This week I’m introducing the first of five ways that I’d promote a new blog to new readers if i was starting out again.
Perhaps one of the most powerful ways of exposing your writing to a new group of people is to put some of your best content on other peoples blogs – and not your own.
Guest Posts have long been a feature of blogging but it has been in the last year or two that I’ve really seen some wonderful examples of bloggers launching their own blogs and raising their own profiles through focussing their attention on writing guest posts on other blogs.
Names that come to mind of bloggers who I’ve seen do this brilliantly include Leo Babauta from Zen Habits (who has been a prolific guest poster and who has grown his blog to 37,000+ subscribers), Skellie from Skelliewag.org and Anywired and ChrisG. These three bloggers (and many others) have consistently put some of their best content on other people’s blogs over the last year and have seen tangible benefits from doing it.
Giving Your Best Content Away
While it might seem a little odd to put your best posts on another person’s blog it is something that does pay off.
Keep in mind that last week we talked about the best way to get people to convince people that you’ll write great content in future is to show them great content now. While you can keep showing your regular readers great content on your blog – the best way to show people who’ve never heard of you your best stuff is to go where they’re already gathering – on other people’s blogs.
Keys to Successful Guest Posting Campaigns:
I’ve seen a lot of people attempt to use Guest Posts as a means to promote their own blog with varied rates of success. Here are a few tips that I’d give for doing it most effectively:
1. Pick Blogs Strategically – one of the best things that you can do to increase the effectiveness of a Guest Post campaign is to choose the right blogs. The key is to find blogs that have the type of readership that you want and that are on topics that will have some sort of cross over with your blog. Obviously blogs with large readerships are good – but I would argue that a smaller blog with a more relevant readership would be more effective than a large one with little relevance.
2. Repeat Posts – build a relationship with the readers of the blog that you’re writing for my writing regularly for it. Of course this is not always easy (and depends upon the blogger who you are writing guest posts for being open to this) but each time you write a post on another blog you reinforce your own brand, expertise and authority in the mind of their readers.
3. Multiple Blogs – a lesson that we can learn from the three bloggers that I’ve mentioned above is that they each have blogged regularly on multiple blogs in a niche. In doing so they exposed themselves to a wider audience but also reinforced their brand as many of those blogs would have been read by the same readers.
4. Defined Time – one thing that I’ve noticed particularly about Leo’s guest posting is that he seemed to engage in the practice for defined times and in ‘bursts’ of guest posting. He used guest posts to launch his profile in a niche but then drew back a little in order to work on his own projects – then went on another ‘burst’ to launch his next project or give his older ones another round of promotion. This makes a lot of sense to me.
5. Keep Working on Your Own Blog – it is absolutely essential that you not only focus on producing exceptional quality posts on other people’s blogs but also your own. The key is to put great content on other people’s blogs to get attention and to have them check out your own blog – but to have content on your own blog that engages them and gives them reason to subscribe to your blog. I’ve seen a number of bloggers do brilliantly at writing for other people’s blogs but have seen their own blogs suffer as a result. It could be a wise thing to plan the posts on your own blog before you start a guest posting campaign.
6. Don’t Burn Yourself Out – another mistake that I’ve seen from a few guest posters is that they end up burning themselves out by overloading themselves with guest posting appearances. The result of this is that their own blog can suffer but also they can run out of ideas for new posts if they are posting on too many blogs in a niche. The key is to walk the fine line between being prolific but also keeping yourself fresh and able to sustain your posting for the long haul.
Have you tried guest posting on other people’s blogs? What did you learn?
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This article was first published on March 12, 2008 and updated February 3, 2022