Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today...
Are you currently writing guest posts?
I see this problem all too often when I’m consulting various businesses and bloggers. They aren’t using guest posts as a lead generation strategy because they don’t see the benefits.
That’s because they don’t want to waste time creating content for other websites. These bloggers would much rather put more effort into publishing blogs on their own sites.
If this sounds like your mentality, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity here.
Guest posts are one of my favorite ways to drive more traffic to a website. I use this strategy all the time.
If you’re not convinced that guest blogging will benefit your business, this is the perfect guide for you. Those of you who want to begin guest blogging but don’t know how to start or turn these posts into site traffic, you’re in luck as well.
As an experienced guest blogger, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the topic so you can increase traffic to your website. Let’s dive in.
Write for websites related to your brand
If you’ve been writing guest posts for a while but haven’t seen a boost in website traffic, you may want to re-evaluate the websites you’re writing for.
Here’s the first question you should ask yourself:
Is this website related to my brand?
Don’t get me wrong. There is definitely some wiggle room and flexibility when it comes to answering this question.
I have several businesses. While they are all different, they all primarily focus on helping brands with their online marketing, lead generation, and site traffic.
Take a look at this guest post I wrote for Forbes magazine:
Forbes is a global brand. They specialize in topics related to business, entrepreneurship, technology, investing, and other similar subjects.
While their brand isn’t exactly like mine, it’s close enough. Plus, their readers and target audience are similar to mine as well.
Here’s another example. Let’s say you have an ecommerce brand that sells sneakers and sunglasses. Your guest blogging strategy doesn’t have to be restricted to websites specializing only in sneakers and sunglasses.
Instead, you could write for fashion blogs. But not just any fashion blog.
As I explained with my Forbes example, you need to make sure the readers fit within your target market. If your brand sells sunglasses made for males between the ages of 18 and 35, it wouldn’t make sense to write for a fashion blog that targets women over the age of 50. Make sense?
Although your current guest posts may have great substance and content, it won’t do you any good if they’re not published on the proper sites.
It’s okay to turn down guest posting opportunities if they don’t fit with your brand. Just don’t burn any bridges. Politely say “no, thank you” and explain why you’re not interested.
You never know. The person who reached out to you may end up working for another website in the future that’s more aligned with your industry. You’d want to keep that relationship on good terms.
Reach out to credible blogs
Don’t just sit back and wait for people to contact you about writing guest posts for their websites.
Unless you’ve got an extremely well-known website, name, reputation, and brand, chances are this may not happen. You need to be proactive and find websites on your own.
As you can see from this data, people don’t like seeing ads on websites. They can hurt a brand’s credibility. You may want to avoid reaching out to blogs that have an overwhelming number of ads.
As I just discussed, it’s best to start your search with blogs relevant to your brand.
But just because a website is relevant and has the same target audience as you do doesn’t mean you should write for it.
Do some research.
You want to find sites that already have lots of website traffic. It’ll be a waste of your time if you write for sites nobody reads.
In addition to the advertisements, there are other ways to tell whether a blog is credible. For starters, if it’s a big name brand you know and recognize as an authority in your industry, it’s a safe bet to assume they already have lots of traffic.
If you’re unsure about this, look at the engagement for their blog posts. Check the comments section. Are people interested?
Look at their posting frequency.
If a blog publishes only one new post per month, you can assume they don’t have a strong audience that drives lots of traffic.
But bloggers who post on a more frequent basis report stronger results in terms of engagement:
These are the kinds of websites you should try to contribute to.
That’s because their audience is more likely to come back to the site on a regular basis. As a result, your guest posts will be more likely to be seen, and your site will see more traffic as well.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to websites to inquire about guests posting. You may be pleasantly surprised by their responses.
As you know, blogging takes time. On average, it takes more than three hours to write a typical blog post.
These sites may be relieved to hear you’re willing to lighten their workload and help them produce more content.
What’s the worst-case scenario? They say no. Not a big deal. Just move on to the next site.
Show off your unique voice
A guest post isn’t the time to slack off when it comes to quality. Actually, it’s quite the opposite.
Unlike the readers from your own website, this new audience doesn’t know who you are yet. You haven’t won them over.
They may be skeptical because they’re reading something that’s different from what they’re used to. You need to recognize that these readers may be critical of the way you write.
Don’t disappoint them. Your guest posts should be an accurate reflection of the posts on your own site. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not.
Recall the example of my guest contribution to Forbes. If you read that article, you’ll recognize I wrote it with the same voice as I do all my other posts.
If your writing style is typically funny or sarcastic, continue using that unique style. Just make sure it’s done tastefully.
The last thing you want to do is offend someone or damage your brand. That won’t help you get more site traffic.
Write a strong introduction
People reading your guest posts won’t navigate to your website unless they actually read your post.
Considering that 43% of readers scan through posts and articles, the odds are against you that your content will get read in its entirety.
