5 steps to landing your first guest post blog opportunity

[Beginner’s Guide] 5 Steps To Your First Guest Blog Opportunity

{Guest post by Sean Seale, co-founder of the Holistic Nutrition Hub}

“Content is the cost of entry for relevancy in our society.”

This #truthbomb comes from digital marketing leader Gary Vaynerchuk. This is true today more than ever before.

In a 2017 survey, the majority of marketers (53%) stated that blog content creation was their top marketing priority.

This means that if you want to be treated as an expert, grow a strong following, and help more people while doing what you love – you need to create content.

FYI – this is exactly what we talked about in the recent post “Do You Need a Blog for Your Wellness Business?

But creating content requires you to have an audience that will pay attention to what you create. This is not always the case, particularly when you’re starting a brand new business.

Enter guest blogging!

Writing for someone else’s blog gives you an opportunity to amplify your growth in a short amount of time by exposing you to an already established audience.

Don’t get me wrong though, it doesn’t happen overnight and it’s not easy!

It takes work, focus, and dedication to pull it off.

However, if you follow the 5 steps outlined in this article, you will give yourself the best chances to succeed in growing your audience and establishing yourself as an expert, and an authority in the industry right from the beginning.

The 5 key steps to landing your first guest posting opportunity

The 5 Steps to Your First Guest Blogging Opportunity

[SWEET PIN ACTION!]

NOTE: Most bloggers skip the first two and the last two steps. Don’t be THAT person.

Set yourself apart by doing things right, and reap the benefits of your hard work!

1. Research –  hone in on targets in your niche or industry

Guest blogging works wonders, but only if you’re doing it within the spaces that will benefit from your content. Before you start writing, you need to find the communities that you can bring value to.

Start by looking for influential writers and bloggers in your industry. If you’re just starting out, forget the high-profile personalities for now. Write down their names, and start considering them only once you have a solid guest blogging track record.

If you’re starting a nutrition business, look for local stores and companies that are linked to food and health. Scan their blogs to see what kind of content they publish. If you can relate to what they write and see a few ways that you could bring value to their audience, write their name down.

You can also turn to other professionals in your space that focus on a different niche than you do. Can you write an article that would be complimentary to what that person usually talks about?

If you are an expert in pre or postpartum nutrition, look for mom bloggers. If you focus on people who are always on the go, find travel blogs and business coaches you could guest blog for.

You can also use blog directories like blogher or even lists of blog directories to scan what’s out there and find the best matches for you and your niche.

While you do your research, compile a list of 5 to 15 blogs that you could realistically write for.

Also make notes about the kind of topics each one of them covers, and start thinking about relevant content you could publish through them. 

2. Contact – Establish a personal connection and provide value

This step is a critical one that new bloggers forget about all the time — just because you are willing to write for someone doesn’t mean that they know who you are!

At this point, going straight for the ask would be like walking up to a stranger on the street and asking them to wear your company’s t-shirt. That’s just awkward!

What you need to do instead is give them a good reason to publish your work on their blog.

Start by establishing a personal relationship with them first. Unless you can find potential hosts in your area, start by connecting with them on social media.

Subscribe to their newsletter, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see everything that your target hosts are posting and what they talk about.

Spend the following 3 to 4 weeks interacting with them and their community. Comment on their articles, contribute to their Facebook group and share their content.

Make sure you stay relevant and aim to add value instead of just cheerleading! #guestblogging Click To Tweet

You’ve now found the right people to guest post for, and you’ve established trust with them through numerous social interactions. It’s now time to go for the big move: the ask.

Guest blogging

3. Ask – Show up with something concrete

The worst thing you can do at this point is to “just ask”.

Whenever you want something, you need to have something else to give in exchange. And simply saying “I’d like to write for your blog” won’t cut it.

You need to play your best cards. Show up with an offer that your target host won’t be able to refuse.

A safe bet is to have a draft ready for at least two different articles. Each draft should be relevant to your target’s niche, and be structured well enough that they can get a good idea of what your article will look like.

For each piece, have at the very least, (1) a title, (2) a strong intro, and (3) all the headers for different sections of the blog. And by having at least two options, you give your target host the choice to pick what they think would fit best on their blog.

If you already have a good amount of unpublished material on a given topic, you could also offer to write a series as a guest author. This will allow you to really immerse yourself into that community and have a much deeper impact.

The more connections you can build and maintain, the better you will do. #guestblogger Click To Tweet

And as a new business owner, connecting with people on a personal basis is a sure strategy to grow your business.

