No matter what you are hearing today, guest blogging is a valuable tool. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to tell you why guest blogging is great.
But if you need to hear it again, here it is: guest blogging is GREAT! It will help you in many ways. It helps you gain exposure for yourself and your brand, and lets you reach out to your target market. It helps you get results.
That’s not to say it can’t be done better. Every blog you post doesn’t need to be a sales tactic, that would be wrong and your blog posts would scream “I am really just a creepy sales ad in disguise!”
Guest blogging is all about providing value to your readers on a relevant site. That’s the point, the whole point and nothing but the point. By providing value to your readers, they’ll naturally regard you as an authority in your field and hop right over to your corner of the Internet each and every time they need someone they trust.
Obviously you want more traffic to your own site. Obviously you want people to fall in love with your content. So what are some best practices for increasing traffic and create authoritative content?
Get People Engaged
Many believe they simply need more traffic to their site. But is that all they need? Think about what it is you actually want. More traffic is great, but the goal is to get your viewers to want to do something with your content. You know, like a call to action. In order to do this, make the conversation a two-way conversation. Don’t just talk to them; talk with them. Engage them. Woo them.
Audiences want to be stimulated. They want to learn. Give them a reason to drool over your content.
To keep your audience engaged, ask them to subscribe to your blog or give them something to download. That will include submitting their contact information or joining your newsletter list. These leads over time will lead to sales, if you play your cards right.
Write Blog Posts That Provide Value To The Reader
Let’s face it, most web content out there sucks. Don’t be one of those people. Invest in a great writer, one who knows how to create engaging content.
When planning your content, make sure the topic is relevant to your blog or the blog you are guest posting on, and one that your audience will find very interesting.
Here are a few best practices for creating content:
- Look at the most popular posts of the blog you’re guest posting on. See a trend? Look at what the most common topics are.
- Write about something that is current or newsworthy to your readers. Bonus points if it is a topic that is getting a lot of reader love.
- Go through some of the most popular blogs on their site (go back as far as 25) and see what has the most comments or shares. Then write about it in your own words and experiences.
Use this information in your pitch to the blog you want to guest post on. The editor or owner will be impressed.
Write Clear and Inviting Calls to Action
I’m going to be brutally honest with you: If you don’t provide an explicit reason for people to click on your link, they won’t do so. It’s silly to think you can just cross your fingers and hope that readers will head over to a random link you provide them.
Tell your readers what the next step is after they read your guest post and ask them to complete that step. Use the link you get with each blog post to your advantage.
And don’t make it suck either. Not only do you need to tell your readers to do something, you need to spell out why in plain language. For example, if you’re writing a blog post on social media, ask readers to download your free ebook on “15 Ways You Can Use Twitter To Engage Your Audience.”
Think benefits. Your call to action shouldn’t just say who you are, but also outline the results you can help them achieve.
Use Commenting As Your Secret Weapon
The process doesn’t end after your guest post is published.
Don’t forget to hang out in the comment section, too. People who leave comments are obviously trying to get your attention, in one form or another. Now I’m not talking about keeping negative comments going. Rather, I’m encouraging you to engage with the very people who are consuming your content, those that you are likely to convert into brand enthusiasts or customers.
This is when you get to have fun conversations with your reader, to further drive engagement. Commenting on your guest blogs shows you’re a real person who is willing to listen to readers. In fact, many people who take the time to comment expect a response. I dare you to scroll through some popular blogs out there and not find a comment or two that has people asking questions. Debates are especially fun to read.
Obviously your time is valuable, so there is no need to reply to every single comment if you don’t want to. If people leave comments saying thank you for the blog post or to simply say they like it, you can politely ignore those. But then again, if the point of the post is to show that you care about your readers, there’s no harm in replying with a simple “you’re welcome.” The choice is yours.
However, don’t ignore people who ask questions. Take this as your chance to really let your brand shine. If people are asking questions, it means that they think you are the expert on whatever subject you’re writing about. So go ahead and reply.
Better yet, include a call to action in your replies. Write something as simple as referring them to one of your links, or remind them that your free download can help with their problems.
The Lesson Here?
Guest blogging in order to provide value to readers isn’t going to go away anytime soon. Why not create a win-win situation where your readers get to learn something new, while you get targeted leads to your site?