Besides updating your small business blog with fresh content that resonates with your website visitors, contributing articles to other blogs can further enhance your brand’s image.

Guest blogging on websites that cater to your target audience offers several benefits:

• Increases exposure of your brand

• Provides the opportunity to link back to your company website (usually through an author bio), which can help your search engine ranking

• Builds your reputation as an expert in your field

• Introduces you to industry leaders and influencers

• Helps you increase your company’s social media following

Tips for creating and executing a guest blogging strategy

To tap into the potential of guest blogging, you need to have a sound strategy centered on some best practices. Below are some considerations as you embark on submitting guest posts to other websites.

Choose reputable websites that are targeted at your ideal customers and that accept guest posts.

Keep in mind that not all sites will publish content from external sources. Also, realize that very popular sites may be hesitant to accept posts from people other than established guest bloggers. Don’t get discouraged. There are outlets out there hungry for fresh content, and with determined research, you will find them.

Research the type of content your prospective blog outlets publish and if they have guest blogging guidelines posted.

Before contacting blog editors, review existing content on their websites and look to see if they have posted guidelines for contributors. If you don’t believe you’ll be able to provide the type or quality of content they’re looking for, don’t waste your time or theirs by starting a conversation with them.

Brainstorm topics and write abstracts for potential blog posts.

Consider what you learned about the content your desired guest posting outlets publish, and then craft topic ideas that will be appropriate for them. Take care not to suggest posts on topics that they’ve already covered extensively. Be original. It’s also helpful to write brief abstracts (a few sentences) to provide an overview of what you would include in the posts.

Send an informed, informative and personalized inquiry by email to the blogs you’re interested in contributing to.

Contact each blog outlet’s editor by email individually, not through a mass email. As you’re reaching out to explore the opportunity to contribute, share what you find compelling about the blog. Consider mentioning a particular article that grabbed your attention and what made it so helpful or fascinating.

Then explain your interest in writing a guest post and why you believe you will make a valuable guest contributor.

To whet an editor’s appetite, offer a few topic suggestions along with the abstracts you wrote. Just make sure you don’t offer the same ideas to multiple blog editors — they want original content, not articles that were already published somewhere else. For that reason, you may want to contact one blog editor at a time; if one editor turns down a topic, then you’re free to propose it to another publisher.

Deliver on what you promised.

If you get the nod to submit an article, follow through on what you said you would deliver. Submit fresh content of high quality on the topic you suggested and with the focus you explained in your abstract.

Also, make sure you abide by any editorial guidelines the editor told you to follow.

Your guest post was accepted and published. Now what?

Congrats! Promote your article and the blog that published it by sharing the link on social media, your email marketing newsletters, etc. This will give you exposure and generate goodwill with the marketing team running the website that accepted your post.

Your guest post was declined. Now what?

It happens. Sometimes editors reject articles. In some cases, an editor may request revisions and then publish your post.

In other circumstances, an editor may flat out say it’s a no-go. Take the news gracefully and politely — and then determine if you might use the article for a different blog. Before doing so, make sure you adapt it to that alternative blog’s target audience and editorial rules.

Blogging is just one component of marketing, and it needs to be a part of a larger strategy for building your business.

Provided by SCORE Northeast Indiana. SCORE is a nonprofit association of more than 10,000 business experts who volunteer as mentors. SCORE offers free mentoring and low-cost workshops nationwide. Call SCORE Northeast Indiana’s office at 260-422-2601 or visit northeastIndiana.score.org for a “free” counseling session. SCORE Northeast Indiana’s “Ask SCORE” column appears monthly in Business Weekly.

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