How to Grow Your Business and Establish Your Brand Through Guest Blogging

BlogI first learned the value of guest blogging before blogs even existed. At the time, I was building a business as a consultant, and I was an unknown with no track record.

What I had was an ability to write, and write I did … for newsletters and website owners. I estimate that 90% of my consulting clients found me through my articles.

Guest blogging is the easiest, fastest, and most cost-effective way for a freelance writer to build a brand and get new clients.

What is Guest Blogging?

The top blogs on the Internet today rely quite heavily on guest posts. Sites like Problogger and Copyblogger are not only highly successful, they depend on guest bloggers to keep the readers engaged and active.

A guest blogger is someone like you who has the ability to write interesting, thought-provoking, informative, helpful, and sometimes humorous articles.

The best articles receive a heavy dose of comments, which does a tremendous amount of good for the website on which the blog is posted.

It’s good for them … and it’s good for you …

Guest blogging:

  • Lets prospective clients see the quality of your writing …
  • Helps you to establish a voice and build a brand IN PUBLIC …
  • Drives interested and relevant traffic back to your own website …
  • Rapidly builds your reputation and makes you an authority figure in your niche …
  • And, creates highly valuable “merit-based” links on relevant websites back to your site, which helps your search-engine ranking.

Here’s How To Get Started as a Guest Blogger

Step One: Find blogs who readily accept guest bloggers

While this may seem tedious, it’s a necessary first step. Create a spreadsheet where you’ll track each blog and your submissions to those blogs. Then, go out and find blogs who are open to guest bloggers like you.

There are two key reasons for guest blogging:

First, if you post an article that is helpful to a prospective client, you increase your chances of getting business from him or her.

Second, you can also post your articles to high-ranking blogs that might cater to marketers and writers like you. These articles might not get your phone ringing off the hook, but they are invaluable for moving your website up in the search engines for specific keywords.

So, to help illustrate the steps discussed here, let’s assume that you want to become known for your ability to write killer white papers for the B2B market. Maybe you haven’t chosen a niche yet, but you’re open to whoever calls you.

Now, let’s see if we can find some blogs who might take us on as guest bloggers …

1. Search specifically for blogs related to “white paper.”

Search using all your primary keyword phrases:

“white paper”+”guest blog”

“white paper”+”submit article”

“white paper”+”guest writer”

“white paper”+”submit content”

“white paper”+”become an author”

“white paper”+”blog”

It looks like my search is a bit too narrow because I don’t see many actual blogs or websites who might cater to my prospects. So, I’ll broaden the search to “B2B”+ … (do the same as above, but substitute “B2B” for “white paper”).

I find that each of the above search variations gives me different results, so I’ll check the search results to see if there are any viable sites for me to become a guest blogger.

You’ll find that some of the sites are “resource centers,” like:

http://www.workoninternet.com/

And, some might be actual article directories. The best article directory can be found at:

http://www.ezinearticles.com

Article directories and resource centers are easy. All you need to do is open an account and submit your articles. Ezinearticles.com requires the article to be unpublished elsewhere. The general rule of thumb is to pick one place to post an article, such as an article directory, a resource center, OR a blog … but, just one.

Right away, I see that one of the hottest small business marketing sites appeared on the first page with my search for “B2B”+”submit article” …

http://www.ducttapemarketing.com

You’ll see a link on the right side of the page on their site for “Become an Author.” That’s exactly what you want to see on a blog. Go ahead and scan a few pages deep into your Google results to see what other gems might come up.

You can also do similar searches for related keywords:

  • “business marketing”
  • “small business marketing”
  • “B2B marketing”

In fact, here’s a neat trick to broaden your search if you want.

When you do your Google search, look just above the search results for this: “+Show Options”

Click on the “+” sign, then click on the link to “Wonder Wheel” on the left under Standard View. A very cool wheel appears with keyword variations you may not have considered. Click on any one of those, and a new wheel appears with your selection in the middle. You can go several layers deep, or go wide.

Here’s What to Look For

1. Does this blog or website get any traffic?

Go to Alexa.com. Search for the website you’re considering. You should get a page with all kinds of interesting information, including the Alexa Traffic Rank, the traffic rank in the U.S., the number of websites who link to that site, and more.

Ideally, your website will have an Alexa Traffic Rank of under 1 million. Under 200,000 is better. Under 100,000 is great. The lower the number, the higher the rank, which is a way of identifying how much traffic it gets.

You can see things like how many Pageviews it gets and Pageviews/User. A high number indicates that users read more than one article on the site, which is good news for you if you become a regular contributor.

2. Is it the right demographic?

Are the visitors to the website people who would care what you have to say? This time, head on over to Quantcast.com. Quantcast will give you all the demographics you’d ever want or need, assuming that the site has been tracked. Newer sites or sites without a lot of traffic may not have any data. That’s a good clue as well.

