5 Useful Steps for Guest Posting Success

5 Useful Steps for Guest Posting Success

Step One: Building your Profile

Becoming a guest blogger is like life:  You can do it in a hit-and-miss fashion and reap minimal results… or you can approach it intelligently, researching your subject and taking the time to acquire the tools, building efficient habits.  The hit-and-miss method is rather like planning to get rich by winning the lottery:  Your odds of success are one in a million, and the returns you do get will be comparatively small.

Recognizing that guest blogging is an art and a skill, and approaching it armed with knowledge and an action plan will automatically vault you into the top segment of guest bloggers.

How Do You Get Guest Blogging Gigs?

If you’ve never done it before, it can be a little scary to contact established blogs, but you need to proactively go out there and start asking.  If the idea of approaching others and begging for guest blogging spots makes you feel nervous, try this simple exercise.  Indulge for a few moments in practicing true empathy and imagine how you would feel if someone bright, professional and competent offered to give you a break by writing your blog post next Tuesday?

Wouldn’t it feel like a tiny vacation?  A small but always-present load lifted off your shoulder?  What makes you think you’re the only person online who says to themselves:  “I really don’t want to write tomorrow’s blog post….”  How would you feel, if someone took even one of those daily posts you have to write for your blog off your back?  Wouldn’t it feel like blissful relief?

You can also check into some guest posting websites.  This sites are just starting to pop-up now, they allow for websites owners and guest posters to connect.

Resource Sites:

Guest Post Articles – http://www.guestpostarticles.com/

This site is new and growing, I had a chance to chat with Scott Fox, the owner of the site, here is what he had to say:

“Bloggers want to find good guest posts, and writers and marketers want to guest post their articles on good blogs.  The idea behind GuestPostArticles.com is to make it easier for both sides of that common online marketing equation to connect.”  Scott Fox

I agree with Scott having sites like this makes it really easy to break into guest posting with very little pressure.  You can look for posts that fit you and your niche or passion.  You can start writing where you feel the most confident and comfortable.

Step Two:  Building your Reputation

Your technique and system needs to be streamlined, consistent and efficient in order to make the most of every opportunity – both to benefit your host and your own reputation.

You’ll quickly gain a reputation as guest blogger par excellence if you are:

  • Reliable
  • Consistent
  • Professional

These habits aren’t the result of superior blogging skills – they’re the result of planning and strategy.  Get into the habit of following a “checklist” or action plan, and you won’t miss opportunities to benefit the readers, the host – or yourself

 Why You Should Use a Blogging Plan

There’s no point writing a fantastic post only to miss six simple ways to point people back to your sites (thus boosting your web presence and authority).

Do your research:  When you find a blog that seems a likely candidate, pay attention to whether or not they:

  •  Give their guest posters bylines, bios or resource boxes
  • Allow their guest posters a link back to their blog
  • Allow do-follow links

And remember – your job is not over and done with when the post is published.  That’s when you should be kicking into high gear, cross-promoting it on Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, your mastermind groups and forums, and other social networks you belong to.

Follow up like a Pro

Another important trait all great guest bloggers share:  They realize their job is only beginning when the blog post is finally published.

Not only do they promote the post, they answer comments on their guest post.  Many blog owners will simply give you your own log-in and password to their blog, and expect you to upload your post when ready – fully proofed and checked – yourself.  You’ll be able to log in that way also, to answer commenters on your post.

Power Blogger Secrets

“Where can I come up with material?”

You may be secretly thinking this.  You know how hard it is to come up with original posts. Your host is relying on you for unique, original content.

So where do you find ideas?  How does someone like Darren Rowse of Problogger find really valuable topics to write about, day after day after day?

Well, you can bet he plans ahead.  And you can bet he looks for tasty morsels everywhere, whether he’s on the blogging clock or not.

Events trigger ideas.  People trigger ideas.  Even Tweets trigger ideas.

A great example of someone who has developed a journalistic mindset is Jim Qwilleran, fictional hero of Lillian Jackson Braun’s “The Cat Who” murder mystery novels.  The hero is an aging newsman, with a background consisting of years of having to come up with snappy material within absurdly hectic deadlines.  Even though he’s retired and writes a laid-back column for the local paper, just for fun, he looks at everyone he meets as a potential story.  And usually it’s the smallest incidents or inconsistencies that make the hairs on his luxuriant moustache quiver, alerting him to juicy story fodder.

You see, your guest posts have to be not just professional and competent, but juicy too.  They should be a treat for both your host and his readers. Reading your guest post should feel like a really satisfying way to spend their valuable time.

Good Guest Blogging Habits

One exercise you can always do:  Make a list of the type of things you can blog about for your niche.

