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A Guest Blog Post is a Two-Way Street

Guest blogging has been around for almost as long as blogging has. Chances are you’ve already given it a try by now. But if you ended up running out of gas before reaching your destination of getting more incoming links to your website, you should continue the journey.

A Guest Blog Post is a Two Way Street image TwoWayStreetGuest blogging is the practice of contributing content on other websites that relate to your industry. Why would you share your secret sauce for websites other than your own? To gain exposure and experience, establish yourself as a credible source in your industry, get those coveted inbound links and boost your networking opportunities. And while the benefits are pretty clear for guest bloggers (think portfolio pieces, etc.), the editor you are writing for benefits too. That’s because guest blogging is a two-way street.

Here at SPROUT Content, we are approached by guest bloggers regularly. In fact, we’ve seen a real spike in pitches lately. As we all know, producing enough quality content is one of the top challenges marketers face. Sometimes, we’re so busy creating content for our clients, our own content can fall down on the priority list. Having the occassional guest post in your editorial calendar can take some pressure off of your writing team. But how do you select a quality guest post? We talked with two of our recent guest bloggers about how they approached us.

Expertise

Guest bloggers can provide expertise and a point of view in areas that your company may not specialize in yet. Consider inviting guest bloggers if you are looking to expand into different areas and need an expert opinion. For example, if you have a fashion blog, consider having a hair stylist blog about hair trends that complement your style. “Guest blogging is the very characterization of online symbiosis. A startup, a company or a writer such as myself gets an audience, and the host blogger gets new insights and contextual variety on their blog,” said guest blogger (and contributor to SPROUT Content’s blog) Tracy Vides. It’s a plus if the writer has had their content published on reputable websites.

Pitch

The pitch is important. “One of the biggest mistakes guest bloggers can make is pitching the wrong type of content to the wrong site,” said guest blogger (and contributor to SPROUT Content’s blog) Beth Phillips. Guest bloggers need to do their homework by getting a feeling for the personality of the blog (and having a personality of their own) so that they can tailor their article suggestions to the blog’s niche audience. Phillips and Vides both recommend lots of reading to generate timely and interesting ideas for guest blog posts. “I frequently look for and read something I disagree with. Pain is a better motivator than pleasure,” said Vides.

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Persistance

It can be tough putting yourself out there as a guest blogger, especially when you have to approach editors you don’t already have a relationship with. “You have to be comfortable walking up to a stranger and starting a conversation with them. I simply say hello, introduce myself and ask for a guest post without beating around the bush. They know what I really want (thanks to the millions of requests they receive every day). I also try to be consistent and persistent in my approach. If an editor doesn’t respond, I politely remind them a couple of times,” said Vides. At the same time, Vides said it’s important to be sincerely grateful to the editor. “The relationship is always bigger than the blog.”

Links

We allow writers to submit a bio with a link, which is published at the end of the guest blog post. These links drive referral traffic to the author’s website or social media profiles, which helps with their following or organic search rankings. But be wary of the guest blogger who’s just looking to promote a product or service and includes links that aren’t helpful to the reader or conflict with your brand’s message. And of course, you need to make sure that your guest blog content is original. If it’s not, your website could pay the price. Here’s Google’s Matt Cutts’ view on guest blogging for links.

If a guest blogger’s goal is to follow the rules of the road by providing fresh, relevant, quality content that your audience will find valuable, chances are they should get the green light from your brand. Guest blogging can be a powerful marketing tool and benefits both the writer and the editor when done right.

Filling your own site with fresh, updated content on a regular basis is still the best way to keep your audience engaged and build your rank.
Read more at http://www.searchenginejournal.com/guest-blogging-proper-way-2013-beyond/69861/#KJ1FMfWwbKW7OR6p.99

Most websites allow writers to submit a bio and/or their social media profile URLs to be published at the end of the post. These links drive referral traffic and boost organic search rankings, resulting in better search visibility for the author’s website.
Read more at http://www.searchenginejournal.com/the-top-5-benefits-of-guest-blogging/62256/#vHeK1YEIORBUtooc.99

Do you work with guest bloggers? What characteristics do you look for when being approached?

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