Guest blogging – why it’s so powerful and how to do it right
This week, I asked Rin Hamburgh, founder of copywriting agency Rin Hamburgh & Co, to share her experience of writing and hosting guest blog posts. What are the benefits? How do you decide who to collaborate with? And how do you actually get started?
There is no doubt that blogging is a powerful tool for small business owners. According to Hubspot, businesses that blog get 55% more website visitors than businesses that don’t, while Demand Metrics report that companies that blog produce an average of 67% more leads monthly than companies that don’t. But what about guest blogging?
Guest blogging is where you either write a post for someone else’s website, or ask someone else to write a post for yours. Both can have real benefits for all parties involved – including the readers themselves. The key – as with any marketing channel – is to know what you’re trying to achieve so you can take a strategic rather than a haphazard approach.
Why guest blog for other businesses?
Ok, so you struggle to motivate yourself to get your own blog written – why should you make all that extra effort to write for someone else’s website? Doesn’t that just mean they’ll be benefitting from your hard work? Well yes, hopefully they will benefit – but so will you.
Increase your audience Writing guest posts is a great way to get in front of a whole new audience that you otherwise might not be able to reach.
Highlight your expert status Being asked to write a guest post is a nod to your status as an expert. After all, they wouldn’t have asked if you didn’t know what you were talking about, right?
Generate traffic to your website A guest post should always include a link back to your website, allowing readers to find out more about you and giving your visitor numbers a boost.
Improve SEO with backlinks Even without the click throughs themselves, just having the backlink to your site shows search engines that other businesses consider you to be worthy of a visit.
Why invite others to guest blog for you?
You could also consider having other people write guest posts for your website. Again, you might be worried that this will simply give them a platform without delivering any benefits for you. But that’s simply not the case.
Add value for your audience The number one goal of your business blog should be to add value for your audience. If a guest can help you do that, why wouldn’t you want to take advantage?
Showcase your network Getting an influential name in your industry to agree to guest post for you shows that your site is deemed worthy of that association.
Fill your editorial calendar On the practical side, guest posts can be an excellent way to fill a few slots in your editorial calendar, taking the pressure off you to write quite so many.
Increase your reach and audience Just as with guest blogging for someone else, giving another expert space on your site means you’ll draw new visitors who are interested in reading what they have to say.
Rin and her team
How to choose the right guest blog partner
Of course, all of this is dependent on choosing the right guest blogging partner. Choose the wrong one and at best you’ll be wasting your time – at worst you could actually be damaging your marketing efforts.
Is there a genuine benefit to you? Unfortunately, there are a lot of less than reputable businesses out there trying to make money out of people by buying or selling backlinks. Avoid them at all costs!
Have they got the size of audience you want? If someone only gets a handful of visitors to their site each month, it may not be worth your time and effort to write a post for them.
Is their audience one you want to reach? If you sell handmade jewellery, for example, you wouldn’t want to blog for – or accept a blog from – a local kickboxing coach. The audiences are just too different.
Will they boost rather than harm your reputation? It’s important that the brands you’re associating with share similar values and standards so they don’t end up pulling you down.
Would you be comfortable endorsing them? By agreeing to host someone’s post on your website, you’re telling the world you believe in their expertise, so make sure that’s the case.
Are they suitably linked but not a competitor? You may well be in a broadly similar industry to the person you’re writing for – or who is writing for you – but be sure they aren’t direct competitors.
Giving clients the benefit of her expertise
Getting started with guest blogging
By now you may be convinced that guest blogging is for you, so how do you actually get started? It could be that you’ve already been approached by someone – either to write a post for them, or to host a post by them – in which case, use the tips above to help you decide whether it’s a good fit.
If not, think about people you already know who might be interested in a mutually beneficial exchange. Again, remember the criteria above so that you only approach people whose association will be positive all round.
Once you’ve got someone’s interest, be sure to work out the details. Who will decide the topic? How many words will be required? Will a sales-based call to action be appropriate? When is the deadline for the piece?
By working through all the details in advance, you can be sure to avoid the pitfalls and reap the benefits of guest blogging. Oh, and don’t forget – once the post is live, make sure you share on social media and tag your collaborator, so that you both gain from the increased brand awareness and reputation that guest blogging can bring.