How to Guest Blog in 2021
Having the opportunity to write a guest article for a prestigious website is an exciting honour for any blogger or content writer. But, beyond the personal satisfaction of publishing in new spaces, earning guest articles is essential to a business’s digital marketing strategy.
10 Guest Blogging Tips
- Know your stuff
- Network, network, network!
- Send a personalised email
- Manage expectations
- Create engaging content
- Proofread your work!
- Listen to the editor
- Create unique URLs
- Respond to comments
- Track your success
What is guest blogging?
If a site is unable to internally provide the volume or quality of content their audience demands, they will reach out to others to provide quality content for them.
Guest blogging is the practice of writing articles on a website as a contributor or special guest.
Special guest bloggers usually write about topics that draw on their unique insight in order to produce content that provides extra value to the readers.
Why is guest blogging important?
Regular contributors and guest bloggers help provide content-driven websites with a regular stream of high-quality content.
This helps them stay relevant and authoritative within the media sphere generally and their industry specifically.
For businesses who truly want to optimise their web presence and increase visibility online, guest blogging is an essential part of building up a comprehensive backlink profile of relevant referring domains.
A representation (usually a list) of all the websites currently linking to your website. A strong backlink profile is a vital part of offsite SEO, boosting your website’s authority and visibility.
Guest blogging also helps with brand awareness. Having your business associated with leading industry publications, or featured in national newspapers is a huge step in getting your name out there.
Almost any website you visit, especially in the B2B space, will claim to employ “industry experts”. If you’re able to tap into that expertise and put it down on paper, you demonstrate the calibre of your people and showcase their individual talent.
Link Acquisition vs. Link Building
Today, Google focuses on the quality of links, not just the quantity of them.
“Link building” is an old-hat term often associated with placing links in thousands of places by whatever means necessary. Today, too many bad quality links will reduce your site’s visibility.
Link acquisition is all about building relationships with key contacts in order to get relevant links. This provides valuable traffic in exchange for high-quality content.
High-quality inbound links are vital to SEO.
What are the benefits of guest blogging?
Guest blogging, when executed properly, benefits everyone involved. Websites receive great articles, readers enjoy valuable content and websites enjoy prominent links and valuable traffic.
When it comes to digital marketing, guest blogging is an essential part of what we call link acquisition.
Traffic is the lifeblood of any online business. We know from our years of experience that site traffic contributes to site visibility.
Google is able to recognise a site’s popularity and will start to prioritise that site in the search results. More traffic is a sure sign of site authority.
Today, digital marketing is all about authority and trust. In a world of fake news and personal data abuse, people are much slower to trust brands online.
By contributing to authoritative sites in your industry, you can build up your credibility as an information source in the eyes of your audience.
Most blogs that accept guest posts allow contributors to leave a link to their own site. A brief brand mention or keyword-optimised link is all you need to start seeing the benefits of guest blogging.
As people move from that site to your website, that highly industry relevant traffic tells Google that you have authority, too.
These traffic signals are what some casually refer to as “link juice”. High-quality link juice comes from relevant audiences and relevant subject matter.
In order to get the most out of the link, make sure it’s a “follow” link. Follow links are your bog-standard hyperlinks. They naturally attribute the traffic to the quality of your site. They allow your link juice to count towards your SEO.
If the link is a “no follow” link, Google won’t count it. Normal links are follow links, but if you see the HTML tag: <a href=”https://mrs.digital/blog” rel=”nofollow”>No Link Juice For You!</a>, none of the traffic, and thus link juice, count.
How to create a guest blogging strategy
1. Know your subject matter
You readers care about informative, valuable content and so does Google. So, before you start writing blogs, make sure you know your stuff. Stay in your lane and write about what you know and what is relevant to your business.
2. Research opportunities
Start with what you know. Create a list of industry websites that you use to get news and information. If your company relies on local business, research local publications who are willing to accept a guest blog.
Next, start thinking outside the box. Many businesses, especially in the B2B space, provide services that are relevant in a variety of industries outside your own.
For example, a payroll company would naturally look towards posting guest blogs on HR websites. But all sorts of businesses need payroll services – charities, hotels, retail businesses… the list goes on.
If there’s a market you want to target, consider demonstrating how your expertise can benefit those industries and add their magazine sites to your list.
Use any industry contacts you have. There may be opportunities to collaborate with guest blogs.
Finally, undertake a little competitor research. You can use SEO tools to review the inbound links that your competitors have to see if you can replicate similar success yourself.
Once you have a list of publications, prioritise them by site authority, then by difficulty. Before you invest time in guest blogging, make sure you know what sort of return you’re getting.
The time investment vs. reward equation is essential if you want your guest blogging strategy to be commercially valuable.
4. Reach out
It’s a bad idea to start sending unsolicited articles to people. The subtle tactic is to slide into sight gradually. Comment on a few articles and share the site’s social posts. This way, when you get in touch, you’ll at least be on their radar.
At this point, other blogs would give you a template email message to help with outreach. But, we aren’t going to do that.
Why? Because we don’t do that here.
Personalisation is the key to starting a positive and ongoing relationship with an industry site you want to guest blog for.
Online editors are savvy folks who can spot a cookie-cutter email a mile away. A unique, personalised message will be much more effective at soliciting a response.
Outline your proposal in a concise and clear manner, detailing what’s in it for them and what you want them to do for you. Establish deadlines and make sure you manage their expectations.
5. Write the content
Writing guest blogs is just like writing blogs on your own website. Write valuable content and submit an article that honours what you promised your contact.
As this content isn’t going on your site, don’t worry about keyword targeting or other technical onsite considerations. Just focus on producing a really engaging piece of content.
When you can, weave in a variety of links to other sources into the piece. This help shows the editor that you aren’t being too salesy or single-minded.
Finally, write a bio. This will usually go at the end of the piece and go a long way towards getting your name out there. This is key for your personal and business brand networking.
When it comes to linking to your website, weave it naturally into the copy. Use a relevant keyword in your anchor text to help boost your link juice, but above all, make it natural
6. Track your success
Check your referral traffic in Google Analytics to measure the success of your guest blog. This allows you to attribute links and conversions to your post. This is a great way to demonstrate how well your outreach strategy is performing.
7. Follow up
After all that work, make sure your piece actually goes live and the link is actually there. You don’t want all of this to be for nothing! Check Google Analytics to make sure your tracking is working so you can measure your success.
Take time to check the article and respond to any comments readers have left. This helps strengthen your authority in the community and demonstrates your willingness to engage.
You should also take the time to follow up with the editor and build a relationship that can continue to provide value for them and your business moving forward.
Building a solid backlink profile
Guest blogging is just one part of a business’s digital marketing strategy. Building your backlink profile and domain authority is an essential part of off-site SEO.
Search engines look at a number of external signals to help them understand how your site should be ranked. These include links pointing to your website, social media signals, mentions of your brand and other factors.
Our offsite SEO and outreach expertise allows us to nurture the correct conversation in the places that matter to help Google take notice of what you have to say. So, if you’re struggling to get the word out, speak to us today.