Is guest blogging worth it?
In this episode we talk about how to make sure the people who guest write for your blog, deliver highly valuable content your readers (and know how to write valuable guest posts yourself).
Talia: About a month ago, I got a push notification from YouTube telling me to watch this video. It was about Michael Keaton coming back as Batman. I don’t know if you know this, but this is incredible.
Talia: Yeah. It was during the day, I went into YouTube and I was planning on spending five minutes watching this video. 45 minutes later, I had gone down the rabbit hole and I was watching 10 different videos. Needless to say, no work got done. But as I was doing this, I was wondering, how can I get people to do the same for my own YouTube channel? Because I would love for people to keep watching and get more views on my YouTube channel. And just as I was thinking this, I got an email from Alex King who had suggestions for me on how to optimize my YouTube channel for more views.
He was amazing. He did a loom video for me and set some screenshots. And we now have a guest post from him on our website that details nine different ways that you can get more views on YouTube. And I love having people that really know what they talk about on our blog. And that’s actually what we’re going to be talking about today in this short episode. How to get good people to write guest posts for your blog.
#1: Only let people contribute who know more than you on a specific topic
Ross: I think that’s an amazing story. I think there’s so much in just the idea of somebody going above and beyond to not only build that relationship, but then deliver value to your audience on your behalf. And I think it starts with, this person was someone who knew more than you on a specific subject. And when you think about guest blogging, I think there’s a bit of new rules that need to be placed for companies or brands or people who run their own blog and they’re looking to get guest contributors. Because everyone knows that it does take a lot of time to create content. But if you can get other people to contribute on your site as well, it can allow you to get in front of your audience more, and it saves you time. But at the same time, it gives that person the ability to reach a new audience.
So it’s a great win-win. But to the point around this YouTube piece, what I love about it is that it knocked out of the park what I believe is the first principle when you were starting to set up your own guest blogging empire. Which is, you need to have people write for you who are going to add specific insight and information to your audience that you cannot do. And you recognize that YouTube is not your specialty, but that this person could add that type of value. So they did it, and now you are able add that value back to your customers and your audience, et cetera. So I think that’s huge. And I think that that is, without a question in my mind, when you’re planning your content calendar, it needs to start with, if you are going to accept guest contributions, the people writing should be covering topics that you couldn’t have written yourself. Because that just elevates the site even further.
#2 Avoid the writers who focus on just adding links to their own work
Talia: 100%. This leads into probably another set of rules here of knowing who to choose to write your guest blog posts. Because too many times have I been pitched via email for blog posts, or even agreed for someone to write a blog post because I really do think they can add value. But then I end up getting the actual draft and there’s like 20/30 different links to their own work and the stuff that they’re doing. And it is just-
Ross: The worst.
Talia: … it is the worst. This actually, by the way, speaks to all those emails that we’re getting to the actual dream podcast, which we’re getting-
Ross: We’re getting a lot. Way too many of them.
Talia: Oh my gosh. But the idea of choosing the right people, like I mentioned Alex at the beginning. Look at the work that he did. He reached out to me with ideas and suggestions that by the way increased our views by 27% within two weeks.
Ross: That’s amazing.
Talia: I know. It really is incredible, but that’s the thing. It’s not that you shouldn’t be able to promote your own work. Of course you should be able to promote your own work. But you don’t want people on your blog just promoting themselves in and out, and there’s no real content at the end of the day. When you are inviting someone to write for your audience, you have to make sure that they are providing the value that you want them to provide. And that your readers will find value and be able to execute on whatever it is they’re writing. And if it’s just an advertisement for their work, they’re not really going to learn anything.
Ross: Exactly. And I think this message goes across both sides, right? For both the person who runs the blog and the person who’s trying to find a way to contribute to the blog. It’s all about value. If you run the blog, you want to think about, how can this person add value to my audience? And you have to set a standard around that value needing to be delivered. There’s not a lot of value to your audience if the person who’s writing for you is submitting 20 of their different links to their blog posts and their articles and their lead magnets and talking about their services. And there’s nothing that is really actionable for your audience and your readers to take and run with after they read it. Similarly, if you are the writer, when you are making the pitch, go above and beyond. Don’t just go in with that simple email that says, hey, I would love to write a guest blog post for you. What are your thoughts on these titles?
Go in with a pitch that says, these are the titles that I would be interested in sharing, but here’s some examples. And those examples need to show the standard of content excellence that you are striving to accomplish with your content. Not everyone at this point is going to be creating amazing in-depth pieces of content. And if you are not, it just is a sign that you need to continuously work on your craft and fine tune it until you start getting yeses. Because at the end of the day, if you’re trying to contribute to, let’s say a top blog like Social Media Examiner, and you’re trying to get into that space, you’re going to need to start somewhere to show them that yes, I can deliver value to your audience. But I always advise people to do, if you are trying to get into the guest blogging lane, is to start small. Start going after smaller blogs and then continuously level your way up.
So you can use these smaller ones to kind of say, hey tier B, I was on this tier C site. Hey tier A, I was on this tier B site. And the cycle continues. So folks, don’t be afraid to constantly look for content excellence in the people who are contributing to your site. But also if you were the creator of the guest blog posts, take a page out of Alex’s book and really invest that time and energy in creating something that is excellent and that you know the audience on the other blogs’ audience is going to love and embrace. That’s so key, so important.
