Getting a new business off the ground is a major challenge.
You need to come up with a solid concept, prove that it can work in the real world, get all the operational infrastructure in place, and make whatever financial commitment is necessary — and that’s just the start, because after that comes the marketing stage. If you don’t market your business, it won’t grow very quickly.
That’s true in the offline world, sure enough, but it’s particularly true online. The online world is packed with businesses of all shapes and sizes — and since there’s no such thing as having a prime location (you can’t just rent a spot in a busy shopping mall and get effortless traffic), you need to pull out all the stops to get your business website found.
This calls for you to work on your technical SEO, of course (including local SEO), and provide a fantastic shopper experience to encourage as many customers as possible to drive referrals. The tactic I’m going to talk about in this post, though, is guest posting. What does guest posting involve? Why is it so valuable? How can you implement it most effectively?
As someone who’s put quite a lot of time and effort into guest posting, I’m in a good position to answer these questions — so let’s get started.
Guest posting, as the name suggests, involves appearing as a guest contributor on someone else’s blog or news section. Sometimes your work will be attributed to you directly, while in other cases (often without your permission) it’ll be attributed to the website owners — in other words, it’ll be presented as original content.
On rare occasions the website owners can reach out to their contacts and ask them for content, but it mostly starts with writer outreach. If you want to produce some guest posts for a particular site, you can reach out to the owner and pitch them an idea (or set of ideas). Manage to convince them that you can write some worthwhile content, and you can get their go-ahead.
I find opportunities through manual research: search in Google and the social media networks of your choice, picking out keywords that fit your chosen area. Look for a hot-button issue and run through the top results (those will be from the most authoritative sites), then check them out. Do those sites accept guest blog posts? If you’re unsure, reach out to ask. There’s no harm in it.
What does great guest post content look like?
It’s often actionable, built around tips (like this one), and anything along the lines of “5 Ways to Do X” can work well. It’s all about making the most of your expertise.
If you have a lot of tips to offer, jot them down. If you can answer key questions pertaining to your industry, that’s a great way to proceed: FAQs are among the easiest pieces of content to produce, search-optimized, and highly digestible.
The key to guest posting is that it’s mutually-advantageous when done well. Consider it from the perspective of a blogger: if someone offers to write content for you, why not give them a shot?
If you hate the content they write, you don’t have to use it — and if it’s solid, you can have fresh material for your blog without needing to put any time or effort into ideation or production.
Where’s the value for the guest poster, though? Aren’t you just giving away valuable content? Well, there are actually various benefits to being a guest poster — I wouldn’t focus on it so much if there weren’t. Let’s go through them.
While I’m sure I could come up with some smaller reasons to try guest posting (it’s a good way to hone your copywriting skills, for instance), I’d say there are four central benefits that make it worthwhile for business owners to start writing guest posts:
Each of these benefits is important to me. When I reach out to a blog on which I’d love to have my content featured, my track record of submitting great content gets my foot in the door — and when I look to work with a charity (which fits my site), it’s clear from all the effort I put into guest posting that I genuinely care about making my site a valuable nonprofit revenue-driver.
So, now that we’ve established fairly clearly why guest posting is so valuable for new businesses, let’s run through some core tips for deploying it effectively:
Having been guest posting for years at this point, I’ve built up a huge array of site contacts who trust that I’ll have some good content for them. This allows me to consistently pick up fresh links to my site and keep my blog populated with content from experts in different fields: when they promote their content, of course, they also promote my site. This process benefits everyone.
Wrapping up, guest posting is a fantastic way for the owner of a new business to start building up its reputation. By posting on relevant sites, they can earn some great links that will bolster their search rankings and drive visits, and build some great industry relationships that can help them down the line. I’ve used it to great effect so far, and I have no intention of stopping — so put some serious thought into trying it.
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