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Could Guest Posting be the Perfect PR Launch Pad for Your Business?

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bigstock-Public-Relations-Word-Cloud-39228943 Expert. It’s a short word that conveys a lot of meaning. Whether you are working in a company or are an  entrepreneur, you likely want to be known as an expert or authority in your field. The big question is how to take your skills and knowledge turn that into expert status.

While social media acts as a platform for experts, if you are just starting out it can be difficult to cut through the clutter. Twitter alone has an average of 58 million tweets per day, so you may have a hard time getting your four or five tweets a day noticed by anyone.

Even with amazing content and ideas, to break into the expert realm, you should consider to adopting some classic PR tactics.  When you think about PR it may feel a bit old school.

PR often gets overlooked in favor of the latest and greatest platforms but there is a reason it has been around for so long. It works, especially in a world super focused on social media.  When PR is used in conjunction with social media, it can help you put your name on the map that much faster.

Guest Posting as Your PR Launchpad

For new or lesser known experts, authorship programs where you place guest blog posts offer a proven and practical way to support marketing and business goals. Sure, you can tell everyone you are an expert, but having articles you’ve authored on the top blogs in your niche says it for you.

As a strategy, guest blog posting has taken a few minor hits as several high profile blogs announced they would no longer take guest blog posts. Then  in July 2013, Google announced it was making changes to its link building scheme, and certain types of links in guest posts would be penalized. What all of this means is that if you insert links into your articles they need to add value. This change is positive for guest posting programs as it helps improve the overall quality of guest posts.

Despite these developments, rest assured, guest posting is alive and well. For would-be experts, writing and placing guest posts is truly the perfect way to get started with PR. You can control the message, test out story ideas, and do it all on a shoestring budget.

Building Your Street Cred

It is no accident that when you land on a top blogger or podcaster’s web site that they have the logos of blogs or media outlets where they’ve featured.  By guest posting, you can quickly build up a portfolio of your work to showcase on your site either by using logos and/or creating a press page.  That information acts as shorthand for prospects and influencers when they visit your site. With a quick glance, they can see you are respected within your industry.

For speaking engagements, conference organizers can see you have a track record providing new ideas and stimulating discussion on timely topics within your industry. One of their goals is to showcase speakers that draw attendees, so if you have  been out there creating buzz, you are going to be much more appealing as a potential speaker.

Plus, guest posting can expose you to new audiences and connect you to key players in your industry. While you should always guest post without expecting anything in return, throughout this process you will build relationships with bloggers and editors and become better known in your industry. Over time, more people will read your work giving you an even bigger platform as an expert.

All of this helps to open up doors you may not have imagined. Great businesses are truly built one relationship at a time and a well-written post may result in a dream client or a show organizer wanting you to speak at their event. You just never know.

Preparing for the Media Spotlight

As you have been guest posting when you start pitching mainstream media, you’ll have far more credibility as an expert source.  When they Google you or visit your web site they will quickly be able to get a sense of who you are. The writer, editor or producer will see you’ve been out there talking about related topics and understand that you are a credible source for a story.

Pitching mainstream media can be intimidating, especially starting out. Through guest posting you will have a chance to refine your message and build confidence sharing your stories. When it’s time for you to pitch the media, you’ll have the confidence you need to sell the story or pull off a killer interview. In short, you’ll be ready for your big break in the mainstream media and be able to make the most of it.

Guest blog posting offers any expert an ideal platform for building awareness and credibility than can act as a key building block for other PR opportunities. PR should not be overlooked but serve as a complement to social media or other marketing efforts.

How has guest blog posting help build your expert status? Share in the comments below.

Image credit: Bigstock

Guest Blogging Tips That Work: A Step-by-Step Guide to Guest Posts

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The marketing world is in a guest-blogging frenzy right now. However, rushing to join in without a sound strategy, wastes a rare opportunity to improve brand awareness, increase your subscriber base and inbound links, build authority and ultimately become a niche trailblazer. Guest blogging can offer you all these benefits when you work with a thought-out approach. Let’s get to the nitty-gritty of successful guest blogging.

The Basics of Guest Posting: Know the Benefits

Two or three links won’t really amount to a hill of beans in this crazy Internet world, as Humphrey Bogart might say today. If you want to be successful at guest blogging, you need to understand the real benefits.

Guest blogging is all about relationship building. The friendships you build for your brand can help you stay ahead of the pack, no matter what your niche, but these relationships need to be mutually rewarding and persistently nurtured to work out. That’s why guest blogging is such a great option: yes, there is benefit for you, but it is also helping the other blogger, since you’re providing quality content and encouraging others to visit their blog.

