Having a blog where you generate regular, informative content that focuses on topics relevant to you/your business and your industry can be an effective marketing strategy.
Combine this with proper keyword research and SEO, and you have a great channel to market yourself.
The total number of bloggers in the world is expected to reach 31.7 million by the year 2020. Not to mention, marketers who prioritize blogging are 13X more likely to achieve a positive ROI on their efforts.
The trend in blogging has reformed itself lately to include guest blogging as one of the most effective ways of inbound marketing.
The founders of Buffer, the social media tool, have successfully managed to acquire more than 100,000 customers simply through posting guest blogs.
Although effective, guest blogging can be difficult to implement at scale. You need to set up a streamlined process, and put a lot of thought into every step in it.
But don’t start sweating just yet, we’re here to help you with that. In this post, we’re going to take you through the most important part of setting up a scalable guest posting strategy, which is creating a step-by-step process to execute it successfully. So, without further ado, here they are.
#1 Set Your Goals
Let’s make this transparent. At the end of the day, the objective of posting guest blogs is to market yourself and your brand/business.
Hence, as is the case with any other marketing strategy, you need to first structure your end goals. This could be one or more things; it could be to popularizing your business, increasing traffic to your site, improving SEO, creating a better link profile, introducing your business to new audience, etc.
Whatever the case might be, having a clear idea of your end goal is crucial for you to be able to determine what you want to write about, and where you want your content posted.
For example, if you’re in the automotive industry and want to market yourself as an expert in tuning car engines to your target audience, you could write a post on that topic and get it published on a site like AutoInfoZone.
#2 Create a Network of Sites To Contribute To
For any given industry, there are bound to be hundreds of bloggers, and just as many websites that accept guest blogs.
Your next step in this process is to identify and create a network of the sites that are best suited for your blog and your end goals.
There are several ways you can go about finding these websites. One of the most common yet effective methods is to search for “your keyword/industry/niche” + “write for us/become a contributor” on Google.
For example, if you’re writing about wildlife and you want to find a site to contribute to, you can search for “wildlife” + “write for us”, and voila! You’re already off to a great start, as you can see from the image below.
There are plenty of other search strings that you can make use of. Here’s an exhaustive list of such queries that you can employ.
Apart from this, you can also use social media sites like Twitter to search for other businesses in your industry, and look up if they have promoted any guest blogs on their timeline. Alternatively, you can use websites such as Alltop, which lists the top sites industry-wise.
#3 Build Rapport
Once you’ve hand-picked the sites that you would like to contribute to, it’s time to introduce yourself to them and start building a rapport before you pitch your blog.
The reason behind this is that authoritative websites that accept guest posts usually receive a lot of requests each day, and familiarizing yourself with them beforehand helps keep yours from being pushed to the background.
There are several ways you can go about this. You can:
Follow them on social media and share some of their best posts.
Comment on their social media and blog posts, making sure to say something insightful that can spark a response from them.
Send them an email letting them know how their services/products/insights have helped you. You can use an online marketing tool like BuzzStream to send out bulk emails and make this task easier for you.
#4 Choose The Right Topics
While you’re trying to build rapport, you also need to think about the right topic for each website in your network. Focus on choosing a topic that they will instantly go for and one that has worked for them in the past, while staying relevant to your own niche. So how do you do this? Well, here are a couple of ways.
You can go through their blog and check out the topics that they have focused on the most, and try to think of ways in which you can provide additional insight or information on that topic. At the same time, you need to choose a topic that is closely related to your business, so that you can provide an in-depth post that will allow you to showcase yourself as an expert in your industry.
#5 Pitch It Right
Before you make your pitch, do make sure that you’re pitching an original piece that hasn’t been published anywhere else, including your own blog. Come up with a personalized email for your pitch, and outline what your topic and content will include.
Equally important is your own bio that you send across. Make sure to highlight a couple of your best blog posts, if possible.
Include information about yourself that the websites can relate with the industry. There are a lot of ways to customize your pitch according to the website that you’re pitching for, and you can read more about that in this article.
You can also automate your outreach to a certain extent, allowing you more time to focus on actually coming up with an impressive pitch. Here’s a list of some of the best tools you can use for this.
#6 Manage Your Workflow
Once you receive the ‘go ahead’ for a guest post, you need to make sure that you have a system in place that lets you monitor and manage your tasks efficiently.
You can use a tool like Asana to create and execute projects in a timely manner, with due dates assigned to each task so that you don’t lag behind.
It also helps to have a checklist that will help you break down each individual task into smaller sub tasks. For example, take here’s a checklist that makes it easier for you to compartmentalize your tasks:
Get target keyword
Move file to Google Docs (To make it easier to share, in case you use a CMS like WordPress)
Get post published
Hopefully, by now, your post gets accepted and published. However, your job is not yet done. Once you receive word that your post is live, it’s time for you to actively promote it across all your social media and other marketing channels.
It always helps to tag and mention a word or two about the website where you’ve posted your blog as well, and help make it a mutually beneficial transaction.
#8 Follow Up
No, your job is STILL not done. In order to make your guest posting strategy effectively scalable, you need to stay on top of all the guest blogs that you have written, and keep following up. And by following up we mean:
Checking out and responding to all the comments that you receive on your posts.
Sending a ‘Thank You’ email to the person/business whose blog you posted on. Apart from showing courtesy, this also helps propel further communication, and in a lot of cases, more opportunities to write for them again.
Subscribing to that website’s blog and actively reading and commenting on their other posts to keep the rapport going.
If you keep this process going, it will definitely help you not just to get better websites to publish your blog, but also get more than just one post published in each of those sites and scale your guest posting strategy to new heights.