
A Portfolio of Work is Vital to Guest Blogging Opportunities
If you don't already have an active blog specific to your industry niche, don't expect to all of a sudden get a great guest blogging opportunity. Many credible publications want to see previous work examples and know that you have what it takes to write a well written piece. Having an active blog can serve as your portfolio of work.
Guest blogging is a cost effective marketing and PR tactic, but it requires that you already have blogging, in general, as part of your marketing strategy. Once you start blogging for yourself, the guest blogging opportunities will be easier to obtain.
|About the author
Mark Cenicola is the president and CEO of BannerView.com, developers of BannerOS, the software that helps companies turn their websites into powerful business tools. Mark is also the author of the book "The Banner Brand – Small Business Success Comes from a Banner Brand – Build it on a Budget." Read Mark's full biography. You can find him tweeting on Twitter and starring in videos for the company's YouTube channel.
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