To make your job a little easier, I’ve put together an email template that you can use when it’s time to “ask”. Simply download the document and modify it so it fits your unique situation.

INSTANT DOWNLOAD:

FREE GUEST BLOGGING EMAIL TEMPLATE

So you’ve scored a guest blogging opportunity. Great work! In the next section, I’ll cover everything you need to ensure you create the best content possible.

4. Deliver – Produce your best work, and more!

Let’s get this cleared up once and for all: everyone can write content.

But it takes dedicated practice and consistency to acquire the skills you will need to write great content.

While you might not be an expert at writing copy (yet!), there are a few key points that you should focus on to make your article the best it can be.

Write a killer intro

The intro will make or break your success as a blogger. When someone opens your link, you only have a few seconds to convince them to stay and read your article.

To write an intro that rocks, I recommend Backlinko’s APP method.

APP stands for “Approve”, “Promise”, and “Preview”.

The first sentence of your intro should have your readers nodding in agreement. There’s no better way to grab someone’s attention than to tell them what they already know.

Follow up by promising a solution to the problem they’re facing. This is where it’s important to know the audience you are writing for. If you know what their pain points are, you are more likely to write compelling content for them.

Finish your intro by giving a one or two-sentence preview of your article.

This method will glue the readers to their screen and make them want to read your article.

One your intro is in place, you need to focus on what will form the structure of the blog: the headlines.

Use catchy headlines

Think about this: Once you’ve read the intro of a new article, what do you do next?

If you are like 80% of people, you scan the headlines.

That’s right. Only 20% of readers then go on to reading the whole article.

So if you want people to stick around, your article needs to have great headlines.

To write a catchy title, I recommend you read Quicksprout’s extensive guide on the topic.

Once you have an attention-grabbing title, you also need strong subheadings. Each subheading should be unique, useful, and inform the reader about what they will learn in that section.

With a strong intro and powerful headlines in place, you have done most of the heavy lifting. Complete the process by writing great copy within the solid structure you’ve already established.

BONUS 1: Link to competitors and future targets

A sure way to make your article relevant is to include links to other articles within it. Even better, you can link to the work from other professionals in your space. Yes, even your competitors.

As long as you link to content that is of high quality and that is relevant to the topic covered, you’re doing the right thing.

Another underused strategy is to reference bloggers you want to guest write for in the future. That way you show up on their radar early on and can start fostering a positive relationship with a head start!

BONUS 2: Include embeddable or downloadable content

If you want your content to go viral (hey, it’s possible!), you need to give more than just text.

To add value to your written content, spend some time creating a highly actionable opt-in resource like a checklist that people can download…LIKE THIS ONE!

INSTANT DOWNLOAD:

FREE GUEST BLOG PROMOTION CHECKLIST

If you have an artistic side, design an infographic that your readers can embed on their own website or share on Pinterest (did you see that sweet pin-worthy image above?!)

#FeaturedBlogger Tip: videos are a great way to connect & engage with your target audience. Click To Tweet

Now that your guest article has been published, it’s time to engage with the community! As you’ve probably heard before, “the money is in the follow-up”. 

5. Follow up – Come back often and stay engaged

Just because your blog has been posted doesn’t mean that your job is done. Use the points listed below to get the best returns on the time and effort you invested into guest blogging.

Answer comments

If you look at any viral blog or video, you’ll notice that there is a lot of action happening in the comment section. Go back to your guest articles regularly and respond to every single comment. This will show the readers that you actually care about them. Use these opportunities to strengthen your relationship with them.

If you want to learn more about best practices around commenting, watch Moz’s great video on comment marketing.

Share your featured blog

As Krista mentioned in her recent post “Do You Need Have a Blog for Your Business?”, publishing a blog is not going to magically attract readers. Use the blog promotion checklist to help spread the word about your work and drive traffic to your guest article – which, in turn, drives traffic to YOUR site.

Stay in touch with the host

Do a good job by writing something that the audience will appreciate. This might open the door to future guest blogging opportunities with the same host or someone in their network!

QUESTION: Have you written a guest article before? If not, do you intend to? Share your experience in our FACEBOOK GROUP: Juice Up Your Wellness Biz

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sean Seale is a Personal Trainer at Upside Strength and the Online Community Manager at the Holistic Nutrition Hub (HNH).Sean Seale Holistic Nutrition Hub

Fully immersed in the wellness industry, he juggles between coaching fitness clients and building a nation-wide community for holistic nutritionists. He lives in beautiful Vancouver BC with his wife Lynne – a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who also runs HNH, and their three sons.

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