When you are self-employed, so much of what you do relies on your personal brand. Having a strong personal brand in place can often be the difference between an endless hustle and business success.
While you are busy running your business, sometimes the typical ways of building your personal brand (i.e., from media appearances to speaking engagements) can seem too resource and time intensive. That’s where guest posting (or guest blogging) comes into play.
Creating a consistent content marketing strategy, that includes guest blogging, is ideal for even busy entrepreneurs because it requires very little financial investment on your part and is something you can do on your own timeline. Guest blogging in reputable online magazines and industry blogs can help you reach new audiences, and really boost your personal brand by establishing yourself as a go-to expert on specific topics.
So, here are the key steps every entrepreneur can take to boost their personal brand with guest blogging:
Select your Target Audience
Much like how you sell products or services, you want to get very clear on who you are trying to reach with your guest blogging efforts. By defining your guest posting target audience you will be able to select the right websites to submit quality content. The key is to not automatically go for the “vanity” driven target, but to be strategic and choose online magazines and industry blogs where your ideal customers hangout. For example, instead of simply deciding the top site in your niche is the right way to go, perhaps you’ll decide you need to focus on reaching people in a specific geography or local-based web property? Or maybe you are going to use guest blogging as a way to expand your reach into a new vertical market? Create a target list of websites based on your audience and then research each site carefully to see if they accept guest posts and what submission guidelines you should follow.
Develop Great Content
The key to creating a successful guest posting strategy is coming up relevant and timely content. Perhaps the website you want to write for covered your chosen topic over two years ago, so maybe you can discuss the latest trends and provide fresh and timely new content. You don’t necessarily need a brand new idea for every blog post, but rather a unique angle or story on that topic. Be on the look out for clues when you are working with customers or prospects by identifying the questions that come up again and again or finding things that need to be addressed in your market (and no one is tackling).
Pitch Your Story Ideas
When you have your target and story in mind, it’s time to pitch your idea. Guest post pitches are usually done by email or via a specific form on-site. Take the time before you write and submit your pitch to familiarize yourself with the site’s readership and submission guidelines. Your pitch should include a brief summary of your story idea (one to two paragraphs at most) along with information about why you are a subject-matter expert. Remember, you want your pitch to stand out so be respectful of their time and get to the point. Also, before you hit send make sure to carefully proofread everything and address it to the right person.
Write Your Guest Post
Once your pitch is accepted, now you need to get down to business and write your guest post. Be sure to ask if there are any specific guidelines to follow or a deadline they’d like you to submit the post by. When writing your guest post, take into account the format and style of other posts on the site. Format your post and headlines in the same way. Keep in mind that you are writing for the web, so create easy-to-follow content that is useful (not sales or marketing oriented) with frequent use of subheads and, if appropriate, bullet points.
Promote Your Guest Post
The day your guest post is published the real fun begins. If you can, make sure you are available on the day your post publishes to monitor for comments on the post and interact with readers. Take the time to share your content via social networks and ensure you pass it along to your network via your email newsletter or other marketing channels. You’ll also want to post a link to your guest post on your site (or company blog) and use the media logo to boost your credibility for website visitors.
Finally, remember that your guest post can be used for months to come. Use it as a resource for your clients or to answer prospect’s questions and re-share it periodically across social media.
Guest posting is the perfect way to boost your personal brand, without a lot of additional investment on your part. By carving out the time to research, write and promote your guest posts you will be able to position yourself as an expert in your industry in no time at all.
Maggie Patterson is a copywriter and communications strategist who works with coaches, consultants, speakers, authors and other service providers. With more than 15 years experience working with big brands and start ups, she is focused on delivering results for her clients. Her work has been published on The Huffington Post, Social Media Today and LKR Social Media. To learn more about getting started with guest posting click here.