Whether you’re a speaker, writer, or blogger, guest posting on other blogs is a great way to help generate word of mouth for your ministry and website traffic for your site/blog.
So today I want to help you figure out how to make guest posting work for you!
Maybe you have your own blog, or maybe you’re a speaker or an author with a website, but not an active blog. That’s okay! Whether or not you have a blog, you can benefit from being on blogs.
It’s much less work to write posts on blogs that are already up and running. As my agent Chip MacGregor likes to say, “the secret to good marketing is figuring out where people already are and go and stand in front of them.”
So find a blog where the people that you want to reach are already hanging out, and then go and write for them!Guest posting is a great way to generate word of mouth--but are you doing it wrong? Click To Tweet
What are the Benefits of Guest Posting?
Really quickly, when you guest post on other people’s blogs, you can:
- Grow your own mailing list (so that you can find people to talk to about your speaking, your books, or whatever else you want to generate word of mouth for!)
- Get links back to your website or blog
- Get Google to rank you higher for key search terms
- Grow your social media
And it’s often easier to do each of these things by guest posting on other people’s blogs than it is to try to put a ton of work into building your own blog!
How to Make Guest Posting Work for You
I write a large blog in the Christian marriage and sex niche, and I have a lot of people guest posting for me. There’s a big difference, though, between the guest posts that actually work for the writers and those that don’t really reap very many benefits for those writers. Here’s how to get the most bang for all your work crafting a great guest post.How to make guest posting work for you--and grow your ministry or business! Click To Tweet
1: Know What Your Aim Is
Let’s say you’re an author. It’s very difficult to sell a book directly from a guest post, especially if you’re a novelist. Before people buy the book they often have to hear about you several times. That’s why your aim, when you’re guest posting, should not be to sell your book. It should be to get more readers onto your newsletter list.
Similarly, it’s very difficult to book a speaking engagement directly from a guest post. So likewise, if you’re a speaker, your aim is not primarily to build awareness for your speaking ministry. It’s to find people who may be interested in what you have to say, and to sign them up for your newsletter list.
That’s right–you need a newsletter! I have a blog that gets over 20,000 people on it a day, but I can tell you that the vast majority of my book sales come from emails, not from blog posts. It’s the people who get an email from me in their inbox who become loyal followers.
2: Plan Your Hook
You want people on your newsletter list, but how are you going to get them there? Simply writing a great article isn’t enough. They may read it and think, “that’s really smart.” But how are they going to give you their email address so that you can stay in touch?
By offering them a freebie that they want! When I guest post, in the bio I always say, “Get Sheila’s ebook, 36 Ways to Bring Sexy Back to Your Marriage, right here!” Then I link to my newsletter sign up page.
When people guest post on my site and offer a freebie, they get about ten times as many clicks to their websites as the guest posters who don’t offer a freebie. And they capture those people on their newsletter lists!
What should your freebie be? Something that goes along with your niche. If you’re a fiction writer, that can be trickier. But you can still offer something like, “20 Books that will change your life right now”, or “10 recipes from the Pioneer Days”, or whatever may entice people. If you’re a speaker, offer a freebie that addresses one of the major struggles that you speak about–10 Things to Add to Your Day to Control Anxiety, or The 20 Things You Can Throw Out of Your Closet–right now!
3: Find a Well Known Blog to Guest Post on
If you’re going to go to all the work of writing a guest post, you may as well get that guest post up on a blog that’s drawing lots of eyeballs! First, create a list of blogs in your niche. Then go to Similar Web and type in the blog’s address. That will give you an idea of how popular the blog is. I tend to only guest post on blogs that are rated less than 100,000 in the U.S. To give perspective, Facebook and Google are in the top 10. So the lower the number, the more traffic the blog has.
4: Check their Submission Guidelines
Most big blogs have submission guidelines somewhere on their menu. Read them and follow them to a tee. Some blogs will want you to submit graphics with your post; some would rather create them themselves (I’m in the latter category, for instance). Follow the instructions for word count, especially. Check out some recent posts and see: how short are the paragraphs? How many headings to they use?
5: Include Links Back in Your Post
When you’re writing your post, most blogs welcome you putting between 2-3 links back to your website within your post. If you do have a blog, this is a great way to get traffic. I have a popular post on 2-player board games to play with your spouse, for instance, and I want Google to keep thinking, “this is a great resource for 2-player board games!”. That way when people search for that, my post will come up. And here’s how Google works: the more sites link to your site using those keywords, the higher you’ll rank in a search engine.
So if you’re an author trying to rank for “western romances” or “Christian teen” or something else, make sure you use those words and link back to key pages or posts on your website. Or if you’re a speaker trying to rank for battling anxiety, then you want to use those words to link back to your speaking topics page.
(Notice how up above I linked “Christian marriage and sex” to my blog, too? That was deliberate! Hi, Google!)
6. Write a Bio
You’re going to need an enticing bio at the end of your post that will make people want to click through to your website. Here’s my friend Rajdeep Paulus’ bio that she uses when she guest posts for me:
Rajdeep Paulus studied English Literature at Northwestern University, and spent over a decade as an English Teacher and SAT Tutor, during which she married her best friend from Chicago whom she then followed to the island of Dominica where he began medical school. Fourteen years, four daughters, and a little house on a hill in the quaint town of Locust Valley, New York later, she now blogs weekly and writes masala-marinated, Y.A. fiction.When Raj is not tapping on her Mac, you can find her dancing with her princesses, kayaking with her hubs, coaching basketball or eating dark chocolate while sipping a frothy, sugar-free latte. She blogs at www.insearchofwaterfalls.com and secretly hopes someday she’ll own a laptop that functions under water.
Also send along a picture of yourself and pictures of your book covers.
When Raj guest posts about sex, we always use this as the first sentence:
Rajdeep Paulus seriously hopes her mother isn’t reading this blog. Raj studied English literature…
That way we get some laughs right off the bat!
7: Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Here’s the hard part: keep doing this. Over and over again. Set a goal to submit one guest post every two weeks, or however often you think you can manage it. Then start sending out your newsletter regularly. And you just may find that you’re creating that ready-made audience who is eager to buy your book or hire you to speak!