Last week I took press releases to task for essentially being useless. No one reads them and the SEO benefits are specious at best. Blogging is way better (and less costly) than sending out press releases, but the benefits from blogging can take a really long time to materialize.
What is the fast track to blogging superstardom? While great content is helpful, there is no better way to extend your online presence than guest posting on well-trafficked blogs. With a killer post on a relevant topic, you can easily add hundreds or even thousands of new readers within the course of a day. The follow-on effects from permanent links back to your own blog will also give a significant boost to your organic SEO efforts.
Snagging those precious spots however is indeed a difficult task because the best blogs are swarmed by requests. They can afford to be picky. Therefore unless you are already an industry superstar, you are going to need a well thought through strategy and the commitment to execute. This is ultimately about establishing credibility and building relationships, just like in building partnerships or signing customer deals. Follow these steps religiously though, and soon enough you may be the one receiving requests to guest post on those blogs you always admired.
- Blog Strategy – Seems obvious, but most people do not start a blog with goals and objectives in mind. Understanding the why can help to focus your efforts. Once you know the purpose of your blog (boost your profile, shill your startup, etc.), you should have a theme, some topic areas to get you started, and some high level goals you wish to achieve.
- Be a Blogger – Before you can ask to be on someone else’s blog, it helps that you have your own body of work. Plus it gives other bloggers a sense of what you write about, how you write, and how well you interact with your community. It confirms that you at least have the wherewithal and a bit of social currency built up.
- Target Relevant Blogs – Identify the blogs that would be best suited for your type and style of content. This should map to the purpose of your blog. If it is your food tech startup you are promoting for example, then you should be familiar with the well-known and highly read food blogs, online lifestyle magazines, and tech blogs.
- Become a Fan – Once you know which blogs are a fit and would speak to your type of audience, get engaged and have a conversation. Like and share posts across social media and leave supportive yet insightful comments on the blog. When you are seen as a regular, you have built up some trust with the blog writers/owners. Just be careful not to go overboard or to constantly link back to your own blog which is poor form.
- Write a Sample – When you get a sense of the culture and audience of your targeted blogs, then write a sample post or two in advance that addresses a topic not recently covered but would be relevant. It does not need to be complete, but at least provides enough content to be representative of the type of writing you do.
- Send the Ask – Once you feel that you have developed a rapport with the blog writers, then send a request directly to the editor / owner and ask to do a guest post. This should be short and sweet, with who you are, the fact that you are a fan of the blog, your request to do a post, a few titles of potential posts, and a link to your blog. If you followed the previous step, attach (or link out to) the sample post you wrote in anticipation. It may take several requests before there is acknowledgement, but do not be discouraged.
- Dial It Down – This is your chance to promote yourself, but do not be in your face with the opportunity. Readers are not stupid and realize that you are going to come in with an agenda. Keep your post entertaining and informative without being so overtly about your own thing. If your post is good, people will naturally check out your other posts and eventually subscribe.
- Stay Engaged – Do not stop with simply getting a guest post! Maintain an active engagement on the site, not only promoting your own post, but all other good posts. What you do not want to become is a one and done poster. By keeping yourself engaged, you keeping yourself in the running for future guest post spots.
- Rinse and Repeat – You need to keep building up those relationships and staying engaged as part of those targeted blog communities. Once you have done a few guest posts, your name will get out and people are going to start becoming fans of your own blog or startup or whatever cause you are representing. It is a slog in the beginning, but things will snowball in time.
* You like how I managed to roll in cupcakes three days in a row?