Blogging is one of the top activities that will establish you as an expert in your field and help enlarge your audience online. Guest blogging will achieve that to whole new levels as you will be recognized as an authority by others in your niche.
Having your own blog is an excellent way to start affirming yourself online. It’s also a starting platform for your writing skills, one where you can test what is deemed interesting and what isn’t, what kind of posts spark conversations, and what are the types that go unnoticed or just don’t receive any engagement from the audience.
The advantages of guest blogging include:
- Exposure for you and your brand to new audiences
- A boost in SEO by building links from sites with lots of traffic to your own pages
- Enhanced reputation
6 Steps on how to use guest blogging to promote your online course
Your online course needs all your attention, not only in the creation phase but also after that is done. No matter how awesome your subject is or how great the design, if you don’t put some effort into marketing it, few people will see it and even fewer will buy it.
Guest blogging is a must in your content marketing strategy. It can bring great results in terms of views and conversions, but you need to put some time into it before you can reap the benefits and you also need to have a game plan. Here are six steps on how to use guest blogging to promote your online course:
Have a strategy
Since blogging takes time and effort, it’s best to know why you are doing it right of the bat. Knowing what your objectives are will help you in planning the next steps.
For example, if you aim at getting more traffic to your site then it’s best to target blogs with large audiences.
If your goal is to enhance SEO by building strong backlinks, you should go for pages with strong domain authority.
If your marketing strategy requires building an email list, it’s best to look for blogs with highly active and engaged subscribers.
If social media is pivotal to your brand, seek blogs that are heavily shared on the platforms that most interest you.
Search for possible sites to post on
The internet is as wide and populated as a clear, starry August night: with a lot of shiny dots that are not really stars. What I mean by the cosmic metaphor is that a lot of what will come up in a search will not in any way be relevant or useful to you.
However, you have to start somewhere so the first step is to do an old-fashioned search-engine query. Pick the keyword that is most relevant (if you are an instructional designer you can either choose a term that relates to learning in general or one that is specific to the subject matter in your courses) and add “guest blogger”, “contributor”, “write for us” or “guest post”.
Identify the best places for you
Once you know what you are after, it’s time to do your homework – this might take a while, but it will be worth every browsing second. You can start with the industry blogs you normally follow and share. It’s important not to stop there though.
You will find an abundance of highly lucrative opportunities is you take the time to sift through them. Here is a checklist of what to look for:
- the site is accepting guest blog posts (if they don’t you just move along to another, no further inquiry necessary)
- the content on the site is relevant for your business
- the link profile on the site is one that denotes authority
- the site’s audience matches your customer persona
- the site’s audience is responsive and engaged
- the site has a healthy social media presence so your posts would get shared
Build a relationship
Before you just shoot an email asking to post, get to know the owner of the site you are aiming to post on and the page itself. Make sure you read and understand the guidelines before even starting a conversation.
Get a sense of what it’s about by following and visiting for a few days (or weeks if you have the time), comment on the posts, give feedback and share the content on your own pages. You should become a trusted member of the community before you can claim to be one of their voices.
It’s true that it takes time but it’s the only way to make sure you make an impact and get people to listen to what you have to say (and hopefully be interested enough to want to find out more by following you on your own online points of presence).
Once you feel you have enough information and can craft a post that will be appropriate and relevant, you should shoot that email.
Write a good pitch email
Just because a site is open to blog post submissions does not mean they will accept just anybody. It’s very important that you personalize your email and have a very clear and engaging subject line.
The topic you chose should be compelling and fit for the site – if you want to write about a subject that has been covered before make sure you bring new insights or information. Also, clearly state the benefits that publishing your article might have for the site.
It’s best if you also share your reasons for asking to post – increasing your audience, establishing authority, gaining awareness for your brand. A short bio link can also help you ‘seal the deal’ so include that.
Finally, it’s highly advisable for you to provide and respect a deadline for submitting your piece – ideally, you have it written but if you don’t or are open to topic suggestions from them make sure you can deliver in time.
Always follow-up after publication
Guest-posts are supposed to be win-win – the site gets good content and the writer gets exposure. Your work as a guest blogger does not end with the proofread and edited submission. You need to join any conversation sparked by your content and start new ones.
You should be promoting your content on social media and building links from your site to the guest post. If allowed by the site, you can build an email gathering form on the landing page your readers access. Comments by other bloggers on your piece are a great way to make a connection and ask if they are looking for guest material on their pages.
Last but not least, don’t forget to thank your host and do the service of liking, sharing, and promoting some of their other content as well.
Having your name and content on high authority (and traffic) blogs is a very powerful online marketing tool. By following the above guidelines you’ll make sure that your effort is geared in the right direction and you’ll be able to build a positive online presence for your business.
Read more: 5 Blogging hacks for online course creators
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.