“You’re nobody ‘til somebody loves you,” sings sexy crooner Michael Bublé. He ain’t wrong. You’re nobody in the blogosphere until you’ve been shown a little love by the influential sites that serious bloggers read, Tweet and flock to.
You know the ones – they boast six-digit subscribers, have a cult following on Twitter, and bring celebrity and name recognition by association.
Don’t get me wrong; you can have a totally groovy experience at lesser-known sites and accomplish many valuable blogging goals through those avenues.
But think of it this way: If you had the chance to stay as a guest at a three-star hotel or a five-star hotel, which would you choose?
It‘s a no-brainer. You’d choose the 5-star option. It has better amenities, a reputation for excellence, and a more attentive and highly trained staff to see that you have everything your heart desires during your stay.
Given the choice between blogging for the big dogs and blogging for the little dogs, the benefits of going for the higher-ranking option are obvious. Take my own case in point: When I recently had a guest post published at Problogger, I got:
- Nearly 400 Tweets (more than I’ve gotten collectively in the last two years of blogging)
- A slew of comments and Facebook mentions
- Several new commentators and visitors to my own blog
- A request for a guest post at a popular business blog
You can do it too. Here are six compelling reasons why you should blog at top sites – and six ways to make the most of the opportunity when you land a guest post.
- It saves you time. If your objective is to market your blog successfully and make the most of your efforts, one guest post at a top site could yield more exposure and potential connections than publication on a dozen sites with smaller followings. View it as a way of working smarter, not harder.
- It puts you in a different league. Think of it as success by association. Just about everybody blogs, but not everybody blogs well enough to appear at top blogs. It shows that the big dogs who run those blogs value what you say – and if they value it, their readers understand they should value it, too.
- It looks good on a writer’s/blogger’s resume. With the fierce competition out there, anything that gives you a competitive edge is worth pursuing. Even though it’s not a paid publishing credit, getting an article on one of the top blogs is still impressive and can give you a leg up when trying to land a new client.
- More than your “15 minutes of fame”. I kid you not. Some time ago, when I posted at Daily Blog Tips, I was still receiving and responding to comments to my post four months later. Trust me here: The top sites’ archives are accessed at a rate that your personal site typically will never be.
- It breeds confidence. A guest post at a prominent site does more for your ego than positive affirmations or compliments. The better you feel about your own abilities and desirability as a guest blogger, the easier it is to approach other blog owners or aim for more ambitious blogging goals.
- It puts your work before readers that are outside your niche, exposing you to a much larger audience. Numbers aside, blogging giants like Problogger, Copyblogger, Men with Pens, and Daily Blog Tips have readers that span multiple niches, demographics, industries, and even geographic regions. You’d be wise to tap into that power.
Advance your blogging swagger: Check to see if the site you are targeting has an editorial calendar. Why? Often these calendars provide valuable clues to future themes and designated deadlines – which gives you a better chance of getting the right article in front of the blog owner at the right time.
Advance your blogging swagger: Make sure to cite your former “top-dog” guest posts in your bio and pitches when approaching editors with your request. Those credentials help you stand out in a sea of other would-be guest posters, since your blogging chops have already been established by one of the big dog’s peers.
Advance your blogging swagger: Use your writing experience of guest posting at top sites to negotiate a higher blogging rate when applying for paid work.
Advance your blogging swagger: Make sure to reserve quality time to respond to comments from readers and to answer related questions for as long as people choose to comment (it’ll likely go beyond that first day). Taking the time to comment shows courtesy and respect for the readers. It also increases the likelihood that you’ll be well received by the blog owner for future considerations.
Advance your blogging swagger: Once you’ve established yourself and gotten some experience under your belt, consider targeting sites that pay for your guest posts. The Work From Home Blog offers a list.
Advance your blogging swagger: Enhance your visibility even further by posting your guest posts to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Stumbleupon. This can potentially lead to new networking opportunities and broadened horizons.
Now that you know the “whys”, here are a few tips on the “hows”.
- Speak you-nique: Say something different or put a new spin on an old topic. Infuse your own personality and style of expression in your work. In today’s competitive environment, both online and off, it’s important to stand out, stay relevant and be memorable. Learn to identify and capitalize on your individual strengths and gifts. Naomi Dunford at Ittybiz.com is a great example.
- Consult the archives: Check the list, and check it twice. No matter how well you write, if what you’ve created has recently been covered at the targeted host’s site, chances are your efforts will be in vain, and you’ll have wasted everyone‘s time.
- Be strategic in your efforts: There are literally thousands of blogs out in the blogosphere. Of those, probably hundreds accept guest posts. As a good rule of thumb, you should target those that have a good following, a PR ranking of 6 or above, and excellent content. As they say, you’re judged by the company you keep.
- Remember that you never get a second chance to make a first impression: This is more than a cliché; consider it a cardinal rule for success. Watch for typos, grammar and spelling errors. Have a second set of eyes go over your post before submission as well.
On a final note, make sure that you leave your readers with great take-away value. This ensures that your blog owner host is happy to have you come around and guest blog again.