Content writers. Is it just me, or is content writing really hard? The writing part isn’t too difficult, and with social media neither is finding topics to write on. No. The truly challenging part about “making it” as a content writer is getting your voice, your expertise and your content in front of the right readers and converting those readers into paying clients. So how do content writers convert readers to clients? They Guest post.
Guest posting enables content writers to appeal to new audiences by flexing their intellectual muscle and writing ability over a broader array of industries, niches, and topics.
There are substantial benefits presented to content writers who guest post on sites that promote genuine content, including maximized exposure to readers in a given niche who are genuinely interested in content produced in that category.
Build Authority & Establish Credibility
No one wants to read anything from a content writer who doesn’t appear to have any background on a given subject, thus no experience or authority to accurately write about it.
Guest posting on a blog that has already established in a specific industry allows content writers to “show what they know” and establish credibility as an expert on a given subject.
Let’s say that it suddenly it becomes medically beneficial to eat nothing but bacon and, in no time at all; bacon becomes the next substantially marketable product.
Content writers seeking to expand their scope and establish a reputation as experts in the field of bacon would do well to guest post on blogs featuring bacon topics, or in bacon-related industries. By doing so content writers can establish their authority in the field and show off their ability to create marketable bacon content.
Authors Note: For more on what bacon can teach us about content marketing, I suggest reading Five Things Bacon Can Teach Us About Content Marketing.
Appeal To A New Audience
The whole point of content writing is to sell content. Therefore It’s important to get your content in front of as many eyes as possible. Guest posting on another blog combines audiences in a beneficial symbiotic relationship between the guest poster and blog owner.
Content writers who guest post are exposing themselves to a larger audience than if they had simply posted on their own blog.
Writers should post to their blog regularly; however, guest posting enables content writers to broaden the stroke their content makes on the web and create a more substantial impression on a larger target audience.
Increase Brand Awareness
As content writers our brand isn’t only what we sell, it’s who we are, and how we choose to be seen by others. If you’re anything like this content writer, you’re all about that brand awareness.
Guest posting is the best way to spread awareness for your brand and establish yourself as a credible content writer because it enables content writers to spread their content across as many platforms and readers as possible.
Generate Web Traffic
Guest posting is also a terrific way to establish backlinks to your writer’s portfolio or website, assuming you have linked back to your portfolio or web page in your author bio.
However, Google analyzes the quality of any links you have directing traffic to your website for apparent trustworthiness. If the link profile on your website appears abnormal to Google, they may take action against your webpage to ensure “spammy” content is not being returned in the search result.
That is why it is always important to consider the quality of the blogs and websites to whom you are pitching your guest posts. Guest posting on sites that promote “spammy” content may result in your content being pushed to the back of the search return.
How to Craft a Killer Guest Post
If the benefits of guest posting as a content writer were not apparent before, I hope they are obvious now, because it’s time to learn how to craft a killer guest post.
Understand the Guidelines
First things first. Before you go dumping tons of effort into a guest post , it’s important to first read the guidelines for guest posting laid out by the site or blog accepting guest posts. Content writers who skip this step may find they have created the perfect post for nothing.
Blogs and websites that accept guest posts typically have a list of guidelines regarding format, topic, and word count, but also on how and when to pitch a guest post.
It’s good practice for any content writer to first read submission and format guidelines for any guest post as it ensures that your content at least meets the publication’s standards for review and isn’t immediately discarded.
Copy Which Posts Do Best
Before pitching a guest post, or even writing one, you should first learn what types of post do the best on that publication. Examine which posts have the most likes, views, retweets, and comments and copy the style and format.
If you notice that posts featuring infographics garner more likes on that publication than posts that don’t feature infographics you should be sure to include one in your guest post.
Apply Your Expertise
This is the time for you to shine. Remember the whole point of guest posting is to show what you know so that your content garners more attention. You’re showing the world how awesome you are and how valuable your content is, so write hard and write well when you guest post.
Pretend you’re writing an essay for your final exam and you are required to prove your expertise by:
- Telling the story of how, and why, you are the expert on this topic.
- Proving that you are the expert on that topic by including data and hard facts that can be quantified and checked.
- Revealing your final product/theory/point concisely and built on the foundation of fact and data exemplified in your content.
Ensure Flow and Consistency
It’s important that your guest post flow and be easy to read. Every point you make should flow from one to the next and keep consistent voice & tone throughout.
The guest post should be consistent with SEO and blogging best practices. Believe it or not, there is a preferred method of format for content posted to the web.
Adhering to this format allows for easy copy & paste and uploads to the blog or website. For a more in-depth look at SEO best practices for content writers I suggest SEO Tips for Content Writers.
What’s a backlink? That’s a backlink. A backlink is an incoming link to another website or blog and they generally increase web traffic and enable higher rankings on search engines.
Backlinks are essential to guest posting as they allow the reader to find your posts on another writers blog and vice-versa, thus expanding the scope and reach of your content.
Format, Images & Graphics
Written content is great and all, but without eye-catching images and graphics your content looks like blocky text on a boring page. Blog content is visual because internet users are visual and don’t like to read long drawn out paragraphs.
Instead, be sure to space out the text of your post. Writing for a blog is different than writing a book. Blog readers tend to positively favor shorter sentences and paragraphs.
It’s important to include images, graphs, infographics, charts, anything that is visually stimulating and which adds value to the post.
Read It Out Loud!
One more time for the people in the back. READ YOUR CONTENT OUT LOUD! I have to remind myself to do this often, but content read only in your mind does not flow, nor sound the same as it does out loud. A chef wouldn’t serve food they hadn’t tasted, so why would you publish content that you haven’t read from start to finish?
