Guest posting like a pro is just a tip away!
If you blog for your business, then one of your traffic strategies should be guest posting on related blogs.
Guest posting puts your message and your business in front of a larger audience. And if you’ve written a compelling piece, a portion of that audience will come on over to your site in search of more of your awesomeness.
If done really well, they may even subscribe to your list. Score.
The mechanics behind guest posting aren’t really different from posting on your own site. But there are a couple of things you want to be sure are just right for the site hosting your article.
In addition to the info below, keep in mind that your post must be relevant to the host’s usual content. And the host may have specific guidelines for submission of guest posts. Absolutely find and follow their guidelines.
You want the reader to know you’re the author right from the start. This piques their curiosity, gives you the credit right away, and begins the trail of breadcrumbs back to your site.
At the top of the post, request that the publisher includes either a short opener identifying you as the writer (that includes your URL), or an obvious top-of-page byline.
Body of Text
Photo: Any images you use should be compressed. You want to avoid bogging down the host site with huge image files. Slow display will also frustrate your reader and increase the chance they will bounce before reading your work.
Include all relevant copyrights, and watermark your own photos.
Links: Double check your links before you ship your guest post. Double check them again after the post has been published. If you find a dead link in your published piece, contact the publisher immediately to have it corrected.
Headings: Make it easy for the publisher to properly produce your vision by clearly designating headings. If you’re sending your piece in a doc via email, mark your headings with html code. Here’s an example:
To indicate Heading 1:
<h1>Mac n Chess is for Babies</h1>
To indicate Heading 2:
<h2>You’re Serving What to Your Kids?</h2>
To indicate Heading 3:
<h3>Don’t Poison the Ones You Love</h3>
(Just kidding . . . we love mac n cheese!)
Content upgrade: When appropriate, a guest post is a fantastic place to add a content upgrade. But don’t throw in some random thing just to capture email addresses. Your upgrade has to be relevant to the piece, and truly valuable to the reader. And, use your best judgement: get permission first if necessary.
URL: At the end of your piece, you need a short bio that gives the reader an enticing taste of who you are and includes your URL. This is your last chance to make a connection with them and draw them over to your website.
Bio Photo: Include a photo of you in the footer bio. You should be using one head-shot across all media, and that’s the best photo to use here. In addition to my head-shot, I have a photo of me that I include in-content. It is a closer crop and makes a better in-content connection with the reader.
Remember, it’s all about that face in the online world. So take every opportunity to put your face with your work and make that connection.
Social Media Links: Another thing to include in the footer bio is links to your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or whatever other social media channel you use regularly. Just like including your URL, make it easy for the reader to go and engage with you in other places.
Comments: If you want somebody to do something, you should ask them to do it. Comments are no different. If you can, then work the ask-for-comments into the end of your piece. Or add an ask after your footer bio.
Then, be sure to go back and reply to them!
Don’t wait for the host to do all the promotion for you. Treat your guest post with the same level of care and enthusiasm as you would a post you drop on your own site. Promote it in whatever way you usually do.
When possible, it’s super nice of you to give your host some extra love by saying a little more about them, and asking your audience to -like/subscribe/follow/whatever- your host.
Remember that your host is part of your network, and you need to properly care for them like you do everybody else.
Gratitude: As with everything, it’s important that you express gratitude to your host. Make sure you’re saying “thank you for publishing me!” in your correspondence with them. Bonus points for saying thank you publicly in a social media post that encourages the reader to engage with more of their content.
Timeliness: Just like gratitude, timeliness is critical. Your host site may be working from an editorial calendar, or have your piece slated as part of a series (or be expecting a week off from writing!) Respect their time and schedule, and get the piece to them by the deadline. If you need more time, reach out and ask for it.
Now you know how to do it like a pro . . . get out there and do an awesome guest post!
Have you ever done a guest post? I’d love to see it! Drop your guest post URL in the comments, and tell me about your experience!
And, please pass this along to your friends! Give them a fighting chance to have their guest posts work well for them, too.