\Want to know a secret to increasing your blog's SEO potential? Pitching, writing and publishing guest posts. Links to your website matter around 70% more than keywords to major search engines. When done correctly, guest posts can supercharge your site's ranking. There are no short-cuts in the world of quality content, and it's downright hard to land a spot on many popular blogs. Here is what I've learned during my quest to become a guest posting superstar:
1. There Are No Short-Cuts
I'm a firm believer that there are no short-cuts to quality content. Expertise and subscribers are earned over time, and it's no coincidence that popular blogs are usually outstanding. Even though the inbound links earned through guest posts are really awesome SEO, you shouldn't lower your standards just to crank out twice as many guest posts. Whether you're posting on your own blog or another company's, it's still a representation of your brand.
2. You've Got to Develop a Thick Skin
Pitching guest posts is a lot like dating: sometimes the conditions are right, but the chemistry is just slightly off. If your carefully-crafted pitch is rejected, there's a pretty good chance it's nothing personal. No one knows their readers and content calendar better than a blog owner. Maybe they've got plans to cover the same topic next week. Perhaps your writing was perfectly-edited, but the guest post tone was a little off for their brand. If your grammar was spot-on and you followed their rules perfectly, you still could get rejected and it doesn't mean you're a talentless hack. It means you've got some bonus content for your own blog, and you can just try again.
3. Always Cite
Unless you're a leading expert on trends in your industry, you've got to back up your statements with links to data. Even if you're covering a qualitative topic, add some quotations or citations for anything that's controversial, new or advanced. You need to convince a new audience of readers instantly why they should read your content and trust you. When considering a guest post for the IMA blog, one of the first things I check is whether the author included quotations, statistics and citations.
4. Humanize your Outreach
Attempting to make a personal connection with business bloggers in your industry prior to pitching a guest post will offer the best chances of success. If you've identified a blog that you're interested in pitching content to, gradually work up to a pitch. Read their blog and mission statement, initiate dialogue on Twitter and leave comments on their content. When it comes time to pitch your post, be clear about who you are professionally, not just where you work. Even though standards can vary widely, almost all business blogs are open to posting a guest post written by a person, not a brand.
5. Be Firm
Once your business blog begins to gain some steam, the guest post pitches are going to start rolling in. Some content is going to be perfect, some will be almost right and a lot of pitches will be from black hat SEO firms who are on a mission to build some inbound links. You should never feel pressured to dilute your brand or standards for the purpose of free content. Spending an hour editing grammar issues and citing facts will suddenly make the free content a bigger time commitment than you'd bargained for.
I was surprised by a hidden benefit of pitching and publishing guest posts: the fact that I learned more about both our readers and my personal brand. There's nothing more nervewracking than having to explain to a blogger in a short email exactly what you can offer - it's up there with first dates and job interviews. Inversely, reviewing guest content is sure to get you thinking about what topics, tone and approaches resonate with your audience. Guest posting, when done correctly, is a powerful tool for networking, brand identity and SEO.
Interested in Pitching a Guest Post to IMA? Leave a Note in the Comments, and We'll Get in Touch!
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