Web content is about compelling people to take the next step, to click that link, to add that item to their cart, to make a conversion. It’s important when guest posting to include a call to action to the reader, generally at the end of the post.
A call to action can come in a number of forms but will generally be determined by the voice & tone employed in the content.
In this example, the reader is not only engaged when presented with a question, they are also directed to a link which will take them to a contact page.
Furthermore, there are two links just below that will engage the reader further by presenting more related content and chances to convert.
Where to Guest Post
Now that we know why and how you should be guest posting it’s time to discover where to guest post. Discovering where to pitch a guest post is, to some, nearly as difficult as writing a guest post.
When looking for blogs and websites to pitch guests post to it’s recommended that you avoid your competitors. Creating an awesome guest post that draws potential clients to your competitors is never a good idea.
Instead, try to pitch to blogs that are relevant to the niche or industry that you most which to write for. Look for blogs that get a lot of web traffic, produce quality content, and openly accept guest posts.
How to Search for Guest Blogging Opportunities
Just how do you find a guest post blog opportunity anyway? You Google it of course. Google can be utilized to find guest blogging opportunities across the web via specific keywords, advanced searches and search modifiers.
Search modifiers allow users to narrow or define the parameters of a Google search by adding specific characters to the search query and can be used to discover guest posting opportunities.
While there are many helpful search modifiers that can make SEO tasks easier and more in-depth, one of the best is the site: search parameter. To use this modifier, type “site:” followed by your domain (no spaces, no http:// and no www.).
This will display everything that is visible and indexed in Google on your domain. This allows you to see exactly what has been indexed and how the Search Engine Results Page looks to the user for the list of pages. It also allows us to troubleshoot when rankings are low.
Search operators are powerful, and tools that aggregate this information for you in a nice, user-friendly UI make their function even more powerful. A favored search operator of the content marketing industry is BuzzSumo.
BuzzSumo is a platform that enables the user to find specific types of content and social media influencers by keyword, title or niche, including guest posts. Don’t just take it from. According to BuzzSumo, it’s easy,
“All you have to do is uncheck all the content types except “Guest Posts” and filter…”
If you’re like most bloggers and guest posters you frequently share your latest guest posts on social media. Twitter is often the easiest for content writers to utilize and is a great tool for guest posting.
Head to Twitter and search for keyword “guest post.” The search should yield the latest tweets about guest posts in a given industry. The next step is to follow the links to the blogs that are accepting guest posts.
If you’re a bit lost by now, that’s ok. This is a long post. Here’s a gif of a kitten pretending to be a content writer.
Feel better? Me too.
To recap, we have covered the reasons why it’s beneficial to content writers to frequently guest post and how to write a killer post.
We also learned who/which blogs to pitch guest posts to, and how to find guest post opportunities using the web and social media. Which means it’s time to learn how to actually pitch a guest post.
Pitch Your Guest Post
It may seem tedious to tailor each and every pitch email and application, but if you want your pitch to be read instead of dead, you need to personalize pitch email.
A personalized pitch tells publications that your, 1.) not a robot and 2.) willing to put in the effort to craft a personal email. If you are not willing to craft a personalized pitch the odds of the publication taking your post seriously are low. Your pitch email should:
- Be Personable
- Reflect That you have at least researched the publication.
- Contain the blogger’s name
- Explain why your post is relevant to them
Know the Blog’s Content
This should kind of be a no-brainer. I wouldn’t want anyone posting to my blog who doesn’t sound like they know what they’re talking about. Research the publication you wish to pitch. Ensure the editor/blogger know that you have done your research by showing them. For example:
“I read your article on bacon marketing and found it riveting. Mr. Pigs McBacon made several valid points when he elaborated on the many benefits of a comprehensive SEO sweep prior to implementing a bacon content marketing strategy.”
The above example does more than show the blog owner that you could click on their blog and recall the first blog title you saw. It shows the publication that you actually read the article and can speak confidently about the topic to others.
Furthermore, you should understand the target audience demographic of the blog. (retired men, single woman, Chicago commuters, etc.) as well as what type of content they feature? (scientific content, creative posts, marketing content, how-to’s, listicles, etc.)
Why You? Who Are You?
Don’t forget to tell the publication who you are. Don’t just pitch them a post without first explaining why they should be listening to you. Include links to your work and relevant places that you have been published.
It’s Not About You
This is important. So pay attention. Guest posts are not advertisements. Guest posting is not about your products or your services. It’s not a platform to plug your band or promote your latest sale. Guest posting is all about providing value to the reader.
It’s about showing the audience and the publication how great you are at content writing. It’s about demonstrating your expertise and skill so that the readers of high-quality blogs (CEO’s, SVP’s Decision Makers, Marketing Managers, Content Developers) become convinced of your awesomeness and hire you for their next project.
Participate in the Conversation
If you want people to engage with your content, then go and engage with theirs. If the conversation isn’t happening, make it happen. Comment on other guest posts. Add value always, even if you’re not currently on the payroll.
“Great post on the many applications of bacon. Have you ever considered Bacon as a way to end an argument with one’s spouse? I also find it delicious with every meal,”
Better yet, earn some brownie points by sharing their content. By helping to spread the publication’s message, you’ll be spreading yours. So long as whichever username, profile, email, etc. you used to share the post can be traced back to you.
Last but certainly not least is the Author Bio. This is where you get to self-promote. Provide backlinks to your portfolio and webpage and be sure that the audience is provided with a way to contact you. (email, social media, phone, etc.)
Now go and guest post. Spread your content. Become viral… No. Don’t do that.
If you want to get your name out there as a content writer and prove to the world that you are the best at what you do then stop wanting and start writing. Pitch your guest posts and reel in those readers and in no time at all those readers just might become clients.
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