Guest Blogging Horrors and How to Survive Them

Guest blogging is a natural way of getting backlinks to your own blog. It helps you to become popular as a writer as well as an expert in your niche. However, you often face worst horrors while carrying out the blogging job. Here are great ideas to overcome these challenges.

Think of the topic

The first step in guest blogging is to think of the topic. Before you ask a blogger for the permission to post on their site, you should have an idea of what you want to blog about and what would be the headline of the article.

While coming up with topic ideas, make sure it has something to do with your product. If you want to add a URL of your website or say something related to your business, you should be blogging about a topic that somehow relates to the page you are linking to. If you just want to guest post to become popular on the Internet, then try to come up with ideas about which you have expertise. This helps your post to be of high interest to the readers.

Choose a quality blog to post on

Once you have chosen the topic, you need to contact the blog owner of the blog where you wan to post on. This is one of the biggest horrors of guest blogging that many people face. It may be difficult for you to choose a quality blog to post your article on. Also, you will not know how to contact the blog owner.

Choose a blog that receives high traffic every month. This results in more people reading your content and visiting your site. It is important to find the blogs that are relevant to the topic you are interested in blogging about. Consider general topic for your article such as lifestyle, finance, fitness, health, hobbies, etc and choose the top blogs that specialize in that niche. Also, you need to find out if these blogs accept guest posts. If they do, they usually have a page that carries the blogger’s guidelines. Go through these guidelines carefully before contacting the blog owner.

Before submitting your post to the blog owner, you need to do some research to get your topic approved. First, read the articles posted on that blog to get hang of the writing style, comment on several posts so that you become more familiar to the blog owner. Finally, submit your topic to the blog owner.

Editor’s Note:  Please read the guest post guidelines on the blog you choose. The blog owner includes these for a reason, so take the time to follow them.

Writing a quality guest post

This is yet another horror of guest blogging. When writing a post, follow a style that matches with the blog. Write as per the word count limits suggested by the blog owner, and make sure you edit the post several times to see that it is free from spelling and grammar errors. Create the article in such a way that keeps the reader engaged till the end.

Researching

The biggest challenge that many guest bloggers have in writing a quality post is completing their research. If you choose a topic that you are already aware of, then, you don’t have to do much research. If you still require to research, collect quality information on the topic and use them to compose your article in your own words. Don’t copy from other sources and never post an article that has been published in some other sites. This causes SEO to reject your guest post.

Respond to the readers

The final problem is that many guest bloggers fail to respond to the readers after the post is published. Keep in touch with the readers by regularly responding to their comments. This helps in promoting your post.

How to Write Great Guest Posts

So you really want to write good blog guest posts? Well, you have to write engaging, useful and compelling content that your readers want to digest, and that they get sucked into – like a whirlpool of words.

It’s not just a case of banging out a few sentences on the keyboard – you have to be creative and hack up something wonderful.

This might seem daunting, but there is method to the madness and, in this particular post, we’ll be outlining some of the key points that you should take into consideration before you start writing.

It only takes a little time to take a break from writing before each of the steps, have a little think about what you’re about to do, and then start writing again.

Find a Place to Blog

This is not a difficult task, but it does take a little time. Go to Google and search for a blog about the topic you’d like to write about.

In the search results, find a website and look for a section on guest blogging. There, you’ll find information on the procedures for submitting your work to the owner’s blog – you should follow them wisely!

If there is no section on guest blogs, it can’t do any harm to email the owner with a proposal and ask them if they like it or would perhaps like to amend it. A big giveaway that a website uses guest blog posts is if you search their blog for posts written by ‘guest blogger’.

Come Up with Something to Write About

The most important bit!  A good method is to build a brainstorm map about your chosen subject. Extensively map out your idea and, for each new idea you generate, ask these five questions:

  • Where?
  • Who?
  • What?
  • Why?
  • When?

Keep repeating this process until you come up with a few really interesting ideas to write about and choose one.

Constructing an Awesome Title

This should be an obvious one. It entices your reader to the first paragraph of your post, so make sure it catches their attention and intrigues them to read on some more.

Opening Strongly

The opening sentence after the title is important. It needs to be able to excite the reader enough that they’ll want to consume the rest of your blog post.