Of course, there are some SEO benefits to guest posting as well, but if you’re just in it for the links, you’re missing out.

Assess Your Options

If you read other blogs in your niche, you probably know at least a few people who accept guest posts. You can use Google to research even more options. Search using the keywords “guest post” and “guest post guidelines,” preferably with other keywords that define your industry to find blogs you could guest blog at. Create a list of at least 25 potential blog post opportunities.

Blogs worth considering should:

  1. Have substantial readership
  2. Be actively shared/discussed on social networks
  3. Be relevant to your industry

It’s better to have one quality link than five cheap ones. Pratik Dholakiya at MOZ says that guest bloggers should avoid being associated with sites that over-publish content or that are too lenient with substandard material.

For the best results, sites with a low PageRank should be avoided and I personally recommend targeting blogs with a Domain Authority (which you can check with Open Site Explorer) greater than 30. This is not a hard rule; you can make exceptions, but only if there is something about guest posting on the blog that is advantageous.

Niche blogs tend to have higher engagement. Stop thinking of your niche competitors as your enemies. Guest blogging at their blogs lets you increase your exposure to an otherwise taken market segment.

While some niche sites might not have as high of a PageRank or Domain Authority, if you’re reaching a very targeted audience and building relationships with others in your niche, they’re better options than larger sites covering a broad range of topics. Weigh all of the benefits before reaching out to ask about guest posting opportunities.

Approaching Other Bloggers

Before you communicate with the targeted blog owners, it’s wise to interact with them through consistent social media engagement. Leave thoughtful and purposeful comments; engage with them on Facebook, Twitter, and other networks where they are active. When someone recognizes your name from an earlier interaction, they’re more likely to answer your email.

Neil Patel at Quick Sprout states that successful blog owners are inundated with guest blogging requests. He personally received 931 requests and admitted to accepting none. His explanation was that they all read like SPAM.

Make sure your request is:

  • Professional (yet not too formal)
  • Brief
  • Relevant
  • Complete (i.e., including topic suggestions, outlines, and anything else the blogger requires)

Check out this post about common phrases that can get your guest post denied or ignored.

Your Content: What Should You Write?

What you should cover in your guest post depends on your knowledge and the blog where you want to publish the post. Here are a few tips:

  • Be relevant and expand on a hot topic. Don’t recycle what others have written about a million times before. Offer new insights and different interpretations and don’t forget to add your own flavor.
  • Write on what you know. Build your credibility and boost your status by focusing on a subject you’re knowledgeable in. Guest blogging is your chance to establish your authority and increase your impact.
  • Study the blog’s keyword phrases. This will impress the blog owner. In you, they would be finding a keyword researcher in addition to a great writer—double the value! You can easily research keyword trends and appropriate keywords for the blog with tools such as Google Alerts, which keep you up to date with the latest trends and the hottest topics.
  • Focus on showmanship. Make a dazzling headline out of your keyword, preferably one that’s share-worthy. A common blogging mistake is creating quality posts that have indifferent titles or introduction. Your title should entice your readers, giving them a reason to want to read further.
  • Follow the guest post guidelines. Read the guidelines set by the blogger very carefully. If you ignore their guidelines, they will likely reject your post.
  • Use quotes and case studies. Substantiate your arguments whenever possible with scientific studies and other authority references and statistics. Always verify your facts.

Post-Publishing

 After the post is published, your work isn’t done. Here’s what you need to do once your guest post is live:

  • Interact with your readers. Be sure to respond to questions or comments once your post goes live. If you find that your post isn’t getting much engagement, then it’s possible you are lacking in the “call to action” department. Ask the blog’s readers for their comments, perhaps phrasing a relevant question to continue the discussion.
  • Reply to both positive and negatives comments. Offer clarification and re-assert arguments that the readers debunked. Carol Billingsley at Social Media Today, suggests that the formula for responding to negative feedback is apology+solution= happy reader.
  • Promote your post. Work for your guest blog and it will work for you! If you want to solidify your relationship with a successful blog owner do your best to bring in traffic. You can direct your own community to read your guest post through social media.
  • Check to see how well your guest posts performs over time. You might not examine analytics information but you can keep track of comments, likes, shares, and other useful data.

Guest blogging is the ultimate adventure in building authority and driving sales. With the proliferation of blogs, article directories, commercial websites and online magazines, there is an abundance of knowledge, and yet not enough quality content.