If you can’t write post introductions that hook your audience, people won’t have any reason to read the rest of your post and visit your website.
Your opening lines are essential. Your headlines are even more important:
After you come up with an engaging headline, you can use several approaches to hook your audience in the introduction.
Ask a question. If you recall, the opening line of this post was a question. Scroll back to the top if you don’t believe me.
You can also state an intriguing fact or statistic in your intro to pique the interest of the readers.
Identify a problem. Hint at a solution that can be found in the post. Don’t be ambiguous. Be direct and get straight to the point.
Talk about a subject your readers can relate to. Again, I’ll use this current post as an example.
I talked about the reasons why people are opposed to writing guest posts because I figured it was relevant to the majority of readers. But I also made comments about people who are currently writing guest posts but need some additional guidance.
With this approach, I was able to reach the widest possible audience and get them hooked with the introduction.
If you do this in your guest posts, people will be more likely to read the rest of your post and navigate to your website.
Include links to your own website
How can you expect people to navigate to your website if you don’t give them a link to click?
Don’t expect them to Google your name, do some investigation to see what company you own, and then visit your website from there.
That’s way too complicated, and nobody is going to take that many steps.
Instead, just include natural hyperlinks within the content of your posts. Writing guest posts is one of my favorite ways for you to consistently build backlinks.
If you do this correctly, people will click and be sent to your website directly.
But that’s not all. Having backlinks on other credible websites will positively impact your SEO ranking.
As a result, you’ll also benefit from an increase in organic search traffic.
Tell your story
It should be clear from the beginning that you’re writing a guest post.
Introduce yourself so the readers know right away the post is written by someone they’re unfamiliar with. Otherwise, your audience may not have a reason to visit your site if they don’t even know they’re reading content from a new author.
This is the perfect time for you to master the art of storytelling.
That’s because more than 90% of consumers want brands to deliver content that feels like a story:
Not sure what story to tell? Start with your own story.
Relate your background and expertise in the subject matter of the blog post.
If you own a successful business in an industry related to the topic, be sure to talk about it. Do you have a degree in a particular field that makes you an expert? Mention it.
All of this helps improve your credibility.
By letting the readers know you’re legitimate, you increase the chances they’ll navigate to your website as a result.
Encourage the site to promote your guest posts
This part is a little bit tricky. There is a fine line between writing a guest post and being part of a company.
Just because you’re writing a guest post doesn’t give you the authority to make decisions for that brand. But that doesn’t mean you can’t politely ask them to share your guest post on their social media pages.
You can even ask them to send it to their email subscribers.
A nice way to help the site meet your request is by offering to return the favor. You can tell them you’ll share the post on your social channels too.
This benefits everyone. Their website will get more traffic. As a result, more people will see your guest post, which increases the chances of you getting more traffic to your own site.
Track your results
How can you tell whether your guest post strategy is working?
You don’t know unless you use analytics and tools to your advantage. I recommend building unique links by creating UTM parameters:
Each hyperlink in your guest post can have a unique link. You’ll be able to see exactly how much traffic comes from these links.
If nobody is clicking on these links, obviously your strategy isn’t working.
There are a few different ways to go from here. You could potentially change the style of your posts and the placement of your hyperlinks within the content.
Or you could decide to stop writing guest posts for that particular site.
Regardless of your decision, you’ll need to track the results with these types of analytic tools to evaluate your performance properly.
Don’t just write one guest post and think that’s going to be enough to spike your site traffic. Continue writing for that blog if they allow you to.
You don’t have to go overboard. Once per month or so should be sufficient.
Just because you had success with one website doesn’t mean they have to be the only site you contribute guest posts to. Reach out to other brands as well.
Write for as many sites as possible, without spreading yourself too thin. You don’t want your own blog or brand to suffer as a result of your guest blogging.
Make sure you stay balanced, and don’t let your quality suffer. But the more sites you write for, the greater your chances of getting higher traffic to your website will be.
Contrary to popular belief, guest blogging is a great content marketing strategy. It’s an inexpensive way to drive more traffic to your website.
It’s important you write for sites related to your brand. Reach out to credible blogs, and pitch a guest post idea.
Stay true to your voice. You want this new audience to enjoy your writing so they can visit your website. Tell your story to prove you are an expert on particular topics.
Start with a strong introduction that hooks the readers. This will increase the chances that they’ll click on the hyperlinks throughout the post.
Promote your guest posts on social media and other distribution channels. Encourage the website you’re writing for to do the same.
Use tools to track your results with analytics. This will help you decide whether your strategy is effective.
Always look for new guest blogging opportunities. Build long term relationships with as many people as possible to help you increase your exposure.
If you follow the tips in this guide, your guest blogging strategy will translate to an increase in traffic to your own website.
How are your guest posts generating new leads and driving traffic to your website?