December 18, 2014

How to Make Guest Writing Work for You

guest writing

Let me start this post by saying I know there’s a lot of controversy when it comes to guest writing these days, at least as it pertains to SEO (search engine optimization).

While Matt Cutts, spokesperson for Google, says that guest writing won’t help your SEO efforts, it does work as a tool to brand yourself and your company. I’m living proof as I’ve been on both sides of the equation.

But there’s definitely a right and wrong way to go about finding guest writing opportunities for branding purposes. Let’s take a look at strategies that have been proven.

Guest Writing Strategies for Branding

1. Pinpoint the Sites Your Audience Reads

This first step can take a while and involves a bit of research, but ultimately, it will decide the fate of your guest writing efforts. You only want to pitch sites that your customers read, and that have a decent amount of traffic. What’s decent? You’ll have to decide (and start small, then grow from there), but a rule of thumb I offer is:

Put together a spreadsheet of the sites that meet your criteria. Also, make sure the sites are updated regularly. Don’t waste your time on those that last posted eight months ago.

2. Read the Blogs

Seems so silly, but a ton of bad guest article pitches out there are attributed to the fact that the sender never bothered to read the siteIf they had read it, they might have discovered that the site doesn’t take guest articles, or that it has specific guidelines, or that it’s not a good fit.

So do your homework. Read several articles, and look for information on the About page that might give you insight into how to propose a topic.

3. Craft a Custom Pitch

I can tell when someone copies and pastes a pitch. It’s canned and impersonal. I tend to delete those emails. So make sure yours is personalized. Refer to an article you really enjoyed. Offer a one sentence explanation of who you are, then provide a title or two you’d like to write about. Include bullet points to dive deeper into the post topic.

4. Be a Good Writer

If you’re lucky enough to get approved to write an article, be responsive to the editor. Turn your article around promptly, and make sure to run Spellcheck. I have trashed articles people worked on because they required too much editing on my part. Follow guidelines. If they say a post must be 400-600 words, don’t make it 375.

5. Support the Site

Once your article is live, share the heck out of it on your social networks. Show the site owner that you’re committed to supporting the site, and even after your article is published, continue to share content from that site. This will set you up for success if you want to develop a longer, more regular guest writing opportunity.

Just like your mom taught you, the key here is to be a good person. Be reciprocal in sharing social love, and respond to deadlines in a prompt manner.

While you may not be getting paid to write the article, you are getting “paid” in potential new customers and traffic to your site, so treat it as if money were involved.

Excited Photo via Shutterstock

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Susan Payton - Awards Communication Mgr.


Susan Payton Susan Payton is the Communications Manager for the Small Business Trends Awards programs. She is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in content marketing, social media management and press releases. She is also the Founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners who want to generate their own PR.

4 Reactions

  1. Great general write up for beginners on guest posting. However this is for brand purposes only, because future uses for guest posts and SEO isn’t a great idea. There are going to be more updates that will make guest posts obsolete eventually for SEO purposes and will actually hurt you. Ann Smarty owner of myblogguest herself will tell you this as well regarding the SEO part.

    However, great write up for brand building purposes.

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