Yes, you heard it right, guest blogging can help you gain followers provided that you do it right!
Even Google’s Matt Cutts, (head of Google’s Webspam team) who famously proclaimed that guest blogging is dead, believes that it still has a place in your content marketing strategy if you do it the right way.
So what is guest blogging?
“Guest blogging” means writing and publishing an article on someone else’s website or blog.
It is a great tool for people/brands who have just started out, to establish themselves as an expert in their particular niche.
Related Article: The Do's And Don'ts of Stellar Blogger Outreach
Now let’s see how guest blogging can help increase your following:
1. Expand Your Audience
One common argument against guest blogging is - why to spend time and effort to create quality content, only to be given somebody else for free.
There is no denying that it takes away a lot of time and effort, but you need to remember that every blog has a dedicated audience (at least the good ones), and by guest blogging you will be able to reach out and share your ideas and expertise with this particular audience. Without guest blogging, reaching out to this audience would have required to more time and resources.
The key is to find out where to do it. If you are able to guest post for websites in your niche or laterally across niches, it will dramatically increase your readership, that means more social shares, more comments and eventually - more visibility.
Author bio plays a huge role here, because, after reading a great piece, readers will definitely like to know more about you and maybe read more of your pieces. So take time and frame a bio which is concise, clear and fun. Always ensure that the link given in the bio is not broken or irrelevant.
Here is a guide on how to write author bios.
2. Build Credibility
Imagine that you wrote a high-quality article on email marketing with a lot of actionable tips and unique perspectives. But, your company is new to content marketing and does not have the kind of readership the article deserves.
So, you try sending it over to some of the leading blogs in your niche: Kissmetrics, Marketing Profs, Hubspot, Moz, Copyblogger etc, hoping someone will publish it. And to your luck, Marketing Profs agrees to publish it. It means that your article will be listed along with industry experts like Ayaz Nanji and Daniel Faggella.
If that does not boost your credibility, I don’t know what will.
Guest blogging provides a great platform for you to showcase your expertise in your niche. When your guest posts get published on leading websites on a regular basis, readers will trust and respect your opinions and thoughts a lot more, because they know that this website publishes quality content only.
It also helps you connect with major influencers in your niche and some of them may even comment on the post, congratulating you. Readers will be like, “ Neil Patel says the post is good, so it must be good”. It can act as a stamp of approval.
Guest blogging comes in real handy when you are trying to expand your business to a new location. A guest post on a popular blog from the new location certainly helps in making yourself known to your new audience. Here is how you can tailor content for a local audience.
Read how Kristi Hines used guest blogging to become one of the influential voices in the online marketing space.
3. Engage With Your Readers on Comments
A lot of guest bloggers think that once the post is live, their job is done. If you believe the same, then better wake up because you are losing a massive opportunity here.
As I said earlier, guest blogging helps you reach out to a new audience. So when somebody comments on your guest post, you are provided with a chance to interact with a new person.
At my startup, we follow an always-write-back rule - it does not matter if it is a query or appreciative words or criticism, you should always give a reply, always! It is a great way to show your expertise and knowledge in your niche. Above all it shows that you really care about your readers, so even a “thanks for reading” will go a long way.
Impressed with your reply, they may follow you on social networks or sign up for your email list. So never think of it as a small gesture, it can produce great results.
Check the comments section of this article to see how Buffer’s content crafter, Kevan Lee follows this practice to good effect.
4. Promote, Promote, Promote!
Usually, guest bloggers tend to give less importance to promotion, thinking that it is up to the host website. Yes, it is the host website’s responsibility but never assume that you don’t have to do anything.
Related Article: Show and Tell: Simple Content Marketing Tactics to Boost Brand Awareness
You put a lot of blood and sweat to craft the article, so why not make the most of it. Just sharing it on your network is not enough. You could do a lot more:
- Before your post goes live, engage with other authors on the blog who writes content in your niche, or related to your niche, via comments. You could also share their content in your social network. They may even return you the favour. At the end of the day, all this helps you get noticed and gain more visibility.
- Whenever you are sharing the article on your social network, don’t forget to tag the host website’s profile as well. Great way to increase your reach.
- Ensure that your Twitter handle also gets tagged each time a reader clicks on the share button. It helps in increasing your exposure. And ensure that you say “thanks” to everyone who shares the link.
- Create more than 20+ snippets or taglines for you guest post and use it while sharing your content. This will help in optimizing its effectiveness.
- Come up with a title that stands out and which will attract your targeted audience.
- Submit the content to various content distribution channels. This definitely ensures that your content reaches out to more and more people.
- Repurposing of content also helps in this regard. Before doing any of this, make sure you get permission from the host website/blog owner to do it. And don’t forget to provide a link back to the original post.
5. Guest Blogging Is the First Step Towards Content Syndication
“Syndicating your content means you’re publishing either a piece of content you’ve written or a video you’ve created onto a different website”. - Amanda DiSilvestro
It involves republishing of your content in another website. Most of the time, there won’t be much difference in the content. Though in the republished version - it will be mentioned that the content originally appeared in another website and a link back to the original blog will also be provided.
Content syndication is a great way to ensure that your content reaches out to more people than it would normally. But if you are just starting out, syndication opportunities will be hard to come by. So what you could do is, target a few websites in your niche which offers syndication opportunities (here is a list of websites which offers syndication opportunities), pitch for guest posts, then deliver some amazing content. Sustain the relationship and keep providing them with great content. Once they are aware of your capability for providing great content, pitch for content syndication. Once they accept it, you can republish your best-performing content with these websites.
It is a real life-saver because you don’t have to put in extra time and effort in creating more content. And what more, your content’s visibility will increase dramatically.
For example, if you are a small startup with a small marketing budget, you would not be able to promote yourself so much. But imagine if you get content syndication opportunity with Huffington Post or Business Insider etc. It will increase your readership manifold - that means more traffic, more followers, and more conversions.
Here is how to do content syndication without upsetting Google Gods.
6. Tinkering Content
Instead of contributing one article on a particular topic, focus on a two part or three part series on a particular topic. This means that you will be able to provide a better reading experience and no information overload and of course, more backlinks.
Another thing you could do is - write two articles which are related, give one away as a guest post and post the other one on your blog. The key here is - each one alone should make sense to the reader, at the same time together it would be even more valuable to the reader. Make sure that each article carries the link to the other one.
When readers on your blog see that you have written a guest post for a more established publisher, it increases your credibility. And when readers of the guest post see that you have written an article in continuation, they will probably click it (if your content is good). This means more traffic to your website. Either way, it can help increase your followers.
7. Remix “De-Risked” Content
This was coined by Walter Chen of iDoneThis.com. According to him “you should always look at what content has been successful in your area and mimic it while making it your own”.
You could apply the same concept while writing a guest post. First, find out the articles in your blog that did really well with readers, then combine them together (if it is logical) into one single content, then tweak a little bit to create a new article and submit it as your host.
This ensures that your guest post will perform well because you already know that readers will find it interesting and useful. And when the readers are impressed by your article, you will definitely see a marked increase in your followers.
Related Article: Boost Your Blog Traffic: How to Safely Build Backlinks
If you want to make the most of you guest blogging efforts, never think like this - ‘it is not my blog, so I am not responsible for anything’. Yes, link juice is what we are all after, but that is not everything. Be proactive, interact with your new readers, ensure that your content really gets the eyeballs it deserves and develop a strong relationship with blog owners.
And what do you get out of it - a cost-effective way to build your brand.
Want more proof? Have a look at how Leo Widrich helped Buffer reach 100,000 registered users almost entirely via guest posting.