Posted on January 23, 2012
What is guest blogging anyway?
Guest blogging is when you spend time and effort crafting a well thought out post, but, instead of publishing it on your own blog, you give it to a friend to publish for free.
But why would you do such a preposterous thing? Is it just because you like Joseph and his blog? That may be true, but shouldn't you be working on your own website? Shouldn't you spend the time it's taking to write the post and use it on your own site?
The answer may surprise you because it's a 100% "no."
Gurus like Jon Morrow have long been singing the praises of guest blogging and what it can do for website traffic. Jon recommends new bloggers (under 1,000 subscribers) spend 20% of their time writing and 80% of their time promoting their site.
As you probably know, you can promote your site in many ways from Facebook to Twitter to offering free samples of your products, but guest blogging takes it a step further because the blog you are writing for typically allows a byline about you at the bottom of your post.
Depending on the blogger, you could be allowed a variable number of links. These links can go to your blog, your Twitter, and your Facebook page for example. Now, it may not seem like much if you guest post on your best friend's blog about her dog. But if you write for some of the most popular bloggers in your niche, a simple link like that could send thousands of visitors to your site.
Now, think about that type of traffic and envision guest posting 2-3 times a week.Sounds grand right? Like an overnight sensation? There's just one problem. Why should the popular blogger take a guest post from you?
Think of it this way: You wouldn't let just anyone babysit your kid. You probably would get to know the babysitter, check their references, and maybe Google around a bit to make sure they weren't in jail last week.
If you're anything like me, your blog is kind of like your baby. You love it and spend time with it and try to help it grow. So you can't have just anyone write for you for fear they could mess it up! So what you have to do is make blogger friends.
One of the lessons I've learned in the short year I've been blogging is that you make blog friends just like you make real life friends. First, you act like yourself. You don't try to one up people. You might make friendly suggestions or point out an embarrassing typo. You keep up with them, reply to their tweets, and eventually one day, they could ask you to guest post, like Joseph did for me.
If that doesn't happen, another way to secure a guest post is by making a pitch. Once again, you wouldn't like it if a random stranger came up to you and asked if they could babysit your child. So, when you do make a suggestion or ask if you can guest post, you want to make sure the blogger knows who you are.
Popular bloggers receive hundreds of e-mails a day. If they know you, they will open your e-mail. If they recognize you because you comment on their blog three times a week, they just might consider your idea.
If these techniques do not work the first time, try again. The blogging world is a competitive community, and it often takes a bit of good old-fashioned hard work to get your name out there.
Speaking of hard work, let's talk about the post itself: Make sure it's the best post you've ever written. Scour it time and time again for typos. Think critically about what you want your tagline to say at the bottom of the post, as the words you choose often contribute to your search engine optimization.
Now for the good stuff: Publication Day! It's pretty fun seeing your work on someone else's site. At least for me as a freelance writer, the more people that read my words, the happier I am. On the guest post day, be a great online presence. Tweet and retweet the post. Put it on facebook. Respond to any comments or questions left on the post. Remember to thank the blogger who let you write for them, and don't let your association with them end there. Remain friends, keep networking, and recommend their services to others.
Ultimately, just remember that guest posting for as many bloggers as possible not only enhances your writing but it can also lead to other great opportunities.