If you can produce quality content, you can earn powerful links and build authority around your brand. Guest blogging offers tangible and instantly felt benefits. With a clear guest blogging goal and a carefully planned approach, you can unlock its multifaceted potential too.

What do you consider a must-follow rule when it comes to successful guest blogging?

Can Guest Posts Make You a Better Blogger?

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Laptop3 Over the past year, fewer blogs have been open to accepting guest posts. Kristi Hines talked about this shift in the blogging world early this year in her post entitled, “Guest Blogging in 2013: The End of Unsolicited Guest Posts?” and why it is happening. Bloggers can still guest post, but these opportunities are not as abundant as they once were, especially if you’re not well connected to others in your niche.

As someone who manages the guest post emails we get here on the NMX blog, I know how crazy some potential guest posters can be. Posts are poorly written with little to no “meat” on the bones. They’re fluff. Or they’re stuffed with keyword links and self-promotion. Or the grammar is so bad that I would have to rewrite the entire piece to prepare it for publishing.

I’ve even had potential guest posters be rude or downright nasty to me when I’ve asked for changes or decided not to publish. Word to the wise: if you want to have a guest post relationship with someone, don’t speculate on their mother’s weight.

But the silver lining is that working with guest posters has made me a better blogger. Here’s why:

  • I’m pushed to raise the bar on my own posts.

It isn’t fair for me to ask of guest posters what I don’t do myself. When someone is interested in guest posting, I typically send them a list of directions to follow, which include things like, “link back to relevant posts from the past” and “use headers or bullet points to make the text more readable.” Having this set of rules sets the bar for posts on the blog, my own included.

  • Editing makes you a better writer.

Like many people, I’m a horrible editor of my own work. But I think I do okay editing others’ posts, and practicing this skill makes me a better writer and self-editor for my own posts.

  • Guest posts give you a break.

Although I do subscribe to the notion that you should only blog when you have something to say, I also know that post frequency does affect your traffic. With guest posts, a weight is lifted because you’re not pressured to produce X number of posts per week. Editing and preparing a guest post is still a lot of work (sometimes even more work than writing a post yourself), but you don’t have to be wearing your creative writing hat when doing it. You’re less likely to burn out if you allow guest posts on your blog.

  • Guest posts can inspire future content.

I’m always inspired when I read other blogs, and the same is true of guest posts. Even when a post isn’t well-written and I ultimately say no to publishing it, the topic can help me brainstorm future ideas for my blog posts. And, if I do publish because the guest post is up to par, I can link back to it in my own post. One of the great things about blogging is that you can build off each post to tell a comprehensive story. I like to think of blog posts like stories in an anthology. They all work together on some level, despite being stand-alone.

Accepting guest posts isn’t for everyone. Some bloggers don’t want to make time to deal with the copious number of poor requests. Others worry that guest posts will lead to a weaker brand. But before you say a blanket “no” to guest posts, think about the advantages as well. I believe guest posting can make you a better blogger, despite the extra work you have to be willing to do if you accept them.

Guest Blogging in 2013: The End of Unsolicited Guest Posts?

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I love guest blogging. As a matter of fact, I got my first freelance writing inquiry thanks to a guest post on Social Media Examiner. I know how powerful guest blogging is for building your reputation and increasing your business.

If you have been looking for guest blogging opportunities lately, you may have spotted a discouraging trend. Here are some examples of what I mean.

Mashable’s former guest writer guidelines pages now goes to a cute 404 error page:

mashable-closed-guest-post-submissions

Copyblogger closed guest post submissions:

copyblogger-closed-guest-post-submissions

ProBlogger, well known for publishing a high volume of guest posts, just recently announced their halt on guest post submissions:

problogger-closed-guest-post-submissions

And they are not the only ones. If you search accept unsolicited guest posts, you’ll find 2,000+ results from sites that no longer accept them.

Why Blogs Are Closing Guest Post Submissions

I can’t speak for everyone else, but I can share some examples of why I closed unsolicited guest post submissions on my own blog. First, there were the bad pitches.

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Then there were the unrelated submissions. This guy stole an image of Chase Crawford to “personalize” his Google account and auto-submits posts like this daily through my contact form. Yes, I said daily.

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This one was about a taxi booking service.

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Then there were the responses when I rejected submissions that didn’t fit the guest posting guidelines I had set.

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You can see more bad examples in The State of Guest Blogging presentation. I can’t even begin to imagine what sites like Probloger, Copyblogger, and Mashable were receiving on a regular basis. I still get about bad five requests a day even after clearly noting on my guest post guidelines page and my contact form that guest post submissions are closed.

