Your brand is everything when it comes to your online presence. Failure to establish your brand means that you will likely fail in the digital marketing arena. With so many people using the internet to find who they want to do business with, branding yourself online is now mandatory.
One effective way to brand yourself online is through guest blogging. By writing and posting articles on high authority websites, you can establish yourself as an expert and help lead people to your website.
Jayson Demers agrees that guest posting can be used for branding. “You might be aware of guest posting as an online marketing strategy but are you aware of its full range of benefits?” asks Demers in an article posted on Inc.com. “Guest posting isn’t just useful for the small niche of writers trying to earn a better reputation for their authorship – it’s potentially useful for any business in any industry, or even any personal brand. That’s because guest posting, when done properly, can lead new traffic to your site, and not just one kind of traffic.”
But Isn’t Guest Posting Dead?
Don’t believe the hype. In early 2014, Matt Cutts declared that guest blogging was done. This was in an article he wrote for his blog to address how spammy guest posting had become. Of course, that’s all people heard and the SEO world went crazy.
What Cutts actually said was that guest posting for the purpose of SEO (e.g., simply to get backlinks to your website) was done and for good reason. Matt Cutts actually had to later make a few additional paragraphs to the end of the post to clarify this, “I just want to highlight that a bunch of low-quality or spam sites have latched on to “guest blogging” as their link-building strategy”. Thankfully, two years after his announcement, guest blogging is alive and well and people are still able to brand themselves while doing it.
In 2014, guest blogging was declared dead by then head of web spam team for Google, Matt Cutts.
Most experts agree that guest blogging is not dead. “Google hates repetitive, spammy content,” writes Louis Gudema in an article on Content Marketing Institute. “But, as long as your guest post is original with good to great quality on a site known for quality content (like this one), Google is fine with it.”
Where Are the Best Places to Guest Blog?
As Gudema points out above, it is best to guest post on a site known for quality content. This helps show Google that you are not just posting for the sake of getting a backlink but instead are trying to showcase your expertise in your field. Content Marketing Institute is a great place to do so as it is an authority on marketing and even has its own yearly marketing conference.
Here are a few other high quality business sites where you can brand yourself through guest blogging.
“Before you write a single word you need a list of targets to submit your content to,” writes Brian Dean in a post on Backlinko. In his definitive guide to guest blogging he shows how to isolate keywords and reverse search author bios to find the highest quality places to guest post.
Now that you’ve made your list, all you need to do is submit your content, right? Wrong! Making a list of sites you want to brand yourself is only the start. Now you have to engage in outreach, one of the most difficult steps in branding yourself through guest blogging.
Guest Blogging Outreach Best Practices
Blogger outreach can be difficult if you do not follow basic guidelines. Webmasters receive countless requests on a daily basis and you want to make sure not to get your guest post pitch rejected. Stand out from everyone else in order to get accepted and begin your branding through guest blogging.
Firstly, check the website for guest writer sign-up links. Many guest blogging sites have a link to sign up to write for them. Look for this initial simple route before using the rest of my suggestions as it could save everyone time and emails, plus not annoy the editor in the process.
If there isn’t a guest writer link then what are the best practices for blogger outreach?
Well, there are many you can find online and everyone has their own opinion but here are the most common:
- Personalize your email. Make sure to use the name of the person you are writing to, not something generic like “dear sir or ma’am.”
- Give the website some ideas. Don’t just say you want to write for them. Give them two or three article ideas and a short description for each.
- Follow up. People are busy and your email could get buried. Follow up after a few days to make sure they received your email. This will put your email back at the top of their inbox.
- Show your work. Give samples of your work that are pertinent for the site. You should already have some of your material posted online, even if only for your own blog.
- Don’t use a template. Make your email personable. Write about the website you are pitching to, such as complimenting them on a specific post you read. Be authentic as it speaks to who you are.
Bonus Tip: Here’s a bonus suggestion for when you do start writing for the guest blogging site – take a look at previous articles to get an idea of the writing style used. Check out their writing guide for formatting the post to the house style. Make the editor’s job easier and they will look forward to seeing guest posts from you in the future.
Final Thoughts on Branding Through Guest Blogging
Don’t believe it when you hear that guest blogging is dead. It is alive and well and still a great way to brand yourself online. Stick with quality sites and use best practices in your outreach strategy. Once you establish yourself as an expert through your writing, you will start to see your brand grow.