Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Secret Formula for Great Guest Posting

You've got a blog and it's going well - but now you want to expand your audience and perhaps even give space to topics you normally wouldn't address. As Mack Collier said on Quora, the best way to drive traffic to a blog is to leave it.

I write two blogs of my own and I have monthly columns on two other blogs. In addition, I'm occasionally asked to contribute a guest post to a colleague's blog. In most cases, I jump at the chance. I have regular guest posters at one of my blogs as often as I can; these guests cover materials I won't discuss myself - and they provide a different voice on things I have discussed already.

By reaching out to your readers and your peers for Guest posters and Guest posting opportunities, you have a chance to expand your reach, your scope and your writing skills. Here are a few things to think about as you decide whether to look for a guest to post on your blog, or whether to seek out a guest posting opportunity:

Have Something Unique to Say - Bringing a fresh perspective to your favorite blogs makes you a valuable resource to your fellow bloggers. When you're looking for a new voice, give someone with an alternate opinion a chance or someone whose voice is unlike yours. This allows your readers, or the readers of the other blog, exposure to a different way of thinking or a different style of writing - something that can really refresh a one-person blog.

Understand their Style - To be a good Guest Poster, it's worth taking a moment and reading the blog you're contributing to - note topics that are typically not addressed, or are regularly addressed. The blog you write may have a specific format that you can share with a guest - but do you also have a certain style that your audience has become accustomed to? Fitting in with the written and unwritten rules a blog has established makes it easier for the audience to get comfortable with the material, the perspective and the writer.

Know Your Community - You have peers; people whose blogs you read regularly, people with whom you converse on a regular basis in your networks. These people are your community. Know them, know their blogs and online magazines. By reaching out to them you'll have both a pool of great bloggers to recruit from and a place to put your off-topic-for-your-blog-but-still relevant-to-the-industry-posts.

Value Add - Guest posting for someone else provides an opportunity to bring some of your readers to the new blog...and having guests in gives you a chance to bring in new readers who are already fans of the other writer. If you can add value on top of that, through extra promotion, excitingly different content or a new venue, you'll gain increased exposure. Value add in your content too - bring additional depth, new resources and more tools to the discussion, so that the audience gets more than just a new voice.

Regardless if you are looking to be a guest poster or to find a guest for your own blog, the Number 1 thing you must do is:

Ask - No one will intuit that you're looking for a new voice on your blog. And no one knows you're looking to write guest posts unless you say it. Ask your peers if they'd like a post by you - ask your readers to send in submissions for guest posts. Reach your own hand out to expand your network and in no time at all, you'll find you are increasingly desirable as a guest poster and/or host.

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