One of the biggest challenges to blogging is getting noticed. A successful blogger is read by thousands if not millions of readers. Traffic no only delivers readers it also delivers income as well as possible clients, if the reason you blog is a professional one. Another issue with blogging is identifying high exposure blogging sites and publishing on them as a guest blogger. This approach maximizes coverage and makes blogging a lucrative business when powered by understanding and experience. In fact, the reason you want to start off as a guest blogger while maintaining your blog site is to maximize on the efficiency of delivering readers from the vast exposure you receive when working as a guest blogger on successful high-reach sites.
How to maximize your Guest Blogging Exposure
To fully comprehend the Guest Blogging approach, I decided to present a comprehensive overview of guest blogging, white hat(ing), and blog content efficiency.
- Setting Goals
- Finding Successful Blog Sites
- Building a Referral Network
- Social Networking
- Finding Popular Bloggers
- Finding Competing Bloggers
- Building content
- White Hat; Links and Back Links
- Analytics, Metrics and KPI’s (Google)
- Approaching the Blog Site
Part 1: Setting Goals
No matter what you want to write about, whether you want to focus on a specific niche area or write about everything, you must first set your goals and define your markets. The first rule of marketing is to understand what you are selling. After you have decided what you are selling, the second rule of marketing is to know how to sell. Knowing how to sell has two cores; the first is knowing the market you want to sell to, and the second is knowing how to reach the targeted market. The final rule of marketing is making the sale, or “closing the deal.” The third and final rule of marketing is being adaptable and evolve. Markets are never static; you must know where the flow is going and change your approach to meet the constant change in demand.
To sum up this first part, I would suggest you concentrate on blogging about something you know, don’t disperse over too many topics. Focus on one, and get it right, become the guru of the topic. If you want to supplement the topic with subjects that are linked to it, do so, that will add scope to your depth. Just don’t fall into the trap of writing about everything and knowing nothing about anything. Readers want to believe and trust in your content, that is the only way you will build a faithful or loyal following.
Part 2. Finding Successful Blog Sites
Blog sites tend to concentrate on specific subjects; they are not CNN or the BBC. Blog sites tend to focus on a cores subject that grew over time and became a popular blog site for specific subjects. This means that every subject area has its big blog sites, and you must match your content to the market you are selling to.
There are a number of tools to use to seek out the large and popular blog sites, and they include two approaches: The first is using search engines, specifically Google. The second is using referral networks or professional assistance from friends and peers in your subject area. Both approaches must be performed simultaneously, since you will be testing each, by comparing data between sources. It is not enough that a blog site says it’s the leader, you have to check and back up their claims by using certain tools. These tools include reading the posts and seeing the number of discussions generated by the post. Looking at the activity based on quantity of posts within a time frame, and also checking the sites Alexa ranking, google search results (analytics), and domain authority checking (DAC) (which I will discuss in part 5.)
Let’s start by looking at the referral network and then learning about the various tools to help us reach optimum sites. Note, that some of these tools will help you understand the mechanics of internet intelligence.
Part 3. Referral Networks
A referral network is a list of contacts that help you reach a target. These are people that are found online and are willing to help actively in meeting your requests. A referral network is used to increase business, reach out to sources, and to help disseminate information. In the case of a guest blogging model, the use of a referral network has three functions; 1) Finding out where people read, 2) Finding out who has an impact in successful blog owners (marketing you to blog sites), and 3) Getting your referents active in marketing your blogs to others. (marketing your content to their acquaintances.)
Don’t fall into the referral network size trap; this means that many end up trying to build a big list of connections and forget to promote the reason they are building the network, the blog. Concentrate on building a quality network of actionable referrers and not just a list of people that make you seem self-important. This is reached through joining forums and talk groups, where you are active in discussion with like-minded people. Online forum activity should not take more than an hour a day.
Part 4. Social Networking
This part is all about you getting your name spoken by many. It is learning how to utilize social networks to increase exposure. Social networking is all about using social networks to increase your coverage. It is about building virtual relationships that are information based. Some of the best bloggers can be found in multiple sites, and while their focus is aimed at a specific niche, their coverage can be global.
Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and Facebook are all great platforms to maintain a presence. However, don’t fall into the social media time trap. This means that you don’t want to spend more time updating contacts and increasing your network without delivering your product, your blog.
Maintaining too many sites can be detrimental, so concentrate on maintaining four sites, and providing half an hour of maintenance per site. This means you will be dealing with social media for two hours a day.
