7 Lessons in Guest Blogging Strategy from Expert Bloggers

Brian Honigman ,


Companies that blog have an advantage over their competition since they typically receive 97% more inbound links, 67% more leads and 434% more indexed pages in the search engines, according to Social Media Today.

Guest blogging is a powerful technique to help grow your influence in your industry by building relationships with other bloggers, organizations and partners through sharing your expertise in the form of content on their blogs.

Through consistent guest blogging, your company can generate inbound links, increased visibility and traffic to your web properties and the ability to add value to new audiences potentially interested in your business.

However, it’s a lot more difficult to get started with guest blogging then it may sound. We asked seven expert guest bloggers to lend their answers to this question to help get your business started with guest blogging.

-- What's the best lesson you've learned about guest blogging that you wish you knew from the very beginning?

Here are the answers we received from the expert bloggers on how to be effective at guest blogging for your business.


1. Don’t Expect Overnight Success, Guest Blogging Is A Long-Term Effort.

Guest blogging is a long-term process of a lot of trial and error. You won't be done after one guest post at Mashable. Get prepared for a hard work, following up with people you contributed for at some point in the past and contributing again.

People get distracted after a couple of months of a lot of effort without seeing obvious results.

No, your website won't go down because of the flood of the traffic after your Lifehacker guest post goes live. People won't become your friends and followers forever just because they commented at your Mashable comment once.

To be able to stand out on a huge blog you need to deliver exceptional-quality, absolutely outstanding work of art that would match the interests of the blog audience (this is important). To be able to see the results from your contributions on a huge blog you need to become its regular (monthly) contributor while still delivering exceptional articles.

There are no shortcuts to guest blogging even if you are working hard! It's a slow process of making your way into an established community. It's a way from being a random guest in a wedding (where no one actually knows you) to becoming part of their family!

Ann Smarty is an experienced blogger, Community at Internet Marketing Ninjas and owner of MyBlogGuest.com – the ethical community of guest bloggers.




2. Guest Blogging Is A Powerful Relationship-Building Tool.

Right off the bat, you're building a bond beyond a 30-second handshake at a conference or networking event. Instead you say, "Hey, I love what you're doing, and I'd love to be a part of the success you're driving in a tangible and meaningful way." You kick start a business relationship for the long-term.

I've spent the last 3 years building a career as a content strategist and blogger. This year, I was finally able to leave my full-time job to become a writer and consultant. I have done very little outbound prospecting, and the funny thing is -- I don't even have a legitimate website. I get so many inbound leads, and they have all come from my work on other sites.

At the very beginning, someone told me that this pattern would start to unfold. But here's what I didn't expect -- all of the wonderful relationships I've built and the amazing people I've met. What I didn't realize that these people would be the driving forces behind my success as a new entrepreneur.

The people I've met have been infinitely more valuable than the money I've made. Somewhere along my journey, I stopped caring about exposure and started thriving on the community instead.

Ritika Puri is a content marketing consultant and a freelance business writer that often covers trends in business, Internet culture and marketing.




3. Always Keep Up With Comments On Your Guest Blog Posts.

I wish when I first started getting guest blogging opportunities I'd been more careful to keep up with comments on what I had posted. I've since learned that this is a great way to endear yourself with the blog's owner and earn the right (or better, invitation) to write more for the site.

Blog owner's like writers who bring engagement to their blog, and even more so encourage it by engaging with the commenters.

I now make it my practice to subscribe to the comments of any guest post I make so that I'll get an email alert when there are new comments, and then I make sure I respond to them where applicable.

I also make it a practice to have the first comment on any of my guest posts when they go live, saying something like, "Hi, I'm the author of this post. I'd love your comments or questions, and I'll do my best to respond to any you have to offer. Thanks for reading my article!"

Mark Traphagen is the Director of Digital Outreach for Virante Inc. He helps businesses build strategies to increase brand influence and attract natural links and social signals.




4. Pay It Forward, Create Exceptional Content & Develop An Editorial Calendar.

While I had the advantage of writing an established column for ClickZ before I started, here are 3 points related to guest blogging I wish I knew about guest blogging before I started my blog.

*Check out the quality of the blogs and their audience. In the early days I paid it forward with columns for blogs that had microscopic traffic.

*Create amazing content. Don’t throw a bunch of your content scraps into an article. Take the time to write your best stuff.

*Develop a manageable editorial calendar. Don’t wait until the last minute or take ad hoc assignments. Be proactive and determine where you want your content to appear.

Heidi Cohen is the president of Riverside Marketing Strategies, as well as the chief content officer at HeidiCohen.com. Check out her article - Blogging: What I Wish I Knew When I Started.




