As content business owners, we need a regular online presence and organic advertising.

They help grow our brands, credibility, subscribers, and sales. There’s one strategy used by content entrepreneurs like Jon Morrow, Adam Enfroy, and many others to achieve that – guest blogging.

Guest blogging (or guest content creation) is when you contribute informative articles to third-party websites. In most cases, guest content creators don’t get monetary rewards but author bylines or backlinks to your site for promotion.

Successful #ContentEntrepreneurs like @JonMorrow and @AdamEnfroy built and grew their businesses through #GuestBlogging, says @LesleyVos. Click To Tweet

With a content entrepreneurial mindset and precise planning, you can take the most out of this strategy for your content business. Let’s explore the benefits and actionable tips to execute this strategy for growing a loyal audience and monetizing it.

One note before we proceed. I use the term “guest blogging” throughout this article, but the same benefits and strategy work for other guest content creation efforts, such as videos, infographics, podcasts, etc.

Benefits of guest blogging

Creators who provide content to relevant third-party sites can find their content marketing can reap multiple benefits, including brand awareness, credibility, and backlinks. These gains can naturally lead to an increased online presence, networking, and a broader audience to engage and turn into customers. 

Brand awareness

You can think of guest posting as an alternative way to communicate your expertise to a large audience of online readers. It’s a form of public relations: You get others to know about your business.

When popular and respectful sites publish your work, it’s a signal to their audiences that your content exists and provides value – that you’re worth doing business with. Your brand develops organically. It’s especially helpful when you are in the beginning stages of marketing your content business.

Be a guest content creator on third-party sites. It signals to their audience that your content exists and provides value, says @LesleyVos. #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

Credibility

Guest posting allows you to build credibility as an expert in your niche. By publishing comprehensive and insightful articles at many relevant resources, you teach their audience something new, and they see your knowledge is worth their interest.

Curious to learn more about you and your business, they come to your website and might subscribe to your newsletter, join your community, download your podcast, and later look into your other content products and services.

Backlinks

Backlinks are a must-have to obtain better organic search results for your website. Google and other search engines recognize the links to your site on third-party sites as indications your content is valuable. Backlinks also serve as direct portals for the audience consuming your content on the third-party site to find your website.

The higher rankings, the more users will see your website and visit it, increasing your subscribers over time.

When you guest write for blogs, they usually allow a backlink to your website or portfolio to acknowledge your authorship and recognize your contribution. By including a link in your author bio, the audience can easily go to your website and learn more about you.

Brand awareness, credibility, and backlinks – all work to increase your online presence and help a broader audience see you. The strategy of guest blogging helped many content entrepreneurs grow their visibility and brands:

  • Jon Morrow: By writing high-quality guest posts for relevant publications with high traffic and active subscribers, Jon got 13K subscribers even before he launched the website. Now his SmartBlogger is one of the world’s largest sites for web writers and content entrepreneurs.
  • Adam Enfroy: He wrote 80-plus guest posts to grow his website’s traffic to over 300K and started making $61K a month from his blog.
  • Danny Iny: He wrote over 80 guest posts for top websites and got up to 23K monthly page views for his website Mirasee.

Sound like something worth trying?

How to increase the audience with guest content

Let’s see how you can organize and execute the guest posting strategy for your content business. (Don’t panic. You won’t have to write those dozens of guest articles by yourself unless you have time and desire to do that.)

1. Set your business goals

As with any other business strategy, guest blogging needs a goal. It will make the whole campaign clear and more likely to succeed.

Answer the traditional 5Ws and H questions to set your goal:

  • What do I want to reach with my guest content campaign?
    • Some options: Grow my subscriber list, improve brand awareness, target a broader or new audience
  • Why will it help my content business?
    • Some options: Generate more leads, build credibility, support long-lasting customers
  • Where will I post guest articles to reach my target audience?
    • Some options: Sites with similar audiences to yours, sites with high authority, sites with a wide reach
  • Who will conduct the outreach and create the content? 
  • When will this happen?
    • Some options: Tie to other promotional activities, base on the availability of someone to do the work, make it an ongoing task
  • How many guest contributions might I need to reach my goal? 
    • Some options: Four posts a month, two published posts per week

Ensure your goal are SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound –  as it will help you organize the whole campaign so that it would fit into your business schedule.

Don't do #GuestBlogging without a business goal. Make it a SMART one – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound, says @LesleyVos. Click To Tweet

2. Make a pitch list

Now it’s time to find sites that welcome guest content and are relevant and authoritative enough to help you reach your business goal. Consider these three aspects:

  • Your niche: Choose websites related to your industry because (surprise, surprise) your target audience likely lives there.
  • Your expertise: Consider your business purpose. Find sites where your expertise would be needed or helpful to their audience.
  • A website’s quality: Create for websites with active followers and high rankings on search engines. The higher their domain authority, the better. Aim for websites with a DA of 40 or higher.

Where to find guest blogging opportunities: Consider search engines, ready-made lists of guest posting websites, social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter), or spy on your competitors by checking where they’ve earned backlinks

Create a spreadsheet to organize all the potential sites. Include the details about the site – website link, blog guidelines link, domain authority, and editor contacts. Then add columns related to your outreach – ideas offered, date sent, status, etc.

3. Reach out and get accepted

This step is the most challenging. Review the details noted on your spreadsheet. Examine each website, find their guest post guidelines, and read throughout their blog posts to understand their audience and what topics might be of their interest to ensure they’ll accept yours.

While brainstorming relevant topics, ask yourself:

  • How can you connect your expertise to your guest post idea?
  • Does their target audience need to hear that?
  • If they already wrote about this topic, what fresh angle could you offer?

Make your pitch concise and to the point. Their editors get tons of offers daily, so they don’t have time to read long emails.

Introduce yourself, tell why you want to write for them, and what topic(s) you have in mind. Also, do your best to specify what value your topic(s) will bring to their audience.

4. Write guest posts and get published

Once your pitch is accepted, it’s time to create the content and send it to the third-party site. As a busy content entrepreneur, you can now face another challenge – time. 

You need to research the topic, craft the outline, identify references and visual elements, write, and proofread/edit your guest post before sending.

If you opt to outsource the content creation task, do your best to provide them with a stellar creative brief to clarify the requirements and avoid misunderstandings.

Also, remember to attach your author bio with a backlink to your website and your headshot. And be ready to revise the draft if requested.

5. Analyze the results

Any strategy needs time before you see results, and guest blogging isn’t an exception. Once you’ve contributed at least five of your best articles to top-notch websites in your niche, wait for a couple of months to see some metrics that will help you analyze if the game’s worth it.

To get a better idea of what your guest content campaign does to your online presence, consider these metrics:

  • Referral traffic to your website from your guest content assets
  • Number of comments and social shares of the content
  • New website visitors overall – has it changed since you started guest blogging?
  • New subscribers – has guest blogging attracted a broader audience to your content business?

Don’t ignore the negatives. Check what websites didn’t help you reach goals and try to analyze why. This information will help you revise the campaign and make corresponding changes for better results next time.

Ready to try?

Now that you’ve got another strategy to influence your online presence and build the audience, does it look like the one you’d try? Or maybe you’ve already tried it and have some insights to share with The Tilt community?

About the author

Lesley is a seasoned web writer who helps peers develop the confidence and skills for better content creation and promotion. With seven-plus years in guest blogging, she's built a solid portfolio and backlink profiles for many clients. Follow her on Twitter.