There are a lot of great articles out there about guest posting, but not much about the small business guest post. Honestly, I put off guest posting for a while because those articles can be intimidating.
They mostly say you need to reach out in volume for success. If you’re part of a small team or all on your own that scale of operation feels like too much. It feels unrealistic and unsustainable, especially if you want to build relationships with guest posting.
So, after I laid out my guest post strategy I sat on it for several months. I couldn’t figure out how to align my time and availability with the scale these articles talked about. If you’ve never done any guest posting, I’ve included a few of my favorite articles below:
It wasn’t until I tried some of these strategies and took action that I noticed some tiny changes that would make guest posting work for me.
To be clear, I’m not talking about how to quadruple your traffic in 3 months with guest posting. I’m talking about how you can use off-page SEO to build the relevance and authority of your site and to build genuine relationships with other sites that connect to yours. It’s not as fast or easy as something like the skyscraper technique. It’s not repetitive, but it is rewarding and valuable.
Let’s talk about it.
Building professional relationships or building connections?
Everyone says guest posting is about building relationships. At the same time they talk about sending hundreds, if not thousands, of emails. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have hundreds of relationships. I do have hundreds of connections. Those connections are more interested in what I can do for them than what they can do for me. I don’t have a problem with that, and that understanding helps when I connect with someone new about submitting or accepting a guest post.
So, as you’re researching who to reach out to for your small business guest post, think about what you have to offer. Guest post exchanges are popular. It doesn’t have to be a direct exchange. You can also offer social media posting, link building, or free samples of your product or service.
Your offer doesn’t have to be equal. It’s important to emphasize the value of your offer, for example, if you’re offering a social exchange, share details on your follower numbers and engagement.
Sometimes you’ll give away more than you get, but that’s ok. I think of it like going to lunch with coworkers. Sometimes you’ll pick up more than your share of the tab or you’ll cover someone’s lunch when they forgot their wallet. It will all work out in the long run.
Set guest post boundaries
The example above makes another point. We all know that one friend who takes a little bit more than they give, the one who orders the most expensive thing on the menu and then wants to split the check equally. No one wants that friend and no one wants to be that friend, at least I don’t!
So, what do you do when someone wants a link to a site that you think looks creepy? What if a guest poster submits 10 or more links to their site in one guest post?
You can avoid uncomfortable situations by deciding early on what you do and don’t want in a guest post. Your connections will always ask for what they want most, and there are ways that you can help them out and still maintain your standards.
If you’re not sure what your standards are, write out some guest post guidelines. Think about how you approach posting on your blog:
- How do you feel about word count?
- What do you link to and why?
- What links are most useful to your audience?
- Which links do you add a no-follow to? Which are sponsored and which are do-follow?
You can help out your connections and still maintain your standards. It’s easier to do this when you’re honest and set expectations early.
Do your homework
You don’t need to add hundreds of links a month to make your side shine. Guest posting is honestly kind of a nerd playground. It gives you a chance to read blogs online for hours. The time you put in will help you understand what each blog and blogger is about. It will give you time to decide if you want those writers to be part of your online family.
Who you link to and how useful their posts are to your audience will reflect back on you, so it makes sense to take your time then when you reach out. This way you will reach out as someone who is noticing and appreciating the time and work that goes into their blog, not someone who’s just looking for a favor. Who doesn’t want that?
Is it more efficient to create a long list of sites on a spreadsheet and to complete tasks in batches? Yes, but it’s less effective.
Why? Because when you’re emailing from a list, you’re just sending emails. When you email contacts as you research, you’re reaching out to a specific person for a specific reason and they feel that when they read your email.
Write to your links
One reason that guest posts are useful is referral traffic. If you add a link to your guest post as an afterthought, your reader will treat it that way too. So, carefully choose the links you’d like to include in your guest post before you start writing. Make links a part of your writing process.
This can feel strange to some writers, but it’s no different than referencing academic sources in a term paper. Your links form part of your foundation of ideas. They inform your opinions. So, it’s only natural to offer these resources to your readers too.
Write great small business guest posts
Some may feel this goes without saying, but write your guest post the same way you write a post for your site. I think it’s natural to second-guess when you’re writing for a new blog or audience. Spend some time reading posts on the blog you’re guest posting for to get a feel for the writing style and structure of their posts. Look for links that you think may touch on the points you’ll bring up in your article.
Many sites outsource guest posts in order to scale. I don’t recommend this unless you have a dedicated guest post writer, because it makes it harder to control quality and consistency.
I wrote a comprehensive article about how I approach researching and writing a blog post if you’re looking for some help or inspiration.
These are some popular guest posts I’ve written in the last year, if you’re looking for examples:
- Send and Sell: How to Craft a Seamless Sales Email Sequence
- How to Sell Digital Products With Visual Content
- How The Right Brand Persona Leads To Profitable Ecommerce Emails
- Show Don’t Tell: How to Make a Persuasive Product Video
- How to Write an Incredible eBook to Boost Your Online Sales
- Don’t Say It Unless You Mean It: 7 Marketing Fails to Avoid in 2020
- Make Money Today With These 7 Passive Income Ideas
- It Doesn’t Have to Be Profound: 4 Easy Tricks to Writing Body Copy that Sells
Guest posting isn’t magic. Small business guest posts shouldn’t be your only off-page SEO strategy. But guest posts are a great way to build professional relationships and expand your community. A guest post is a great way to share your ideas with new audiences and talk about your expertise from a different perspective.