The benefits of guest posting

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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a post about guest posting….

When I started blogging more than 15 years ago, I had 34 subscribers.  All were friends and family members.

Now, I have many thousands of subscribers, but I didn’t build those numbers quickly. Instead, I did it slowly and surely.

My best strategy? Using guest posts. I would write a post for someone else’s site and, if those readers enjoyed what I’d written, they’d sign up to follow me.

Darren Rowse, owner of Problogger, also endorses this technique and he writes about it in a recent blog post under the headline, “Finding New Readers for Your Blog with Guest Posting.”

While the post gives six useful tips, the one that resonated the most for me was number 1, which says:

“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.”

Being able to picking the right home for your guest post is an essential skill.  When considering this advice, I often harken back to a suggestion I heard many years ago another blogger. He said, “imagine the place for which you are guest posting to be a watering hole.

“If you are a giraffe, you want to be at watering hole with lions, and rhinos — not just other giraffes.”

In practical terms, this means you won’t be competing for audience members with the owner of the blog. So, for example, wedding dress designers might want to write guest posts for a photography site. Both the dress designer and the photographer might be looking to reach future brides and grooms, but they are not competing with each other.

Also, don’t pitch to other websites blindly. For starters, make sure they actually accept guest posts (I don’t, although I still receive about a dozen pitches a week).

One final point: Guest posting can take a lot of time. Here’s how to deal with that problem.

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