How Guest Blogging Builds Your Business – Kristi Hines

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Kristi-HInes-PinterestA lot of small businesses don’t put enough value on guest blog posts as a way to get new traffic. Do you know how to get a guest blog gig and reap its benefits?

Do you know how to look for relevant guest blogging opportunities?

If you don’t, you’re not alone. Many small businesses don’t know why guest blog posts are useful and how to go about getting seen on an industry blog. That’s why we asked Kristi Hines, blog marketing strategist and freelance writer, in this week’s episode of The Marketing Agents Podcast.

Big Ideas:

  • You do a lot of content development for other businesses. How did that all get started?
    • The idea is to create content that will draw people (with a bigger platform than you) to your site in hopes they’ll share it.
    • I started out blogging for myself and guest blogging on sites like Social Media Examiner, and Search Engine Journal.
    • Out of the blue, one of my first clients contacted me and said they’d pay me to write for their blog.
    • I hadn’t thought about being a freelance writer and it just sort of snowballed from there.
  • It’s hard when you’re wearing so many hats, to see the value in creating content for your small business. What do you say to people with a mindset like that?
    • I always tell people that content is what people want to share.
    • If you want people to talk about your business, you have to do something awesome or you need to be creating content that people find useful.
  • What should a small business consider when they’re blogging?
    • Consider what your audience would be interested in.
    • Write what customers would want to read.
    • It should be very specific to what we’re doing but we can also write on broader topics that would appeal to most customers.
  • How do you develop a content strategy for a business?
    • Start with what that business has and what their competitors are doing.
    • I try to find a good blend of what the company can keep up with and what their competition does.
    • You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
    • Look at what is getting comments and shares and replicate that.
    • You can make similar content but use your own voice to tell a unique story.
  • How importance is consistency? How do you deliver content on a regular basis?
    • You have to balance it.
    • What can you do and keep up with and what do your customers expect.
  • How about consistency in voice? Do multiple bloggers affect this?
    • Screen it and make sure you all have a similar voice and theories.
    • You can look at someone’s writing and know what’s going to work with your business or not.
  • How frequently should you be blogging for your business?
    • Honestly, it should be only when you can put out good content.
    • One great thing a week is better than mediocre posts every day.
  • How long should each blog post be? Is there a magic number out there that Google sees?
    • A minimum of 600 words is good. It’s a lot but not too much.
    • Your audience depends. Start off shorter and then see if a long one does well.
    • Just see what works.
  • Do you every get involved with blog post images?
    • I generally put at least one image in it because it’s great for sharing on social media.
    • I go to a stock image site or at least do a screenshot so I have something in there.
  • You’ve done some guest blogging. Can you explain what guest blogging is?
    • You basically look for sites in your industry in which your target customers would already be interested in and you see if you can submit a blog post to them.
    • It gets your name out in front of a new audience.
    • It increases your credibility.
  • Do you have any tactics for getting a guest blog post?
    • I get to know the blogger and the blog itself.
    • I interact them on Twitter and then I reach out to them and ask them if
    • I can submit a post on related things they haven’t covered yet.
  • It sounds like you got started with guest blogging. Do you think an occasional guest blogging opportunity would help small businesses get their feet wet?
    • I’ve seen some businesses do it this way but the challenge is getting a good buzz on other sites.
    • You don’t want people go to your site to find that you don’t have enough good content.
  • Matt Cutts recently said that “guest blogging is dead,” but quickly backpedaled on that a little bit. What are your thoughts on that comment?
    • I’ve seen him give some bad examples of guest blogging, but he was probably talking about crappy back linking strategies and not SEO optimized content.
  • In terms of guest blogging, what opportunities should we be looking for?
    • Usually, to qualify a site I look at how much traffic they get, how many shares, how many comments they get.
    • If a site gets little shares or comments then you’re obviously not going to get anything out of it.
    • But if you get a site with a lot of traffic and start becoming a regular contributor, then you’ll start getting traction and traffic to your site.

      You start to build a reputation, credibility and consistency with a new audience as a guest blogger who posts often.

    • Some of the bigger sites will give you return traffic on a single post, but after a few posts their audience will start to come to you because they now recognize you.
    • The exposure and return is valuable outside of the SEO.
    • If you’re looking to build inbound links, then a single post may be successful, but a doing regular posts builds credibility and traffic to your site.
    • Another strategy is to do a bunch of guest posts on a bunch of sites and try to get them launched all around the same time to grab a lot of attention.
  • Are there any content development or blog management tools you use?
    • I use really basic things.
    • I use an idea spreadsheet and I go though it when I’m ready to make a blog post.
    • There are good topic generator tools out there that auto-create headlines (but I can’t think of any off the top of my head!)
  • It sounds like you put a lot of thought into the title of your post.
    • I get more ideas that I have time to write about them, but I like to keep them all in one place because it helps me jog my memory.
  • When you’re writing your post, how much do you consider SEO?
    • My main concern is how my audience is going to react to it. Are they going to want to click on it and then share my post?
    • After I create the content I go back through it and figure out the strongest keyword to focus on.
  • Do you have any specific promotional strategies? And does it differ for your own posts versus guest posts?
    • For my own blog posts I’ll share it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
    • For client blogs it depends on their goals and how they want to advertise it.
    • Some clients want a ton of links, so I’ll email it to other bloggers and ask them to include it in their link roundups.
    • It really depends on what the client’s goal is though.
  • So you will spend money on promoting a post on your own blog if it gives you extra reach?
    • Yeah, definitely. The advertising on Facebook does help to increase your reach.
    • Facebook is now telling you that you have to spend money to get seen.

    Juicy Links:

    Rich Brooks
    Be my guest…blogger.

  • Great tips Kristi!

    • Kristi always brings the good stuff! Thanks for stopping by, Scott.

  • Rich and Kristi, well done! I put a lot of effort into guest blogging in the beginning, but have moved away from it recently. The reason being is that I was focusing on guest blogging opportunities rather than focusing on selling my core services, and I need to make money. I do see value in guest blogging because it does bring me lots of exposure though. I’m sure I’ll circle back to guest blogging more in the future, but for now I’m focusing on selling my core services.

    • Brandon, you’ve hit the nail on the head! It’s so easy to get swept away with the next big social marketing activity, only to forget what keeps the lights on!

      It’s important to find a balance to keep revenues coming in, and keep the pipe line full.

      Thanks!