I’ve been building my personal brand for two years. I’ve tried various methods including social media networking, blogging and regular commenting (my resolution was to comment daily on all popular niche blogs!). While all the three tactics are highly effective (when done properly and thoroughly), per my experience there is nothing as effective for self-branding as guest posting.
With no other marketing tactic will you be able to build your online visibility as quickly and effectively.
Why guest posts are so effective for self-branding
1. Most A-list bloggers accept guest contributions (look at Mashable, Problogger and many other).
Why? Because a guest post is a fresh insight and free quality contribution that will be also promoted by the guest blogger – which means free content, free traffic and free time (that the blog owner might have spent writing the post). It is not easy to get through to the high-profile blog like that but it is quite possible: all you need is some solid post idea and a good pitch.
Yes, you will need to spend a considerable amount of time negotiating and creating the post – but the outcome is well-worth it. After the post goes live, you will be amazed at how much traffic and recognition you will get.
2. Position yourself as an expert in the niche
By commenting, you are just a reader (“one of”), by being active on social media networks you are “one of” many friends; by guest blogging you are the author, a person to respect and to look up to.
People will learn your expertise and you will be amazed to see your name being mentioned much more often and your words being cited on major industry resources.
3. Reach new audience
While posting at your own site you can also achieve a lot, at some point you will find it not easy to experiment, attract new readers and get fresh feedback.
By guest blogging, you expose your content to a totally new community which means better exposure, more inspiration and higher reach.
How to find guest posting opportunities
Looking for blogs that accept guest posts is both time consuming and seldom highly effective. Here are a few tips to help you:
1. Look among your current contacts
This is the easiest way to start guest posting. This is probably less effective than posting to a totally new website (because you might have the same audience as your blogging friends) but this way you will learn to adapt to various blogging atmospheres and “feeling” various types of readership.
2. Search Google
Google has tons of guest blogging opportunities for you. However to make sure you make the most of your search, check out these somewhat Google search tips I shared a while ago.
3. Take advantage of forums and blogging communities
In the era of web 2.0, being active on a number of social media communities is a must for building your brand. Any of them requires engagement, so my best advice is not to try to be everywhere at the same time. Try to focus instead.
Niche networks and forums can be a good choice because they are (almost) clutter-free (and thus require less time) and tightly targeted to the area of your expertise.
You may also be willing to check out the forum started by me. It is only targeted to people interested in guest posting and it’s called My Blog Guest.
It is probably the best choice only when you plan an on-going guest blogging strategy because it does require some time to get to know the members, read rules and learn how to use it:
Be sure to learn guest posting etiquette
Guest posting concept is based on the mutual benefit: if this basic concept is broken, it won’t work. So before you start, be sure to learn the general rules and decide if you will afford the time and commitment.
Previously, I’ve already listed some worst guest blogging mistakes you do not want to start with:
- Don’t ever focus on yourself and/or your by-line . Be genuine in your effort to provide quality and build long-lasting relationships. Remember that you are building reputation in the first place;
- Don’t try to republish your guest post on several blogs: this is a great way to ruin your reputation and built contacts;
- Don’t build links – build your brand.
Now, to conclude, just go ahead and give the tactic a try. When done right, gust posting will do magic to your personal brand awareness and online reputation management.
Ann Smarty, an SEO consultant, blogger (and guest blogger!) and social media user.