You can do this in a few different ways. I did it here by asking a question, but you could also do it by saying something a little off-topic to catch a reader’s attention, telling an interesting story, making a promise that this article will solve a problem you’ve identified or issuing a controversial statement.

Make Sure your Post Sets Out to Achieve Something

You should make sure your post achieves a goal. It could be filling a need, proving a point or answering a question. Whatever the goal is, you need to make sure your post achieves it and doesn’t simply drone on for no purpose.

Writing the Post

The post should contain exciting verbs that provoke the reader’s imagination. Words like ‘powered’, ‘driven’, and ‘focused’ are far more descriptive than their succinct counter parts.

When you’re building a post, you need to show your readers what you’re writing about and use sensory words to help them perceive your imagery. Don’t forget to include a short introduction and conclusion as well.

If you start using all these points as a guide when you’re writing your next guest post, you’ll see that your post is far more interesting to the reader and they’ll probably spend more time reading other posts that you have published, making your writing much more useful to others.

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Developing your Content Strategy for 2013

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Celina Connor.  Please read more about Celina in the bio footer.

While preparing for the beginning of a new year, as a digital marketer and webmaster, you should note and plan for the strategies you will make in the coming year. From presentations and articles we have reviewed, we offer you one great advice: Develop compelling content. If you are successful at this, you can never go wrong. In this article, we will tackle five tips on how to develop your key content strategy in 2013.

content strategy5 tips in Developing an Effective Content Strategy:

1. Make a mission statement.

As our business professors say, a company or business without a mission is one that will fail. Your mission speaks largely on your target. Your target will be your inspiration on how you achieve your goals. Therefore, you need to write a mission statement on what you intend to achieve and work on your content marketing activities following this mission.

Make sure to make your statement clear and unambiguous. A pretty neat example is “achieve additional 1000 followers of my blog by Q2 2013 through Facebook and Twitter posts while spending $200 for promotional ads.”

2. Write cornerstone and original pieces of information.

How do you get unique information and not only reuse or recycle what’s found on the web? Other people can always turn to other websites for the same information. So one good strategy to catch is to interview the experts and formulate your questions for them to answer.

Another is to conduct surveys of user groups and make conclusions to form a white paper or report that you can publicize. These are interesting results that people are thirsty of knowing. By providing unique information, you will be regarded as a leading provider of content for your niche.

3. Be inspired.

You have to keep being creative and innovative in making articles. To do this, you have to have an inspiration to keep you going. You can go places and jot ideas down on a notebook. Highlight the things you want to explore more and research about them. Find if they are of any value or interest with a common mass and use this advantage to target a specific market.

4. Answer your customers’ questions.

The end in your mind is always to answer all hanging questions of your customers. When they cannot have the same satisfying and delightful answers to their questions from elsewhere, they would be in the habit of going to your site to dig for that golden information. Make them feel comfortable in posting their concerns and be persistent in getting them the right explanations for each of them.

5. Find a partner.

Partnership is a key tool in increasing your readership. This is not only done by guest blogging but having one great producer of content to become a permanent non-competitive partner working for your site. You can join a group of brands with similar niches and then present great content together. Your group will be known and trusted, and you can manage to create more compelling content for the same customers.

Conclusion

Writing great content may be challenging in most times but it is a strategic that will make you successful in your campaigns for 2013. Apart from the advice listed above, if you cannot come up with a new story, you can always tell one in a different perspective to set yours apart from others in the same industry.

 

Cultivating an Email List for your Blog

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Lindsay. Please read more about Lindsay in the footer.

English: email envelope

E-mail Marketing

No matter where you look, every blog is in desperate need of one thing: readership. Readers are the difference between a successful blog and a blog that falls flat on its face. One of the best ways to increase readership is through email marketing.

Now, you might ask the silly question, “But isn’t email marketing being replaced by social media and other forms of ‘advanced’ communication?” Well, there’s no easy to put this, so absolutely not. In fact, over 140 billion emails have been sent everyday in 2012 alone. This indicates that email is not only alive and well, but it is still a major means of communication.

The bottom line is that you started a blog because you had something meaningful to say, and you had confidence you could say it well. All you’re really doing with email marketing is translating that message into an email that drives up your readership. Sounds easy, right? Well, it is kind of easy in the sense that the concept is easy to grasp.

