One of the single most effective strategies you can use to increase traffic to your blog is guest posting. Guest posts are articles written by you, but published on another blog. Guest posting is a win/win scenario. For the the blog owner, he/she gets a free article and at the same time provides their readers with some variety. For the guest author, he/she gets exposure, hopefully some traffic and most importantly: links.
I'm not sure exactly why, but many new bloggers are scared to death to write another blogger and ask for a guest post opportunity. Don't be scared! Sure, you might get a few rejections, but you'll get more bloggers saying "sure send me something" than you will rejections. I seldom ever turn down a guest post.
Here's how to get started guest posting:
Find other blogs to post on
The first thing you really need to do is find a few blogs you would like to publish guest posts on. I would suggest for your first few guest posts, you target medium sized blogs. Large blogs are a little more particular and often have a long waiting period before guest posts are published due to the number of guest posts they receive. Small sized blogs get very little traffic. Medium sized blogs are just right: they get a decent amount of traffic and have a small queue for guest posts.
One of the biggest mistakes poeple make is only targeted blogs with similar topics as their own. This is fine, but don't limit yourself. I would encourage you to target blogs in other niches as well as this will expand your visibility and draw in new readers that might not normally find your blog. You'll see what I mean in the next section.
You can get traffic and size information about your target blogs by using sites like Alexa and Compete. I would suggest selecting 5 or so blogs initially. If you know a few bloggers or have established a relationship with them, I would suggest including their blogs as well. Having a relationship with them will really help.
Next, you'll need to come up with 3 different article ideas for each blog. Here's the trick: the article should be from your blogs niche, but relate to the target blogs niche. Huh? Let me give an example. Here on Side Income Blogging, I write about blogging and how to earn a side income. Personal Finance blogs might be a good topic area for me to target and a good article might be "10 ways to earn a side income on the internet". This article would utilize my authority on blogging and earning side income and appeal to those that read personal finance blogs due to the ability to earn extra money. This of course is just one example, but hopefully it helps you see how you can connect with other blogs outside of your topic area.
So brainstorm 3 article ideas for each blog. I would suggest coming up with an article title and a few sentences describing what the article will include. For example:
Title: 10 ways to earn a side income on the internet
Summary: The article will share 10 ways your readers can earn extra income through the internet including: blogging, running niche stores, adwords, eBay and others. I'll specifically share personal tips and strategies with each one that helped me.
Some of you might be a little surprised I didn't have you write the complete article. I've found that this can be a waste of time. Better to contact the blog owners with ideas first. Often they'll put a different spin on your suggestion or propose a completely different idea. Just sharing your ideas vs complete articles keeps you from possibly wasting your time writing a whole article that isn't wanted.
Contact the blogs
Now that you have your article ideas, it's time to contact the authors. Visit each of the target blogs and use the blogs contact form to contact the owner. In the content section, you should introduce yourself and your blog. Express your interest in guest posting on their blog and share your article ideas. Pay particular attention to your spelling and grammar. Your initial contact with them will be their first exposure to your writing, so make it correct.
Another tip: keep the initial contact brief. Remember, most bloggers, especially the larger ones are busy and often have a great deal of email to sift through. Less is more. If they open your email and it's big, they may just delete it.
Here is an example of how I might contact Ryan @ Cash Money Life using my article idea above:
Hi Ryan, my name is Larry Deane and I write about earning a side income blogging at Side Income Blogging (http://sideincomeblogging.com). I've been blogging and earning a side income for about 5 years now. I am interested in publishing a guest article on your blog Cash Money Life. Are you accepting guest posts? If so, I have a few article ideas I would like to propose for your consideration:
<< list article titles and summary>>
Of course these are just suggestions and I would certainly be willing to write on other topics you might have in mind as well. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you.
Note a few key things about my contact:
- I introduce myself and provide my name and address of my blog
- I mention how long I've been blogging and that I've done what I write about. This provides credibility and authority. This is important. You need to make the blog owner aware of what makes you the expert. Nothing worse than publishing a guest post on your blog from someone that really has no clue what they're talking about.
- I ask if they are accepting guest posts: don't assume.
- I list my article ideas and make it clear that I'm open to other topics as well.
Writing your guest article
Assuming you received a positive response back from one or more of your target blogs, it's time to get writing. First make sure you know what format the target blogger wants your guest article in. Some prefer Word, others plain text and others raw HTML. Provide your article in their preferred format.
Guest articles for the most part are really no different than articles on your blog, with the exception of a few things:
- Either before or after your article, include a short introduction. Something like: This is a guest post by Larry Deane who blogs about earning a side income at Side Income Blogging. Note that I included a link to my blog - make sure you do this - this is where part of your traffic will come from.
- Article size should be at least 500 words and probably no more than 1000. Average target size for me is around 750.
- Include links back to articles on your blog. Include no more than 2 or 3 links and try to link to your very best content. Remember, your trying to attract new readers, so you want to point them to your pillar content.
That's it. After your guest article is written proof it, then proof it again and then have someone else proof it. The point is, make sure your grammar and spelling is perfect. One sure fire way to not get your guest post published is to make the target blogger have to correct your article.
Does your target blog use images with their posts? If so, pay attention to the size and style they use. Find an image for your article that matches the target blogs style and size. Make sure you include this image with your guest post. It's a nice touch that will save the target blogger some time.
When your guest post is published
On the day when your guest post is published, I would suggest doing a few things:
- Promote the heck out of it. Link to it on twitter and Facebook, tell your friends about it, see if you can get some blogging friends to promote it and link to it as well.
- Write a post on your blog welcoming visitors from the target blog. In that welcome post, suggest that visitors subscribe to your blog and/or mailing list. Also provide links to more of your favoriate articles for them to visit and read.
- Send a note to the target blogs owner thanking them for publishing the guest post. Saying thanks goes a long way.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
What next? Repeat this process. An aggressive guest posting strategy can really inject some rapid growth into your blog. I would suggest targeting 1-2 guest posts a week across all types of topic areas and niches. Once your successful at medium sized blogs, up the game and start proposing guest articles for larger blogs.
I challenge you to get one guest post opportunity this week! Let me know how you do.
If you have questions or want to share a guest posting success you've had, add a comment or contact me personally. I'd love to help out and hear about your success!
Photo by: ScottieT812