You should guest post on someone else's blog. Giving away your best content helps you develop great relationships with other bloggers and brings in new visitors who, if treated well, could stick around and become your customers. And guest posting helps with SEO (search engine optimization) by creating back links that help your blog come up closer to the top in Google searches for topics in your niche.
Writing an extra blog post is lots of work, though, so before you jump in here are a few tips to make your guest posting experience as fruitful as possible.
1. Choose a Blog That Has Broad or Deep Reach in your Niche
I recently wrote a guest post and gave a free pattern to Vanessa Wilson at The Crafty Gemini. To be honest, when Vanessa emailed me I really didn't know much about her. I spent some time researching her site and realized that she posts weekly sewing videos to YouTube and has over 100,000 subscribers. Vanessa is Latina, grows her own food on a farm in Florida, and homeschools her two children. I'm a Jewish mom in suburban Boston. Her videos are watched by a huge audience that is mostly very different from mine, but is still interested in sewing for children.
I set up a coupon code for Vanessa's readers that was live for two weeks. During that time 59 customers used the code, leading to total sales of $1,200. That was a successful guest post!
The Crafty Gemini has a very broad reach. It's also worth pursuing opportunities to guest post on smaller blogs that have a deep and trusting relationship with their readers.
2. Have a Goal in Mind Beyond Getting Hits
When your guest post goes live on a high-traffic blog lots of people will click over to your site. The traffic spike can be thrilling, but you should get more than that. Before seeking out a guest posting opportunity, or accepting one that is offered to you, ask yourself, "What is my goal?"
Each new person who clicks over is a potential new regular reader and customer. What could you have ready for them when they arrive?
- A recent post. If you haven't updated your blog in a few months, do it now before all the new eyes come to check you out. Don't lead people into a dusty house full of cobwebs. Instead, write a post or two that would appeal to readers of your guest post.
- A newsletter sign-up form. New visitors might not bookmark your site or take the time to add it to their RSS reader. Unless you work at it, they'll probably just click away and never return. To avoid losing out on their future attention, work hard to get them to subscribe to your newsletter. Be sure to make it easy and clear how to sign up!
A few months ago I asked Caroline from Sew Can She to write a guest post about how she built a blog with a huge audience in only two years. I offered to guest post on her blog if she was interested. She said she was so I wrote a 5 Tips for Sewing Great Softies post for her.
Think of other ways you might reciprocate, too. Sharing someone's Facebook page with your Facebook followers is really nice, or giving them a shout-out on Instagram.
4. Follow Through
A few months ago I connected with an intellectual property lawyer who specializes in issues surrounding artistic works and copyright. I had been looking for an expert who might be able explain these issues in a guest post on my blog because I knew that copyright was a hot topic and not something I had the expertise to explain. We scheduled a date for the post, but the she got busy so we rescheduled.
I emailed a week before the new date to confirm. Despite her promise that she'd have the post ready, the night before she emailed to say that it wasn't going to happen. I was left in a lurch having to move my editorial calendar around at the last minute, which was frustrating, but even more than that, she missed what I think would have been a great opportunity.
Instead, a few months later I connected with Jen Bernstein, the wonderful lawyer who guest posted here on Wednesday about the very topic I wanted to hear about. The post went viral on Facebook, was picked up by Make magazine, and has been viewed nearly 50,000 times in the two days since it went up.
Whenever possible, deliver on your promises.
5. Don't Let Someone Else Get All the Credit
Did you see the adorable bunny softie pattern Lorraine from Ikat Bag created for Sew Mama Sew? It's so cute, and what's even cuter is the pattern for the bunny bed and the little carrots. Lorraine made one of the best guest posting moves I've seen a long time. She gave the pattern for the bunny to Sew Mama Sew, and in the post stated that the patterns for the bed and carrots would be on her own blog the next day. Brilliant!
When you guest post, work hard on your byline so that you're sure to include a clear call to action that brings readers to your site. Peter Sandeen wrote a great post recently called Why You Suck at Guest Blogging. In it he gave two examples of bylines: one weak and one strong.
Consider this one...
"Jack Jackson is a writer who writes about writing at jackjacksonwriter.com. His ebook can help you learn to write better." (from Peter Sandeen's Why You Suck at Guest Blogging)
versus this one...
“Jack Jackson is a novelist who trains aspiring authors to finish their books, get them published, and make it to the best-seller lists. You can download his free ebook to learn the five most common reasons publishers turn down book offers, so your book finds its way into people’s bookshelves.” (from Peter Sandeen's Why You Suck at Guest Blogging)
I think Sandeen illustrates the difference brilliantly. Be clear on what you have to offer and invite people to come and get it. Otherwise all the of the brilliance of your free pattern or great writing stops at the door of the blog you've given it to.
Have you ever guest posted on a blog? Or read a guest post by someone and then become a reader of their blog? Any tips to share?