How Guest Blogging Can Grow Your Brand

by Kyle Blasco

For all the aspiring or current blog writers out there looking to expand their audience and web presence, look no further than guest blogging.

Guest blogging carries both good and bad connotations. Guest blogging enables you to build an audience around your brand, establish new connections in and out of your niche, and earn links back to your site (for SEO.)

However, guest blogging has also brought low-quality spam content, which rots all over the web. Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s possible to produce high-quality content and benefit from posting it on a website that is not your own.

In this article, I will highlight the key strategies that will make guest blogging worth your time.

Be Methodical in Your Research

We all want to get out there and take action immediately, but that may not be the best idea with guest blogging. First, take time to research which blogs may be a good idea to contribute to. You want to target something with a decent audience. Don’t stress on writing for the most successful blogs on the web right away. You can work your way up with time. Any blog with a steady audience can be beneficial.

You can find websites by simply typing a variety of queries related to guest blogging and posting along with a broad keyword relevant to your topic. You can also use more advanced features like Google Reader and actually search for blogs by name or topic area. This will show you the stats of the blog, such as subscriber count and the number of posts a week.

Google Reader is helpful in filtering-out blogs with little audience reach—which are a waste of your time. You also want to be aware of blogs that are littered with guest content. A solid blog should have regular writers producing most of their content, with one, maybe two guest posts a week maximum. If you find a site loaded with guest posts, it most likely is for illegitimate reasons.

Don’t be a Telemarketer with Your Intentions

Instead of just sending out emails to blog owners asking if you can guest post something on their blog, try and establish a relationship with them first. Cold-calling is hardly valued or successful in most venues on this Earth.

It’s helpful to be hanging around on whichever blogs and pages you’re targeting for a few weeks. Commenting on articles and being active with blog owners on social media is a good way to catch their eye. They’ll get to know and recognize you. So when you do ask to guest post on their blog, they won’t be so put-off by the request.

The Goal is an Audience, not simply Traffic

Traffic is traffic; you can pay for it and not necessarily be better off. The key with guest blogging is you’re already presenting yourself before the niche you seek to expand in. People reading the blog are already followers or frequent visitors of it and when they read your post they may jump over to your site for more.

If you really are producing quality stuff then there’s a chance they’ll come back and follow you too. At the least, they’re aware of you as a person in the know on whichever topic you’re writing on. Make sure, however, that your site can withstand the traffic and have something to offer the potential audience flowing to you; otherwise it’s all for nothing.

Guest blogging can dramatically improve your reputation in whichever community you’re going for, in addition to the blogging community as a whole. It’s important that the stuff you’re posting can stand alone on quality though, no matter what other goals you might have.

Cultivate your Network through Optimization

The task of becoming a larger web presence may seem daunting, but it’s achievable. Anyone who is a big-time content publisher certainly started out as a small-time one.

A critical step in guest blogging is to really know the market you’re going to post in. Specifically, the types of content the audience likes and how they like the content presented. By looking back and studying what other guest posters have done and how it was received you can optimize your content to be more successful.

And of course the more successful and well-received you are, the more the audience will gravitate toward you and your site. The goal is to go viral: shares, tweets, likes, plus ones, and RSS feed’s. Open Site Explorer is exceptional for studying what content on a particular blog has been the most successful and how it was shared.

Don’t Forget the Basics

After all the strategy, it’s easy to lose focus of the basic SEO stuff. Write naturally, but still optimize with keyword targeting. Maybe not the top keywords you’re trying to rank for on your site, but secondary keywords that are not as competitive. Research which primary keywords you’d like to go after on your site while still ranking well with the secondary keywords on your guest blogging opportunities.

You don’t need to smother your content with a bunch of links back to your own work, either. One or two will be plenty. And be creative in your bio with an anchor text that can merge with your branding. You don’t want to explicitly state your brand without crafting a nifty call-to-action to go along. So, don’t say “Matt’s guitar blog,” say something like “Matt preaches the sweet sounds of guitar here in his blog.” Take that for what it is. But my point is to make the anchor text more enticing than a simple option listing.

Prove Your Worth

And by all means don’t be a one-and-done blog poster. No relationship has ever been built off one awesome guest post. Try to be a semi-regular contributor to the blog—once or twice a month. Or, if you have a broader idea for a guest post, pitch a multiple-part series to the blog master. This will definitely increase your chances of sticking in the minds of the audience you’re writing for.

This article was written by blogger and Internet marketer Kyle Blasco. To learn more about Kyle, you can connect with Kyle on Google+.

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