3. How well established is the site?

Google uses something called a “Page Rank” (PR), which is a mysterious number that can indicate the relative importance of the site in the eyes of Google.

Check out the Page Rank with this Page Rank Checker. Or, if you’ve got the Google Toolbar installed, you’ll have the Page Rank already.

Optimally, it will be 6 or higher on a scale of 0 to 10. A PR of 5 is good. A PR of 4 means the site is pretty well established, but probably doesn’t have many other sites linking back to it.

A PR of 3 usually means that the site has been around for some time, but doesn’t get a lot of traffic. PR 0 is for new sites, and PR 1 and 2 are for “slightly less new.”

4. Do they accept guest articles?

Seeing something along the lines of “Submit Articles” or “Become an Author” are dead giveaways. Sometimes you might have to dig deeper.

If the site has a steady stream of new articles (one per day or more), and many of the articles are by “guest author” or another name, then they are likely to accept guest articles.

However, before you send the site owner your suggestions (the next step), look at the articles. Do they allow a bio with links back to your site? If not, then cross that site off your list.

Step Two: Submit your ideas and articles

Now that you’ve got a good list of sites who may accept your guest articles, cherry-pick those in which you:

a. Have better odds of having an article accepted …

b. Will gain the best exposure from articles you post.

How can you tell this? If the site openly requests or accepts guest authors, then add those to your cherry-pick list.

Then, out of those, pick the websites with the most traffic and higher Pageviews/User (from Alexa.com). These are sites that are actively read by people who care.

Once you’ve selected your top blogs or websites on which you’d like to guest blog, read the articles on the blog.

Pay attention to the subject matter, the length of the articles (typically 600+ words), and in particular, the writing style.

Some blogs may focus on ideas, while others want in-depth “how-to” articles.

Then, see which articles get the most comments. These are the topics that are most relevant and interesting to the readers of the blog.

READ the comments… What questions do they ask? What’s the overall tone? What points do they make that indicate a deep interest in the subject matter?

The comments are the key to your success. They tell you exactly what’s on the mind of the readers.

Create a list of possible article ideas based on your research and narrow it down to your one best killer idea. It’s best if you can reveal your hottest, most profound tip right from the beginning.

Then, for each blog, submit your idea or ideas. If you came up with a long list of article ideas, don’t overwhelm them. Many blogs ask you to submit the actual article, and give you the formatting or submission guidelines to do so.

Others, like Duct Tape Marketing, have you first sign up as an author, post your bio and photo, and then allow you to submit articles to their archive.

Oh, and look at the home page of the site … do they post guest articles right on the home page? It turns out that sites like Duct Tape Marketing put guest articles in an “Archive,” while Copyblogger puts them right on the home page.

The difference between the two is this:

Going directly to the archive will help your search-engine ranking, but may not get you a lot of Pageviews. Getting your article mentioned on the home page is best because you get both views and help with your SEO.

Now …

If there’s a submission form, use it. Pay attention and follow the instructions!

If not, you’ll have to contact the owner of the site directly. Hopefully, he or she has a contact page. If not, just go away. If it’s too hard to find out who owns the site, they probably don’t want to be bothered.

For those you can contact, you might write something like this:

Hi ,

I am a freelance writer who specializes in . I enjoyed reading and in particular the comments by your readers. I have an idea for a guest post that I think your readers will really appreciate.</em></p> <p><em>Here is the proposed title and a brief description of my guest post:</em></p> <p><em>Article Title: <Compelling title></em></p> <p><em>Description: <Focus on benefits to the reader. Pretend this is a headline and lead for a multi-million dollar direct marketing campaign!></em></p> <p><em><close your email></em></p> <p><strong>You’re focused on the benefits of your article to the readers</strong>, and not on the benefits to the blog publisher. The blog publisher already knows that great articles are good for their blog and their business.</p> <p><strong>If your article is good, and it’s published, you’ll reap huge rewards. </strong></p> <p><strong>Step Three: Submit your ideas to the Wealthy Web Writer</strong></p> <p>This one should be obvious. You’re a writer. The Wealthy Web Writer is a website for writers.</p> <p><a href="https://www.wealthywebwriter.com/submit-content">Submit an article idea here</a>, complete the form, and send in your guest post idea. If it’s good (relevant, timely, helpful, and informative), then you may be asked to write the article. Unpaid, original articles will be allowed a short bio and link to your website.</p> <p>It’s time for you to get started as a guest blogger. <a href="https://www.wealthywebwriter.com/submit-content">Click here</a> to submit your idea now.</p> <p><strong><em>P.S. 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