How to Boost Your Content Marketing Strategy Through Guest Blogging

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Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Guest-blogging is one of the best online marketing strategies — and it’s fun, too, especially when you have momentum leading you to bigger and better opportunities on a regular basis.

The problem is, it’s notoriously hard to get started as a guest author. So, what can you do to generate that early momentum for your personal brand and become a guest author for the first time?

The advantages of guest authorship

First, you need to understand why guest authorship is so beneficial. The premise is simple: When you write posts on external publishing sites, you gain the following benefits:

  • Visibility. The more you write for external publications, the more your work is going to be seen, and the more brand recognition you’ll build. Considering that 89 percent of B2B marketers list brand awareness as their most important goal (above sales and lead generation), this is vital.

So, how can you get started and begin seeing these advantages in real-time? Here’s how:

Step 1: Build a personal brand.

Your first step is to create your personal brand. You’ll need to decide how you want to present yourself professionally, including your main areas of expertise and your main writing subjects. Claim all available social media profiles you can, and start building up a following.

QuickSprout has a detailed guide on personal branding you should read for more information.

Step 2: Create a hub.

Next, you’ll need to create a hub for yourself (usually a primary website or blog), where you can create and publish your own content regularly. This is going to serve as a sort of base of operations for forwarding your guest-post traffic and as a portfolio for potential publishers to review.

Spend some time perfecting the design, and load the blog with at least five highly detailed, well-written posts; these are going to serve as writing samples when you start making pitches to guest publishers.

After that, try to publish (and share) new content at least once a week to build your audience and keep your site looking up-to-date.

Step 3: Seek a publisher with few barriers to entry.

Once you have a hub in place, it’s time to choose your first publisher. High-level publishers won’t accept content from little-known sources, so it’s best to choose a publisher with few barriers to entry. Look at the following dimensions:

  • Existing authority. Is this a site that receives many awards and significant recognition? If so, this publisher probably accepts only already-established, well-credentialed authors.

If you need help finding some initial candidates, Peter Sandeen has an excellent list of guest blogging sites to help you get started.

Step 4: Make a pitch.

Once you have a target publisher in mind, the last step is to reach out with a pitch. Look for an editor’s contact information on the site (or review submission guidelines, if the site has any). If you’re struggling to find contact information, look up individual authors and find them on social media (Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn).

When you find an editor’s contact information, introduce yourself and send your pitch; though different publishers have different guidelines for pitches, most include a suggested headline, followed by a three-to-five-sentence description of the post you have in mind. Try to choose a topic that hasn’t been done yet, and one that both represents your expertise and is going to be valuable to your publisher’s audience. Moz has a fantastic guide on submitting pitches if you need further direction.

Hopefully, your pitch will be accepted, and you’ll be on your way to submitting and publishing your first guest post. Make sure you follow your publisher’s guidelines closely, and maintain a good relationship with your editor.

And, if your first attempt doesn’t work out, don’t fret — there are plenty of publishers out there, and one will be more than willing to give you your first opportunity. For more help getting started with guest posting to grow your business, listen to my podcast episode, The 7 Steps We Used to Become Writers for Major Media Publications.

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CEO of EmailAnalytics (emailanalytics.com), a productivity tool that visualizes team email activity, and measures email response time. Check out the free trial!

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