If your content marketing efforts include guest blog posting or submitting e-zine articles, taking a few minutes to synchronize your effort with basic SEO tactics can boost visibility and do powerful things for growing your influence.
Try a few (or all) of these ten fast tactics to supercharge your writing, then circle back and let me know how it helped. I can't wait to hear the details!
Just how important is content marketing?
- Carrie Morgan (@morgancarrie) September 10, 2013
1. Wrap your post or content around ONE targeted keyword. When you include one keyword or phrase in your post title, then repeat it in the first sentence - you automatically include SEO tactics... even if you and/or the source blogger don't know the first thing about SEO. (Learn more about SEO for blogs here.)
2. Write a second post for your blog on a similar topic or expanding on the same one, then add a HYPERLINK to it in the guest post. Not only are you expanding on a topic that interested readers can click through to get even more value from your expertise - and hopefully converting them to a subscriber along the way - but you are getting Google brownie points for relevancy.
3. Choose outlets that provide a bio page for the contributor with social links. This gives you a chance to showcase who you are and start building a community when those who like your post either follow you on social media or head over to your website/blog. If you write more than one post for that blog or ezine, you'll start building up a nice library of articles tied to your name. Wrap in Google Authorship and, presto, you are building influence.
4. Make sure your guest author bio matches target audience interests, then seed it with your most important keyword or phrase. If you write a bio thinking of reader needs and how your skill set can offer them value, instead of just promoting yourself, you end up wrapping in a far more compelling story. Make it about what you can offer them, not a brag fest. Don't forget the call-to-action!
5. Look for blogs that share their content with author handles in the Tweets. Outlets that promote author handles when readers use share buttons are amplifying your visibility and helping you build influence. This is important, so if you are deciding between two blog post opportunities, go with the one that promotes their authors.
6. Write a post that specifically fits the theme/topic of the blog, its readership and the blog reader's levels of knowledge.
If you write a sophisticated post about enterprise software needs, but place it in an entrepreneur blog, odds are good the disconnect will kill your posts popularity and sharing. Fit the post to the placement to enhance sharing and relevancy.
Why is this important?
- Sarah Skerik (@SarahSkerik) September 10, 2013
7. Include easy ways for readers to connect with you. When your posts are relevant to reader interests and compelling - readers will want to connect and share, which boosts SEO by sending out social proof signals. Write your guest post thinking about the purpose of the blog you are writing for and reader interests, but close the post with an invitation to connect. Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn - match how you are asking them to connect with the post and readership. For example, a B2B blog post can leverage very LinkedIn nicely.
8. Create blogger relations directly with the most influential bloggers in your client's industry. If you are going to invest the time to write an exclusive guest post, aim high and go for the influencers. They probably already rank well, so your posts will benefit from their hard work and traffic.
9. Don't overlook the value of small bloggers in targeted niches. Readers that fit your specific target audience makes for a far better placement than volumes of general business traffic built mostly of those unlikely to be truly interested in what you have to offer. It is good to have a nicely rounded mix - sometimes the smallest blogs in your niche deliver the best ROI and conversion. Test the waters to see what works for you.
10. Don't bother writing exclusive guest posts if they don't have any traffic! Clients and/or your c-suite expect results.
Although small can be great, don't target blogs with audiences so tiny they are invisible. Invest your time and energy where it makes a difference. What good is a fantastic guest blog post if nobody reads it?
11. Know the difference between a hobbyist blogger and content-hungry blogs with real guest post opportunities. Common sense applies here. Spend a little time with Google figuring out the top blogs in your industry, then take a look at them. Don't just build a media list - actually visit each blog to understand its format and what type of content they publish. If they don't have a single guest post on their blog and/or no contact information, and you can't find information anywhere on submissions, take that as a sign that it may not be a fit. For more detail on this topic, head over to the April 2013 #PRprochat transcript on Blogging Relations with special guest @mackcollier (click on "transcript" on the left-hand navigation bar). It's full of juicy soundbites that will be very helpful.
12. Write well. This should be smack-upside-the-head obvious, but I'm constantly amazed at the volume of poor quality writing published by major blogs. Don't be one of those people. Guest posts won't gain traction or drive results if the quality is poor, if the writing style doesn't fit the theme or format of the blog, if it is full of typos and poor grammar, and if it is badly written. Assuming it is even accepted for publication... So put some elbow grease into it and tell your story or educate, but make every single word count.
Building influence sounds great... but it isn't easy. If you are ramping up a content marketing strategy, or integrating guest blog posts into your PR arsenal, be prepared to invest a SIGNIFICANT amount of time. Do a great job.
And one last thing? Don't ask for my opinion on a post if you are looking for a big pat on the back without honest feedback. I won't tell you I'm a raving fan if your writing sucks. I'll be honest. Hopefully tactful.... but honest.