When people talk about marketing a blog or driving traffic to a site, most of the conversation revolves around that site. However, one great method of gaining exposure and driving new traffic to your site doesn't have anything to do with your site at all: Guest Blogging. Unfortunately, the topic remains one of the less talked about topics of blogging. We see it on a fairly regular basis on the larger blogs but it somehow has retained it's mystical nature. I figured for my first guest blog post on HMTK, I'd go for a bit of irony and discuss some of the common misconceptions about guest blogging.
One of the most common misconceptions is that only the big, wildly popular blogs can attract guest bloggers. That's simply not accurate. I've had several different people guest blog for me on multiple different blogs I run. None of them are anywhere near the A-list and I am certainly not some sort of online celebrity. So how did I manage to have other writers create content for me? I asked.
Just like Steve's call for guest bloggers, simply writing a post letting your readers know you're looking for a few guest posts is probably the best method to recruit guest authors. If you're waiting for people to fill your inbox just begging to write for your blog, you're going to be waiting a while. Unless you've let it be known that you're actively seeking guest bloggers, your audience won't know that you're even open to the idea. The fact is more and more people are beginning to realize the benefits of guest blogging and you might be surprised by the response you get by just asking.
Also, what better place to find a guest author than your own loyal readership? They already know the tone and "personality" of your blog, the type of topics they like to read about, and what stances you've taken in the past. Basically if they're reading your blog, they can't be all bad, right? Plus, it's a great way to reward loyal readers that have helped make your blog what it is.
Another common misconception about guest blogging is that the relationship only benefits the host blog. The first time I asked for guest bloggers I received a few comments and even a couple emails claiming that I was trying to exploit my readers. Why would they spend time creating quality content for my site rather than their own? They wouldn't be the one gaining the traffic or seeing any of the fruits of their labor. The only thing they'd be getting is their name in the byline. Once again, that's less than accurate.
Not only is a guest blog post a great way to gain all important links to your blog or site, it's also a fantastic way of gaining exposure in your target audience. As I talked about in my recent post Expose Yourself, the successful launching of a new blog is as much about exposing yourself, getting your name out there, as it is about the content you write. You could be the next Shakespeare but if no one knows you, or your blog is out there, you're not going to have the success you're hoping for. If that weren't enough, writing for other blogs builds your credibility as well. It's one thing to have your own site where you state your opinions or give out advice, but it's another matter entirely for someone else to trust and respect you enough to allow you to post on their site. If you manage to make "appearances" on multiple blogs in your industry, you'll be well on your way to establishing yourself as an industry expert.
While guest blogging is certainly nothing to be taken lightly (both parties need to work to ensure the quality of the blog does not suffer), it's not nearly as difficult or mystical as many people seem to believe. There are significant advantages for both the guest blogger and the host blog. Not only will the host blog receive new fresh content from a fresh and unique perspective, the guest blogger will gain a link and the all important exposure to their target audience. It really is a win-win situation.
I'd like to thank Steve for the opportunity to post on Ramblings from the Marginalized. If you enjoyed this post please stop by my Blogging Experiment for more information on blog marketing and monetization.