By Saari Gardner
Content marketing can be a highly effective way to build awareness for your brand. You may already be updating your small business blog, but did you know that you can also expand your reach by contributing articles to other blogs?
Guest blogging on websites that cater to your target audience offers several benefits:
• Increase exposure to your brand.
• Lets you link back to your company website (usually through an author’s bio) which can help your search engine ranking.
• Builds your reputation as an expert in your field.
• Introduces you to industry leaders and influencers.
• Helps you increase your company’s social media following.
Tips for Creating and Implementing a Guest Blogging Strategy
To make the most of the time and effort you devote to guest blogging, it is necessary to have a well thought out strategy that considers best practices. SCORE has compiled a set of key considerations as you begin submitting guest posts to other websites.
Start by identifying a list of credible websites that appeal to your target customers and accept guest posts.
Be aware that not all sites will publish content from external sources. Also, realize that very popular sites may be hesitant to accept posts from people other than established guest bloggers. Don’t get discouraged. There are plenty of outlets hungry for fresh content, so prioritize those to the top of your list.
Research the type of content your prospective blog outlets publish and if they have guest blogging guidelines posted
Before contacting blog editors, continue your research by reviewing existing content on their websites and looking to see if they have posted guidelines for contributors. If you don’t believe you’ll be able to meet their guidelines, move down your list. Also use this review and research time to evaluate if the prospective outlet is compatible with your brand values. By becoming a contributor, you will be aligning yourself and your business with that site and you should understand how that impacts your brand image.
Brainstorm topics and write abstracts for potential blog posts.
Consider what your learned about the content that your desired guest blog outlets publish and then craft topic ideas that they will review as original and relevant. One helpful approach is to write brief abstracts consisting of a few sentences that provide an overview of what you would include in the posts.
Send an informative, personalized and succinct inquiry by email to the blogs you are interested in contributing.
For the best results, seek out the individual contact information for the editor of each blog outlet. As you are reaching out, start by sharing what you find compelling about the blog. Consider mentioning a particular article that grabbed your attention and what made it helpful or fascinating. Then explain your interest in writing a guest blog and why you believe you will make a valuable guest contributor.
In your appeal to the editor, offer a few topic suggestions along with the abstracts you wrote. Avoid the temptation to offer the same ideas to multiple blog editors. Editors want original content, not articles that were already published elsewhere. For that reason, you may want to contact each blog editor one at a time. If one editor turns you down on a topic, then you are free to propose it to another publisher.
Deliver on what you promised.
If you receive approval to submit an article, follow through on what you said you would deliver. Submit fresh content of high quality on the topic you suggested and with the focus you explained in your abstract. Be sure you abide by any editorial guidelines the editor told you to follow, and consider asking a trusted mentor, colleague, friend or customer to review your submission.
Your guest post was accepted and published. Now what?
Congratulations! Promote your article and the blog in which it was published by sharing the link on social media, your e-mail marketing newsletters and other media. You want your customers and prospects to see where you have appeared, and the more traffic you can direct to the blog, the better you will position yourself for future collaboration with the website that accepted your post.
Your guest blog was declined. Now what?
It happens that editors reject articles. In some cases, an editor may request revisions and then publish your post. In other circumstances, an editor may flat out say it’s a no-go. Take the news gracefully and politely, and embrace the opportunity to get feedback on why they did not feel it was a good fit. Then determine if you might be able to use the article for a different blog. Before doing so, make sure you adapt it to the alternative blog’s target audience, style and editorial rules.
Where to Turn for Help
Blogging is only one component of marketing and it needs to be part of a larger strategy of building your business. To get more guidelines, consider contacting Charlotte SCORE. SCORE mentors have experience in marketing, finance, operations, sales, customer service and much more.
Contact Charlotte SCORE by calling 704-344-6576 or visiting www.charlotte.score.org.
Saari Gardner, of Waxhaw, joined Charlotte SCORE in 2017. She has 13 years of professional experience with a focus on CEM/CX (Customer Experience Management/Customer Experience) and works full time as the client experience director for a large accounting and advisory firm with headquarters in Charlotte.