Rules of Guest Blogging for Inbound Marketing & eCommerce Success
Guest blogging is a great way to you bring attention from new audiences. New audiences increase traffic. Increased traffic can increase online or offline sales (or both.)
Your blog, your website, your mobile assets, your social channels (even your phone "ring-ring") can all benefit from guest posting by appealing to buyers who seek products or services complimentary to yours. So you should consider what guest blogging could do for you.
A good example is a sales trainer posting on a digital marketing blog and discussing ”Sales Techniques for Introverted eCommerce Developers”. This sale trainer will then experience more interactions (and possibly sales) from posting on a blog offering a complimentary audience. The blog hosting this post will experience benefits (like traffic) from a new topic and the audience that comes with the new contributor.
Consider this post the HOW of guest blogging. For our purposes here, we'll use SyncShow Interactive as a test case.
If you want to attract guest bloggers, or if you are a blogger seeking exposure from popular blogs, then the following is a good description of what we believe should be expected by both parties - written from our point of view:
An Introduction to a Guest Blogging Relationship
This is great! You're interested in contributing to the SyncShow blog. We would appreciate getting to know you more before we go down that road quite yet.
The first step is reading this post and getting familiar with how we operate our guest blogging opportunities. We are always looking for fresh perspectives and angles on current topics. We know our readers also enjoy learning from experts with a variety of backgrounds.
Below you'll find the important elements of our guest blogging relationship. Please contact us to clarify anything you do not understand.
The Content of Your Piece and the Style Our Readers Expect
Topics and Themes
Have you picked a topic yet? An angle? A pen-name? (just kidding - don’t do that.) For us, the most popular pieces of content are how-to’s and simple descriptions of seemingly difficult concepts. This could be like a recent post that was very popular for us titled: "Inbound Marketing: How to Create Content When You Don't Know How." You'll see it is a difficult concept for many who are thinking: "Wow! How do I put together an interesting piece when I seem to have permanent writers block?" But Nadine Nocero (a staffer) offered a simple description with bullet points and lists to explain the process. It garnered hundreds of views in just three days.
So, what will it be for you?
If you think your topic will fit into one of the categories you'll see to the right, then there is a good chance it will work..
OK, Here goes… the Rules of Guest Blogging.
No Blatant Advertising: Nobody likes a post that is a blatant advertisement. Please do not appear to be selling your services, your products or your expertise. Most people can tell and tune it out pretty quickly. We want to share your knowledge, your expertise, your generosity. If you give people something they can use, they'll reach out to you when they are ready.
Be Unique: All the content you submit to be included on our blog needs to be unique. Unique means original, authored by you and not hosted anywhere else.
Must be New Content: Make sure the content to be hosted here is new. Then of course you can cover topics you've covered before, mention ideas you've promoted before, relive moments you've lived before for the benefit of the reader.
Links: As far as links, in the body of your post, they should enhance the reading experience. Links to other resources that further explain concepts or products you mention briefly are fine. Make them relevant and they will add to the enjoyment of the reader. Sneak in a fast one and, again, people can tell. Better to not do it.
Search Engine Optimization: The best posts are written for humans first, then search engines. Be a human. Write for humans. Then, when you feel comfortable with the piece, review the content for keywords. Keywords attract search engines. Bad writing repels search engines.
Further Details (Our Style Guide)
Article Length: Articles should be 600- 800 words. This is a comfortable length with little risk of loosing the reader along the way.
Post Titles: Initial caps should start the appropriate words in the title. Keep it to no more than 70 characters in length. Long enough to convey the intent without giving away the whole message. Plus, search engines usually truncate titles at about 70 characters. Simplify now so you don’t end up with a post title description in Google like: “57 ways to develop, write, structure, promote and explain guest posting to...” (This is a long, drawn out title that gets cut off by search engines and leaves the reader hanging... Another no-no!)
Subheads: Using H2, H3, etc. tags in your subheadings is most effective
Content Lists: If you are detailing sections or parts of something be sure to include bulleted lists and / or numbered lists for readability.
The Structure of the Piece
Links: Please keep the number of links within the body of the article to 5. Best practices say this does not annoy the reader as much as 6. (Why? we’re not sure. When’s the last time you counted the links in a post and then said, “Hey, that’s one too many!” But for our purposes here, try to keep it to 5.)
Any Picture, Graphics, or Images: The format of any pictures, graphics or images needs to be .jpg or .png. The size should be no larger than 600 pixels wide. A mention of the source needs to be included at the bottom of the post to give proper credit.
A Picture of You: Your head shot to be used in your bio (mini-biography) at the bottom of the post may include up to a 100 pixel x 100 pixel head shot. This is roughly one inch by one inch.
Bio: An author bio of you, up to 100 words can include one link. But don't sell in your bio either. Tell everyone where you've been, what you've done and what makes you special. But remember the value of this relationship should be about exposure We’re offering you exposure to our audience. You’re offering us your content to expose our audience to new ideas. Your submission here may bring new interactions as we we discussed above. There will be contact information in the bio of your piece: your email address, your phone number.
Where Your Post Will Be Promoted For Readers
We include our content (including your submission) in our streams via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It may be picked up (syndicated) by a other blogs. (This is a good thing.)
Please feel free to distribute your post through links in social media, respond to any comments and enjoy the attention. Do not then repost your submitted content to your blog or anywhere else. It needs to remain original content posted only here. You can, though, of course, discuss it, describe it and link to it. If you post a snippet to your blog, make sure it sends people back to the post and links back to the original content.
What happens first, next and then after...
If you’d like to submit a guest post to our SyncShow blog, then do these things:
Send us your content with images. Posts can be submitted pre-formatted as HTML via .txt. Standard text can be submitted using Word or Pages.
You should then receive an email confirming we received your submission.
In a few days, you should receive another email with an acceptance and further instructions (if any) or a polite decline with comments.
If we request any clarification or edits, please respond ASAP.
We will post it when we have a strategic hole in our editorial calendar. They happen often (remember the writers block issue above?)
SyncShow does reserve the right to edit the content for grammar, relevance, voice, clarity.
That’s it! Still Interested? Still Reading?
Actually we’re pleasantly surprised. Guest blogging is not for the faint of heart. There will be a critique of your style, your content and your ability. BUT, if you find a niche and deliver style as well as substance, then you should get more opportunities the more you post. Now let’s see what you can do.
What's your biggest hurdle to guest posting? We'd love to hear what's stopping you in the comment section below.