Guest blogging is definitely a dead end in terms of link-building. Don’t resort to guest spamming in hopes of getting links without putting some effort into content creation; and don’t be unscrupulous when selecting websites to post on.
But good content still matters. So keep calm and continue guest blogging. Check out this recap of our last SEMrush Twitter Chat with the amazing and charming guest expert Amberly Dressler, Managing Editor of Website Magazine. Find out what benefits can give you collaboration with other blogs and how to build a strong relationship with them, and of course how to write quality content that bears no resemblance to spam.
A1: Publishers get more well-rounded content, while writers get to add to their link portfolio. #semrushchat
— Website Magazine (@WebsiteMagazine) April 22, 2015
Every blog is as good as the content it publishes, every writer is as good as the level of engagement he or she gets. Your content itself maybe great, but till it has no readers it’s not working and bringing you no profit; guest blogging helps both writer and blog to benefit from each other's authority and credibility and attract more readers. “Both writer and host end up reaching new people. It's networking with writing” - Sharon Hurley Hall @SHurleyHall.
Guest blogging is all about reputation building. You might have just started your blog and it doesn’t attract a lot of new visitors; guest blogging is irreplaceable when you want to show your expertise to the new audience and benefit from it.
A1: Brand (inc personal) reputation. Writer increases their / their company's reach; the blog increases their presence #semrushchat
— Dan Smith (@itsdansmith) April 22, 2015
Another benefit for both writer and publisher (and reader of course) is new fresh perspective, new point of view on familiar things. “Also a new voice and perspective for your blog can freshen things up!” - Agent Palmer @AgentPalmer.
Another thing that can drive writer to write for other blogs - professional growth. I think you’ll agree that it’s easier to write your own blog (it’s a comfort zone with your rules and schedule) than write for Forbes or Entrepreneur, for example. Writing for A-rated blogs and magazines requires new level of writing skills, deep expertise and confidence.
A1: As a writer, if I want to be a repeat author I need to prove my worth: improve pitches, expand network, continue learning #SEMrushchat
— Kathleen Garvin (@KGarvSEO) April 22, 2015
Ok, let’s sum everything up. I think I can’t make it better, than Sarrah Mcgraw @SarrahMcgraw did.
A2B: Want to get super technical? H1-H6 Tags, alt image tags, descriptive captions on images & high CTR w/Low bounce rate #SEMrushchat
— Martin Kelly (@MartinKSEO) April 22, 2015
A2: Fun, originality, authoritative content, an influential author, formatting, images, and tons of engagement. #SEMrushchat
— Jacques Bouchard (@jacquesbouchard) April 22, 2015
Pitching is really an art, although there is nothing difficult about it at first glance. Well, the devil is in details, and it’s very easy to underestimate some of them. Let's take a closer look at a little secret of big writers.
Don’t forget that there is a person on the other end, not a machine sorting emails into one folder or another. Kelsey Jones, Managing Editor at Search Engine Journal, said during the So You Think You Can Write? Tips From Editors roundup, “You’d be surprised how many pitches I get that begin with “Dear Editor” or “Dear [Former Editor’s Name]” when my name is on the About Us page.” If you send an email to several recipients and don’t seem to care about who will get it, you won’t seem to be interested in collaboration.
Include some information about yourself – mention your experience and provide some examples of your writing. But most importantly, remember that editors get tons of email every day. What will make them want to open your email? How can you show that your idea is different from all the others? A short synopsis and catchy, relevant headline might help.
Do your homework – research the blog you want to write for. “Do familiarize yourself with its most popular posts (use @Buzzsumo). Don't stop at what everyone knows” - Jeffrey Kranz @Jeffrey_the_Red. If you just want to collaborate, “suggest multiple topics so you’re offering choices” Brian T. Edmondson @brianedmondson. But don’t overpromise
Now let’s talk about common mistakes.
If you don’t get an answer, don’t write tons of follow-ups. Don’t send another email after you’ve received an auto reply from the editor saying, “Due to the volume of emails I receive, I ask you not to send me any follow-up emails if you have not heard from me.” Again, do not send a follow-up email. Follow-up emails will be immediately trashed. A responsible editor will read every email; and if you haven’t received a response, you should probably take it as a “no.” If you want to be sure that the editor opened your email and attached file, use YesWare, or any other email tracker.
Simple, but true. Remember that the whole discussion of the validity of guest blogging started from shady link-building practices.
This is an equation with a lot of unknown variables. When posting on your own blog, you have Google Analytics to get insight metrics; when guest blogging, you have to deal with a limited amount of data. But it can tell you all you want; just be consistent and use common sense. “Before you start measuring ROI, you have to know what you want” - Sharon Hurley Hall @SHurleyHall. If you are allowed to put a link in the article, it greatly simplifies the measuring process.
But the key metric is reader engagement. If you are only concerned about social media engagement, you are mistaken.
Also, do you remember what we said about building authority? The best confirmation of your authority – “getting contacted by other blogs to be a guest blogger” Matt Mullarkey-Toner @GetApp_Matt. Another very important metric is brand mentions.
Today, having great writing skills is not enough to be a great writer. You need to have expertise in many other areas. Some skills you'll use every day; some of them you won’t, but they can all help you professionally.
Number one skill – know your CMS! And we are not just talking about the ability to add a new post. “The most important skill of all: to not completely meltdown when there is a more technical error and you're waiting on help” - Kathleen Garvin @KGarvSEO. Basic HTML knowledge will be a great help here.
Sound easy? OK, let’s get deeper.
A modern writer’s audience is not only made up of people, but search engines. And you have to be able to write for both.
I’m sure that you’ve already come to the conclusion that a writer must understand all processes that play an important role in preparation, publishing and content distribution. You might have a huge professional team – an editor, designer, webmaster, SEO specialist, and a social media manager – and you might never be able to do their job better than they can, but even a little knowledge is enough to cover all basic tasks.
We already mentioned that guest blogging is a very valuable when it comes to credibility building. Who from your company will be able to earn more credibility points? Who can spread the word about your company in the best possible way?
A lot of our participants agreed that author's job position has no affect on the success of the guest post. One thing that matter – level of expertise author can provide.
Can’t agree more. Bio description is essential, but reader will judge writer by his/her article not by three lines of bio in the bottom of the post. If you have a several experts in certain niche, don’t hesitate to make them all your brand ambassadors.
Don’t forget that guest blogging requires consistency. One single publication probably will not make you well recognized authoritative author. Doesn't matter if your brand represented by multiple authors on one – the ability to build strong personal brand is a key factor for any guest blogger.
Special thanks to the following participants:
Writing For SEO @writingforseo Website Magazine @WebsiteMagazine Talha Fazlani @tfazlani Sharon Hurley Hall @SHurleyHall Sergio Redondo @sergio_redondo Samuel Scott @samueljscott Chris Bell @riskycontent Kirk Williams @PPCKirk Niraj Bariya @NirajBariya Michelle Lowery @MichelleDLowery Martin Kelly @MartinKSEO Kirill Ougarov @kougarov Kathleen Garvin @KGarvSEO Jeffrey Kranz @Jeffrey_the_Red Eric Cozart @EricCozart David Prochaska @DavidProHQ Amberly Dressler @amberlydressler Larry Prevost @larryprevost Ann Smarty @seosmarty Harsh Agrawal @denharsh
That's it for today. Hope you enjoyed this post! If you want more, you are very welcome to join us this Wednesday at the same time - 4 pm UK/11 am ET/8 am PT, same hashtag: #semrushchat.