Using Guest Writers to Beef Up Your Blog
Experts predict that content marketing isn’t just a trend; it’s here to stay. Small-business owners who ignore its existence are missing big opportunities to connect with customers and keep them engaged.
Don’t have time to write original blog posts as part of a content marketing strategy? Consider reaching out to guest bloggers who can provide compelling online content that your readers will find informative and valuable. For companies on a tight budget, this method is generally more affordable than hiring a professional writer, though you’ll need to tread cautiously.
Before you begin recruiting guest bloggers, take these steps:
- Create an editorial calendar. Estimate how many blog posts you want to run per week. Frequency is critical to SEO, so aim to update your blog at least once or twice a week. Determine how many of these posts you or staff members can realistically handle; you’ll need to curate the rest. Outline topics for the guest writers that complement the in-house pieces you’ve planned. (The last thing you want are posts that are redundant, or worse, contradict one another.)
- Analyze your blog’s metrics. Some writers are willing to write an original post or grant reprint permission to gain exposure. To convince them that your blog is worth their time and effort, share how many visitors your blog receives per month and how many views your most popular posts receive.
- Come up with incentives. For some writers, exposure is enough; others will want something in return. Consider offering to link back to their website or granting them permission to repost your content. Or provide one of your products or services in exchange for content.
- Keep an open mind. Blogs have become multimedia, so don’t limit contributions only to articles. Accept video and audio clips, informational graphics, and lists.
Once you have a plan in place, here are some tips for finding quality guest bloggers:
- Subscribe to free online resources. MyBlogGuest and BloggerLinkUp offer free memberships to writers looking for exposure through guest blogging and to businesses in search of content.
- Mine industry events. Conferences, trade shows, seminars, and the like will provide you with excellent access to experts who cover topics relevant to your audience. Take note of interesting speakers and follow up with them to request contributions to your blog. You’ll get much further if you actually talk about a speaker’s presentation. For example: “I saw your keynote on ___, and I think my readers would benefit from your expertise. Would you be open to writing a 300-word guest blog on the subject that I can share with my audience? I’ll include your byline, biography, and links back to your website.”
- Post a call for submissions on your company’s website. Announce that you are accepting guest bloggers, making sure to include very clear guidelines about what you expect. Include the topics you will accept, word counts for your pieces, and style guidelines you want to enforce. Provide disclaimers about plagiarism and copyright infringement. Doing so will encourage submissions of higher-quality content.
- Build connections with your favorite bloggers. Read and comment on their posts, tweet about them, and share their posts on Facebook and Twitter. Better yet, link back to their blogs from your own. Once you’ve established a connection, you can send them a message saying, “I love your work and share your advice with my readers often. Would you be open to writing a guest post for my blog?” You can also ask those bloggers for permission to repost their content.
- Use Google Blog search. Use a query such as “guest blogger management consulting” to find pieces written by guest bloggers on specific topics. People who have written guest blogs before are likely to consider writing for you, so that kind of search is a good place to start if you don’t have any connections with writers yet.
- Sign up for industry-specific press releases. Authors who cover your industry will likely have publicists who share their books’ content in order to promote them. (This is often content you may use verbatim.) Other PR firms issue press releases about research studies pertinent to your industry. (This is data that you may integrate into posts and attribute to its source.) Newswise offers a free service that distributes news alerts and provides access to experts’ contact information.
Jaimy Ford is a business writer and editor. She writes subscription newsletters, training tools and blogs that focus on professional development, leadership, productivity and more. Her goal in everything she writes is to provide actionable advice that you can put to use immediately.