If bad requests weren’t enough, then there’s the video of the head of Google’s Webspam, Matt Cutts, talking about Google’s feelings towards guest blogging for links:

If Google doesn’t like the guest blogging for links strategy, they probably don’t like the blogs that post those guest posts either.

How to Increase Your Odds of Getting Accepted

So how do you increase your odds of having your post published on quality blogs? Here are some tips.

Be a real person.

If your business is outsourcing a guest blogging campaign, find real people to help you with it – not cheap link building services that are likely using $5 writers who use celebrity photos and fake names to pitch your content. Preferably real people who have an established reputation in the industry you want them to write for.

Work your way up.

Unless you are already an established, well known writer or have an amazing blog, you will need to start building your reputation. Most people can’t go from unknown to Mashable right out the gate. Start with smaller blogs in your industry, create great content for them, and then work your way up. Use your best guest posts as examples along the way.

Create a relevant portfolio.

Most blog owners and editors will want to see a sample of your writing beyond the piece you submit to them. The best place to create samples are on your own blog. You can even create a portfolio page that lists your latest contributions to other blogs to let people where else you have been published. You can create this page manually, adding links to your latest post as you go.

If you have a WordPress blog and regularly write for blogs that offer an RSS feed for your post, you can use the RSS Agregator plugin to publish your feeds into one page. You can see this plugin in action on my own portfolio page.

To make this work, you will need to find your author page on the blogs you write for by clicking on the link to your name in the author bio. Some blogs, like this one, have an RSS icon linking to the RSS feed for on the author archive pages. If it doesn’t, you can add feed to the end of the URL (http://domain.com/author/yourname/feed/), test it, and grab it as your author RSS feed.

Once you have a strong portfolio page, you can include it anytime you inquire about a guest blogging opportunity.

Build relationships.

You might have noticed that while a lot of sites are not allowing unsolicited guest post submissions, they are still publishing content by multiple authors. If you want to be one of those authors, you’ll have to know someone on the inside to make it happen. The best ways to get to know a blog owner and its writers are the following.

  • Actively follow the blog’s latest posts. Subscribing via RSS using Google Reader is one of the easiest ways to keep things organized and not blow up your inbox.
  • Read the posts and when you feel you have something valuable to contribute, comment.
  • Share the posts on Twitter and include both the blog’s main Twitter handle as well as the author’s.
  • Interact with the blog owner and authors on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Aim for the network where they are active but get the least attention – usually that’s Google+.

Get Introduced

Once you’ve built up a strong relationship with a regular contributor to a site, see if you can get them to introduce you to the blog owner or editor.

Look for golden opportunities.

If you can’t get an introduction, then look for golden opportunities to request a guest post spot. For example, if you get listed as one of Social Media Examiner’s top social media blogs or ProBlogger’s top bloggers to watch, that is the perfect time to approach the blog to become an author.

You can also take advantage of other opportunities. Say you find a broken page or error in a post. Submit a contact form and let the blog know. Sometimes, you’ll get lucky and get a response from the blog owner or editor themselves. They’ll know that you are familiar with their blog and that might be your in to ask if they are accepting guest posts. Better yet, say that you have this great topic in mind and wish the blog still accepted guest posts so you could submit it. Sometimes that works too!

Do you still accept guest posts on your blog? Are you running into lots of sites that don’t? What is your take on the future of guest blogging? Let’s discuss in the comments!

Working with Guest Bloggers: The Secret to Your Success

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Guest bloggers? Isn’t your blog supposed to be your voice, representing your view and perspective on business, life, parenting, family matters, your hobby, or even products you’re selling? Well, yes, it is. But it can be more…

Actually, there are lots of reasons why inviting people to write guest posts on your blog can be a great idea, including adding a bit of variety for your readers, gaining visibility through more popular writers, offering slightly different perspectives on your topical area and giving you a bit of a break from the daily grind of blogging. There’s also this thing called SEO and people who are willing to publish guest articles might just find themselves more frequently invited to write guest posts on other people’s blogs. Those guest posts you write that include a link back to your own site are great for your own site’s visibility. A win-win!

Even on the most personal of blogs, embedding a dialog with someone else that perhaps started out as an email exchange can be a powerful entry to write, or you can even frame a guest article by introducing it to your readers in the opening paragraphs and then add your own concluding paragraph after, reacting to the main piece and ensuring that your own voice isn’t lost in the process.

