When you think about organic advertising, SEO probably comes to mind. But what if I told you there’s another way to organically increase your online presence?
You’ve most likely heard of guest posting.
Guest posting is when you contribute an article to another blog. It’s free and helps both parties increase their online presence.
In this post, we’ll focus on why you should guest post and how to execute a guest post strategy.
Let’s get started.
How Can You Increase Your Online Presence With Guest Posts?
60% of blogs write up to 5 guest posts per month. Keep in mind that there are over 600 million blogs online. Over half of them write at least 1 guest post per month.
There must be something to this.
Before we discuss how guest posting can increase your online presence, let’s go over why professionals guest post.
- To increase their blog traffic
- To increase their service/product sales
When you improve your blog traffic and/or product sales, your online presence will grow too.
Guest posting makes this happen in 3 different ways.
1. Brand Awareness
You can think of guest posting as a form of public relations. Public relations helps build your personal brand – it gets others to know about you.
Think about it: If nobody knows about your business, how will it grow?
Guest posting is another way to communicate your thought leadership and expertise to a large audience of online readers. When authoritative blogs publish your work, your brand can develop organically. More readers will be interested in your business.
This is especially helpful in the beginning stages of your website marketing process.
Insightful blog posts are informative and educational. They teach readers something new, why it’s important, and how to do it.
On that note, you can build your credibility with guest posting. Your knowledge is seen by potential customers and subscribers.
If a reader finds your article helpful, they might subscribe to your blog or look into your services to learn more.
Most blogs allow 1 backlink to one of your articles. In theory, this can improve your SEO and increase your subscribers, over time.
SEO, in general, isn’t an overnight solution. The backlinks will take some time to show results.
While the backlink to your blog may need time to gain traction, the backlink to your website won’t.
Your bio and link to your website will be attached at the bottom of your guest post. It’s an easy way for readers to go directly to your site.
These three ways contribute to increasing your online presence. A bigger online presence means your audience has a higher chance of finding your website.
7 Steps to Increase Your Online Presence With Guest Posts
The following 7 steps will help you create, organise, and execute your guest post strategy. You can change your guest post strategy to fit your personal goals once you’ve learned the ropes.
Ready to increase your online presence? Let’s go.
Table of Contents
- List Your Goals
- Build a Guest Post List
- Think Of a Topic
- Pitch Your Idea (And Get Accepted)
- Write the Guest Post
- Share Your Work
- Analyze the Results
1. List Your Goals
Every new business strategy needs a set of goals. When you know why you’re doing something, you’re more likely to finish it.
Use the traditional, “who, what when…” questions to form your goals.
- What do I want out of guest posting?
- Why will this help my business?
- How many guest posts do I need to reach my goal?
- When will I make time to guest post?
These questions give you a better idea of why you’re guest posting and how you can fit this strategy into your schedule.
Here’s an example of how these questions can form your goals.
On another note, take your client’s work and other business to-dos into consideration when you make your goals. Guest posting is important, but it shouldn’t get in the way of other important work.
2. Build a Guest Post List
Consider these 3 areas when you build your guest post list –
If you’re an inbound marketer, search for inbound marketing websites. You can also guest post on sites within your industry.
For example, inbound marketing and content marketing use similar tactics. You could also share your insight on content marketing blogs.
Consider your position within your business. If one of your services is copywriting, you could contribute to a copywriting blog.
You can also share your experience as a marketer and write thought leadership articles for your fellow professionals.
You’ll reach a bigger audience if you write in different areas of your career.
If you want to increase your online presence, your guest posts have to be seen.
Aim for websites with a high domain authority (DA). A domain authority predicts how well a website will rank on Google.
Aim for websites with a DA of 30 or higher. The higher the authority, the better.
Once you’ve found a list of websites, organise them onto a spreadsheet. List the name of each website, your topic ideas, and the dates you pitch.
This is what your spreadsheet would look like if you contributed to Learn Inbound.
A spreadsheet will keep you organised and in line with your pitches. Once you create your list, pick a website, and begin your guest post journey.
3. Think of a Topic
Most blogs have a set of guest post guidelines. Read these thoroughly before you choose a topic. If you don’t adhere to their guidelines, your article won’t be accepted.
I also recommend reading through their blog posts. Take note of what type of topics they accept and who their audience is.
If you really want to nail your topic idea, subscribe to their blog ahead of time. This helps you get a true feel of their overall voice. Plus, it helps you write a compelling pitch.