On the other hand, executing an email campaign effectively takes some practice, as well as some trial and error. Let’s take a look at some tips that email-marketing pioneers have and are still learning on the road to better email marketing.

Reverse engineer your campaign

In other words, start with the end in mind and work backwards. Why are you sending these emails? In the case of blog promotion, you may simply want to gain a larger readership, or you may want to promote a book or service that you offer with your blog. Whatever the case is, write it down and start planning things with your end goal in mind.

If you build it, they will come

Well, not really, but here’s the point: you need to know exactly what makes a perfect email newsletter subscriber. They share interests that your blog promotes. They are likely interested in your blog’s topics. They might even live in your local region. When you’re starting from scratch you may have to go back to some word-of-mouth basics. In other words, since you don’t have a book or physical product launch, you may simply need to ask people to check out your blog, and if they like what they see, encourage them to sign up for your newsletter. Sometimes you just have to ask. From there you’ll need to worry about delivering a stellar product (product=blog posts & newsletters).

Integrate, don’t separate, social media & email

Most companies understand that social media is a valuable tool for reaching out to customers and engaging them on their own turf. The problem is that they wrongly view social media and email marketing as separate and incompatible solutions. This couldn’t be further than the honest-to-God truth. Designing email newsletters with social media icons and “social” language throughout the newsletter shows customers that you care about trends, and you really want to reach out to them.

Send amazing emails frequently 

Obviously this is easier said than done, but once you have that perfect email list together it’s time to start sending out some newsletters. Odds are, you’re not going to get this right every time, but the key to a great email campaign is in reducing the annoyance threshold of your audience.

Keep the emails relevant to your audience, concise and to the point. You may even want to consider firing off your first introductory email reminding people of who are, what you’re about – with the option of unsubscribing from your newsletter right out of the gate. It’s all down hill from there. Simply craft top shelf, relevant newsletter content with embedded social media links on a regular basis, and watch as your open rates quickly turn into click through rates.

So You’re Starting a Blog?

blogging 101Editor’s Note:  This is a guest post by Celina Connor.  Please read more about Celina in the bio footer.

Blogging is one of the hottest activities in the internet. It is the most prominent reason why people go online. They release their feelings, share their knowledge and even their own thoughts about something controversial through writing it in a form of a blog.

In this post, we will tackle some questions that you need to ask yourself before your start blogging.

1. Who are your target readers?

Before anything else, you should have a target on who will view or read your posts. If you don’t have prospected readers/visitors, your blog will be at a lost. After having prospect readers, then you would know what they want and what they need to learn. It should be available in your blog to them keep on coming back. By doing so, you will not just earn their trust but also their loyalty to your blog.

2. What are you good at?

You must know your strength.

Think about the things you want to share or subjects you are good at or is an expert on. These are the possible themes for your blog. You should blog about the things you’re at ease of writing. For example, you have a small business that you want to open for franchise. You can write about small business management 101 or other topics that is relevant to your target audience or readers.

3. What can you offer others that no one else can?

There are millions of blogs in the web today and internet has become a sea of content whether photo, audio, video or in words. Having a blog that also talks about what other blogs discuss about is just a duplicate. You have to think of something that only you can offer. This way, your blog will become more popular. More of your readers may post and wait for confirmation. As a result, they will visit your blog more often to check if their songs are already published.

4. Are you willing to invest time and commitment?

Before starting a blog, you should also think of its costs. Like, can you provide enough time to write articles in a regular basis? Will you be able to check it every now and then to see if you need to answer some forum threads or blog comments? These are some of the things you need to consider. If the answer is yes to all of these questions, then you’re already another one step ahead.

5. How do you intend to sustain the blog?blogger

In publishing your own blog, it would be better if you buy your own domain. By doing so, you’re entitled to pay the said amount for every year. Having your own domain gives you a more convenient way of having a blog.

You will be able to change your page’s appearance in your own personal way, unlike riding on another domain; it will only allow you minimal changes. Just be sure that you won’t forget your payment or your site might face a mess.

But the question is how do you intend to pay your blog’s expenses?

You can deal with the advertisement option but your blog needs to have the credentials first before you opt to go for this. No one will advertise on your blog if no one visits it. Another way is for you to set up your own online shop via your blog. You can set up an online store and from there, you can sell some stuff.

