It's important to distinguish the difference between expanding an audience and increasing traffic though. Increasing traffic might have an immediate pay off (higher page loads might mean more advertising money or clicks on ads for instance) but expanding an audience has more potential to create long term loyal readers. Quick high traffic producing schemes tend to bring you a flash of traffic and then nothing. Expanding an audience on the other hand, is more concerned with long-term engaged readers and in this post I will show you how I regularly expand my audience in two quick hours.
They Key Is Guest BloggingGuest blogging is one of the best blogging-moves I ever did because it exposed my blog to readers who were interested in my niche, therefore creating engaged, loyal readers. It's important to note that my traffic doesn't necessarily increase a whole lot when I guest blog. That's OK though, because that's not necessarily my main objective.
What does increase is levels of engagement with my blog (ie. emails, comments, etc.) and RSS feed subscriptions also significantly increase. More RSS feed readers usually mean more engaged, loyal readers which ultimately produce a long term traffic bonanza.
When I first thought about guest blogging I was really skeptical and nervous...why would anyone publish my guest post? So I'm sure many of you are feeling the same way right now. I learned a few things along the way and I can show you how I did it. Plan on dedicating 2 hours to this process and I guarantee you'll get your guest post published!
First 45 Minutes - Relevant ResearchThe first 45 minutes of this process are the most crucial. I want you to spend 45 minutes researching which blogs you will submit a guest post to. There are a few specific things that I want you to focus on here, the main thing being RELEVANCY!
The goal of the 45 minutes is to find blogs that feature similar content as that of your potential guest post.
This point is so fundamental and important that I am shocked that people underestimate it. If you blog about quick semi-homemade dinners made from canned food, then that awesome blog about fresh seasonal local food is probably not the best fit for your post about 10 canned cream of mushroom soup dinners. Find blogs that feature similar content and your post is most likely to get published.
Also, notice whether they have a guest blogging submission guideline. Many blogs have these in their "about" pages. Have they published guest blogs in the past? If so, they are more likely to publish yours.
The whole point of this process is to find blogs that are likely to publish a guest post so that your chances of getting published increase substantially. Relevant content is key!
1 Hour - WritingOk, so some of you might need more time to write a post...take more time if you need to. This hour is dedicated to writing the post. Again, make sure you stay relevant to the target blog's content. Be as specific as possible. I have received countless of guest posts that have nothing to do with my blogs....the only "relevant" content is that the posts were somehow related to food. That's not enough! Would your post seamlessly fit into their blog? Does your post expand on a topic present in the blog? Does it fill a void?
Along with writing the post make sure to have all pictures and formatting ready to go. You want to make the process as easy as possible for the blog owner.
15 Minutes - Email BlogThe last 15 minutes are dedicated to crafting an email to send to the blog owner. The email should be short, but courteous and should contain these key bits of information:
-A brief introduction of you and your blog
-A brief explanation about how your post is relevant to their blog
-Your contact information
-The actual post with attached images
Again, keep it short. I would write something like this:
My name is ________ and I am the author of ____________. I am writing you to submit a guest post for your consideration. I've been a fan of your blog and think that my post about __________ would really appeal to your readers because you tend to post about_______________. Attached you will find the post with pictures. I am very open to suggestions and am open to editing if need be. Please let me know if you have any questions and thank you for considering my post.
Feel free to use this as a template and edit or expand it.
So that's it! Have any of you had experience with guest posts? I would love readers to share their experiences in the comments.