When I began my career in communications (don’t ask how long ago; I’ll lie to you), the only thing we had to worry about was building really strong relationships with journalists to do the media relations part of our jobs.
Now we have to worry about that and relationships with bloggers and influencers and customers and prospects and competitors and detractors and cynics and trolls and ambassadors.
Add to that creating content that is valuable, educational, and fun to read (or listen to or watch) and using the social networks to distribute it without being self-serving, and understanding search engine optimization and you suddenly have a very full day.
As we do all of this, we tend to forget there is one extremely effective way to repurpose content and reach new audiences without extra work: Guest blogging.
There are two ways to think about guest blogging. Either you can have influential bloggers in your industry write for you or you can write for high authority sites that will help with your own search engine optimization, new audiences, and even sales.
Seven Guest Blogging Tips
I’m going to focus this on the latter. Therefore, I give you seven tips for guest blogging for others.
- Go to Open Site Explorer and type in the URL for the blog for which you’d like to submit content. I’ll do it for Wood Street because that’s where you are right now. You’ll see the site authority is 48/100. If the authority is 40-70, it’s worth pursuing. If it’s higher than 70, you’ll have a tougher time getting your content on the site, so you’ll need to be extremely patient, but persistent. If it’s between 90 and 100, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get something placed there without the help of a communications professional.
- Think about your topic and carefully consider your keywords. Using the Google Keyword Tool, figure out how your content can compete for search rankings. For instance, my keyword for this blog post is “guest blogging.” When I use the keyword tool, I discover the phrase has only medium competition (good!) and it offers me some alternatives, such as “guest blogging guidelines,” “benefits of guest blogging,” and “guest blogging tips.” You know which one I chose.
- Write your content and include a bio that has your social networks and a link to your Google+ authorship. This tells Google to include your face in the search results.
- Now you’re ready to pitch your content. The very first thing you want to do is connect with the content director or blog author on the social networks. Bloggers receive many pitches throughout the day so it’s easy to delete the ones from the people we don’t know. If you build a relationship with them first, the likelihood of your content getting used increases astronomically.
- Once the content is accepted and you are given a publication date, make sure you have some open time on your calendar to not only share, but to engage with the blog’s community. We require guest bloggers respond to every commenter. If they don’t, we don’t invite them back.
- Run the content on your own site, but make sure you ask how long they like you to wait before you do that. We ask for a month so our readers have plenty of time to read and engage with the guest blogger, but also so the search engines get nice and comfortable with it on our site. When you publish on your own site, make sure you include a sentence – at the start or end – that says, “This blog post first ran on Wood Street” and link to the original piece. That helps the search engines understand it’s repurposed content and not duplicate content that is scraped from robots.
- If the blog’s author or content director doesn’t respond immediately, it’s okay to follow-up, but don’t be pushy or a jerk. Sometimes they are simply just busy and haven’t had a chance to get back to you and others the content doesn’t fit. If it’s the latter, many won’t respond so go ahead and ask if it’s just not a good fit before you offer it to another blog.
If I were to give you the most important tip, it’s number four. Without relationships (just like the early days of my career) it’s harder to get what you want. Be nice to them, offer help, and then pitch your idea.
Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communication firm. She is the lead blogger at PR and marketing blog, Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing In the Round, and co-host of Inside PR, a weekly podcast about communications and social media. Connect with her on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or LinkedIn.