To have your guest bloggers be successful and to make the process as easy as possible, here are my hard-learned tips:

Agree on a theme or topic in advance — This saves a lot of hassles and misunderstandings, when the guest blogger sends you an article that’s just not relevant to your audience. Rejections are never appreciated, even if they’re appropriate, so sidestep it by asking them for a sentence or two summary of what they want to talk about.

Specify your writing style — Do you like publishing obscenities? Do you want long, complicated sentences that are suitable for your audience of research scientists, or short, easily understood grammatical constructs perfect for a busy parent to understand? It’s your site, I encourage you to ask the guest writer to try and match your own writing style while still honoring their own voice in the process.

Long or short? Give ’em a target word count — This is one that always seems to be a challenge, but if your audience is used to substantial articles of 400 words or longer, a guest post of 135 words will seem insubstantial and pointless. Avoid that by specifying “target word count: 400 words” or, in the opposite situation, “please don’t exceed 250 words.”

Pictures? Video? — Just about all blog posts are enhanced by including some sort of media content. Are they responsible for this content? If so, make sure you tell them, and also ensure that they obtain the rights to the content (easily done if it’s their own photo or graphic, of course) so that they don’t put you in potential legal hot water due to rights violations. Your blog, your problem, even if the original was sent by a guest author.

Those are the key factors to ensure success working with guest bloggers. It’s easy and it’s fun!

I also asked a few other popular bloggers what their parameters are with accepting guest blog articles, and here’s what they had to say:

Jenny Ford: I have contributors and accept guest posts. it’s one of the only ways you won’t get stuck writing every single recipe!! (and getting grossly over-weight on my site! HA!). My tip – have a format, give clear details and expectations, let people know your deadline, make sure they have terrific photography.

Mary-Frances Main: I only take local “voices” and then they have to be relevant to the topic (which seems like a no brainer, but you’d be amazed!). Personally I like people I know – but will accept a recommendation of another connection.

Elizabeth C. Lewis: Make sure that before you ask for a guest blogger, you have read some of what they write! You don’t want to ask someone to write something to find out that they are terrible at writing and have to find a reason that you can’t use it.

Amy Gahran: Have a process: offer clear guidance on length, format, topic. Tell them how to submit a draft: text file? Word doc? HTML doc? Only do this for evergreen topics that can run anytime. Guest posts often don’t happen on deadline.

So there you have it. Not just my enthusiasm for guest bloggers showing up on one of my blogs — and I have four that I publish, ranging from my AskDaveTaylor tech support site to DaveOnFilm, where I share film reviews and the popular GoFatherhood site where I write about my experiences as a single dad — but the view of some other savvy bloggers who also invite submissions from friends and colleagues to mix things up.

Now, what are your thoughts on this? Do you accept guest submissions and, if so, what are your parameters?

Editor’s Note: For those who want to learn more from Dave, check out his session at NMX called “Quick and Dirty Video Production Workshop for Your First YouTube Video.”

Guest Posting isn’t Dead (…Yet)

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Early this month, I was having a conversation about guest posting with a friend of mine. This is a topic I have personally been examining over the last year, so when he asserted that “guest posting is dead,” I had to voice my opposition.

I do, however, think that guest posting expectations bloggers have are sometimes a bit out of whack. Guest posting isn’t dead any more than blogging itself is dead, but the way some bloggers go about guest posting is certainly putting it on life support.

(If you’re new to guest posting, you might want to check out our five-part series on guest posting, which will help you write better posts and place these posts on great blogs, as well as our beginner’s guide to guest posting.)

Guest Posting the Wrong Way

Guest posting started as a simple theory: if you write a free post for another blogger and his/her readers like it, they’ll come back to your blog via the link at the end of your post and become a member of your community as well.

I can tell you from tons of personal experience that this doesn’t usually happen, at least, not at a rate that makes your hard work worthwhile.

Even if you write a guest post for a well-known, popular blogger, that traffic isn’t going to translate. Readers are fans of certain blogs because they like that specific blogger. You’re someone new, unknown, not to be trusted. A small percentage of people who read your post – even if they like it – will actually click the link in your bio, and an even smaller percentage will actually become long-term readers on your blog.

If you go into guest posting with the expectation that you’re going to get tons of traffic and new readers to your own blog, you’re likely going to be sorely disappointed.

Guest Posting = Branding, Not Immediate Traffic

I still recommend guest posting, however, because if you do it properly, you can end up with tons of new readers. It’s about being strategic.

Guest posting is about branding. You want your name to suddenly start popping up everywhere so people start to recognize it. If you write a one-time guest post on another site, you might get a few curious readers coming to your own blog, but if the same readers start to see your name everywhere, they’re going to start to wonder who you are, and if they like your content, they’re going to end up on your blog sooner or later.