3) Set a standard for content excellence
Ross: When we were talking at the beginning, I wanted to dive into this a little bit. You were talking about how, on your site, you actually have guidelines that give people an example or give people the rules so to speak, of what type of content you’re looking for if they were asked to guest blog posts on your site. Could you talk to the listeners just a little bit around that and what it entails and your thinking behind putting that out there to the world?
Talia: I think this speaks to our fourth point, which is being okay with saying no to those who just can’t hit the standard that you’re trying to set. So for us, we don’t publish a lot. But when we do, usually once or twice a month, but we publish huge pieces, very big and actionable guides. And when people started reaching out to write for us, I love that because I definitely want to have new voices and new specialists and people providing value to my audience. But I wanted to make sure that there’s a standard of excellence. So we actually created a webpage on our website that states the guidelines, exactly what I expect to see from a blog post. If you’re going to write a guest post for us, this is what I expect. How many words, how many actionable stuff is going to be in there. How many examples, case studies. The lot.
A real drill down of everything that we expect to see in that. And then if you hit that criteria, please do reach out. And that to me was a great way, and it still is till today, to know that the people that actually submit and say they want to write for us, A, I know that they feel good about the topic that they want to cover. That they feel that they can write something valuable. And it also gives me permission, which is something that I’ve found that can be a little hard to say no, if they don’t hit that standard that I’m looking for. Does that make sense?
Ross: It does. I think that’s key. I think you need to set some type of standards, and then you have to own it and lean into it as much as possible. And it can be difficult to say no, especially if it’s a friend or somebody who you’ve built a relationship with in the industry. But if you have it already written out clearly, this is what needs to go into a piece of content. If you’re going to contribute on our site and they don’t hit that standard, it makes it easy to say, look, I’m sorry, but you can read our standards. This is something that we need. It’s non negotiable. I really like you, but at the end of the day, you didn’t deliver this. Please feel free to adjust your content, make revisions, et cetera, but it’s not there yet. And I think folks, for the most part, will respect that, and will look at it as, okay, what can I do to improve the next time? And just continue to elevate their own writing in the process.
Talia: I love that. And I do actually want to speak to one of your examples. You mentioned Social Media Examiner a few minutes ago. And actually I have a very interesting story with Social Media Examiner. Because years ago, I went on their website and I pitched to be a guest on that podcast, on Mike’s podcast.
Never heard back. And then maybe two years later, I did hear back from one of his colleagues. She reached out and she said, “Mike would like to interview you for his podcast.” I got interviewed for the podcast, then they invited me to write a blog post for them. And then they hired me to do consulting for them.
Talia: Yeah. And I worked with them on a couple of projects. The reason I’m actually telling this story is because there’s just so much worth into doing guest blogging the right way. And the fact that Social Media Examiner did not approve of me when I was, I don’t know, three or four years ago, makes complete sense to me because it wasn’t what they were looking for at that point. But when they did reach out, I had the confidence and all the information that I needed in order to write a very good blog post that drove a ton of traffic and conversions and all that good stuff. And I eventually turned into a client.
Ross: That’s amazing.
Talia: Yeah. I mean, it’s just worth taking the time to really, if you are the person, as you mentioned, who’s writing the content, to take the time to put a lot of effort into it. And if you are the company that’s actually inviting people to write for you, that’s okay. You have the permission to say yes now, or no right now, but maybe in the future. And it will still work.
Ross: Yeah. I love that. I think for me, when I was getting started in blogging and really trying to build my reputation, Social Media Examiner was one of those sites I was like, okay, this is the dream place to publish content. And if you can get there, that’s going to be huge for your career. And it was. I published there, probably I think maybe four or five years ago now. But my strategy was exactly what we’re describing. I started to write for smaller blogs and then started to reference the fact that I was writing for these smaller blogs. And I just kept working up the chain until I would get the attention of a bigger site. And eventually I got it. I didn’t turn them into a client like you, so you beat me on that one 100%. But at the same time, I think there’s so much value that can get from guest blogging, but at the underlying core of all of this.
4) Be okay with saying no to those who can’t hit the standard
Ross: And I think it’s true, not only with Alex, but also the description that you described with that relationship. It’s all about value. If you can deliver value and you put value at the forefront of what you’re trying to give someone, you will get value back. And I think that’s the number one takeaway. When you put value first and that’s what you prioritize, the world works in your favor. So without further ado, let’s wrap this up and let folks know where they can learn a little bit more about us. actiondrivenpodcasts.com, of course.
Talia: Don’t forget to visit us on our Facebook group, which is facebook.com/groups/actiondrivenpodcast, the longest name ever.
Ross: It’s true.
Talia: But we invite you to come in, chat to us. We just got a bunch of requests for topics, which is also very awesome. And we’d love to get your suggestions for topics and any questions that you have. And as Ross mentioned, you can catch us on our website. And you can also give us a five star review on any of the platforms that you’re listening to. We will really appreciate that. That’s it. Thank you for listening. You will hear from us again next week. Bye.