Guest blogging to build relationships and traffic

I like guest blogging as a way of increasing traffic. I don’t do it for SEO-style link building. For me it’s more a case of building relationships.

I have a food blog, Not Delia, and have built friendships with other food bloggers. Occasionally we swap guest blog posts. For example, Matt Hall, editor of FoodForFriendsYeah! wrote a guest post for Not Delia and I wrote one for FFFY!

Here’s his guest post for me and mine for him.

This was a good win-win. Sure, we both got the extra links, but better still, we were both able to showcase our writing and cooking to the other’s audience. It also helped to build a friendly working relationship between our two sites. I also submitted the photo he supplied with the article to Taste Spotting, a site which showcases food photos. There’s another way to build traffic! If people like your foodie photos, they’ll click through to your site to find out more. So I also got some traffic to Not Delia from having Matt’s photo on my food blog.

A bowl of Japanese noodle soup

Matt Hall’s Japanese noodle soup


Sadly, Matt didn’t get the same benefit from the photo I gave him. I was a bit of newbie about food photography at the time and my photo for him didn’t make the grade on Taste Spotting. (For those unaware, food photography is a whole new ball game and you often need to cheat to get the best pictures.)

If anyone reading this would like to guest blog to get a bit more exposure, I give links in exchange for content on my various websites. Got a recipe or something to say about the food industry? Get in touch with me at Not Delia. If DIY and home improvement is your passion, I can use that kind of content on my HouseWiz blog. I have other blogs too but that’s enough for now.

Some people say that it’s hard to find anywhere to accept guest content from a newbie. I have never found that to be the case at all. If you offer a well-written article to a website editor, they will usually publish it. After all, you just gave them some good free content. Why wouldn’t they publish it?

Before making your approach, you need to answer the “What’s in it for me?” question from the other guy’s point of view. If you write and say “I started a new site yesterday, please do a link swap with me,” I would say, “Get lost. Why should I link from my well established site to your brand new one?” On the other hand, if you send me a good article and ask for a link to your site in return, then I am usually delighted to comply. It’s not rocket science, just think about how a person is likely to respond to your approach.

Going back to building relationships with people, you can also gain benefit from people who know and like you. If you’ve bothered to get to know someone online, they’re likely to be interested in helping you and will be receptive to your suggestions. If you don’t bother to even find out who owns the site you want to be published on, it really doesn’t create such a good impression.

On my British Expat site, I often receive emails addressed “Dear Sir or Madam”. Hmm, so you didn’t even take the time to find out whose site it was. On the other hand, if I get an email addressed, “Hi Kay…” then I know that they did at least find out who they were writing to before they wrote. Which approach do you think gets the more favourable response? Again, it’s just a case of how you approach people.

Websites are not owned by faceless automatons. They’re owned by people. Remember that and you probably won’t go far wrong when suggesting a guest blog post to someone.

When you are ready to start guest blogging for other people then (is this stating the bleedin’ obvious?) choose sites who have an audience relevant to what you have to say, and who will be interested in what you write. If I wrote an article about how to survive in an igloo, there’s not much point in asking someone with a blog about knitting to publish it. Look for synergies. If you want to guest blog for any particular site, then do your research and figure out who your audience is and what kind of content they like.

Every writer gets rejections. It’s normal. Don’t worry about it. Persevere. Don’t pester people, however. That’s likely to get their backs up and they might even block your email address.

Another thing is that bloggers and publishers like great unique content, so don’t suggest some crappy piece that you’ve already sent to a dozen other people, or even content that’s been spun to make it look ‘unique’. An experienced editor can spot a mile off if something is just some recycled rubbish that took you 10 minutes to spin to get past CopyScape.

If you are approaching someone with an offer to guest blog for them, then have something good to show them. Here is an example of a guest blog I received for my accessible travel site. This one ticked all the boxes. It was highly targeted towards the blog’s audience. It was interesting, well-written, and had a couple of good photos too. Why on earth would I not publish something like this? OK, so the author got a link – but I got a great article for my blog.

This has mostly been about how you can guest blog for other people. I’ll look at how you can encourage people to guest blog for you in another article. Meanwhile there are lots of ways to find suitable places to guest blog. Find forums with relevant content and look at the signatures in the members’ posts. Do they have a blog? Might they welcome a guest post from you? And if you really have no imagination at all to find guest blogging opportunities for yourself, you can always go to your preferred search engine and search for them.

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