Expand Your Business

What would you say if you were told that the secret to your blog’s (and company’s) success might lie in your ability to write—for someone else? Already, some of you are arguing that you don’t have time to keep your own blog up to date. You can’t spare precious time for content that will help a site other than your own. You don’t see the value in helping out your competitors. You want people visiting YOUR site.

Understandable. However, guest blogging—writing articles for someone else’s blog—can be a valuable tool for expanding your business, your credibility, and your networking potential.

Guest blogging can help you stay up to date with your industry.

Know Your Questions

It’s easy to get bogged down in your day-to-day tasks and lose sight of what’s going on in the world. –But, let’s face it; you need to know what is going on in the minds of your customers, competitors, and colleagues if you expect to keep up with the changes that take place every day. Chances are you already have a series of blogs or websites you scan on a regular basis for this very purpose.

The insight you gain from participating on these sites helps you target your products and services to meet the needs of your customers. It also helps you be aware of trends in your field so you can improve your products and services. Guest blogging is just one more way to get you out into the virtual world so you can be proactive, productive, and stay in touch with your audience.

Whose idea is it anyway?

The business model of the new economy is changing. No longer is the world of business filled with cut-throat competitors seeking to annihilate the competition. Of course, that still happens, but growing numbers of business owners are seeking ways to build relationships with competitors. There seems to be a shift toward focusing on what makes them different instead of what makes the competition bad. Haven’t you heard “Sharing is Caring”?

Part of this is due to a change in our society, a shift in the way we view communication. People are more willing to share information and ideas with each other under the belief that we are one culture with a shared intelligence and creativity. When you create an alliance with friendly competitors, your shared knowledge and experience can help nurture and produce a greater number of believers. Guest blogging is one way to build relationships with people you can help, as well as those who can help you improve your game. These relationships can pay large dividends down the road.

All in the name of increasing quality traffic.

Lead by Example

At the end of the day, online marketing seems to boil down to one idea: increasing quality traffic to your site and converting that traffic into sales. The only way to do that is to increase your exposure. With that in mind, consider the fact that guest blogging gives you an opportunity to connect with people beyond your circle of influence. You can drive traffic directly to your site through a link back. There’s nothing sweeter than watching your traffic rise while earning your valued links across the web.

Guest blogging shouldn’t be limited to your contributions to other sites. Invite people to write for your blog as well. This is especially true for people in your industry who have more experience and name recognition. When you allow them to contribute to your site, their followers will have the chance to see what you have to offer. Just make sure that you have something valuable to say. Good content will attract and keep more readers. Eventually, when done correctly, you have built a community that trusts your content and will share it with their friends.

Build a reputation.

Your reputation—and the perception the world has of you—can make or break your company. You’ve heard perception is 100% reality? Well it couldn’t be more à propos than in this case.

For example, people continue to buy Japanese cars under the impression that they are more reliable, despite the evidence proving this isn’t necessarily so. Your customers need to know they can trust you, as well as trust what you can deliver for them.

Do people think you’re Hot or Not?

Guest blogging is a great way to build your reputation. The fact that someone else let you put your content on their site shows readers you have something valuable to say and offer. This sort of third party validation shows you’re trustworthy, because your name is now tied with someone they already trust and know. As more people read your content and see your name, this confidence will increase.

Don’t let your fear of reaching out to the competition prevent you from the benefits of guest blogging. Anything that helps you increase your exposure and provides opportunities to expand your business should be part of your online marketing plan.

So You Want to Guest Blog – Now What?

If you’ve looked at guest blogging and decided that, yes, it’s a good idea, then good for you. –But, how do you go about it? Before you ever start offering to guest blog, follow these few simple rules:

  • Make sure you have a strong, short – and above all -, well written bio. A good bio should never read like a spam bot wrote it. Limit the links to no more than three (we recommend this, even if the hosting site allows more).
  • Ensure you have a LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter account. Individuals who aren’t active on social platforms have a lower chance of actually promoting their guest post. This is a matter of perceived value; remember – the hosting site wants to get something out of this too.
  • Make sure your own blog shows strong, grammatically correct writing skills. When you offer a guest post, the hosting site will, more often than not, look at your past work. There is no better platform to show off your writing portfolio than your own. Before stepping into guest posting, make sure your blog is nice and tight.
  • Make sure your blog shows you moderating and responding to readers’ comments. A moderated blog shows individuals that you care about impressions. In other words, you understand the value of the writing and don’t want to devalue it by leaving your blog to run on its own. The more active you are on your own blog, the more likely a hosting site will be to offer you a guest posting spot.

When you contact a site for guest posting opportunities, the following tips will up your chances of future requests:

  • It should go without saying, but make sure your guest post is as good as it can be. Don’t give hosting sites sub par material and keep the best for yourself. The blog owners are giving you a piece of prime real estate (any place on their blog is prime real estate, because it gives you extra exposure); don’t ruin it by not making sure it’s top notch.
  • Research the hosting site. What have they talked about? Read their archives, read the comments and get a feel for the audience. Rest assured, if your post bombs, they won’t be asking you back. When guest posting, you aren’t targeting your audience; you’re targeting theirs.
  • Research the article and cite sources. Your guest post doesn’t have to be written in Associated Press Style. However, if you read something somewhere and are going to talk about it, mention where you read it and kindly give them a link. If it was worth mentioning, it’s worth linking to. As well, make sure you have the facts straight, so you don’t make the host look like an idiot for letting you post BS.
  • Include relevant images to compliment your writing and make it more valuable for the hosting site. Again, remember that they expect to gain from this exercise as well. When you send your post in, make sure it is clearly formatted how you want it to look – and make sure that format fits in with the rest of their site.
  • Show you’re a blogger who really cares. Understand that your part doesn’t stop with turning the guest post in. Visit often to respond to comments. Make sure you promote the blog on your various social networks. You could even write a continuation of your guest post on your own blog (i.e. talk about the guest post you wrote and link back to it). In other words, be involved!

Where Can I Guest Post?

Start Fresh

You can always wait until someone offers you a guest posting spot. You can offer the bloggers you know and read if they’re interested in a guest post (always provide titles, at least, with your offer). As well, there are several places that offer you lists of blogs that are open to guest posting. Some of them include:

The lists may or may not be up to date, and they probably overlap somewhat, so don’t just go willy-nilly clicking. Like you would anyway, right?

Hey – Don’t take it from us; a lot of people will agree that guest posting isn’t for everybody. Not everybody can do it; not everybody wants to do it; not everybody has the time. However, it is one of the quickest ways to be noticed and gain recognition in your niche market. Automatically assuming that it would be a waste of your time is a good way to cut your business off at the knees. Look at the possibilities and decide whether guest posting is for you.

A question for you – What rules would you lay out for guest posting?