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This is part of a series on how content can be used to bring leads, increase sales, and improve your business’ competitive position.

 Once you’re sure that your onsite content establishes your brand and is written to sell, it’s time to think about off-site content marketing. One excellent type of content that can help drive visitors and sales is guest posting.

 Guest posting sounds simple: find thought leaders in your niche, read their blogs, and then reach out to them with article proposals that would be helpful to their readers. Once they approve, you write the article, and when it is published with your byline you have exposure! However, each of those steps can be somewhat challenging, and we’ll talk about best practices today.

 I personally enjoy writing guest posts, and as a content creator I often write these types of articles for my clients. Not only is it fun and challenging to write for a different audience, I know my client is getting great benefit from my work. When you guest post, you get readership from a group of people interested in your niche who may have never heard of your work before. In addition, you have automatic trust from this group because your post is being endorsed by the blog owner, who they already trust. The readers of your post are going to have an automatic positive interest in you.

 Having a ready, interested audience is a marketers dream. Guest posting is one of the best ways to present yourself to new prospects without having to resort to interruption marketing like pop-ups or sidebar ads.

 Let’s look at each step of writing a guest post in more detail.

 1.     Find thought leaders in your niche. You may already know who these people are – if so, great! If not, you can look at the top blogs in your niche by readership, or check out established LinkedIn groups looking for top contributors. Find out who has written well-reviewed books in your field. Once you find the leaders, make a list. These leaders are who your potential customers listen to.

2.     Read their blogs. Rule #1 of content is to never submit to a publication you haven’t read. This applies online also – how can you know what topics need covering, or what tone to use, if you’ve never read the blog? Read the last few days of posts, or follow the blog for a couple of weeks. Look through the topical archives to see what topics are already done, and which can be expanded on.

3.     Reach out with a proposal. Don’t get star-struck here – even the biggest names generally welcome guest posts. Just remember that you want to put your best quality proposal out here, so that your idea can rise above the other noise this blogger experiences. Be sure to read their guest posting guidelines. There may be word length requirements, a proposal process, or other important rules. Bloggers will ignore your request if you clearly haven’t read the guidelines.

4.     When approved, write the article. Woohoo! They accepted your proposal and now it’s time to write. You definitely want to put your best foot forward here – even if you are writing a purely informational piece, this is a big pitch moment for your company. You have a favorable audience waiting for you to talk – what will you say? If you struggle with writing or don’t have the time to do your best job, hire a freelance professional to help.

5.     After being published, watch the article. The blogger will likely need you to respond to comments, and you will want to see what the reaction is. Do more questions arise about the topic? Did you get a great response? Can you put a post together on your own blog to keep the conversation going?

6.     Look for additional opportunities. If the experience was a good one, especially if it generated a lot of discussion in the comments, ask the blogger if you can do another guest post in the future. Guests posts keep even great blogs from getting stale, so they’ll likely be open to your contributions.

Guest posting is a great way to get favorable exposure for your work and your company. Find the places your customers hang out – the blogs they read and the leaders they follow – and see if you can get your work displayed there. It will reap great dividends for your site and your business.

What is one thing you are sure to do when guest posting? Share in the comments!


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