How To Improve The ROI Of Your Guest Posts

How do you decide what topic to write about when guest posting for another blog? What tone should you take in your writing? How can you get the most ROI from your guest posting opportunity?

Bryan raised an interesting question on my last post about guest blogging

I was searching about for some ideas, does the content have to meet up with sites content ideas.

For example, If a blog normally covers certain content (SEO) does the guest blogger have to cover those topics, can they cover using Photoshop for web design(for example)?

Choosing a topic to write about for another blog and how you write that post aren’t always the easiest decisions. Above all else show respect. Show respect for the blog, show respect for the blogger(s) of that blog, and show respect for the readers of that blog.

I’ll assume you can show respect and move beyond to talk about how to get the most ROI for your efforts.

Laptop at a Cafe
Photo by Blakespot

Understand Your Goals in Guest Posting

Face it you’d like something back for the time you spend creating content for someone else. You have some goals in mind. Take a minute to understand what your goals are and let them direct you when writing. Some of the goals I usually have in writing a guest post are:

  • Extend brand reach and mindshare – Guest posting is an opportunity to introduce yourself to new audiences and reinforce what you can offer to those who already know of you.
  • New subscribers – Ideally readers of the other blog following you back to your blog and subscribing, though it will probably take more than one guest post for this to happen
  • Networking with the blogger – It’s not only the blog’s readers that will be absorbing your words. Guest posting is a great opportunity to build a relationship with someone who can continue to help you.
  • Link building – Not my primary goal, but it’s still a link building opportunity. At the very least you should get a link via a short bio. Be easy on adding links directly in your post unless you know it’s ok. Otherwise your post may become too self centered and will violate the first rule of showing respect.
  • Traffic – Your best not to hope for a ton of traffic from a single guest post unless you’re writing for a very popular blog. Even then you may see a lot less traffic than you’d expect. Still your post can drive traffic back to your site.

For me the main goals are to extend the reach of my brand and strengthen the relationship I have with the blogger I’m writing for. Ideally that will lead to more subscribers here. Everything else is secondary.

Understand the other Blog

Once you understand what you hope to accomplish the next step is to understand the blog you’re going to be writing for. Keep in mind the people who will read your guest post aren’t reading it because you wrote it.

Chances are they have no idea you’re the author when they open their reader or click the link on the post title. They’re reading your post because it’s the latest post on a blog they already read. They have expectations about what they’ll find and you’re job is to meet and exceed those expectations.

  • Understand the topics the blog typically covers
  • Understand the tone and general writing voice of the blog
  • Understand the audience of the blog
  • Tailor your post to the blog and audience

The first thing I do when I’ve been given the opportunity to write for someone else is to spend time reading that blog. It doesn’t matter how familiar I already am with the content and the audience, I still spend some time reading the blog. I’m reading now as a writer as opposed to a reader.

Look at the categories. Your post is going to have to fit into one of those categories. It’s unlikely any blogger will create a new category just for your post.

I always look at the blog’s categories and begin to narrow my choice of topic. None of us is an expert on everything. You’ll naturally know more about some of the topics the blog covers and that’s where you can make the greatest contribution.

Dig a little deeper into those categories. See what specific topics have been covered and more importantly see what hasn’t been covered.

If you can write a post on a topic that’s under served on the blog you have a better chance of standing out and a better chance of making the blogger happy. Your post should still fit within one of the existing categories.

Read some posts. Get a feel for the tone of the typical post. It’s ok to write with a different voice than blog’s usual voice, but you probably don’t want to stray too far. Remember readers will come to your post with expectations and your goal is to convince them to want more from you.

Understand That by Helping the Other Blog You’re Helping Yourself

A common stumbling block to guest blogging is wondering if your guest post would produce better gains by publishing it on your blog. James left that thought on a post about giving away your content, and then pointed out one reason why you’re better off giving the content away.

I always find it a little difficult to hand over a piece of work for a guest post. Is this the one that will go hot and attract loads of traffic and links…?

But ultimately you have to take a long term view. Sure… you won’t get the direct traffic, but long-term readership growth is the name of the game as you point out.

Your guest post might attract links and traffic to a blog not your own, but it’s not really a fair comparison. How well a post does has as much to do with where it’s published as it does with the quality of the post itself.

Any post I write here would gain more attention were it posted on CopyBlogger. Brian has a much bigger audience than I do so by default the post will be seen by more people. More people who may then go on to promote the post by linking to it and submitting it to social bookmarking sites.

You can’t worry about your post doing well for another site. If anything one of your goals should be to have your post bring links, traffic, and attention to that other blog. I hope every post I write for someone else does go popular on one social site or another.

Remember your goals again. A popular guest post further extends your brand reach and potentially leads to more people following you back to your site. You’ve made the other blogger happy, strengthening your relationship and opening the door for more guest posting opportunities.

A popular post with links flowing into it also makes for a stronger link flowing back to you. The more link juice that flows into a page the more link juice that can flow back out of that page. Don’t fret if your post does well for another blog. Help it do well by linking to it when and where you can.

Improve ROI with a Win-Win

The next time you have a chance to write for another blog don’t just hand off anything. The more you put into your post and the more you can tailor your post to the specific blog you’re writing for, the more return you can bring to yourself and that blog. Guest posting when done right truly offers a win-win for everyone involved.

Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.

6 comments

  1. Great stuff Steven…. I shall go now and spread some Karma!! Once more, thanks for guest post trade-sies that we played together, my ROI was getting to know you better after the years on the boards!!

    Cya on the Trails ;0)

    • Thanks Dave. I forgot to include one other goal when writing a guest post. That of simply helping out a friend who suddenly finds himself typing challenged.

      Look how much better we’ve gotten to know each other sharing some posts. Of course the social sites and the emails help.

    • Thanks Kristine. I hope the best way to go about writing guest posts also came across. I think guest posting can be a great thing, but I also think there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it.

  2. Thanks Steven. Your blog entry further explained some questions I had. When I started working on a guest post, I looked at the categories that blog used.

    I found looking at the categories to be a very useful tool when thinking of topics.

    • Glad I could help Bryan and thanks for inspiring this post. I always start by looking through the categories. It gets me thinking about what the other blog covers and what I can write about that would fit within those topics.

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