Today’s blog post is by Peter Sandeen, Value Proposition and Conversion expert. In this article Peter walks you through how to use guest blogging as a strategy to get more visitors to your website and convert more into clients
It’s a cliché: a calendar so full of client work that you can’t take on any more work for months.
Yet, that’s what most of us want: a cliché.
There are many ways to get there. Networking, online advertising, referrals, direct mail ads, cold calling, and guest posting.
All of them can work.
And you can use more than one at a time.
But here’s how you can use guest posting to reach that cliché that some people believe to be nothing but an ancient myth.
Guest posting isn’t right for everyone
As with any marketing method, guest posting isn’t right for everyone. Claiming something else is simply not true.
It is, however, ideal for many people. And you don’t need to be a “great writer” to make it work well for you.
That being said, there are a few qualities you should have:
- You like explaining things related to what you do. This is what guest posting is really all about, so you have to at least tolerate it.
- You can write, so that people understand what you mean. Perfect grammar or literary virtuosity aren’t expected. You just need to be able to put a few words in a row so that they make sense.
- You don’t come off like a used car salesman. If you sound sleazy in an email when you approach site owners, they won’t read your post. And if the post is little more than a sales pitch, no one will publish it.
If that didn’t scare you off, guest posting can work for you.
But you can’t just write something for anyone. You’ll end up spending countless hours writing posts that won’t do you any good.
Instead, take a more strategic approach and really make each post count.
Find the right sites to write for
If you look for ideas on how to pick the right sites, you’ll be told to “target the biggest sites in your industry.”
It’s not bad advice. But it’s not the whole truth either.
There are four things you should look at:
- The general market the site falls into. You should usually pick sites that are in the same general market as you are. For example, “business and marketing,” “health and fitness,” and “self-development and psychology” are general markets.
- The audience’s size. The main benefit of guest posting is that you reach people who haven’t already heard of you. If you write for a site with few readers, you’re unlikely to get a surge of prospects to your doorstep.
- The site’s style. If you’re all about relaxed, personal interaction with clients and the site you write for sounds like it’s written by the lawyers’ national debate champion, the people who would want to hire you probably don’t read it.
- The reader’s level of expertise and/or position. If you help primarily beginners, don’t write for sites that attract experts. If you work with chief executives, don’t write for sites that attract the trainees from the local college. Or vice versa.
You’re looking for the sites that your ideal clients are reading. If they’re not there, your posts won’t make any difference to you.
But it’s not quite enough to just write for the right sites.
You have to pick the right topic as well to make your prospects interested enough to read your post.
How to pick a topic that attracts clients
You can get people’s attention in many different ways. But there are only two (easy) ways to make them interested enough to read your post:
- Write about a solution to a problem they need to solve but don’t know how.
- Write about a goal they’re working towards but haven’t yet reached.
And limit the topics to the ones you can help people with further.
That, however, isn’t quite enough to give you the right topic for a guest post. You also need to make it fit the site you’re writing for.
Look at the “most popular posts” list in the sidebar (if the site doesn’t have that list, go through the latest 30-50 posts and look for those with the most social shares and comments). You should have an idea of what has worked in the past when you pick the topic.
That said, you don’t have to write about something the site has already published a lot of content on. But the most popular topics are a safe bet.
The real key is to write about something the readers are desperate to learn more about. When you help with that, you’re their hero, and many of them will realize they should take a look at what more you could do for them.
But most people won’t do anything after reading your post. Not even if it’s great.
That is, if you don’t tell them to take action.
Point to the next step
A good blog post teaches readers something from beginning to end—it doesn’t leave them feeling like something was left out.
However, considering the kind of topics consultants (or any service professionals) work with, it’s impossible to write a post that would take people straight to their ultimate goals.
Your post won’t tell them everything you could teach them about your specialty.
For example, maybe you write a post about a specific marketing tactic. The readers won’t make their businesses huge successes with what they learned from your post. They won’t even get all the leads they hoped for. And to be honest, they will only learn the very basics of the tactic you write about.
But often they don't feel like they need to learn more. Not unless you make them feel it.
Point out what they should learn next to get the results they really want. And then mention you have a free report, ebook, video, or audio recording teaching just that.
Some sites don’t allow you to mention your free offer within the post. They try to discourage poor-quality guest post submissions with the limitation.
You should still make the connection to the next step.
For example, if you write about improving team work, you could mention within the post that a team can only work if the right people are in it. And in your byline (the blurb about the author at the end of the post) point out that you have a free report detailing how to find the best candidates.
It makes perfect sense for the readers to check out the report because you made them think about what they’re still missing (how to get the right people to the team).
Just be careful with this.
Even if your post is valuable, pointing out how readers still need to learn more can make them feel like you tried to manipulate them.
For example, I could now point out that “most guest posts submitted to big sites are turned down. And you should download my ebook that shows you how to get your posts accepted among all the other key things you need to get right.”
Maybe (hopefully) you’d notice that you already learned something valuable from the post and saw the additional value of the ebook.
But it’s equally likely that you’d feel like I was just setting up the sales pitch.
So… How do you get accepted? ;-)
Get your posts published
If you get one thing right, you have a really good chance of getting published. And if you get it wrong, you have nearly no chance of getting through.
Pick the right topic.
Really. It’s that simple.
Site owners want to publish content that their audience will love. So, if you write a post about a topic their readers are constantly thinking about, you make it easy to say, “Yes” to it.
Sure, you also need to write “well.” But that only means that your post has to be valuable; you don’t need to be a master writer.
You just need to be able to explain things you specialize in so that people can understand them.
But here’s something that shoots your chances higher. Add the following sentence to your email when you’re sending the post over:
“I’m happy to work more on the post if you point me to the direction you want me to take it to.”
It seems obvious. And maybe even unnecessary.
But if you don’t indicate that you’re willing to work more on the post, you’re pushing the site owner to the corner. They have to accept or decline your post.
As long as you write about a topic their audience is interested in and you make the post valuable, you might be surprised by how often your posts get accepted.
Write posts that make a real difference to your business
Writing your own blog, press releases, or white papers can help you build your business.
If you’re—like most professionals are—chronically time-deprived, guest posts will almost always give you much better results for the time you put to them.
Sure, finding the right site to write for, picking a great topic, writing the post, making sure it’s directing people to the next step, and getting it published might take more time than publishing something on your own site.
But if there are only a few people reading what’s on your site, it won’t make a difference to your business. And when you know how to do it fast, writing a guest post in about two hours is very achievable.
So, if you’re aiming for the cliché of a fully booked calendar for months ahead, consider if you should write guest posts instead of other types of marketing materials.
If you decide to give it a go, allow me to make it easier, faster, and more effective for you ;-)
Download my short free ebook that explains the seven key steps of getting 100+ subscribers from each post you write.
And if you have any questions or thoughts about guest posting, please leave a comment below.
Right now Peter Sandeen is dodging icebergs while sailing with his wife and dogs on the Finnish coast. But you can download his short ebook “7 Key Steps to Guest Blogging Success” that shows you how to get 100+ subscribers from every guest post you write.
PS For a nifty tool that searches for places you can guest blog successfully, check out this short video: How to Find Places to Guest Blog