How to guest blog: A guide to effective thought leadership

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I’ve had mixed feelings about guest blogging over the years. First of, I want to build my own content on my website. Guest blogging takes time, just like all content creation, and finding the right sites to pitch to can be hard. Some don’t link. Others do a no-follow link. But yet, guest blogging is a strategy worth considering when I find the right partnership. It’s the halo effect concept basically that makes it useful.

Let’s look at that and see how to guest blog in a way that works.

What is guest blogging?

Guest blogging includes writing articles and blog posts for other websites. It’s a strategy for expanded reach, SEO, and brand building. Writers might contribute to a business partner’s blog or a big publication like Forbes.

Why guest blogging matters

When done right, guest blogging offers several benefits. It helps reach new people who might not know about a brand. Writing for respected websites increases credibility and search engine rankings and builds relationships.

Read next: From Insights to Success: How Content Strategy Research Transforms Business

How to succeed at guest blogging

Find the right places to guest blog

Look for websites that match expertise and target audience. Consider writing for blogs of business partners or customers. Trade publications in an industry are another option. Well-known news sites can also be good targets.

Begin with smaller blogs to build a portfolio of work. As experience grows, aim for larger publications.

Write valuable content

Effective guest blogging provides readers with useful information. Avoid repeating common advice or trying to sell products. Instead, share new ideas, personal stories, or innovative solutions to industry problems.

 Jake Doll, VP of PR at PanBlast PR, on “The Business Storytelling Show.” says it’s a chance to share knowledge through articles or interviews.

“If you have a bold perspective, I think aiming for the stars is always a valuable approach,” he says.

To create valuable content, stay informed about the industry. Use experiences to teach others. Offer practical advice that people can apply immediately. Support points with data or examples. Address common problems in the field and explain how to solve them.

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Follow the rules

Each website has specific guidelines for guest posts. Read these carefully before submitting anything. Pay attention to article length requirements, preferred topics, and formatting styles. Following these rules demonstrates professionalism and respect for their standards.

Build reputation step by step

For those new to guest blogging, start small and work up.

“Having a byline on a company blog is a great place to start,” Jake said. “They can get a little bit more sense of your expertise, your tone of voice, and see if they’d be willing to take you on for this trade opportunity.”

Start by writing for a company blog or on LinkedIn. Then move on to partner or customer blogs. Progress to industry blogs or small trade publications. With more experience, target larger trade publications or news sites. Eventually, pitch to top industry blogs or major news outlets.

Share work on social media

Sharing guest posts on social media:

  • Shares more content and thoughts
  • Shows off that another website or publication wanted to share the expertise.

“Placing something on a trade publication is the first step and then amplifying it to social media,” Jake said. “And making sure you do that more than once is always going to be my recommendation.”

When sharing on social media, highlight the main points from the article. Tag the publishing website and anyone mentioned in the article. Encourage colleagues to share it as well.

Focus on quality, not quantity

Writing a few excellent articles for respected websites is more effective than producing numerous average posts for lesser-known sites. Invest time in thorough research. Craft clear, engaging headlines and introductions. Use simple language and avoid jargon. Proofread carefully or seek professional editing.

Use AI tools wisely

Artificial intelligence can assist with writing, but don’t rely on it excessively.

“It has created such a quantity rather than quality problem in content. And I think media are really sick of it,” Jake said.

Use AI to support parts of the writing process. It can help transcribe interviews, suggest article outlines, or check grammar. But, the most valuable content stems from unique experiences and insights.

Measure success

Monitor the performance of guest posts. Track website traffic generated from the post, social media engagement, and any increase in followers or leads. Inbound links matter, too.

Jake suggests looking at “unique monthly visitors per month, how many readers actually go to the website” when selecting where to guest blog. Establish clear goals for guest blogging efforts and regularly review results. This approach helps focus on the most effective strategies.

Challenges of guest blogging

Guest blogging presents several challenges. Content creation takes time. Pitches may be rejected, especially by larger publications. There might be limited control over how an article is presented once published. Balancing brand promotion with providing valuable information can be tricky. Maintaining a consistent guest blogging schedule while managing other responsibilities can be demanding. Continuously generating fresh, unique ideas can also prove difficult.

The future of guest blogging

While guest blogging will evolve alongside the internet, its core principle remains unchanged: provide valuable, unique insights to the target audience. Prioritize quality content and cultivate strong relationships with other websites.

Jake summarizes it well: “How you stand out is to say something that actually matters to your audience.”

Guest blogging demonstrates expertise, expands reach, and fosters industry relationships. Leaders and companies leverage guest blogging to enhance brand and online reputation. The unique value offered to readers is more crucial to success than where the content is published.

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