Sustaining a blog is not only about the payments but also the content you publish on it.

Blogging is fun. At first, you may take it for granted, but as you continue having posts in it and getting some feedback in your comments area or forums, you will get the feeling of enjoying it more than you ever imagined. Blogging could be the start of something big for you. You’ll never know until you try.

Keeping Up with Your Blog for the Long Haul

Keeping Blog Longevity

Blog longevity.

Maintaining a blog for the long haul can be challenging at times. Like the ups and downs of a long-term relationship, there will be times you will want to throw in the towel and walk away. It feels like it is simply not working. Or not worth the effort.

There will be days you just don’t want to write. Sometimes weeks. There will be seasons you just don’t feel motivated. When you have a full-time job, significant life events or other projects consume your time, or life just gets hectic, maintaining a blog can be overwhelming.

I understand this. Some of my readers may have given up on me several times in the last several years. I have droughts. I had one recently. This one was a combination of significant life events combined with a full-time job.  The stress zapped any motivation to write right out of my brain.

Yet I never wanted to give up. I knew I would be back. I think most bloggers go through this phase at some point. I can’t be the only one who has neglected my blog (and my readers) on an occasion or two.

Blog Creation Has Changed

When the idea of creating a blog first develops, most people have a ton of momentum to start that new project. Excitement dominates. Ideas are flowing in, bouncing off the walls of the mind. When blogging first started out years ago you could put up a few posts, add some SEO, social marketing, and hope for a flood of visitors to your site.

Several years later, much of that has changed. Not only has the momentum fizzled, but Google has changed the rules. Old-fashioned SEO is no longer effective. Now, quality counts. This is a good thing.

Another factor is the ever-increasing creation of blogs. Blogging is no longer something new and unique. It is a lot more competitive to get readers because there are so many blogs out there.

Maintaining Blog For the Long Haul

NEW YORK - JULY 25: Matilde Hoffman works on h...

Getty Images via @daylife

So what do you do? The good news is that by putting in time and effort to keep your blog going for the long haul, you have a better chance of getting traffic and returning visitors.

Most people give up too easily when they’re first starting out their blogs. They still want to believe that they can just set up a blog and watch groves of visitors come to it. In reality, creating an established blog takes time.  And dedication.  And work. But it doesn’t have to be hard.

A few things can help.

Creating unique and quality content. This is even more important today if you want to gain favor in the eyes of the search engines and even more importantly, to gain regular readers.

Publish blog posts on a regular basis. This one can be the most challenging, especially if you are the sole content provider for your blog. “Regular” can mean twice a week or daily, just make sure you are consistent.

Treat your blog like a business. Depending on your goals, this is a perspective that will help you take your blog serious, and treat it with the attention it requires.

Come up with a publishing schedule. While I don’t currently do this, it is something I have thought about doing in the future. This keeps you accountable and helps your readers know what to look for.

Take breaks. While it is important to stay consistent on updating your blog regularly, you will get burnt out at some point. Take a few days off and come back with a fresh mind.

Allow guest posts. This is one tactic I have used for a couple years now. This not only provides a different perspective from others, but gives you a break from creating fresh content. Just be sure you have guest post guidelines to keep up with quality content.

Ask readers what they would like to see. Once your blog starts getting stagnant, it may be time to reach out to your readers and ask what they would like to see. This also makes them feel like you are providing content that is relevant to them.

Write an occasional short post or a photo post. Sometimes it is okay to have a short post or photo post if you don’t have much else to write about.

Content curation. This has been a tactic that has become more popular in the last couple years. Essentially, you provide a bunch of links to other related content across the web, compiled into one post.

Assess and revise goals annually. Each year, you should take some time and assess your goals for your blog. You can look at content, monetization, marketing, and social media.

By sacrificing with some hard work in the short-term, you’ll quickly gain a lot of exposure in the long-term. Eventually you’ll have a lot of people coming to your blog because they’ll be able to see the quality of information that you’re offering. By doing it the right way at first, you’ll create a business instead of a get rich quick site.

You’ll be able to form lasting relationships with your customers that will eventually result in repeat business. By working hard and doing the necessary things the right way, your efforts will be rewarded.

Once people find a blog that has high quality content and a personal voice, they’ll be more likely to stick around and read what you have to say.