So, think about guest posts in terms of groups of posts going out over the course of a week, not just single posts here or there. Immediate traffic shouldn’t be the goal; you’ll see traffic over time as name recognition builds.

Guest Posting for SEO

Guest posts are also great for SEO purposes. You do have to be careful about putting too much stock into a single type of link-building, since Google is constantly changing, but having your link without a post on a popular blog can help your search engine standings. Even better than linking back to your homepage in the bio is to link to specific posts relevant about the topic within the guest post you write. Don’t overdo it or your host will likely turn down the post, but definitely link to posts on your blog when relevant and helpful to the reader.

Relationship Building with Guest Posts

My favorite reason to guest post is to build relationships with other bloggers. If you offer a well-written, interesting guest post for another blogger, you’re giving them free content that they can’t get anywhere else. It’s a great way to get on someone’s radar. Often, I’ve guest posted for someone and they’ve gone on to become a long-term reader of my blog, even though they had previously never heard of me (or just knew me as one of the bajillon commenters on their site). Relationships with other bloggers in your niche are invaluable.

Managing Expectations

At the end of the day, guest posting is simply about managing your expectations. If you are looking for massive traffic numbers, especially right away, this is not an technique worth your time. If you’re taking a more “slow and steady wins the race” approach to blogging and interested in benefits other than traffic, guest posting is definitely a great blog-building technique to add to your promotional activities.

Interested in getting the most out of a guest post – or really any post you write on any blog? Jon Morrow is coming to NMX Las Vegas this January to present a session on the Anatomy of a 100,000 Visitor Post. You don’t want to miss this one!

Paying Attention to What People Are Posting On Your Blog

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Conversations can be crucial to creating a valuable blog — without an active community of followers commenting on what you create, clinking on the links and ads you post and so on, it can be extremely difficult to create a sustainable and thriving blog.

But just because it is important to have readers interacting with your site doesn’t mean that you can afford to focus on that end of things to the exclusion of considering the content of what your community is adding to your site.

The Extreme Version of This Problem

I’ve worked as a blogger-for- hire for quite a while. As such, I’ve often had posting privileges on sites that don’t belong to me and that I am ultimately not responsible for. In some case a client may hand me a user name and a password and tell me to write about a general topic on a regular schedule from here on out.

I try very hard to stay close to the topics that clients give me, but more than once, I’ve had clients come back to me and want to at least tweak the type of posts I’m writing. That’s fine — their blogs, their rules. But when a client comes to me six months after having me start posting, without giving me any feedback in all that time, and says that none of my posts have worked and he wants to take them all down… well, that’s a very worrying situation to be in. The only thing you can assume, then and there, is that the client in question hasn’t taken a look at their own site in months.

That can mean a lot more than someone is less than pleased with the actual content on his site. It can mean that broken images have gone unchecked, no one has responded to comments and there could be spam all over your posts from automatic commenting software.

Maintaining Your Blog is More than Creating Content

It can be a simple question of what you want readers to see when they come to your site. Do you want there to be comments that show that you don’t get rid of spam, whether or not you interact with your readers? The only way to avoid that situation is to make sure that the content of your site (posts, comments and all) is as well maintained as your design and other elements.

There are other concerns that can tie into the issue, as well: while it’s fairly rare, it’s not out of the question that a reader could add a comment to your post that infringes on a third party’s copyright. That, in turn, could put you on the hook for dealing with a copyright infringement problem. It can be something relatively easy to resolve — just deleting the comment in question can make the problem go away — but you have to be paying close enough attention to do just that.

Pay close attention to what’s happening on your blog, especially if readers or other bloggers have any access at all.

7 Secrets About Using Blogs to Promote Services

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I get asked to write blog posts for a lot of clients, particularly service providers who want to attract new clients of their own. Over the years, I’ve noticed a few things that can make a world of difference in how well a blog can promote a service — secrets that aren’t immediately obvious but that are pretty easy to implement once you think about them.

