However, like any other marketing activity, guest blogging cannot be done in isolation and needs to be connected with certain pre and post activities in order to make it really work.
Keeping that in mind, here are a few things that, I believe, every website should do before launching a guest blogging campaign.
1) Have a Clear Objective with Guest Blogging
This might sound very obvious, but nothing is more important for the success of your guest blogging efforts than having a clear objective.
Far too many businesses and bloggers consider guest blogging to be a solution itself.
Naturally, most of them never achieve any notable results from it.
Guest blogging is only a bridge between you and your objective. It is not the objective itself.
That’s why it is extremely important to ask yourself why you’re guest blogging and what exactly do you expect to achieve from it.
Guest blogging objectives can vary according to your business needs. For example, a freelance writer like me would use guest blogging to attract more clients.
Similarly, an online furniture shop could use guest blogging to attract potential clients to its website.
While this may seem very obvious, your objective will ultimately define the type of blogs you choose for guest blogging and the type of content you develop for your guest posts.
In short, a clear objective will give direction to every aspect of your guest blogging campaign.
2) Choose the Right Blogs
Once you determine your objectives for guest blogging, it will naturally guide you in choosing the right blogs to guest post on.
Fundamentally, there are 3 factors that you should look for.
a- The blog should be visited regularly by your target audience. For example, if you’re a freelance writer looking for clients in the internet marketing and blogging niche, your target audience will consist of small business owners, internet marketing blogs, digital marketing agencies and tech entrepreneurs.
b- The blog should have a large following and a loyal community of readers. You can get a fair idea of the size of a blog from its social media following, the frequency of comments on its posts, its Google PR and its Alexa rankings.
c- The blog accepts guest post submissions : )
Try to maintain a list of all the blogs that meet this criterion so that you can keep an eye on them for future guest posts as well.
3) Get Familiar With Your Target Blogs
Once you have screened out your target blogs, it’s time now to have a closer look at their content.
One of the most common mistakes, that guest bloggers make, is to approach a blog with a guest post proposal without having a detailed look at its content.
You need to understand that most blog editors love quality guest posts. They’re always waiting for people to approach them with a high quality piece.
However, if a topic has already been covered in detail on a particular blog, or if it is completely irrelevant to the audience of that blog then how can you expect the editor to respond positively?
So make sure you have a good look at the blog before you pitch any guest post ideas to its editor.
Here are a few things that you should watch out for.
a- Look for the most popular posts on the blog. That will give you a fair idea of the type of content that works with its audience.
b- Go through the archives of the blog and look for the posts that are similar to the guest post topic you have in mind. See if everything related to the topic has already been covered or if there’s any unique angle or a different perspective that you can offer on the topic.
c- Also go through the comments on some of the more popular posts and see what the readers are saying about the topic.
d- Most blogs, that accept guest posts, usually have detailed guest post submission guidelines as well. Go through these guidelines in detail and make sure you stick to them while pitching your idea.
4) Build a Relationship With the Host Blog
Once you’ve gone through your target blogs and identified a few topics that you can pitch for guest posts, it’s time now to start building a relationship with the blog owner.
While it’s not absolutely necessary to know the blog owner in advance, it does make it much easier for you to understand the type of content the blog owner is looking for and also helps the chances of your post getting accepted.
And unlike the real world, online relationships can be developed much more quickly.
Here are a few steps that I would recommend you to take,
a- Follow the official accounts of the blog on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and any other social media website applicable.
b- “Like” and “Share” a few of their posts on Facebook and give them a few Retweets and mentions on Twitter.
c- Leave a few insightful comments on some of the recent posts of your target blog.
d- You can send a short email to the blog owner as well with some quick feedback about the blog or just to say thanks on a high value post.
Since relationship building requires regular interactions, therefore you should spend a few minutes every day to comment on your target blogs and share their posts on social networks.
Once you manage to have a few interactions with the owner of your target blog, you can now send them a well-crafted pitch and discuss your guest post idea with them.
5) Prepare Your Website for Visitors
If you are an intelligent guest blogger, which I assume you are, then you might already be following some of the advice that I’ve discussed above.
However, all your efforts can still go in vain if you do not prepare your own website/blog for the visitors that your guest post will send your way.
As I said at the start of this post, guest blogging is only a tool to achieve certain objectives. It is not the objective itself.
So you need to get your own website ready to properly receive your guest post visitors and make it easy for them to take action.
You can do that either by setting up a dedicated landing page or by routing them to a page that showcases your products and services in detail.
Again, it will all depend on your objectives.
For example, if your objective is to get email subscribers, you might route your visitors to a landing page and offer a free eBook or email course in return for their email address.
Similarly, if the objective is to get the visitors contact you for your services, then you might just route them to your portfolio page.
Whatever the objective is, make sure you don’t waste all the good work just because your own house is not in order
As a guest blogger it is extremely important to keep the ultimate objectives in mind. It doesn’t work in isolation and will not give you the right results if you don’t prepare a workable strategy.
So instead of wasting hours of valuable time on aimless guest blogging, make sure you do your homework first and prepare yourself before going on a guest blogging spree.
Almost everything that I’ve said in this post comes from my personal experiences as a guest blogger. So I would love to know how you approach guest blogging and prepare yourself for it.
I look forward to your comments.