5. Follow Up With Editors Often. Your Assertiveness Will Be Awarded.

Be persistent. Persistence is often the key to landing that dream column or guest blogging gig. It's what sets you apart from the thousands of other folks that are also asking for guest spots, and shows you're serious about being a quality contributor.

Use Boomerang for Gmail to automatically remind you to follow up with editors and publishers after a few days if they don't respond to your requests. Don't be afraid to reach out several times before they finally respond to you.

I've never had a single one tell me they thought I was being annoying (even after reaching out 5 or 6 times before getting a response!). I've actually been praised for persistence.

So, don't give up so easily -- go get what you want. You can do it!

Jayson DeMers is the founder of Audience Bloom and a frequent contributor to Forbes, the Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Search Engine Watch and others.




6. Constantly Push Forward By Being Unapologetically Consistent.

I think consistency is the most important thing. Being consistent about outreach because people are busy, being consistent about posting and being consistent about continuing to build relationships with other bloggers. It's all about moving forward and I think a lot of people (including myself) tend to forget to keep going.

Also, it's important to be consistently thinking about delivering as much value as you can as opposed to just getting a link for SEO value. Many more doors open up when you open up your thinking.

Eric Siu is the Chief Operating Officer at Single Grain, a digital marketing agency. He also interviews successful entrepreneurs and blogs at Growth Everywhere.




7. Create a Customizable Email Template For Guest Blogging Outreach.

One of the biggest lessons I've learned about guest blogging is to send a huge volume of emails to different blogs and to expect that only 20-40% will get a response. So if you want to write 1 guest post a day, you need to write to around 5 blogs.

I've used this template before which has been really helpful for me:

Hi guys,

As a guy just starting out with a few basic webdesign lessons, I found onextrapixel extremely helpful, so just a quick thank you on that note.

I wanted to ask if you are interested in a guestpost that I have drafted, which I titled "10 Tools To Make The Most of Twitter". It covers a few of the latest Twitter Tools, which help me a lot to stay productive.

I hope you can let me know if you think the post could be interesting for you.

For reference of my writing style, I published recently on: Six Revisions SocialMediaExaminer Inspiredm

Best, Leo

It makes it clear that you know their blog, that you have shown skill in writing and it still keeps it short. I think that is why it worked so well for me!

Leo Widrich is the cofounder and COO of Buffer, often contributing to the Buffer blog.

Companies that blog have an advantage over their competition since they typically receive 97% more inbound links, 67% more leads and 434% more indexed pages in the search engines, according to Social Media Today.

Guest blogging is a powerful technique to help grow your influence in your industry by building relationships with other bloggers, organizations and partners through sharing your expertise in the form of content on their blogs.

Through consistent guest blogging, your company can generate inbound links, increased visibility and traffic to your web properties and the ability to add value to new audiences potentially interested in your business.

However, it’s a lot more difficult to get started with guest blogging then it may sound. We asked seven expert guest bloggers to lend their answers to this question to help get your business started with guest blogging.

-- What's the best lesson you've learned about guest blogging that you wish you knew from the very beginning?

Here are the answers we received from the expert bloggers on how to be effective at guest blogging for your business.


1. Don’t Expect Overnight Success, Guest Blogging Is A Long-Term Effort.

Guest blogging is a long-term process of a lot of trial and error. You won't be done after one guest post at Mashable. Get prepared for a hard work, following up with people you contributed for at some point in the past and contributing again.

People get distracted after a couple of months of a lot of effort without seeing obvious results.

No, your website won't go down because of the flood of the traffic after your Lifehacker guest post goes live. People won't become your friends and followers forever just because they commented at your Mashable comment once.

To be able to stand out on a huge blog you need to deliver exceptional-quality, absolutely outstanding work of art that would match the interests of the blog audience (this is important). To be able to see the results from your contributions on a huge blog you need to become its regular (monthly) contributor while still delivering exceptional articles.

There are no shortcuts to guest blogging even if you are working hard! It's a slow process of making your way into an established community. It's a way from being a random guest in a wedding (where no one actually knows you) to becoming part of their family!

Ann Smarty is an experienced blogger, Community at Internet Marketing Ninjas and owner of MyBlogGuest.com – the ethical community of guest bloggers.




2. Guest Blogging Is A Powerful Relationship-Building Tool.

Right off the bat, you're building a bond beyond a 30-second handshake at a conference or networking event. Instead you say, "Hey, I love what you're doing, and I'd love to be a part of the success you're driving in a tangible and meaningful way." You kick start a business relationship for the long-term.

I've spent the last 3 years building a career as a content strategist and blogger. This year, I was finally able to leave my full-time job to become a writer and consultant. I have done very little outbound prospecting, and the funny thing is -- I don't even have a legitimate website. I get so many inbound leads, and they have all come from my work on other sites.

