Most writers will tell you that there’s very little reason to write anything for free. In fact, most writers will even encourage you to turn down low-paying jobs by saying that your writing and your work deserve more than a couple of bucks per 100 words.
Any writer who maintains and posts regularly to a blog will tell you that guest blogging is a great way to network and expand your following. Even though you’re writing on another person’s blog (potentially giving them an increase in pageviews and ad revenue), and you’re doing it for free, guest blogging is an essential step in growing a following and getting exposure to your target audience.
But first, what is guest blogging?
Also known as guest-posting, bloggers will often write blog posts or short pieces for other blogs in order to create a relationship and gain exposure to the blog’s audience—potentially adding value and gaining a good reputation for your own blog.
Not only is your blog gaining a good reputation and exposure, but you’re also going to have more influence via social media as the blogs you guest-post to promote and share your stuff. If one blog’s audience sees that their favorite blog is promoting your blog, they’re much more likely to check it out and become loyal readers.
Boost your reach and value
Some argue that guest-posting is only effective if you choose the right blogs. However, when it comes to aspects such as SEO, guest posting is far more valuable to you than posting oodles of content on your own site—even if you’re guest posting on a blog that isn’t very popular right now. Links created by your guest posts mean that your site is being backlinked to by other sites, which is what Google’s algorithm really looks for.
Backlinks to your blog should be non-negotiable in guest posts, so never accept an invitation that doesn’t guarantee a backlink.
As mentioned before, guest posting also dramatically increases your reach to other audiences as you’re introduced to a new community. Patience is key to this aspect, however. It’s important to remember that you can gain a sterling reputation through guest blogging, but if you’re not adding value or contributing to the discussion in a meaningful way, the audience can perceive your post as a gimmick or as click bait. It’s important to put time and effort into guest blogging if you’re serious about it, especially if your main goal is to reach out to new communities.
How to guest blog or have a guest blogger
Just like guest blogging can bring in valuable backlinks and traffic, having someone guest post on your blog can provide much of the same benefits. There are a couple of ways you can invite someone to guest blog on your site, or propose a guest post for theirs.
This won’t happen overnight, since building connections rarely ever does. However, here are some steps you can take to really building a relationship with another blog that leads to more fruitful ventures (like guest blogging):
- Connect with them on social media, and promote some of their content. Don’t go overboard and promote several things in one day—try and make it a natural act and not a flood to your current readers. Once they start to reciprocate (like I said, this can take some time), you’ve built the beginnings of a connection.
- Once there’s been some two-way interaction on social media, feel free to send a polite, yet direct email or direct message. People are generally all about free content and will generally accept proposals, but make sure that yours is well-written and contributes meaningfully. Everything should be spotless when you send your guest post for them to upload. Find a friend and have them proofread to make sure you didn’t miss any silly mistakes.
- To send an invitation, simply reword your email and suggest a topic or ask for an exchange of content (your post for their post).
- Promote accordingly. If you sent a guest post to another blog, put a link to it in a post on your blog and shout it out through social media a few times every day. Be sure to watch the comments section and to participate. This is vital in building a reputation as a contributor and communicator!
Now just watch your following grow. Remember that they won’t appear overnight, and if you stop posting content regularly, the chances of you losing followers increases.
Promote good content, create great content, and maintain your momentum. Guest blogging can be a much-needed boost to brand new blogs, or blogs that just aren’t getting the traffic they want.