It’s no secret that guest blogging and content marketing can be exceptionally effective tools for marketing your business or your services. It’s also a well-established truism that being overly self-promotional in guest blogging and content marketing efforts is simply less effective than teaching and adding value with the content you create.
That said, if you’re creating content to try to position yourself as a thought leader and build your brand, you’re doing it because you have a business to run and a service to promote. So how do you establish yourself as an expert through your guest blog posts without being overly self-promotional?
Here are a few ways to sell yourself – without actually selling – in your guest posts:
Focus in on Your Niche
What differentiates you from your competitors? Do you have a specialty or a proprietary way you approach your service offerings that makes your company a clear standout? Focus on these individualized areas, those that set you apart, rather than more generalized topics anyone in your industry could discuss easily. When readers investigate potential vendors, your business will immediately land in front of the pack, if you play your cards right.
Don’t Post and Disapper
All too often, submitting a guest post is the last to-do item on a marketer’s list. Instead of providing the post and simply falling off the radar, keep track of social mentions, respond and thank those who recognize your content, and be attentive and responsive to comments. It takes less than two minutes (most often) to respond to blog commenters – and it’s usually two minutes well worth your while.
Be Generous in Giving Props to Other Experts
It’s not all about you. (Shocking, right?) But seriously, give a little link love to some other thought leaders and they’ll be likely to promote your post, giving you more recognition in the long run.
Wrap Up Your Posts With a Signature Blurb
It’s okay to mention your business here and it’s standard practice to link back to your website in this area.
Reference Useful Content You’ve Written
You’ve probably created other useful, educational content that’s hosted on your site or on other blogs. Link to this information where appropriate so that the reader can see other examples of your expertise and can get a deeper understanding of your point of view – and only if it adds real value.
Share, Share and Share Some More
Once your guest post is live, help spread the word via your social networks. Don’t let the website owner do all the promotion. Devoting some time to draw attention to a post hosted by another website appears less self-serving than continuously posting links to your own website. But ultimately, you’re doing the website owner a favor while still building awareness for your own company.
Forget About Selling
Entirely. Focus on simply educating your readers. In the content marketing age, information sells. That’s why people browse the internet – not to be sold to, but to be informed. Impress them with your expertise and the sales will flow naturally.
In implementing these tips, be sure you’re falling within the publisher’s guidelines for guest posts.
For instance, some won’t like the idea of mentioning your business, even as an expert quote, within the body of the article. They’re doing you a favor by publishing your post, so return the favor by providing valuable insights their readers can actually use.
If you focus first on educating, and second on selling, your guest posts will be better received and more frequently shared.
No Sale Photo via Shutterstock
This ties in, to me, to the notion of providing value wherever you go. If you provide value, whether in a guest post, tweet, comment, or everyday interaction on the street, then people will recognize that value and appreciate what you have to offer. A guest post which doesn’t first establish value for the reader skips over ethos and logos, trying to jump directly to pathos. If you simply focus on providing value, on the other hand, then not only do you do something positive for your reader, but you are much more genuine in what you are providing. Create value, and customers will follow.
If someone is actively looking for a solution to a problem they have two options: 1) Handle the problem themselves or 2) Get someone to help them. If your guest post explains the solution and they feel overwhelmed doing it themselves, it would naturally lead them to reach out to you, since you’ve already explained the solution and have experience handling it. Seems pretty straightforward to me.
@Jason and Robert: Yep I’d agree, if you’re able to add value and demonstrate that you have expertise on a topic, people are definitely likely to look to you for help with their problem, thanks for the comments!
Certainly guest blogging helps your business to be known by others, I would like to add a bit with ‘don’t post and disappear’ though it is observed on a very large scale that many guest bloggers just post and disappear, so not only always remain in touch but also ask & welcome feedback.
Yeah encouraging feedback can definitely be a good way to engage with readers and further demonstrate expertise. Thanks for the comment!
Tom Demers: Great list for guest bloggers and blog hosts! My new blog on travel and lifestyle design, AtlasAnd, has an standing invitation to guest blog posts. It has a submit button on the top of the page and an invitation in the about section:
“Please feel free to share your travel memories and tips on interesting places for tourists by publishing a guest blog post on AtlasAnd.com.”
Tom, kudos for this article. The idea of having a signature blurb at the end of the post makes a lot of sense. I know that I have heard it before but for some reason today it really stood out to me. I guess that is a sign that it is something I need to focus on.
I liked this article. The more you share bits and pieces of your expertise, the more you help other people in business grow it. When you share, you are also doing something to build a genuine business relationship.
Well, That’s what exactly I was looking for… Thanks for giving this great info…
Now I know how to sell my expertise and not to sell guest posts…