So, before you think of a topic, make sure to:
- Go over their guidelines (Editor note: Learn Inbound’s guest post guidelines)
- Read their work
- Subscribe to their blog (optional, but I recommend it)
As you brainstorm topic ideas, ask yourself the following questions:
- How can I connect my expertise to my blog post idea?
- What does their audience need to hear?
- Has this topic been written about? If so, is there another angle I can write it from?
- How will this post give value to their blog?
A successful guest post strategy is quality, not quantity.
With that said, don’t focus on writing as many guest posts as you can for low DA sites. Focus on writing educational blog posts for authoritative websites.
This will save both you and the guest post site’s time.
4. Pitch Your Idea (And Get Accepted)
This step is usually the hardest part about guest posting. You might be worried about being rejected or not hearing back at all.
Here’s a secret – pitching isn’t about you, it’s about them. Write your pitch in a way that always leads back to their editor and/or audience.
For example, when you explain your topic, tell them why their audience will find it useful. Convince them that your guest post will increase their blog’s value.
On that note, here are 5 elements your pitch should have.
Try to keep your pitch as concise as possible. Editors receive pitches all day and don’t have time to read a long email.
Tell them your name, what you do, and how you found their site.
Why you think their blog is interesting
Let the editor know why you like their blog. If you have one, include your favourite blog post of theirs and explain why.
The guest post guidelines usually tell you if you need to provide an outline along with your topic and/or headline (some websites only accept complete articles).
While outlines aren’t always necessary, they define your topic idea. Plus, they help the editor see your thought process.
To be on the safe side, I always include a headline, topic idea, and outline with every pitch.
Why your topic provides value
Try to be as genuine as possible during this step. Don’t use a generic reason. Consider their audience and why they need to read your blog post.
Thank the editor for their time and let them know how much you’re looking forward to contributing your work. This can be short and sweet.
This is a standard pitch, but some guidelines will ask for something specific, like your portfolio. Reread their requirements and include anything else they ask for.
Most editors will get back to you within the week. If not, you can follow up and ask if there’s something you can do to help further the process.
5. Write the Guest Post
Write your guest post how you’d write for your own blog. Catch your reader’s attention and educate them on something they’ve never learned before.
I recommend reading the guest post guidelines again before you write your post. Some are particular about style. If your writing doesn’t meet those standards, they may not accept it.
On that note, be open to revisions. It’s normal to edit your work 1 or 2 times before they officially accept it.
If you can check off the following steps, you’ll raise your chances of being accepted.
- Read over the guidelines
- Write your guest post to their standards
- Include a link to a blog post (if it’s allowed)
- Include an internal link to one of their posts (this helps their SEO)
- Edit your work
- Attach your bio and headshot to your post
- Revise if requested
6. Share Your Work
Guest post sites want to increase their online presence too. You’ll probably be asked to share your article across your social media channels.
When you share your post, tag the guest post website. If the editor is active on social media, I’ll tag them as well.
Along with sharing your post, you should also engage with it.
Respond to any comments your post receives. Like, retweet, and respond to users who share your work on social media.
Sharing your guest post is an important factor to increase your online presence. Plus, it encourages other readers to read and engage with your post.
7. Analyse the Results
It’s been a couple of months, and you’ve written at least five guest posts. You’ve contributed to authoritative sites and sent in your best work.
How has it affected your online presence?
There’s only one way to find out – analyse your results.
These metrics will help you gather useful data about your guest posts:
- Amount of referral traffic
- Amount of new website visitors
- Amount of new blog subscribers
- Amount of social shares
- Amount of comments
These metrics give you a better idea of what your guest posts are actually doing.
Let’s say the number of blog subscribers increased after your post went live. You can infer that your guest post backlinks were effective.
Or, maybe you received a handful of connections on LinkedIn. You can deduce that your guest post improved your brand awareness.
Analyse the negatives along with the positives. What websites didn’t help you reach your goals, and why? Use this information to make changes to your guest post list.
Your metrics will help you improve your guest post strategy for the next time around.
As you guest post, you’ll find different ways to improve your strategy and increase your online presence. Moreover, there are three things you should always keep in mind during the process:
It doesn’t happen overnight
Any content strategy will take some time before you see results. You can make the best of your time and analyse the metrics from step 7.
You’ll see results if you put in the work
Poor planning and mediocre content won’t get you very far. Plan ahead, pay attention to the guidelines and write what their audience cares about.
Focus on the editor
In the end, the editor will decide if your article is worth posting.
Focus on their guest post rules and who their readers are. Do this before, during, and after your post is accepted.
Do this, and you’ll increase your online presence in no time.