Guest blogging is an easy way to attract new visitors to check out your site. Working with a variety of guest bloggers will secure new readers. The trick is for you to keep them coming back based on the quality of your content.
The main idea behind guest blogging is a win/win: you offer your platform to a guest blogger for them to share their opinions or expertise on a subject in return for access to your audience. By mixing the two crowds, you’re both hoping to attract fans from each community of followers.
The formula offers the obvious mutual benefits, but there’s also a need to be judicious with just who you want to write for you, too.
It’s all about the niche market
Ultimately, the potential blogger’s niche needs to jibe with your niche or this whole thing is all for naught – you can’t go writing about the awesomeness of The Clash on a blog dedicated to the films of Jim Henson. While there is likely some crossover, the whole idea is a little weird and may turn off some readers out of confusion. There’s a lot that goes into this mix.
The first thing you need to consider is the quality of the work. Does your potential blogger carry weight? Do people follow their work? The blogger needs to offer your readers something unique. There’s a lot of content out there, and if yours isn’t worth reading, the visitors will go somewhere else.
When vetting someone to contribute to your blog, you need to think about three areas:
- Is our niche similar?
- Can they bring traffic?
- Do they have a following? Are people visiting their page?
Let’s say you run a blog called, ‘The Joy of Cheese’. Perhaps you get a few requests a month asking if you’d be interested in accepting guest content. Since your blog is all about cheese, you decide on someone who knows her cheddar, obsesses about blue cheese, and can spot an inconsistent provolone from a mile away. The trick here is to get the unique, high-quality traffic, but you also want your new visitors to keep checking the blog out and rely on you as a source of great content that speaks to their interests.
Backlinking, sharing the market, and spreading the word
The backlink is one of the biggest, most crucial pieces to this content puzzle. By linking the two blogs together, it creates the opportunity to share audiences. One important thing to remember for the sake of backlinking is to do the author— and yourself—a favor by not relying on an ambiguous author box.
Instead, opt for a link at the end of the post and give a short bio. Here’s an example: :
“This guest post was written by Elana who blogs at Cheesy but Easy. If you’d like to pitch an article, check out the guest posting guidelines. We’d love to hear your cheese story.”
By doing this, you’re showing your guest blogger that you’re giving them some love too. This also lets other potential writers know you’re open to guest posting and network building. Blogs who only do the author bio box can be ineffective. People reading your blog via RSS feed won’t land on your guest author’s blog because of how the signatures are laid out amongst the content flow.
Make sure you’ve got established rules
If you’re going to allow guest posting, put the guidelines on a page, so interested writers can get all of their information in one place.
This will serve as a landing page, but also give some insight on what mutually beneficial results come from guest posting on your site. If you’re using WordPress, there are a few plugins such as Query Monitor or Easy Query that automate submissions as well as send queries directly to a particular inbox.
One thing to keep in mind about guest posting is that quality always reigns supreme. If you’re just starting your blog, you may feel desperate for content. However, this isn’t a license to be flippant about the quality of the material. It’s an opportunity to build community by offering constructive feedback to the writers that don’t work for your brand. Give some pointers on what you want to see or maybe point the author back to the guidelines. By taking the high road and commenting back, while offering guidance, you’re showing that you respect their work. Writers are so used to rejection that any olive branch of collaboration is appreciated.
Be the best blog out there so the content keep coming
If you’ve monetized your blog, there’s always an added incentive for guest authors to work harder by promoting their blog. If you allow a guest author to add their AdSense codes to their posts, they’re bought into the success of the piece.
Between backlinking, audience and earned money through clicks, the mix should be enough to draw thought leaders or just folks who’ve got something to say to your blog.
Another option is paying thought leaders for contributed content to your blog, as well. Because certain thought leaders carry a gravitas that gets a lot hits, they’ll want compensation for their words. Fees for content vary greatly on how the writer is, but because you own the content, you’re free to use it as you see fit.
Instead of just one post, you can repurpose the content across multiple posts for “evergreen” usage. Evergreen content is means the content remains usable because of the long term value presented.
If you get a solid piece from a thought leader with serious firepower in terms of their content clickability, there’s no reason why you can’t turn a big op/ed essay into a broken down top five list or at least a collection of pro tips.
And there you have it. Guest blogging could be a great asset to your brand identity as well as bring in a lot of new traffic. If you’ve got some tips on guest blogging we’d love to hear your experiences. Send us a tweet or leave a comment!