This post is republished from my original article on the Amex Open Forum website. It is part of "Small Business Friday" on this blog, where I share ideas and marketing techniques specifically to help small businesses stand out. To read more articles like this, visit the "Small Business Friday" category on this blog.
When thinking about perhaps using something like a blog to promote your own business, though, it can seem like a very time-intensive proposition. You won't always have time to blog and sometimes it can be nearly impossible to keep a blog up to date enough to continually drive an audience. Luckily, there is another technique that you might consider where you can realize the value of blogging for your business without ever creating a blog yourself – and that is through guest blogging.
Guest blogging is exactly what it sounds like – the chance to share your point of view through a blog post or article that you contribute to an already established blog. The benefits of this are multiple:
- Saves time by helping you avoid making the longer term commitment to start your own blog.
- Gives you much greater potential visibility for something you write by posting on a site that already has a readership.
- Provides you with an excuse to connect and build a relationship with a high influence blogger.
If you want to get a start with guest blogging, the process is fairly simple and is similar to one that a freelance journalist might use when trying to get a new writing assignment. You will need to start by identifying the blog or blogs that you want to contribute to. A good place to start is with industry, media or educational institution blogs that have frequent postings (a least a couple of times a week). This could mean a business oriented site such as BNet or a group blog from a recognized business school. Any of those are ideal starting points because in addition to getting a blog posted there, they can provide you with a credential which you can then use when you approach other blogs.
Once you identify who you will target, you need to create a good pitch for your contributed post. This includes a title that will cause someone to want to read further and a brief paragraph describing the idea. Typically you can send the pitch via email with a subject line similar to "Guest Blogging Story Idea: YOUR TITLE HERE." Send your idea to just your top choice media property first, and see if you can get it placed there. If that doesn't work, you can branch out to other places with the same idea. If you can't get it accepted, try coming up with a different idea and suggesting that instead.
If you get accepted and have the chance to write the post, here are a few short guidelines to make sure you can take advantage of the opportunity:
- Deliver on time. Once you have an agreed timetable, you need to stick to it. Nothing can sour a relationship more quickly than getting the greenlight and having the blog you want to write for holding a spot for you that don't fill.
- Use keywords heavily. Part of the longer term benefit of your guest post is that you want people to be able to navigate to it through search engines to learn about your business – and having the right keywords as part of your post helps make that happen.
- Link to content and sites from others. As much as you can, try to promote the work of others in your post so you can also use your guest post as a way to connect with others by mentioning them and showing up in their Google Alerts that most businesses and online influencers are now setting up to track mentions of themselves or their brands.
- Share and help promote your post. Part of what you should commit to when you try to find a guest blogging opportunity is helping to get your post out to as wide an audience as possible by posting a link on your website, emailing your contact list of customers and anything else you can think of to drive more readers to the post.