To get your ideas flowing, here are some generic suggestions:

  • Genuinely valuable, unique information that hasn’t been shared before
  • “How to” tutorials – especially if you can show a simpler and easier method than the experts
  • Bolstering your host’s weaknesses to make her appear strong
  • Sheer entertainment or humor, if that’s in the blog’s subculture
  • Current events related to the host blog’s main topic
  • Hot-off-the-press updates in your industry
  • Seasonal themes

Scheduling your Guest Posts

 Don’t fire off an offer to guest blog at every good blog you come across.  Instead, plan to select and approach only so many blogs per week. If you research twelve likely blogs in one morning, slot them into your blogging calendar spread out over the number of weeks it needs to take to fit them into your plan. Decide on the number of guest posts you’d like to write per week before you ever begin your search.  Even one guest post per week is a wonderful tool, if you are consistent and regular about that goal. One guest post per week is a far better reputation builder than twenty posts all at once, followed by six months of silence.

Step Three: How to Write Powerful Posts

Powerful posts hook people into a conversation; plunge them into dilemmas; arouse their sympathies and emotions. They put you in the middle of the action; carry you away from the world; make you think.  They trigger change, provide blinding revelations, make people laugh and feel good again. Powerful posts make people angry, destroy schedules and divert people from their purpose.

In short, powerful posts engage the reader.  Reading them becomes an instant priority.  They’re irresistible.

Powerful Post Structure

A lot of the above can be created through your writing methods.  You don’t have to be brilliant.  You don’t have to have a degree in literature or journalism. You just have to observe the rules of putting together a great post. You need:

  1. A short, punchy headline that is irresistible.
  2. A first sentence that “hooks” the reader
  3. A great resource box or bio, no more than two lines, tops
  4. Professional caliber, original photos
  5. A Thumbnail photo of you, resized ready to fit their specs
    (most blogs use Gravatar so ensure you are set up)
  6. Breaks in the text.  Short paragraphs, numbered lists, bullet points and subheads all help people to read posts quickly and easily.

Remember that online readers scan first – until they find something that “grabs” their attention. Photos aren’t always necessary – but many blog owners love it when you provide quality photos they can use to enhance your article. Pay attention also to posts that get the most comments.  Whether they’re positive or negative, a high degree of interaction and activity is a sign you’re doing something right!

Is it really Worth it?

Investing the time in guest blogging will become ridiculously easy, if you follow a structure.  It will soon become second nature and you’ll find yourself excited about ideas that will suit your favorite blogs everywhere. If you’re not naturally a writer, it may be that your guest blogging is minimal, confined to subjects you’re so passionate about you can’t resist contributing. But remember – anyone can write a “How to”, if they follow a structure.  Mimic the blog you’re writing for, and you can’t go wrong.  And anyone can proof-read carefully.  And stick to a deadline, keeping their commitment.

If you know someone others need to, and you can share it, you’ll be welcomed with open arms in that niche. Remember – even one guest post a week consistently (spread across many blogs or a favored few) can add up to an awful lot of respect and authority as the months tick by.

Step Five:  Personalizing your Strategy

Now it’s time for you to think about your own guest blogging strategy.

What are your goals; to gain web visibility or expert status?  Simply to share knowledge that will help people in your niche?  Boost your reputation?  Build up your network?  Find Joint Venture partners?  Who are you writing for?  Are you focusing on blogs strictly within that specific niche?  Will you aim for the top, or start out with more modest blogs that are perhaps more in line with yours?

How Much Time Are You Going to Commit?

How are you planning to handle your guest blogging activities?  Will you dedicate one day a week?  One post a week?  Develop a policy of never turning anyone down?  Be very choosy, and focus on only a few blogs? ….

How Will You Know Guest Blogging is Worth the Effort?

It would be irresponsible to consider this strategy without also considering the return on the time you’re investing.  What would “success” look like to you?  Would it be making new friends?  Getting loads of comments?  Becoming one of the “in” crowd?  Being approached by an industry figure you respect as a potential Joint Venture partner?

Guest blogging can help build your self-discipline, build your confidence as a writer and open doors you may not yet dream about

Combining simple, solid structure – your plan – with great opportunities can help cement your reputation in a very enjoyable way.

Here’s to finding your perfect guest-blogging strategy!

Photo Credit: William Hook via Compfight cc

Lori Lynn Smith is a passionate and an authentic teacher who shares her real life experiences about creating a more nurturing and fulfilling lifestyle.

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi Lori, great post and very helpful!

    When you said “useful steps” I think you understated your case. You’ve offered an excellent blueprint and some key points for anyone who hopes to improve their reach with Guest Posting.

    It’s certainly not as simple as posting humorous pictures on Facebook, or buying keyword ads via Google’s program. It takes a commitment of time and talent, and a cupful of self-confidence.

    You’ve made a good case for spending the time and effort on this pursuit. Thanks very much for the tips. I learned a few things along the way, and will put your advice to good use in the future, I hope!

    ~Jim
    Jim Bessey | SoWriteUs´s last blog post ..Dawn Hawkins wins our “Best Opening Paragraph” contest!

  2. says

    I don’t think these steps are useful – I think they’re a requirement. With how popular this marketing technique has become, for it to be useful, you’ve got to go for excellence. I look at folks like Bobbi & Gary and see excellence. I look at lots of others and see lack of strategy, poor writing, etc… They’re probably not getting much out of their time, which is why it seems like they stop. If that describes you – follow these steps!

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