Since you’re in the business of sharing knowledge, blogging pays off — it’s your chance to show people who you are and attract them with great content. Guest blogging is a little different as it’s your chance to introduce yourself to new audiences and establish yourself as an expert in the field.
While some think that guest blogging is dead, the truth is that it’s very much alive and kicking. People tend to think negatively of it because it’s a long-term branding strategy, which requires writing insightful articles if you’re going to get published on trusted, high-ranked sites. However, not going into guest blogging means missing out on some awesome benefits such as:
- Building solid relationships with people in your field
- Increasing your online reputation and visibility
- Growing your email list or blog subscribers list
- Generating new leads (especially before launching a new course)
- Improved domain authority, if done well
If these sound like something that all course creators could use, you’re not wrong, especially the relationship building and online reputation part.
Today, we’re going to see which guest blogging practices are worth your while and will get your content published:
1. Do a thorough research
Guest blogging rookies might be tempted to pitch a blog post to as many websites as possible because that increases their chances of getting published. Unfortunately, this strategy is mostly a waste of time; it’ll probably get you rejected from reputable blogs. Instead, try to work smarter and research suitable websites, i.e., blogs that target the same audience as you do.
- People promote their content on social media, so start there. Use Twitter to research hashtags such as #guestblog, #blog, or other hashtags related to your field. Facebook groups have posts that link to relevant websites, etc.
- Find out where competitors have blogged before. If they accepted your competitors’ guest post, there’s a high chance that they’ll value your insights as well.
- Research small blogs. Usually, smaller blogs have a tight-knit community that is passionate about something, so it’s a good idea to target these blogs.
Create a spreadsheet or have a system to keep track of these websites and contact information.
2. Be original
The problem with guest blogging is that some people have turned into a spammy strategy to add their links to as many websites as possible. Keyword stuffing is terrible for SEO anyway, and so is posting the same content everywhere.
If you reach out to ten websites and offer the same content that is slightly tweaked to appear different, it won’t help establish you as an authority, on the contrary. These practices are a no-no, and the Google algorithm doesn’t like that, but most of all, it won’t get you approved on high-ranked sites.
Try to find places where your input will be valued and write original content.
3. Share unique insights
Sharing unique insights comes easy to knowledge entrepreneurs. Drawing from their own experience is what they do well. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself a little, without oversharing, of course.
You should treat guest posts as if they were written for your own blog/website. Better yet, treat it as a much more important article. You are introducing yourself to new audiences, and first impressions matter! That will dramatically improve your chances of being accepted.
It’s recommended to write about things that are mostly related to the subject you’re teaching, but don’t let that stop you from exploring other avenues. If you want to share your knowledge with other instructional designers or know something valuable about marketing online courses, why not?
4. Understand the guidelines
Most websites will have guest blogging guidelines, but you can send an email to ask to read them first if there aren’t any. Most guest blogging policies have specific rules such as no promotional posts, writing original content, and exploring relevant topics for their audience.
Bloggers can immediately tell when someone hasn’t read them. That’s a big red flag, and your email might end up in the trash.
Moreover, they might not accept articles about certain topics or demand a specific voice to fit their audience, as some blogs use more informal or formal language, etc. Maybe they want to see a list of topics or want to read an entire post first. If you’re totally new to guest blogging, have a look at the INDIE Write for us page to get an idea of what these rules could look like.
5. Have a friendly approach
There are all sorts of blogs out there. You might want to submit posts to larger sites, which are handled by more than one person, or, depending on your niche, you can find smaller blogs. The smaller ones are most likely run by a single person, who is doing this because it’s their hobby.
That’s why in any case, you should have a friendly approach and show interest without being disingenuous. For example, people are more likely to accept an article if you comment on their social media posts beforehand, like their pages, retweet, etc. Nobody likes the “Interesting blog post! Subscribe to my blog now” comment.
However, a big no-no is sending the same email to everyone. You can have a template, but try to personalize it a little, show that you’ve checked out their content first. Also, try to answer emails as soon as possible.
6. Seize opportunities
You don’t need to have full articles written if you don’t have the time for that, but having something to show whenever you find an opportunity is better than just winging it.
You’ll most likely have to make your own luck at the beginning by pitching your ideas. But, if you’re currently into blogging, active on social media, or have already published a few courses, there is a chance that people will also engage with you.
If a blogger retweets something you’ve published, have a list of topics ready to show them. The same is true if they mention you somewhere or approach you directly.
7. Seek out collaborations
Collaborations with other course creators or someone in the industry are great for your marketing strategy. If someone wants to write on your blog, you can ask them to return the favor and write something for them. Just be careful. In some cases, people just want money, and you probably don’t have spare cash for something that might not have a great return on investment.
However, niche blogs aren’t the only avenues to explore — you can “hustle” a little bit and try to pitch to larger companies as well. For instance, if you’re teaching photography and love your camera, you can contact the manufacturer and see if they have some sort of ambassadorship program. The same goes for editing software or anything else you’re using for creating courses.
All in all, when it comes to guest blogging, calibrating your expectations is important. Guest blogging is a long-term strategy to put yourself and your e-learning brand out there. It won’t instantly quadruple your website traffic.
That’s why it’s OK to start small and focus on quality, not quantity. For example, smaller niche blogs can also help you build your brand as long as the blogs have the right audience. As selling online courses is becoming more and more popular, with new people joining the ranks of e-learning every day, gaining credibility and establishing yourself as an expert will pay off in the long run.
Ioana believes that learning doesn’t stop when school stops. When she is not writing about learning and ed tech, she can usually be seen reading a book and drinking lots of coffee.