Experienced bloggers know that there is more to blogging than just churning out posts. Blogging is a social occupation, one in which success is determined by the size of your network – but how do you grow that network?
There are a handful of tactics that the best bloggers employ to increase the size of their readership: SEO campaigns, keyword selection and placement, high-quality content generation. But one of the most important and effective networking tool, the one that helps the most in getting new followers, is by developing a presence in the blogosphere that extends beyond your own blog.
Commenting on and following other blogs is an important part of this, but aren’t enough by themselves. To really get your name out there, you have to write guest posts.
Guest post writing is an art just like blogging for yourself. Great guest posts will get the most hits, and will therefore generate the most traffic; if you want to expand your online presence by writing great guest posts, you should first study the elements of guest posting.
Think of these three elements as a blueprint for great guest posts:
1. Do The Research
Research is a two part process: First you have to research the blog you are writing for, to get an understanding of that blog’s style and content, as well as its target audience and niche. While blogs don’t want to seem entirely homogenous, they do want to be unified and consistent, so you want to be sure that your post fits in. If it doesn’t, it probably will be rejected.
Sometimes this may require you to read some of the blog posts that have been posted historically and within the same category or topic area. You may even want to review previous guest posts to see how they’ve “pulled it off” as well. Learning from those that came before you is a good strategy and tactic.
Second, you have to research your chosen topic. Unless you are already an expert (which wouldn’t be a bad thing) you will probably have to conduct some research while writing your guest post. You want your post to be practical and authoritative, so that the webmaster trusts your content, and so that, when readers come across your guest post, they will want to see more of your work.
It doesn’t have to be completely comprehensive but it does have to be authentic, real, and very practical and helpful. People don’t have time to waste and they come to that blog to read the blogger’s thoughts – if they suddenly see someone else’s writing it better be darn good to keep their attention! Earn the right to be listened to by good research.
2. Follow The Rules
Before you write one sentence of your guest post, contact the webmaster of the blog and either ask if he or she wants a specific article, or pitch an idea that fits with the theme of the blog.
This is important because even if you write a great post, if it isn’t relevant, or if a similar post has just been written or submitted, yours will probably be rejected. Approval of guest posts is at the discretion of the blog owner, so try to develop a relationship before submitting.
In other words, make sure you follow their guidelines – there’s no point in wasting their time and they’ll probably reject you right out of the gate if you don’t follow their rules. It’s their blog, remember?
3. Write The Best Post You’ve Ever Written
This should go without saying, but when you’re submitting a post to someone else’s blog, it better be the best thing you’ve ever written. Even better than posts on your own blog.
Why? Because any imperfections or mistakes in a post will be put under a magnifying glass and exaggerated on someone else’s blog. The ultimate goal is to bring readers back to your blog, so you want to make the best impression possible.
A great title, great body content, great styling of the body content, images and associated media – all of these things should be included. In addition, make sure the content is formatted in a way that doesn’t require the blogger to massively edit or waste time with formatting; make their life as easy as possible and you’ll win in the end.
Guest posting isn’t the key to a successful blog, but will get you involved in the blogosphere and on your way to a wide, dedicated following.
This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey, who regularly writes for accredited online colleges.