Part 5. Finding Popular Bloggers
This is where it gets a bit “iffy,” since popular bloggers might have their own site or might be successful guest bloggers and just have some great followings on a lot of sites. Knowing which name is considered to be a guru blogger demands a lot of digging. Since you are a writer, it is taken for granted that you read up blogs of others to gain insights into the sector that you write or want to write about. This means that you have a starting point, a blogger that you can check out and trace the sites they post on. If you actually know a person that blogs, that would be even better, since it would speed up the introductory process for you. On the other hand, if the blogger is just someone you write with, then asking him/her to introduce you to the site might send warning signs. In that case, you would backtrack their links to get more information but not ask them to help you join a site where you would be competing against them. Another way to check out where bloggers post is by doing a Google search using their names and then performing the backtracking procedure, which I explain in Part 6.
Part 6. Finding Competing Bloggers
One of the best ways to find a guest blogging site is to find the guest bloggers. You can do that by backtracking through a Google search or using internet tools such as Open Site Explorer. If you know of one blogger you want to compete with, then use Open Site Explorer tool on their blog post and check to see where they post, on which sites. If you don’t have use of such a tool then perform a standard Google search by using the term link:domain.com -domain.com “guest post,” replace the “domain.com” with the blogs address and Google will do the rest.
Once you have a list of sites that the blogger posts too, you can check out other bloggers on the site and backlink them as well. This will create a large list of sites for you to check out.
Part 7. Building content
Content building is an art; it is knowing how to use the language (whichever language you use) to weave into words that make a reader riveted to the screen. It is not about cheap tricks or employing bunkum NLP style writing. It is about understanding your content, building a framework and then delivering the content in a concise and easy to understand method. If you are writing for an academic market then your content will use academic (peer review) standards, if you are writing technical manuals, then you approach has to be systematic and fully worded, and if you are just writing about a subject you love, from fishing to flying, from acrobats to zoo’s, then make sure the audience is captured in the first paragraph. Also, remember to write according to the age group you are targeting.
There is no correct way to write since different markets demand different approaches. Some like the zing of slang, while others want dry facts. Others are seeking descriptive content while some readers seek a storyline. Matching your content to what your market is seeking is a major road to success, since no matter how big an audience you reach if you end up flopping with the delivery, you will never be read again.
Talkback is also a method of writing and replying to readers is an important part of blogging. You will have to accept the bad with the good, so expect more than just praise or constructive criticism. In many cases, you might get just downright rude, and in some instance obnoxious sarcasm. Rise above it, or be downright rude, no matter which approach you take, make sure it matches the market you are writing to.
In terms of time, you should be able to reach the following metrics for success:
The 123 Metric approach to successful blogging
- One hour for research a day.
- Two hours for writing (around 5,000 words)
- Three hours for maintaining your referral and social networks.
Total of 6 hours, if you want to make this a full-time job, then you will have to make this become the 234 Metric approach:
- Two hours of research a day
- Three hours for maintaining your referral and social networks
- Four hours of writing (>7,000 words a day)
Note that in the research around 15 minutes is for analytics.
Part 8. White Hat; Links and Internal Links
What are white-hat links?
White hat links are transparent links that do not bend the rules (unlike Black Hat). These links either link to your website or they are internal or external links directly related to your article and its contents and sources.
White hat linking is very simple; it is a process that requires you write a compelling article and a compelling title, such as:
- “A definitive guide to”
- “How to start a”
- “A comprehensive introduction to”
- “The ultimate guide to”
By using such bombastic wording, you draw the attention of the reader and automatically make your article a linkable piece.
Links are straightforward connections to another site that you use to source your material. Try not to link to a competing site.
Internal Links are links within the site you are using, most news sites do this, linking one article to another. It increases the page views, as well as pulls the reader into exploring more information from the same site.
Part 9. SEO
SEO is all about maximizing your content to search engines. This means that certain words and phrases, as well as keywords and tags, are used to make your content easier to reach by search engines. Google’s model is the best, but it is not the only one, so you have to understand that there are literal search engines like Bing and then there is the algorithmic search engine, which is Google. Bing does not factor into the search your preferences, while Google maintains a user search model and the results from both searches are totally different.
You must use both methods, since it covers 100% of the market, as such, just know that SEO can be damaging as much as it can help you. Don’t change content for SEO’s sake; many writers change the style and content of their articles and blogs o meet SEO requirements. This causes their personality to get lost in the SEO requirements. You have to know how to integrate SEO without compromising your content.
