A blogger’s greatest asset is his or her credibility. It is a blog’s credibility which results in readers and eventually regular subscribers. There are millions of blogs out there and unless you can brand yourself as an authority in your niche, your blog will never live up to its full potential.
So, how does one go about building credibility?
It is a long process that requires a great deal of time and effort. You need to be able to show what you know and demonstrate why others should listen. However, it is more than just great content that you need. To build credibility, you need a platform on which you can demonstrate your expertise to the masses. The practice of guest posting in the blogosphere gives aspiring bloggers this platform.
For those of you who don’t know, the practice of guest posting is when one makes a post on another blog. No blogger alone can provide expertise on every subject matter so they recruit guest posters to provide new perspectives and insights. This is a guest post on John Chow. In exchange for writing the post, the author gets a byline with a short bio and a link back to his/her website.
Guest posting is by far the easiest way to establish yourself as an authority in your niche. It is a free marketing tactic which associates yourself with well-respected individuals in your niche, instantly building credibility. It also gives you the platform you need to share what you have to offer. An insightful guest post, backed up with well developed posts on your own blog is one of the most effective ways to find new readers.
To illustrate my point, lets look at my personal case study. I started AMBeat.com as a blog about entrepreneurship and business opportunities a little more than a month ago. For this blog, I have exclusively been promoting it through the use of guest posts. I have written posts on various blogs in this niche including ProBlogger, Shoemoney, JohnChow, and others. These posts have driven hundreds of targeted visitors to my website. However, more than just raw traffic that resulted from these posts, it is important to analyze visitor engagement with the blog. I saw that these visitors were spending more time on my site and browsing more pages. Within days of the first few guest posts going live, the average visit length increased from less than 20 seconds to over two minutes a day. Page views per visit increased from one to about three and bounce rate decreased to about 42%, significantly less than those of my competitors. (Statistics from Alexa and Statcounter)
Guest posting results in visitors who interact with the site; reading multiple articles, commenting, subscribing, and most importantly coming back for future posts. This tactic will never drive as many visitors as a popular article on Digg or StumbleUpon will, but it will drive targeted traffic that will help in building an initial reader base.
To get started with guest posting, make a list of reputable blogs in your niche, large and small. Once you have made your list start contacting bloggers with ideas for posts you think would be a good fit for their blogs. Your messages will not always be replied, but of you e-mail enough bloggers, some guest posting opportunities will come. I recommend starting with smaller blogs in your niche and working your way up. The most authoritative blogs in any niche will be the most selective and showing past guest posting experience is a good way to get one foot in the door.
When pitching a blog, make sure to take the time to search through the archives to ensure no similar posts have previously been published. Analyze the writing style so that you can craft your post in a similar manner. Encourage discussion through the use of comments and make sure to interact with any responses on your post.
Guest posting is an art that requires patience and persistence. Large amounts of traffic may not come immediately; however with time targeted quality guest posts can result in regular readers and a vibrant active blog community.
This post was written by Aditya Mahesh, founder of AMBeat.com, a complete resource for entrepreneurs complete with advice articles, start-up profiles, interviews, news analysis, and more.