Why guest blogging is still a useful marketing tool

When it comes to your content marketing strategy, you should use every reliable tactic available to connect with potential customers. If you’re new to the game, it may take a while for you to see the kind of traffic that excites you just by blogging on a regular basis.

One strategy that can put you in front of the right audience is guest blogging, which simply means writing content for other established blogs. The benefit is you have access to an audience you might not otherwise have connected with. By showing your expertise, you invite readers to learn more about your company.

It’s important to remember that the purpose of guest blogging is to gain exposure, brand recognition, increased reach, and community, but to be viewed as an SEO strategy. Links should never be built or bought, but should always be earned. Follow these steps to start earning links with guest blogging:

Finding the right blogs

Now, understand that guest blogging as a marketing strategy only works if you choose the right blogs. You have to start with criteria of some sort. Naturally, you want the blogs you write for to attract your target demographic. For example, if you sell organic pet food, it probably won’t be beneficial to contribute to a travel blog.

Also consider the following factors:

  • Traffic the blog gets
  • How regularly content is posted there
  • The amount of engagement on the blog through comments

Ultimately, you want your guest posts to be on sites that are heavily trafficked, that regularly publish new content, and that attract an engaged audience.

You can use a tool like Alexa to assess a website’s popularity. Each website is given a ranking in terms of where it stands related to all the other blogs in the US. Start your research by looking for blogs in the top million, then move up from there.

Selling yourself as a guest contributor

After you find the blogs you feel you can write for, it’s time to convince the blog owners that you’re worthy of contributing content. They get a lot of guest post inquiries, so yours has to stand out.

Start by reading the blog. Become familiar with what types of content are popular, and check to see if a guest blog post policy is listed anywhere on the blog. Brainstorm what you’d like to write about (this should be in your realm of expertise, and related to your brand).

Send an email to the blog owner introducing yourself. The more customized you make that letter, the better. Keep it short, and provide about three bullet points with topic suggestions so the blog owner can pick which idea he or she likes.

Hopefully, the owner will respond quickly and you can get started. If not, follow up a week later to see if he or she is interested. If you don’t get a response, move on down your list.

Writing a killer guest blog post

Once you’ve been given the green light to write, make your post informative and easy to read. That means using subheaders and lists to break up the content.

It’s good etiquette to, within the content, link to a post or two on the blog to which you’re contributing. Typically you’ll be allowed to mention your brand in your bio only, so make sure your post isn’t a big commercial for your company.

After it’s published

Once your post goes live, be supportive and share it through your social channels. The more you share it, the more that blog will get traffic, so the blog owner will be happy if you work to spread it around.

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a content marketing and social media firm. She’s written three business books, and blogs about small business on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.