You already know that guest blogging on other websites that attract your target audience is a fantastic strategy for expanding your brand’s reach. But a lot of business owners and industry experts waste a lot of time moving from one guest blogging opportunity to another, rather than working to build a long-lasting relationship with a few key sites and blogs where they can contribute every few weeks.
Regularly publishing content on the same site has many benefits. First of all, you don’t spend so much time researching new channels to contribute to or spend hours writing pitch letters and waiting to hear back. But also, becoming a regular contributor to a blog gives you a better understanding of how that effort is driving traffic back to your site. You write one blog post, and you might get some traffic, but it fades away as soon as that post gets stale. Write a post a month, and you’ll see a steady stream of traffic to your site from your guest blog posts as a result.
When you hop from blog to blog, you never know if that blog will generate a lot of views of your article, or send you traffic. Sometimes it’s a crap shoot. But once you identify the sites that do send you traffic, those are the ones worth nurturing.
Also, a blog editor who knows that you consistently provide value to his readers is more likely to amp up your content. He will come to rely on you as a valuable member of his content team, and as a result, you’ll see him promote your content on social media and email — a real boon in helping you extend your reach.
Clearly, being a regular guest blogger is beneficial. But being invited to be a regular contributor is not as simple as just churning out content.
1. Start By Getting to Know the Site
I can’t tell you how many crappy pitches I’ve gotten for my content marketing blog. It is quickly apparent who hasn’t bothered to read a single post on my blog. I actually have a page that tells people interested exactly what our guest blogging guidelines are, but you’d be amazed how many people don’t read that.
The bar is set pretty low, folks. All you have to do is read some of the posts on a site you want to write for, and look for a page dedicated to the guest blogging process. Before you pitch the editor, consider whether what you want to write about is really a good fit for this site. Do the people you want to reach read it? Are these topics they’re interested in? Are your interests aligned?
When I pitch a new blog, I usually offer up three potential topics, and I first search to make sure someone else hasn’t already covered them. That shows that I did my homework, and increases my chances of getting one of the pitches accepted.
2. Meet Deadlines
Here’s another thing that seems simple, but for many, deadlines are a challenge. Once an editor accepts your idea, ask when he’d like to have the completed article. Then turn it in before then. It’s not rocket science!
Editors are juggling dozens of articles and guest bloggers at any given moment. They do not need the stress of a writer who promises to meet a deadline but then doesn’t. If you want to start to build a long-term relationship with that editor, turn your work in on time.
3. Follow Protocol
I could trash this entire article and just say “follow directions,” and be done with it. The blog will probably have guidelines on how the editor wants your posts pitched and then submitted. If they ask for 600 words in a Google Doc, deliver exactly that. If they want accompanying images, send them. You don’t want your editor to have to do anything except review your post and schedule it, but not paying attention to protocol will automatically create more work for them.
4. Read Your Work Before Submitting
I know you think the post you just wrote is flipping amazing, but please: I beg you. Read the post out loud slowly to ensure that you don’t have grammar or syntax issues. I know you think you’re a rock star when it comes to spelling, but you might be surprised at what you miss when you don’t read it aloud. I pride myself on catching all my errors, but when I read my content out loud, I’m often privy to mistakes I would have missed otherwise. Your editor shouldn’t have to do the equivalent of taking a red pen to mark up your article; it should be as close to perfection as possible when you submit it.
5. Once It’s Published, Celebrate it Far and Wide
The people that get asked to contribute to a site again and again are the ones who, in addition to following directions in the submission process, promote their newly-published content. Once a post goes live, make sure you promote it on each of your social media channels, and anywhere else you can. Tag the blog when you do so the editor sees your effort to promote the article. Schedule it for several shares over the days and then weeks after it goes live.
Ask your editor if you can republish your post on your own blog, linking back to the original. Some won’t want you to, because of concerns that Google will see it as duplicate content. At the very least, you can link to the article and refer to it in another post that you write on your blog.
Becoming a regular guest blogger for a site comes down to being a good citizen, in my mind. Respect rules and directions, accommodate your editor, and overall be pleasant to work with. Even how you correspond via email can make a difference in how that editor views you and wants to work with you. Always be professional and respectful. Consider this a long-term relationship that you want to nurture, and act accordingly.