By Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk
by Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk, president
Do you ever feel like you are writing (or having someone ghostwrite) all this wonderful content and getting little in return for your efforts? It’s sort of like throwing a party where no one shows up except your mom and the weird dude down the street!
Chances are, you’re getting more readers than you think, but today I’d like to talk a bit about expanding your reach and getting even more from your amazing pearls of wisdom by harnessing the power of other blogs. Talk about win-win situations! Not only will your regular blog readers benefit from your insight, but you’ll also have the opportunity to share with an audience that may not even be aware of you yet. Guest posting is one of the most effective ways of expanding your audience in addition to being one of the easiest ways to do so. To help you make the most of this wonderful technique, here are a few ideas and tips.
Look for the like-minded. You don’t want to be associated with just any blog or business, so don’t jump at just any chance to guest post. Start with what you know: your referral sources and business colleagues. For example, if you are an accounting firm, I’d be willing to bet there are law firms that you work with from time to time. See if they have a blog and offer to provide a post for it. And naturally, invite the law firm to contribute one to your blog. By sharing posts, each of you are exposed to a whole group of new readers and have the opportunity to share your expertise and personality with them. If you do a good job, it’s likely that the next time they are looking for an accounting firm, they will remember you.
Go a bit farther afield. Like most of you, I regularly read certain blogs because the information they provide is valuable to me on one level or another. Some are more small business-focused, others talk about the industries we serve and others simply entertain and amuse me. While you may not realize it, many times these blogs are populated by solid guest posts from readers. Do a bit of research to see what their guest posting policy is; find out if they will consider unsolicited content and who is in charge of it. Then steel yourself for the task and prepare your pitch. Make sure the content you are pitching is appropriate for this blog (and keep in mind that a well-placed compliment never hurts). You may be surprised how easy it is to land a spot on their site.
Write riveting content consistently. You may be surprised to learn that sometimes others will come to you and ask you to provide guest posts. Yes, really! Promote your blog and ask your staff, friends, family and others to share it with their contacts. The more readers you have the more likely it is that others who need content themselves will see it and reach out to you. When you do land a guest post, make sure you spread the word far and wide via social media, too. More and more great blogs will pick up on the fact that you are willing to swap content, and will be more likely to reach out to you when they are having a slow week.
Don’t be obnoxious about it. This is one of my personal pet peeves, but I bet others feel the same way. As your blog grows in popularity you might notice an uptick in the number of people who want to guest post and glom on to your success. In the last six months, I’ve been overwhelmed with requests from complete strangers with appalling grammar skills who want to provide content for our blogs. Our policy is we only accept guest posts from people we know and have worked with in the past, so it’s pretty easy to turn down these SEO strumpets. Your guest post requirements may be different, but make sure you have one, include it in your firm’s social media policy and stick to it.
Guest posting can be a great way for you to increase your firm’s exposure and it can lead to new clients and referral sources, but like all good things, it takes work and persistence. I’d love to hear what has worked for you and feel free to offer any additional advice in the comments below. Good luck!