Guest blogging with the sole intention of building links to your site just doesn’t work the way it used to. To successfully grow links to your site you first need to successfully develop real relationships with the industry influencers you are hoping to collaborate with.
Creating real relationships with industry influencers takes a lot of time and effort, but it is the only way to efficiently create a mutually beneficial blogging partnership. Sure, you might get one or two bites off the old standard guest blogging pitch sent out indiscriminately. But, to ensure that you can continue to maintain and grow your audience you need more than an occasional post on some random site.
Here are some great ways to reach out, connect, and start building relationships that matter. When those things are accomplished, links to your site, now and in the future, happen naturally.
Know Who You Are Pitching and Writing For
Take the time to do your research. Understand the goals and brand of the people you are reaching out to. Begin by telling them what you value about their contributions to your industry. Ask them if you can share their content and leave comments and participate in discussions on their blog. It is more likely that they will be excited about allowing you to guest blog for them once they know you and feel confident that you understand them and their brand. For example, private money lenders like Source Capital, often do a great job of this when reaching out and partnering with realtors. Given that money lenders fully understand the goals and desires of realtors, they can write highly relevant articles that realtors love to post on their site. Which helps cultivate a business relationship revolving around the “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” mentality, in which both parties can benefit from.
Give before Receiving
If you are in the beginning stages of developing the relationship, don’t jump to asking if you can write for their blog. Start by just asking to share their content or guest post and then do a bang-up job of promoting it. E-commerce businesses like Bonobos, Girlfriend Collective, BioClarity, and VitaMedica do a great job of this by posting and sharing the content on their social media accounts, as well as incentivizing their audience to engage with the material. When they see how hard you have worked to make sure their contribution gets noticed, they will feel more inclined to do the same for you.
As you develop your relationship ask them if they would write a guest blog or give an interview that you could post and link back to their site. Try to include their information (and link to them) in some of your posts. This will show them that you are serious about a continued relationship and that you are indeed a fan of their work, not someone just trying to get a quick promotion from them.
We are all trying to grow our audience and build our brand, so the better the influencer that you are reaching out to, the more people you will be competing against for their attention. Rather than merely pitching to them about how you will help them if they will help you (they have heard that pitch a thousand times), show them that you can efficiently get their word out to a broader audience. Not only does this make it more likely they will want to write for you, but it will also increase the chances they will want to share your information with their audience.
Return the Favor
Once your relationships are in full bloom, and the industry influencers are working with you to create and share content, make sure to pay close attention to who is linking to you, sharing your information, and publishing your content. Don’t let the relationship become one-sided. Make sure you continue to stay in in touch with them and to post and share their content and links.
Never forget to keep your guest posts relevant, reliable, and valuable. Many bloggers love this type of content exchange, and once they know you, they will happily continue to ask for posts and share your links for as long as long as they know you to be someone who gives quality work every time.
Guest blogging is more about relationships than ever before. A little honest effort now can go a long way to helping you reach your goals in the future. Take time to start building true blogging relationships with the influencers you respect most. Soon you will see the relationships and your audience flourish!
Cat Nilsson is the Managing Editor at 365 Business Tips, a site geared towards helping small business owners grow their business. Cat enjoys writing about a plethora of marketing topics, ranging from SEO to social media to content marketing.