  1. Blogs make readers feel like they know you: When we read blogs, we’re reading about someone very real to us, even if we’ve never met that person and never will. Make yourself as real as possible to your readers and they’ll feel much more comfortable hiring you, despite the fact that you might really just be another stranger on the internet.
  2. You have tons of ready made content, in the form of case studies: A blog promoting a service is one of the easiest to write because you know exactly what you’ve done for individual clients in the past and how they’ve benefited. So write up a case study of every past client you can and get it up on your blog. And, by the way, prospective clients love case studies.
  3. As a service provider, you have to be an expert: It’s your blog and you’re the expert, so write like it. Don’t hedge your bets with ‘I think’ or ‘I expect.’ It’s tempting to run a blog as a newbie exploring a topic, but that doesn’t help you make sales. Focus on the expertise you already have.
  4. You can’t compete on search engine traffic, and that’s okay: It’s particularly hard to rank for keywords like ‘freelancer’ or ‘consultant,’ because there are so many service providers with websites already. But you can be very competitive for prominence within a niche — you can get plenty of traffic from other sites promoting you, especially if you write posts that everyone wants to link to. That can be a benefit, letting you specialize within that niche.
  5. You have to write in advance for your blog: Every service provider I know has hills and valleys, in terms of their work loads. When you’ve got plenty of client work, you don’t want to take any time away from it to write for your blog. You shouldn’t force it, considering that your client work needs to be top-notch. But you should make the effort to stockpile posts during the slow times in your business.
  6. The threshold is low, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to wow readers. There are some incredibly bad blogs out there, ran by freelancers and other service providers. It’s like there’s a checklist somewhere telling people that they have to have a blog, so they throw some site together that has lots of broken pieces, typos and the like. That can make you think that as long as you avoid being that bad, you’re doing good. But you really need to wow your readers, not just beat the particularly bad blogs.
  7. Don’t track subscribers on your blog, if your goal is to get clients. First of all, it’s the wrong metric to determine success for your blog — you want to track conversions to tell how you’re actually doing. Second, odds are good that you’re dealing with an audience who won’t subscribe that often. Instead, they’ll find you through a link or a search, read a whole bunch of posts in one day and either contact you immediately or bookmark you as someone to work with at a later date.

There are differences between every type of blog. If you’re using your blog to promote your services, you need to know those differences and act on them.

How to Easily Find Guest Posting Opportunities

Author:

… by Annie Wallace
open 19It can be easy as a freelance writer to get hung up on those paid ghostwriting positions that become a part of every paycheck. It can also be easy as a blogger to forsake everything else in favor of your own blog. So, what happens when you get burnt out, or in a rut? For most of us, this becomes a time to seek out something to bust away from the routine, and guest blogging is a great way to do that.

Not only will writing for another blog give you a chance to do something a little different- which is a benefit in itself- but it will allow you to widen your readership by tapping into a new pool. Different blogs have dedicated readers, and those readers just might follow you back to your own if they enjoy your posts. This means more traffic, more subscriptions, and more chances to interact, which can only help inspire your own writing.

But how can you find guest blogging positions in the first place? It might seem kind of hit and miss, but there are a few ways to narrow it down and get your started.

Begin With What You Read

Some of the most dedicated blog followers are bloggers themselves. Therefore, it is safe to say that you probably have a list of blogs right now that you check out every few days, or perhaps even daily. These are good places to start, especially if you are a frequent commenter. Not only are you going to be familiar with the niche, but you are going to possibly be known as a reader, and can point out in your application that you can refer to past posts.

To find out if they allow guest posting, you can check out their website. There should be an FAQ section, or even a button that that says “Write for Us!”, or something to that effect. You can also do a Google search by using “SITE:site.com guest post”, or similar keywords to pull up the information. For example:

  • SITE:site.com guest author
  • SITE:site.com guest blogging
  • SITE:site.com guest posting

And on top of all, you can combine the four search queries above: [SITE:site.com guest author OR SITE:site.com guest blogging OR SITE:site.com guest posting OR SITE:site.com guest post]

Fun!

Explore familair sites

If the blog has no info on guest blogging, you don’t have to give up. Drop them a quick email and ask if they would accept guest blogging.

Join a Guest Blogging Site

Because blogging is such a huge part of social media these days, there is an increased call for guest bloggers to help generate traffic without paying for posts (or not paying much). This is usually reimbursed through offering a byline and a link to the writer’s own site, which can pay for itself and them some in exposure.

These sites will let you connect with bloggers who are looking for posters. You can search through ads, or post your own so others can contact you. Currently, one of the more popular blog posting sites is MyBlogGuest, which provides a general format for finding positions in any genre. I’ve been a member for a year or so and have had huge success both sides: guest blogging and accepting guest articles.

