Monday, 12 November 2012

5 Best Practices for Your Guest Blogging Strategy

Guest Post
Is it just me, or has the true concept of guest blog posting become convoluted? Is the real purpose behind writing a post for someone else’s blog to get links, or is it to help build your brand?

I think SEOs need to take a step back from the whole “link building” game, and refocus their attention on real, holistic marketing.

Gone are the days where you build exact-match links to targeted pages through mass-produced articles. Today’s effective guest blogging strategy revolves around building relationships, building your brand and earning relevant, conversion-worthy traffic for your website.

In the broad sense of the concept, as a guest blogger, you are a guest, and you should be abiding by your host’s rules! To paraphrase the rest of this post before we dive in to the nitty-gritty, guest posting is based on these criteria:
  • Work
  • Determination
  • Savvy-ness
It takes work and effort to create a piece of content that’s worthy of being posted on someone else’s blog. It takes determination to keep that effort going, and when a post is rejected, even more determination to work at that relationship and produce exceptional content for them again perhaps. It also takes a bit of savvy-ness (to coin a term) to make sure your content is exceptional.

Let’s break down the 5 tenets of this so-called exceptional guest posting strategy:

Find good opportunities

There are a lot of great opportunities out there, but the trick is finding those opportunities that are going to be worthwhile. If you’re going to be spending your time writing a blog post for someone else’s website, make sure that website is of a quality that meets your standards. Use tools in your discovery phase, such as Open Site Explorer and MajesticSEO to find KPIs that will help you weed out the good from the bad. You can also use Google Reader’s search box to find blogs based on topic, and search for those blogs with higher subscription rates. This metric will reveal the community behind the blog, and give you an idea of how far-reaching a particular piece of content will travel from that site.

Advanced search queries are also great for discovering guest posting opportunities. Use searches like [“home improvement” inurl:”write for us”] or [“guest author” inurl:blog] or other variations.

Research the target blog’s demographic

This is an important step, but one that’s frequently overlooked. Setting and executing a strategy is fast-paced, and many times the research phase of guest blogging is rushed, leaving the critical component of writing for the target blog’s audience in the rearview mirror.

If you’ve selected a blog about home d├ęcor as your target blog, take some time to research their audience’s other interests. If they enjoy reading posts about interior design, maybe they are also interested in family activities, parenting or food? Remember, your post should stay on topic, and also speak to the target blog’s primary focus, but weaving secondary and tertiary topics into the post opens the door up to longtail keywords and additional traffic, therefore increasing the value of your post in the blog owner’s eyes.

Read through some of the comments left by readers on posts throughout the site, and write down some common questions that pop up. The more you know about the site’s readers, the better equipped you will be for writing a highly relevant, clickable, sharable and linkable post.  

Build relationships

The best guest posting opportunities don’t come with an off-handed, random email pitch. They come as the fruit of a relationship, built by an extended period of selfless interaction. So, if you have a list of potential targets, start following them on social media. Retweet their posts, participate in conversations on their Facebook page, leave comments on their blog posts, and even link to their content from your own site. If a conference or seminar comes in to town, you can even take it a step further and ask to meet them in person. They will see the pingbacks, your comments and your name on their social media channels, and they will get to know you over time. Then, when the time is right, after you have helped them, ask them for a chance to guest post on their site.

Write content for their audience

The third thing to do is write your content for the audience that is going to be reading it. Ask yourself what the readers want to see, and refer back to your research into the target blog’s demographic. Is the blog emotionally based, or is it more technical? Make sure to answer the readers’ questions in your blog post, and you’ll likely have a higher engagement socially and in the comments section, as well as opportunities for future guest posts on that site.

Optimize your post

Finally, and this really is the capstone to an overall better guest posting strategy, you should optimize your guest post. Of course you’ll want to sprinkle relevant keywords into the content, but when I say “optimize” I’m talking more about more than just text.

Think about the type of blog posts that you enjoy reading. What keeps you reading? What entices you to scroll through the article, and keeps your attention span until the very end?

There are a few ways to “dress” up your content, including:
  • Video
  • Pictures
  • Headings
Also utilize other resources to help get your point across and keep the level of reader engagement up. You can embed Tweets, Quora threads, Spotify playlists- if it’s embeddable and fits the theme, tone and personality of your post, consider it!

About the author:

Kevin Phelps is the founder of He has a wealth of SEO knowledge and experience, and is adept at key content marketing strategies including guest blogging.


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