Including different perspectives in your company’s content strategy is a no-brainer: customers, partners, vendors and industry experts all add a new voice to your blog, spotlight your company’s reach and influence and even bring an audience with them. Finding someone to guest blog is relatively easy; finding someone who can do a great job and make your blog sparkle with their voice is more challenging.
Digital marketing strategist Ashley Bennett says small businesses can reel in top-notch bloggers if they know where to look. “There are great writers out there who can provide great content and boost the credibility of your company,” she says. But if you want to catch the big fish you need a little know-how and the right bait.
Bennett offers these four tactics to get some bites from bloggers.
Follow the big fish, hook the small ones
Bennett suggests following industry leaders on social media, especially Twitter. “Serious bloggers and journalists are on Twitter,” she says. “Build a relationship with a potential blogger by commenting on their posts. Once you’ve established a relationship, reach out to them through the social media platform and ask them to contribute to your blog.”
However, Bennett says it’s important to reach out to only those writers you can realistically expect to blog for you. For example, getting a guest post from Calvin Klein would be the catch-of-the-year for a fashion business, but if your blog is new, you’re setting your sights too high, Bennett says. “Don’t waste your time going after the big fish right away,” Bennett says. “Follow them on social media, but start with small fish to gain some traction first.”
Go to a blogger’s virtual watering hole
If you’re looking for bloggers, you’ve got to go where they are. A lot of bloggers use sites like bloggerlinkup.com and myblogguest.com to find sites that accept guest blogs. Business owners can ask for guest bloggers on these sites too.
“These sites are great for small businesses that are just starting to build a blog audience,” Bennett says. “You’ll be able to find some mid-level bloggers through these sites who will offer solid content and help you build an audience.”
While these resource sites are helpful, Bennett says you should still vet the writer by reading some sample posts and checking out their online presence. “Save yourself some time and money by looking into a writer before you ask them to post,” she says. “Put the work in up front to avoid headaches later.”
Use the right bait
Remember, bloggers work for a living. They’re after two things: exposure and cash.
“Incentives go a long way,” Bennett says. If you want to lure experienced bloggers, you need the right bait. “At the very least, allow a blogger to include a link to his or her site and give the blogger a byline,” Bennett says. “While those are nice incentives, a little money never hurts.”
Even if you offer $20-50 per post, it’s a way to raise the bar for content you’re willing to accept, Bennett says. Of course, bigger names will want more money.
Fish with a guide
If you want serious bloggers, you need guidelines posted on your blog, Bennett says. “A set of guidelines shows bloggers your business has a clear plan, which is very attractive to bloggers,” she says. “You’ll instantly weed out poor quality writers because they’ll realize that they have to write high quality content to be posted on your company’s site.”
Bennett says blogging guidelines should include a list of topics that your company is interested in, word count, and a policy about adding links to the blog post. For example, a career development site, InventYourFuture.com, has clear guidelines on its site.
Just like any fishing enthusiast, you need to be patient. As the overall quality and reach of your blog improve, you’ll be able to snag better guest bloggers, who will in turn help you build a bigger audience.
Do you include guest bloggers on your site? Tell us about it!
This post contributed by guest author, Lisa Furgison. Furgison is a media maven with ten years of journalism experience and a passion for creating top-notch content.
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