Part 10. Searches, Analytics, and KPI’s
There are a number of tools used to help search for blogs, competitors, links, as well as for checking your scope and reach. Let’s take a look at three of them.
Google Search (Search and Analytic)
This is one of the most popular and best tools for finding content on the internet. Google search is a science, and in the hands of a professional data, a miner can provide a lot of interesting results. Here is a number of search phrases that will increase your reach. They will allow you to focus your search on guest post pages, guest post guideline pages as well as major blog sites that are a platform for guest bloggers.
keyword + “guest blog.”
keyword + “guest blogger.”
keyword + “Guest Column.”
keyword + “guest article”
keyword + guest post
keyword + guest author
keyword + “write for us”
keyword + “write for me”
keyword + “become a contributor”
keyword + “contribute to this site”
keyword + inurl:category/guest
keyword + inurl:contributors
keyword + “guest blog” + inanchor:contact
keyword + “guest blogger” + inanchor:contact
keyword + “guest Column” + inanchor:contact
keyword + “guest article” + inanchor:contact
keyword + “write for us” + inanchor:contact
keyword + “write for me” + inanchor:contact
keyword + “become a contributor” + inanchor:contact
keyword + “contribute to this site” + inanchor:contact
DAC: Domain Authority Check (MOZ) (Analytic & KPI)
MOZ is just one of some websites that provides tools for analyzing sites. Their system is called Open Site Explorer, and it provides good analytics for immediate information. They provide a free download tool here https://moz.com/products/pro/seo-toolbar However it is only downloadable in Chrome.
The MOZ DAC provides a ranking that is set between 0-100, where 100 is, Utopia. Most MOZ DAC sites don’t go above 40, where 10 is your entry-level site, 20 is a good site, 30 is better than good, and 40 is a highly viable site. If you find blog sites ranging from>20, go for them, the higher they are, the more coverage they will give you.
Alexa: Site Ranking (KPI)
Alexa will give you a national and global ranking, the number system is basically this, the closer you are to No.1 the more popular you are, so sites like Google and Baidu (China) sit at the top, a good site will be placed anywhere below 100,000 globally and 35,000 nationally (US).
Part 12. Approaching the Blog Site
Once you have completed all your searches, checked all the sites, prepared the content with all the links, backlinks and SEO, then it is time to approach the blog site administrators for inclusion into their list of blog providers. Before you send your content, there are a number of issues to check. These include:
- Understand the blog content and style.
There are three factors to maintain when building content and style;
Age Group, Education Level, Context
The age group will set how descriptive and artistic your style will present, the education level of your target market will determine how “high” you write and how much “proof” you will rely upon, and the final Context, which is the actual product will determine the structure. Here are options: The best Unicorn coloring book, A handbook on pediatric psychology, how to fix an iPhone time bug in 5 easy actions. Note, each subject has an age group, education level, and context.
- Know which sites perform well
While there are many blog sites, some with a load of bloggers, it doesn’t mean that these sites are any good or have more followers. It just means that a group of people are “blindly” tapping await at their keyboards trying to impress someone with their knowledge. Check the number of replies to an article and see how much reach the site has with the various site tools such as MOZ and Alexa.
- Who is the guest blogger?
Check out the guest bloggers, see if they are popular, do some google checking on them. Check out if they are professional, academicians or perhaps gamers with a massive following. Make sure the content is backed by a blogger with repute and proof of a following.
- Find out which blogs perform the best
Before you start requesting the right to post your articles on blog sites, check to see which ones perform the best. We already discussed metrics and MOZ, but here are three more tools you can use to evaluate the effectivity of blog hosting sites:
Note: replace domain.com with the blog’s domain.
This tool will give you the number of tweets a post has received; http://topsy.com/s?q=domain.com
This tool will show you how many times the posts were shared on Google+ http://plus.topsy.com/s/domain.com
This tool will give you the number of Digg votes a post received; http://digg.com/search?q=site:domain.com
- Begin small, grow with time
Don’t try to be bigger you are, this means that first learn the ropes from the ground up. No matter how many help articles you read, including this one, there are no shortcuts to success. You will only truly learn how to meet your audiences demands and increase your reach through constant trial and error. You can reduce the number of errors by reading up a lot, but at the end of the day, understanding how the market works is understanding how your market works and not someone else’s.
