As a business owner, it’s only natural for you to look into different ways to grow your business and give it exposure. Thanks to online marketing, you have plenty of options to choose from. But today, we’re only going to focus on one – guest blogging.
Most online marketing methods show you how to grow your reach within your own community. But what about taking things a step further? You will likely find that it’s beneficial for you and your business to create content as a guest blogger on relevant sites.
Not only will it help you reach more of your audience, but you can also add exposure to your business. You’ll also enhance your credibility and position yourself as a thought leader in your niche. Yep, we’re talking about bumping up your status as the It Girl in your niche!
Uncovering Sites You Can Approach as a Guest Blogger
You may be tempted to go for the larger, more prominent sites like Entrepreneur, Forbes, or Huffington Post. Unless you have an inside connection that can help you get published on those types of sites, I recommend that you hold off on bigger sites while you’re finding your feet and starting out.
Here’s why: You stand a much better chance of being featured on smaller sites. They also allow you to build your audience at the same time.
If you don’t have many press mentions, you actually have a better chance of reaching your target audience (and your guest post being picked up) with a smaller site. Start off with sites that contain posts that you’re already reading or interested in. It doesn’t have to be a well-known or popular site to reach people. Just as long as they resonate with what you have to say.
If you’re not sure of what blogs to start targeting, do some research to uncover what blogs your audience is reading. You can perform a Google search on your niche or the topic itself. For example, if you want to write a post on podcast strategy, you would type: “podcast strategy blog” into the search engine. This will pull in the highest ranking blogs that have written posts on that topic.
Throughout your search you will want to ask questions like: Where is your audience posting comments? Where are they posting questions you can answer with your content? The more interaction you find, the more likely you’ll be able to get them to engage with your content. If you find a relevant site to post on, but it lacks reader comments, you may want to reconsider posting on that site.
It doesn’t make sense to go through the trouble of creating content on another site if it doesn’t reach an audience that’s engaged or interactive. Always focus on reaching a viable, target audience first, the popularity will follow. You can also find relevant sites to post on by following your favorite guest bloggers in your niche. A simple Google search on them will reveal which sites they’ve posted to.
This can help to reduce your search time and lead you right to sites that would be good for you to post to as well. If you follow those individuals on social media, they may also mention sites they post on for you to check out.
Increasing Your Chances of Being Accepted as a Guest Blogger
Once you’ve found those targeted blogs you want to contribute to as a guest blogger, how do you approach them? Most sites have a writer’s guideline or contributor section. That’s where you will want to navigate to for instructions on how to contact them. You will also find specifics there on what the publication looks for in terms of content. It will also state what you need to do in order to be accepted as a guest blogger or contributor.
Their list of criteria will usually include items like:
- Types of content accepted/not accepted
- Word count ranges
- Content must be original and not published elsewhere
- Whether you should include a byline (a line identifying you as the author) or not
- If photographs or images are required to accompany your post
While these are only a few possible conditions to getting content accepted, every publication or site will vary with their own specific guidelines. They will also vary in how and in what format you need to initially submit your content. You will need to determine if they want you to pitch an idea for an article or post before you write it or if you should go ahead and write a first draft.
If you don’t have a blog history with your own site, don’t let that discourage you. If you can show that you’re familiar with the type of content they publish, you may have a shot. Once you do reach out to the editor or designated contact, provide them with social proof. Let them know who you are, what your business is, how you currently reach out to your audience, etc. They will want to see that you have some engagement with your audience and have followers.
If you are requested to submit a full article or post, make sure it has been checked for any grammatical errors. It should also fit within their content guidelines. It’s important to note that very few, if any, publications pay for these types of articles.
Your goal isn’t to get paid but to reach your audience and get exposure for your business. This will come in the form of a bio or byline and possibly a link back to your site or a free download at the most. Don’t underestimate the value in this as it will lead to more traffic to your site.
Using Your Exposure to Target More Popular Sites
Once you’ve got a few guest blog posts under your belt, you can go after the big guys!
But wait before you just go after publications due to their popularity! You will still want to target only those sites that will be the most relevant to your business. In other words, don’t reach out to every large publication out there. Take the time to research each one just as you did the smaller publications. Figure out what all is involved in submitting content and how you can use the opportunity to reach your audience. Once you do start submitting and getting accepted as a guest blogger, don’t forget to announce your success to your followers on social media!
Your audience will want to know where you’ve posted content for them to consume. The beauty of social media allows for your audience to share with their own groups to help you increase your followers. Posting to the smaller publications may actually give you more freedom and flexibility to post more content. While it may be easier and more beneficial to focus on smaller platforms, that doesn’t mean that a larger publication won’t benefit your business. Just start small and see what types of opportunities come up and which ones work best for you.