Guest blogging 101: how to pitch, write and promote an excellent guest post

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Guest blogging is one of the best ways to improve brand awareness, and it costs absolutely nothing (other than time and dedication). We’re fortunate to have been featured in Convince and Convert, Kissmetrics and Duct Tape Marketing. Each one of our guest posts resulted in a surge in traffic and new inquiries, and while short-term benefits such as these are great, we ultimately sought out these guest blogging opportunities as a way to build our brand for the long-term.

Creating a positive brand reputation doesn’t come overnight, but by putting out content on a regular basis, you can really establish yourself as the kind of company which goes the extra mile in order to help people. Guest posting is primarily a way to provide value to industry blogs and their audiences, which demonstrates your expertise and eventually results in high levels of brand awareness.

Here are some of the things to remember when you’re seeking out guest post opportunities.

1. Publish tonnes of free content

A credible blog is never going to feature an article from you unless you have an abundance of high quality content published already. It goes without saying that you should have a frequently updated blog on your own site, but you should aim to have content published on other sites too. If you already have guest posts published on relevant industry sites which showcase your domain knowledge, blogs will be more likely to accept a pitch from you.

Before you pitch to the big names in your industry, start small. Ask friends and associates if you can do a guest post on their site, even if they aren’t pulling in much traffic. The more awesome guest posts you can show as examples of your work, the more likely it is that larger blogs will take you seriously when you pitch to them.

2. Pitch intelligently

Most sites that solicit guest posts have very stringent requirements for how to pitch and what type of content they are looking for. One of the easiest ways to blacklist yourself is by blatantly disregarding their instructions! Read their pitching instructions very carefully and do exactly what they say.

In order to get a positive response, check out the types of articles which perform well on their site. This will give you some critical insights which will help you to choose a subject for your guest post that their audience will love. The more you know about their audience, the better, so take your time and do your research. The amount of social shares each article has is a good indicator, as is the amount of comments generated.

3. Blow their socks off

If your pitch gets accepted, strive to deliver something truly epic. Always back your points up with statistics and evidence, divide your post up into digestible chunks using catchy subheadings, tailor your writing style to the audience, link to other articles on their site and include visual content if possible. Ultimately, go above and beyond the call of duty to deliver high amounts of value.

Guest blogging should always be done selflessly. Never be tempted to sneak in a bunch of links to your own site or covertly promote your products and services. These tactics reek of desperation and are not in alignment with a company that is striving to cement a positive brand reputation for years (or decades) to come. If you have been rewarded with a guest post spot on a site (big or small), show your gratitude by delivering something truly awesome. Pack as much actionable advice and powerful insights into your guest post as possible so that your readers will walk away feeling enhanced.

4. Promote like crazy

Just because the blog post isn’t on your site doesn’t mean you should leave it to someone else to do the promotion. The site probably picked you because they want some of your audience to become fans of theirs, so make sure they get this privilege. Promote the post heavily on social media and mention it on your site if possible. Always take the time to respond to any comments which crop up and try to answer all queries to the best of your abilities. Even a simple “Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed the article” can do wonders for building relationships and establishing a positive brand reputation.

While the influx of traffic and new backlinks are really great, guest blogging is also an effective way to build relationships with people. Leo Widrich, co-founder of BufferApp, wrote over 150 guest posts in order to grow his business. He states:

“Relationships are hard to track, but are actually the most valuable things that you gain from guest posting. At the end of the day, if you do a lot of guest posting you simply make a lot of friends.”