Content Marketing

Why You Shouldn’t Write Guest Posts for SEO

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You’re smart.

You know SEO has changed.

You don’t spin articles. You build a natural link profile. And you write proper guest posts to build links to your website.

But do you know you might be missing a huuuge opportunity if you guest blog for links alone?

Guest blogging is not just an SEO tactic. Guest blogging is a marketing tool:

  • Develop relationships with key influencers
  • Build authority
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Generate leads

Smart marketers use guest blogging to drive company growth. For instance: BufferApp (B2C) acquired their first 100,000 customers through a strong guest blogging strategy. HelpScout (B2B) used guest posting to grow their business consistently despite having a much smaller marketing budget than their competitors.

Would you like to do the same? Below follow the essential tips to help you grow your business through guest posting.

How to select target blogs for guest posting

Guest blogging for SEO means evaluating a blog based on the value of a link.

In contrast, guest blogging as a marketing tool means reviewing the audience of a blog. How many of its readers could become your customers? Is your buyer persona likely to read this blog?

As a marketer you want to raise awareness of your company and products with your target audience. You want to drive relevant traffic to your website. You don’t just want a link.

Imagine you’re launching an app that’s especially useful for freelance writers. Where would you go for guest blogging? Look for blogs that are read by freelancer writers, like Make a Living Writing or general freelance blogs such as FreelanceSwitch or Freelance Folder.

Now, let’s say you’re a freelance writer looking for new clients. From an SEO perspective, blogging for a site about freelance writing may be a good idea. But the problem is that you’re just writing for other freelance writers, so it won’t bring you any business.

You might want to pitch your copywriting services to start-up companies, so you need to look at blogs that are read by start-up founders. Consider blogs such as Unbounce, KISSmetrics, or CrazyEgg (of course!).

Don’t think about the value of a guest post link. Instead, consider the value of a blog’s audience.

How to pitch a guest post

Do you know the magic lines to get a guest post idea accepted?

Just like in dating, magic doesn’t exist.

To get an idea accepted you need to do two things in your pitch email:

  • You must prove that your post will be popular with a blog’s audience. To prepare your pitch email, research a blog. Read the most popular posts. Check out the comments, so you know what questions readers raise and what problems they’re struggling with. Get to know the audience so well that you are certain your guest post will get tons of shares and comments.
  • You need to demonstrate that you’re a good writer. Your email needs to be engaging and spotless—no grammar or spelling errors, please. And if you’ve already published a post on a popular blog, provide a link to your guest post to raise your credibility.

Check out this template of a pitch email Neil Patel uses. Or read this pitch that was accepted by Spin Sucks.

Think about an editor receiving your pitch—how can you persuade her that your post will be popular with her audience? Consider mentioning similar posts that gained a truckload of comments or a ton of social shares. Show her you care as much about her audience as she does.

At all cost, avoid sounding like an SEO guy looking to build links, because that’s the quickest way to get your email deleted from the filled-to-the-brim inbox of an overworked editor.

Don’t sound sleazy. Don’t sound rushed. Don’t use a scattergun approach. Treat your pitch email as the start of a conversation, the beginning of a valuable relationship.

How to write a popular guest post

Guest posting is not an upgraded form of article spinning.

Don’t recycle an existing post for a different blog. Make sure you add value:

  • Don’t write what you want to write. Write what a blog’s audience wants to read.
  • Maintain a consistent tone of voice that matches your brand and speaks strongly to your audience.
  • Only publish guest posts that raise the profile of your brand. Only write posts you can be proud of.
  • Know your stuff. Be incredibly helpful.

Use your guest posts to strengthen your brand, to position your company as an authority, and to connect with potential clients.

Just like you don’t want an embarrassingly bad advert in your local newspaper, you don’t want a poorly written guest post to undermine your company’s brand.

How to generate good leads

To turn a guest-post reader into a lead, you need to seduce them to join your email list. Consider offering a free trial, a free bonus, or weekly tips by email. Think about your buyer persona. What would entice them to sign up?

On a guest post, your author bio is your main call-to-action. Optimize your chances of people clicking through:

  • Explain who you are, which company you’re working for, and what your mission is. Leo Widrich starts his bio with: Leo Widrich is the Co-Founder of Buffer, a smarter way to post Tweets and Facebook posts.
  • Consider offering an incentive to encourage people to click through: Gregory Ciotti of Help Scout ends a bio with: Get more from Greg by checking out our free resource on providing good customer service.
  • Don’t make your bio corporate and boring. Try to add a dash of personality. This is Peter Sandeen’s bio: Right now, Peter Sandeen is dodging icebergs while sailing with his wife and dogs on the Finnish coast. But you can download the short ebook that shows you how to get 100+ subscribers from every guest post you write.

Your author bio is not a shortened version of your CV. Entice a reader to click through by offering a clear benefit.

The truth about guest blogging

Stop worrying so much about Google. Stop second-guessing the next algorithm update. Instead, write guest posts that solve readers’ problems.

Develop your brand with authoritative content. That’s how you build your audience and gain links. And that’s why Google will send you more traffic, more leads, and more business.

Understand your audience. Know how to fulfill their wishes and desires. Be incredibly helpful.

And above all: have fun. Let your passion shine through.

Henneke Duistermaat is a marketer and copywriter, who's on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make faceless companies charming. To receive her free copywriting and content marketing tips, sign up at Enchanting Marketing.

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