- Posting as a Guest
This is the time you decide to start increasing your reach. Posting articles on hosting blog sites. First of all, make a pitch to the site admin. Remember, if you come to the admin without a record of any kind they will ignore you. If you come with a good resume of blogs, followers, and a growth pattern, chances are you will be snapped up quickly. Blog admin. always seek ways to increase their sites page views, and one way is to bring on talent that has a fan club.
Here are some advantages that you can use to persuade a site admin to take you on:
- If you are quoted in other blogs.
- If your site is listed on another site or blog.
- When a site is seeking bloggers.
- Understanding the Site Guidelines
Try to earn as much about the nature and culture of the site you will post your blogs. There are certain nuances between sites, and these nuances can be quite effective for specific reasons. Understanding the nature of the site will help keep your attraction ratings up.
- Make a Personalized Pitch
When you write to a blog site admin., make sure you know who you are writing to, in this case, if the site is for academic research then you are most probably writing to a PhD, if you are writing to a blog about the latest game releases you are most probably writing to a bunch of gaming geeks (Meant to be a compliment here) and if you are writing to a rideshare forum then you are presenting your case to drivers and passengers of various ages. This means you don’t write “Dear Sir/Madam” you find out the name of the admin or match the opening statement to the style of the site.
- It’s all about you
Make sure you tell the site admin all about yourself and concentrate on what is important. Focus on the blog, the site, the customers and explain why you are their next coming of the Messiah. Also, make sure that they know you are a blogger, with a resume of blogging. This means that you will want to give them samples of your work, so include links to your blogs.
- It’s all about them
Now provide them with some ideas for your blog column. Let them choose from an assortment of ideas you know you can provide and love doing so.
- The Chameleon
Don’t try to stick out from the rest of the bloggers on the site; this will only infuriate them and most probably lead you to disbarment. Mingle in, make sure your blogs are similar in structure and content style. Graphics, fonts and word count are important to maintain the site’s audience. When you want to join them, then join them to become one of them, not to turn them into you.
- Include Internal and Source Link
Make sure you include links to some of the site posts, it’s perfectly OK to allow your readers access to other bloggers on the same site. This is a white hat tool and is very useful to increase your reach as well as create a friendly society that works together for one cause rather than a conflicting site of bloggers bickering for attention. You can also link to specific keywords by using this Google tool: site:domain.com intitle:keyword which will show you specific keywords that you can link to.
- Ask for Comments
One of the best ways to get a post more traffic is to call for comments and also, if the post is controversial or can have a controversial twist, add it and call for comments. The higher the number of commenters, and even reply arguments, will make our page and your work far-reaching.
- Sell yourself
Behind every blogger sits a person typing away at the keyboard. This is not an automaton, so neither are you. Make an attractive bio., sell yourself and your past and experience. You can also include backlinks to your bio which will let readers reach your personal website as well as any other blog posting you have made that you want people to reach.
- To Blog or not to Blog
Finally, decide what kind of blogger you want to be. If you want to be a full-time blogger, then consider reading up and site advertising and how to increase income through traffic. If you are not in it for the money, but rather for the prestige, then try to get yourself quoted as much as possible. Join into many forums, reply actively to many blogs, and build up a name of a person that is active, knowledgeable, and smart.
- Analytics again
Remember how I discussed analytics and metrics, well now its time to turn them onto your site Put the spotlight of your performance to the test and watch how your performance increases as you continue to use more methods for reaching larger audiences.
- Become what you seek
I started out discussing how you should use this article to find ways of becoming a successful guest blogger. Well, now its time to cash in on your hard work and make your site a guest blogging site. If you have reached a critical mass of followers, you can slowly transfer them to your own blog site and call for guest bloggers to increase the audience.
Part 13. Conclusions
Guest blogging is about building up an audience through the use of blogging platforms. It is about increasing your reach and evolving your style into something everyone wants. Just remember this golden rule: blogging is hard. A true blogger researches, understand the market, focuses on their market and creates a high-quality product every time. Basically, blogging is like good food; you can become famous for creating great homestyle cookery or by producing some fancy Michelin star dishes. The approach varies as do the markets, but what makes the restaurant business success are three things in this specific order; Location, Deliciousness, and Service. A blog site will only be successful if it is in a good location where a lot of readers will be exposed to its content. The second is how good the content is, if it is excellent then the reader will be back for more, if not, well the location won’t help if you serve up rat in a broth. The final base is service, in blogging this means answering replies, interacting with your readers and building up a following.