Guest Blogging Works
Why Guest Blog?
If you are an aspiring writer, and since you are reading this article you probably are, you may not yet have realized how difficult it is to make a name for yourself as a writer. Of course you can write. The question is will anybody read what you have to say?
Before you start writing anything, it might be useful to examine why you are writing in the first place. Who are you writing for? It is sort of like writing a business plan for your writing business, but that is a story for another day. Here, we are simply looking at how guest blogging can help you establish yourself as an expert, an authority in your chosen field.
As a writer, you will have a lot of competition. Writing is one of those fields where many get started, some do well enough to eke out a living, only a few become rich and famous. The vast majority never make it past the hobby level. Which category will you be in?
Begin with identifying your passion and find a unique way to present it that no one else has done before. Do it in a way that will appeal to the masses. Is Dr. Phil an expert in psychology? Probably not, but he is an authority, because people tune in to his show every week and buy millions of his books. Is Robert Kiyosaki, author of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" an expert in personal finance? It really is a mediocre book with questionable wisdom, but millions of copies have been sold. You can too.
Establishing yourself as a writer is a lot like starting a business. This book has a lot of tips how to do that. Blogging is not the end, but the means.
Start a Blog
Blog writing is by far the easiest way to get your content in front of other people.
Convincing a publisher to publish your first novel may be possible, but you would have to have some really good arguments for that to happen and you would probably spend a good deal of your time promoting it anyway. Paying someone to publish it for you could be expensive and risky. What if nobody buys it? Even publishing on Kindle has its own technical challenges.
How to Start a Blog
- How to start a blog
Start a blog to teach something, persuade somebody, organize thoughts or promote something. It's really easy.
Writing a Blog
In order for anybody to be interested in your blog, you will need to have at least something for them to look at. Try to write enough content so that your blog at least looks finished and not under construction.
Writing content meant to be read by computer users is dramatically different from writing a book or a magazine article. Computer users generally have much shorter attention spans. They do not actually read, they scan, searching for the particular section that answers their question. Then they move on. Think about if you need to make some adjustments to your writing style.
You may be able to shortcut this step a little by hiring writers on Fiverr.com. Just be sure the content is the best quality you can get and is relevant to your target audience. If you have friends in your field and you feel comfortable asking them for an article or two, even better. People are generally helpful. They just need to be asked.
Promote Your Blog
You could pay a celebrity to mention your new blog on national TV. That is probably not going to happen, though. When you are first starting out simpler methods will have to do. The best alternative to a celebrity would be people who know you and your passion.
- Share your blog on all the social networks you can.
- Post links on bookmarking sites like Pinterest, StumbleUpon.com, Reddit, etc., etc.
Details about how you go about this is beyond the scope of this article. Today we will simply focus on guest blogging.
Choosing a Host Blog
Wouldn't it be neat if the New York Times or The Huffington Post would let you write for them? Millions of people would see your name and take notice of your in-depth expertise. Chances are, as a beginner, you would not get very far down that road, but by all means, give it a try. In fact, nowadays, most bloggers will be very skeptical if they get a request from somebody out of the blue who wants to guest post on their blog.
Authority is something you build over time, so you need to start with blogs that are somewhat at your level or a little above. That way, some of their authority will rub off on you and they will get free content. Their readers will get relevant and useful information, a win-win-win proposition.
Locate a blog owner within your field of expertise. If you simply contact them out of the blue, chances are they will be very skeptical in light of all the mis-use of the guest blog concept. You may need to spend some time engaging with them first. One great way to do that, is to post a few well thought out comments on their blog. They will notice and welcome you when you make your proposal.
Making the Proposal
Some blog owners will let you choose your own subject. Others may give you keywords to include in your post. Choose how you want to do it and decide how flexible and accommodating you want to be. It may take some time to get all the pieces in order. Being well prepared is half the battle. Do your homework. Make it easy for them to accept. The better prepared you are, the higher level blogs you can target.
Writing the Post
If the host blogger has guidelines for how they want the post formatted, try to follow them as closely as you can. There may be guidelines regarding word count, keywords, graphics and other formatting elements.
Above all, make sure you can fully vouch for what you have written, that it is truly a reflection of the personal brand you are trying to establish. If not, then perhaps it is better to move on to the next blog.
Make sure the content is 100% yours. It cannot be copied from somewhere else or posted in other places. Go as far as writing a brief summary. Post that with a link back to the full post on your own website or blog. The main thing is good quality text demonstrating expertise. Of course, grammar and spelling needs to be perfect.
Sell Without Selling
One sure way to turn your readers off is if they feel they are being sold to. If your focus is on their interests, not your own, then you will win their hearts. Otherwise, you might just win their wallets and that is not a good way to start a long-term relationship. You want them to see you as the go-to person in your niche.
Go as far as providing a brief explanation why you are qualified to write this post. Include a link back to your own blog or site. If the blog owner has guidelines for how to do this, be sure to follow them. Resist the temptation to include personal information about your family or hobbies unless it is relevant to the post. Readers only care about getting their questions answered, not how many kids, dogs and cats you have.
Promoting Your Post
Follow the same strategy for the guest post as you did when you wrote your own blog above. Ask the blog owner to do the same and everybody should be happy.
© 2015 Finn Mauritzen