Advertising is expensive, especially when you run a small business with a limited budget. To promote your business without spending a fortune, writing a guest article for a website or blog other than your own can provide the perfect opportunity to speak directly to your target customers.
From finding which websites to approach to what to do after your post goes live, these six tips will show you how to create a guest blog post that helps your small business.
1.Find the right outlets
A guest post can give your business exposure to a wider audience. But it can only do that if you approach the right websites.
Choose websites that meet the following criteria:
- Readers of the site could be customers or influencers. If the people who read your article have no reason to be interested in your business, you're marketing to the wrong audience.
- The blog or site is professional in appearance and content. Publishing your post on an amateur website makes your business look unprofessional by association.
- The site receives a lot of traffic. You don't have to write for the most popular platforms out there, but if only a few people see your guest post, you aren't increasing your business's exposure.
To find the right outlets to approach, identify websites that your target customers read. To do this, you can do an online search for "your niche + guest post." For example, if you run a vegan food startup, search for "vegan nutrition + guest post" or "vegan recipes + guest post."
2. Do your research
After identifying which websites to pitch, study them further. If you've determined that the outlet does indeed publish guest posts, ask yourself these questions before contacting them:
- What is their pitching process and timeline?
- Who is their audience? Do their readers overlap with your target market?
- Are they popular platforms? Check their social media accounts, blog comments and Alexa ranking.
- What sort of content do they publish? Can you write a guest post that fits with their content?
- What have they published recently? You need to propose ideas that have not been covered extensively.
- Who are you emailing? You will make a better impression by researching who the editor is, obtaining their email address and sending a personal email versus sending a generic email through the site's Contact Us form.
3. Show your expertise
When submitting your pitch, you'll need to demonstrate your authority on the subject. In your pitch, explain how your professional background qualifies you to write on that topic. For example:
- You can write about managing wedding stress because you're a wedding planner who has worked with hundreds of clients.
- You can offer helpful tips for tax season because you're an accountant.
- For the holiday shopping season, you'd like to offer your recommendations of the best books to gift because you own a bookstore.
This is an ideal time to link to your small business website or appropriate social media pages to further demonstrate your qualifications.
You'll also need to showcase your writing expertise in your pitch, because no website wants to publish a poorly written guest post. If you have other articles that have been published, whether on other websites or your own blog, include links to these sites.
Even if you do not have samples, an engaging, professional and carefully edited email shows that you have the skill to write a guest post.
4. Follow the guidelines
Different websites have different rules for pitching your idea. Some may want you to submit a completed article in the body of your email. Others may ask for two or three possible headlines and a brief description of what each post would be about. Some may ask for specific subject lines.
No matter what the guidelines ask for, always follow them exactly. This demonstrates that you are a professional who is easy to work with, pays attention to details, and understands the website and its audience. Many professional websites have filters set up that weed out pitches that don't follow the site's guidelines. If you don't follow the guidelines, your pitch may never be seen.
5. Write with a purpose
Approach your article with the goal of building trust with readers and pointing them toward your business. The article should answer a pressing question your target customers have or resolve a problem they experience. It should stand on its own and not promote your business directly, but it should demonstrate your expertise in your field.
Once you have shown potential customers that you understand them and their struggles, they are more likely to click through to your website to learn more about how your product or service can help them.
Each website will have guidelines governing where links should be placed in your blog post: Some sites may specify links are allowed in the body of the article, while others only allow a link in your author bio. You can use these links to send customers directly to products, your About page or to a webpage where they can sign up for your email list.
No matter what your topic is, the purpose of your post is to show readers that your business can provide a solution to what they need and encourage them to click through to learn more.
6. Promote and engage
Once your guest post goes live, set aside time to promote your work and interact with readers. Engaging readers helps them identify with your business, making them more likely to visit your website or follow you.
Share the post on your own social media pages and tag the website that published it. Include a link to your post in the Media, Press or As Seen On section of your website. If other people share your post online, thank them. If readers leave comments or ask questions, respond in a friendly and professional manner.
It takes six to eight interactions with a brand before most customers are willing to make a purchase. A guest post provides an opportunity to make those interactions happen for your small business.