At the very beginning, someone told me that this pattern would start to unfold. But here's what I didn't expect -- all of the wonderful relationships I've built and the amazing people I've met. What I didn't realize that these people would be the driving forces behind my success as a new entrepreneur.

The people I've met have been infinitely more valuable than the money I've made. Somewhere along my journey, I stopped caring about exposure and started thriving on the community instead.

Ritika Puri is a content marketing consultant and a freelance business writer that often covers trends in business, Internet culture and marketing.




3. Always Keep Up With Comments On Your Guest Blog Posts.

I wish when I first started getting guest blogging opportunities I'd been more careful to keep up with comments on what I had posted. I've since learned that this is a great way to endear yourself with the blog's owner and earn the right (or better, invitation) to write more for the site.

Blog owner's like writers who bring engagement to their blog, and even more so encourage it by engaging with the commenters.

I now make it my practice to subscribe to the comments of any guest post I make so that I'll get an email alert when there are new comments, and then I make sure I respond to them where applicable.

I also make it a practice to have the first comment on any of my guest posts when they go live, saying something like, "Hi, I'm the author of this post. I'd love your comments or questions, and I'll do my best to respond to any you have to offer. Thanks for reading my article!"

Mark Traphagen is the Director of Digital Outreach for Virante Inc. He helps businesses build strategies to increase brand influence and attract natural links and social signals.




4. Pay It Forward, Create Exceptional Content & Develop An Editorial Calendar.

While I had the advantage of writing an established column for ClickZ before I started, here are 3 points related to guest blogging I wish I knew about guest blogging before I started my blog.

*Check out the quality of the blogs and their audience. In the early days I paid it forward with columns for blogs that had microscopic traffic.

*Create amazing content. Don’t throw a bunch of your content scraps into an article. Take the time to write your best stuff.

*Develop a manageable editorial calendar. Don’t wait until the last minute or take ad hoc assignments. Be proactive and determine where you want your content to appear.

Heidi Cohen is the president of Riverside Marketing Strategies, as well as the chief content officer at HeidiCohen.com. Check out her article - Blogging: What I Wish I Knew When I Started.




5. Follow Up With Editors Often. Your Assertiveness Will Be Awarded.

Be persistent. Persistence is often the key to landing that dream column or guest blogging gig. It's what sets you apart from the thousands of other folks that are also asking for guest spots, and shows you're serious about being a quality contributor.

Use Boomerang for Gmail to automatically remind you to follow up with editors and publishers after a few days if they don't respond to your requests. Don't be afraid to reach out several times before they finally respond to you.

I've never had a single one tell me they thought I was being annoying (even after reaching out 5 or 6 times before getting a response!). I've actually been praised for persistence.

So, don't give up so easily -- go get what you want. You can do it!

Jayson DeMers is the founder of Audience Bloom and a frequent contributor to Forbes, the Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Search Engine Watch and others.




6. Constantly Push Forward By Being Unapologetically Consistent.

I think consistency is the most important thing. Being consistent about outreach because people are busy, being consistent about posting and being consistent about continuing to build relationships with other bloggers. It's all about moving forward and I think a lot of people (including myself) tend to forget to keep going.

Also, it's important to be consistently thinking about delivering as much value as you can as opposed to just getting a link for SEO value. Many more doors open up when you open up your thinking.

Eric Siu is the Chief Operating Officer at Single Grain, a digital marketing agency. He also interviews successful entrepreneurs and blogs at Growth Everywhere.




7. Create a Customizable Email Template For Guest Blogging Outreach.

One of the biggest lessons I've learned about guest blogging is to send a huge volume of emails to different blogs and to expect that only 20-40% will get a response. So if you want to write 1 guest post a day, you need to write to around 5 blogs.

I've used this template before which has been really helpful for me:

Hi guys,

As a guy just starting out with a few basic webdesign lessons, I found onextrapixel extremely helpful, so just a quick thank you on that note.

I wanted to ask if you are interested in a guestpost that I have drafted, which I titled "10 Tools To Make The Most of Twitter". It covers a few of the latest Twitter Tools, which help me a lot to stay productive.

I hope you can let me know if you think the post could be interesting for you.

For reference of my writing style, I published recently on: Six Revisions SocialMediaExaminer Inspiredm

Best, Leo

It makes it clear that you know their blog, that you have shown skill in writing and it still keeps it short. I think that is why it worked so well for me!

Leo Widrich is the cofounder and COO of Buffer, often contributing to the Buffer blog.

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Brian Honigman
Content Marketing & Social Media Consultant
http://www.brianhonigman.com/