MyBlogGuest

My most favorite feature inside is the Articles Gallery which makes guest posting easy: authors upload their unique articles there and the blog owners can come, preview any article and offer to publish it on their blogs. It works wonders in terms of providing high-quality content on a regular basis:

Utilize Twitter Search

Twitter has an excellent live search that fits in with their real time updating format. You can use this to find the most recent posts by people who say they are looking for writers. Since the social networking site has become such a heavily used marketing tool, you can bet that there will be plenty of calls for guest bloggers posted regularly.

The issue is that they are posting in a casual way, and so the keywords used can really vary. You have to be specific, and keep searching using different possible combinations. For example, try:

  • Guest post
  • Writers needed
  • Need writers
  • Want to write?
  • Want to post?
  • Guest bloggers
  • Write for us!
  • Write for
  • Blog for
  • Blog for us!
  • Guest writers

Note! Twitter search also supports OR operator that allows to combine several searches in on. Go play!

Guest posting Twitter search

Any other combination that says what you want will also help.

Guest Posting is Easy!

It isn’t hard to find positions, because there are so many floating around the net just waiting to be taken. If you have found yourself in a rut, or you just need to draw more readers to your own site, guest blogging is a great option. Get your portfolio together, get searching, and get writing!

This is a guest post by Annie Wallace, a viral marketing blogger and mompreneur. Please follow Annie on twitter as @ViralMomTweets

How to Get Published on a Premium Tech Blog

Author:
biopic

The word “influence” has become one of the most popular buzzwords across the blogosphere and apparently there’s a right way to garner influence, and a wrong way.

For most tech bloggers, influence is about becoming a thought leader on a specific topic in order to reach a business or personal goal. So whether you’re the world’s foremost Android expert, a hardcore coder or a complete gadget nut, the reason to strive for influence is to establish credibility – and you can’t do that alone. Someone already influential needs to vouch for you.

Last March I wrote an article about CDBaby founder Derek Siver’s TED Talk. In the video, Sivers shows how an influencer/leader is nothing without an influential first follower. As far as I can tell, blogger credibility falls along similar lines with the basis of influence coming from:

  • Consistently adding value to readers’ lives; and,
  • Having that value publicly recognized by credible first followers.

PUBLICATIONS CAN BE YOUR FIRST FOLLOWER
When you write for an acclaimed web property, it’s as if the site’s editors are ushering your ideas in with their seal of authority. While they may not agree with everything you say, there’s the recognition that what you say matters to their audience – and in many cases, that audience is extremely powerful.

Why do you think I’m writing for BlogWorld? In addition to putting my name on a page next to industry heavy hitters, I also want to encourage more bloggers to contribute to the pool of good tech resources. Below are a few tips on how to pitch tech editors in the hopes that you’ll consider taking a stab at the tech blogging profession.

PITCHING FOR PUBLICATION: THINGS TO INCLUDE IN YOUR QUERY
Prove Your Abilities: There’s always someone that thinks they can write a better post than the one that’s published in front of them. If you’re that person, then quit flapping your gums and prove it. Think about everything that’s missing from a story, list those points, and fire off an email to the editor establishing your expertise on the subject. If you write a tasteful pitch that focuses on how you can help (rather than criticizing someone else’s work) you’re proving both your subject knowledge as well as your ability to write a persuasive argument.

Prove Your Existing Credibility: If you’ve written past articles, uploaded relevant podcasts, spoken at subject-related events or worked at a well-known and relevant company, then those are all points that speak to your credibility. Other establishing bullets include testimonial from industry luminaries and quotes in established online publications.

Prove Your Reach:While this wasn’t always the case, more blogging sites are interested in bringing in writers that extend their reach to new communities. If you’ve got a huge Digg or Reddit following, you’re active on HackerNews and Wikipedia, or you’ve got more than 10,000 Twitter or YouTube followers, then an outlet might choose you over another less social writer. When you’re considered a leader in an online community, editors realize your posts are more likely to gain traction with those audiences.

Prove Your Integrity: Editors want you to write for them because of your expertise, not because of your business interests. You need to establish how you’re going to add value to readers before you can fulfill your own agenda. Outlets don’t want to read a repurposed press release about your company. They want candid news, reviews or tips. If you can cover one of those three bases, then it’s fine to highlight a company case study. You just need to disclose your financial interests openly.

Now that you know how you’re going to pitch your story, here are a few publications you can pitch to get started.

A number of technology blogs take pitches from guest writers:

Dana Oshiro is the Senior Analyst and Publishing Strategist at NetShelter Technology Media. In her spare time she continues to contribute to ReadWriteWeb’s startup channel as well as her personal site Villagers With Pitchforks. You can follow her on Twitter at @suzyperplexus or email her at dana.oshiro@netshelter.net.

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