Taking Your Blog Further — Part 2: Guest Blogging | What, Why, And How

guest blogging

(9-minute read)

“What is guest blogging?”

Guest blogging, from the guest’s point of view, is offering to write a relevant article for an industry blog site. While typically no monetary payment is exchanged, the authors offer to do so in return for relevant links from the host site.

woman reading blog on laptop

Everybody wins.

typing on laptop

“What are the benefits of guest blogging?”

Authoritative Links Back To Your Site

The biggest reason why website content creators offer to guest blog is for the content currency payout — links! Why are links important? Just like having friends vouch for a service like an auto mechanic or a product like a brand of hiking boots, authoritative links are an established website’s seal of approval of your business. These links tell search engines that your website comes recommended and therefore deserves to be considered for higher search rankings. You get the links. They get “free” content. Everybody wins.

Traffic To Your Website

The website you’re guest-blogging for likely shares your target audience (it should, anyway). However, these readers have never heard of your website’s product or service offering. When you present your blog information in a helpful and authoritative manner, they will want to see its origin — you. Those who benefited from your helpful content will likely follow the links in your author biography back to your website.

Increase Social Media Exposure

Many author biographies include icon buttons that link back to the author’s social media sites. If people enjoyed this article you guest-blogged, they’re likely to enjoy the rest of your content and want to keep up with you on social media.

“How can I arrange to be a guest blogger?”

Even though guest blogging may seem as easy as sending a high-ranking industry blog an email, there are ways to help these blog editors take you up on your offer.

The Email Pitch Approach

  • The easiest way to find the best websites to guest blog for is by simply searching for your ideal keywords, but simply tacking on “blog”, “digest”, or similar editorial-based keywords.  Try to find websites that specialize in your niche but aren’t necessarily competitors. Industry blogs are best.
  • Determine if you could add value to the blog. Determine where they may need help.
  • Once you determine that you could, send the editor an email with a link to your blog and an offer to guest blog for the website. Offer up a list of article ideas you would be willing to write about. Include an initial title and then a few sentences explaining the gist of the article.
  • Always frame the email as to how you can help them rather than how they can help you. They understand the value of guest-blogging for writers so it doesn’t need to be mentioned.

Example email:

Hi, (blog editor or company)!

I first want to say how much I enjoy your website’s content. I especially liked (include details of a certain post and why you liked it so they know you’re not a spammer).

I’m curious if you would be interested in featuring a guest post. I believe that your readership could greatly benefit from our expertise on a number of issues close to (mention your shared niche with the website). We are a (provide a brief description of your own business, website, products and/or services — but keep it somewhat brief in order to let your website do the talking. Remember to provide a link to your best articles). We would be thrilled to highlight said piece on our own website, social media channels, and email newsletters once it is published.

Below are a handful of article ideas that we would be interested in developing for your website.

1. Article Topic or Title Idea

- Brief summary description of the piece.

2. Article Topic or Title Idea

- Brief summary description of the piece.

3. Article Topic or Title Idea

- Brief summary description of the piece.

4. Article Topic or Title Idea

- Brief summary description of the piece.

Let me know if any of those subjects may be of interest or if you have any other ideas. We would be happy to also incorporate any relevant links back to your own website in the copy. Once completed, we can supply a formatted document that only requires copy-and-pasting into your blog’s CMS.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Sincerely,

(Your Name)

The Preview Piece Approach

  • You likely have many multifaceted blog posts on your website that offer several different solutions to a single hardship your target audience is experiencing. These list-style articles are tremendously helpful for your audience, but can also be beneficial sources of traffic when broken up and placed on other websites.
  • Pick one of your list-style articles. Make a copy of it, reduce the body by at least half, and re-write it. For example, if you had a piece entitled “15 Benefits of Recycling Batteries”, make a version that is “7 Benefits of Battery Recycling”, re-wording the same content sections. Make sure to differentiate the content enough to avoid duplicate content issues with search engines.
  • At the end, include a link that offers eight more benefits or reasons to do something. Link this language as anchor-text back to the original, more complete version on your site. Example: “We hope that this piece was helpful for you. If you’re interested in learning more, we have eight additional benefits of recycling batteries on our website.
  • Repeat this process a handful of times until you have a mini-catalog of articles for websites to offer as guest-posts.
  • Find websites where you would like to receive links from through a guest blog post and pitch these just as you did in the Email Pitch Approach section of this piece. Make sure to state that these posts are ready for immediate publication as soon as they would like to post them.

How To Structure Your Links

Being that the main objective of guest posting is to receive traffic back to your website, you’ll want to make sure you’re able to attribute this new traffic to your guest-posting efforts.

Use UTMs For All Site Links

Urchin Tracking Modules or “UTMs” as they are usually referred are codes inserted on the end of URLs that tell reveal where the traffic first originated. You can think of UTMs like name tags you can place on your links that tell analytic tracking systems, such as Google Analytics, where the traffic originated. Using the Google Campaign URL Builder, you can attach Campaign Source, Medium, Name, Term, and Content tags to any URL.  After your guest post has been published, you can look in the “Acquisition” section of Google Analytics to determine precisely how much traffic came to your site from your guest post.

Format Your Guest Post Before Sending

Structuring the format of your blog article is a must for guest posts for two reasons:

1. This means less for the hosting site to do. When you format your own post, this makes it easier for the hosting website to simply copy-and-paste it into their CMS. Guest posting should be as easy as possible for the website to post. This ease increases the chances that your guest post will be published. This also increases the likelihood of being able to guest post with the site in the future. Make it easy for them!

2. This gives you control of the links. When writing your guest post in a word document manager of your choice, whether Google Docs or Microsoft Word, hyperlink the intended sections yourself. This allows you to control the format of the links so you can insert tracking codes (such as UTMs) without issue. Resist the urge to use link-shortening services in order to keep the destination of the links transparent. Nobody likes a shady-looking URL. Keep the domain to your website.

Feel free to occasionally pepper-in UTM-tagged links to other relevant sections in your piece, but do so sparingly. An abundance of links can hurt the reading experience and decrease the chances that your piece will remain on the host’s website. Keep in mind that featuring links in a guest post is the equivalent of the guest inviting other guests to a host’s party. Be highly selective.

Guest Post Bio

Your author bio can make or break your guest post. Before writing a bio to be featured on the site, look at some of the other author bios on the site. Make sure that your bio is similar in look and feel so as to not detract from the site. Also, make sure that all of the links in your bio (if allowed) have appropriate and descriptive UTM tags. If done correctly, you should be able to tell how many people came to your site solely from your author bio links alone.

Follow The Rules

If you have a doubt about the appropriateness of any included items, defer to your host for guidance. This blog is their party. You must play by their rules in order to have your guest blog article featured.

In Summary

In this piece on guest blogging, we looked at:

  • What is guest blogging?
  • Benefits of doing so
  • How to approach guest blogging
  • The importance of link tracking with UTMs
  • The importance of formatting
  • Guest post bio protocol


Stay tuned to the Brookside Studios Blog for Part 3 of this series as well as other great marketing advance.

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