How to spread your message with a sassy guest post

 

guest-postingWouldn’t it be great if you could get yourself and your business in front of thousands of readers of someone else’s blog without paying a cent for it?

You can!

It’s called guest posting and it’s mighty popular.

Guest posting – writing an article or blog post that’s published on another website – is a tried and tested marketing technique to get you more:

  • Exposure for your products
  • Traffic to your Spiffy store
  • Social media likes and shares
  • Backlinks
  • Potential sales

It’ll also help build your personal profile as a knowledgeable authority in your niche. How nice is that!

Don’t tell me. You heard that Google frowns on guest posting, did you?

Well, yes. And no.

It depends how you’re going about it.

There’s guest posts and then there’s ‘guest posts’

If you’re going to throw together a weak and thinly veiled sales piece and stick it up anywhere that will have it, then yes, Google’s not a fan. And anyway, your unlikely to get the attention or traffic you’re after.

But if you spend time creating a unique and helpful solid article that offers value to the reader, and it’s published on a popular and relevant site. Well, that’s bingo baby!

Where to start

Step 1 – Do your research

I don’t want to sound too obvious here, but to stand any chance of getting published on a decent blog or website, you’ll need to produce content that’s relevant and interesting to their audience.

Say you sell beautiful decorative beads. Don’t try to get your fabulous post about ‘beads of the world’ in the Gardening Wonderblog. They want what their readers expect, and I’ll bet it’s not beads. However, the Popular Crafts Wonderblog might prick up their ears!

So you’ll need to find relevant online publications and blogs that cater for an audience that’s the right fit for your products.

> Search for “xxx blog” (where xxx is a keyword related to your business) and go through the results to find websites whose audience you think would want to read what you have to offer.

You can also try using keywords in your search like “guest post” (use the quote marks), which will help you find the ones that accept guest posts quicker.

> Visit blog directories like www.alltop.com and search using your keywords discover blogs in related categories

> Once you’ve identified the target blogs, check if they accept guest posts. Browse their website for information or guidelines on guest posting or send them a polite email asking if they accept guest posts.

> If they do, make a list of these websites somewhere safe.

> Now read through each blog you’ve identified to get a feel for what’s popular with their audience and the type of topics they like to cover. And you’ll want to target blogs that get a decent amount of comments and shares on their posts. After all, you don’t want to spend all that time writing a super-duper post only for it to fall on deaf ears.

And while you’re at it, take note of their guest post guidelines if they have them and stick to them. It’ll save you pain later.

Step 2 – Play nice

Thought you were going to head straight to the writing bit? Think again!

Start up a relationship by playing nice with the guy or girl you hope will help you out with a guest post opportunity. Call it a sweetener. Take time to comment on their articles and share them in social media. And just a one off won’t cut the mustard either. Go back several times and give them a hand.

Not only will it show you’ve bothered to get to know what they’re all about, it’ll show you’re willing to give and take.

Step 3 – Get writing!

Now that you’ve found the blogs you want to feature in, and the blogger has hopefully noticed your interest in their stuff, it’s down to the writing business.

Create a unique article that you really think would interest that audience and give them something of value. Don’t be lightweight here, you need to write something meaty. Think comprehensive tips sheet, how-to article or, in the case of the bead shop, a very visual guide to the world’s most beautiful beads.

If you’d like some tips about blog writing, check out my post on blogging.

Finish off your article with a short “About the Author” paragraph. Something along the lines of “Mimi is the owner of Mimi’s beads, an online store that specialises in beads from around the world, www.mimisbeadstore.com.au“

Step 4 – Send it in

Before you send in your guest post, double and triple check the format, grammar and spelling. Quality website owners and bloggers won’t publish it if it reflects badly on them and makes their site look amateurish. And you don’t want to look silly either.

When you send in your article, summarise it briefly in the email and explain why you think their readers would benefit from it. It saves the recipient time. And attach the image(s) to accompany it.

Step 5 – The waiting game

With any luck, the blogger will like what you’ve done and will feature your guest post on their blog.

But that’s not always the case. Don’t expect your piece will be automatically accepted.

If you don’t get a reply after a week, follow up with a short, polite email asking if they’ve had time to read your post and if they thought their readers might like it.

If you don’t get a response after that, or if your post is turned down (you may get this a lot from more popular blogs), try sending it to another blog on your target list. Just go through the steps above to make sure it will fit the other blog and tweak if necessary.

Or you can add it to your own blog.

Step 6 – Tell the world

Whatever you decide, promote the heck out of it on social media once it’s live and respond to any comments. Promoting it is just as important, if not more so, than creating it.

And keep going with other blogs!

 

How to attract more business to your online store

how-to-attract-more-business-to-your-online-storeThe answer is already in your hands. And it’s free.

Tucked neatly into every Spiffy Store is a simple promotional tool that can make a big difference to your business.

What am I talking about? Your store blog.

7 ways a blog can improve the success of your store

If you’re already up and blogging away, good for you! You can skim through the rest of this post if you like. For the rest of you, pay attention.

Contrary to what you might think, a blog’s not just for foodies and cat lovers. It’s a powerful marketing machine that can be working away 24/7 to support your store by:

  • Helping your website to rank higher in search engine results
  • Attracting more traffic from search engines
  • Growing awareness of your store
  • Building your credibility
  • Developing your unique business personality
  • Building relationships with browsers and customers
  • Building your email list (as people to subscribe to your blog)

To show you how that translates in real terms, I pulled out some online research.

US Marketing company Hubspot regularly surveys businesses around the world about their marketing habits. They found that web sites with a blog received 55% more visitors and 97% more inbound links than those without.

Not only that, they discovered that 57% of companies with a blog had acquired a new customer from it.

How does something as simple as a blog do all that?

The answer lies in the potent mix of quality content and search engine optimization that a regularly-updated blog provides.

Your blog is the information hub of your online store. It’s the place to share interesting news, opinion, advice and even entertainment with your audience. As you add to it, your online presence and authority grows.

And it’s a search engine magnet.

Search engines like Google look at specific elements when indexing web content and deciding how it will rank. Some of the most important factors are the amount of relevant information it contains, how many quality links are present and the number of social signals it generates (likes and shares etc.) One of the simplest and cheapest ways you can do all this is with a blog.

Now, are you ready for action?

Don’t put it off any longer because you think it’s hard and scary, and you don’t have the time. I’m here to get you up to speed.

Don’t ignore it because you have a Facebook page. You should be driving traffic to your own website, not Mr. Zuckerberg’s.

Over the weekend, grab a cuppa, sit down and invest a little time reading other blogs for inspiration. Blog directories like technorati and blogarama are a good place to start looking.

I’ll be back next week to guide you through the basics. Get ready!

Use your Blog!

I’ve noticed that a lot of stores aren’t using their built in Blog.  This is a little suprising, as even though we’ve done everything we can to get Spiffy Stores so it’s appealing to search engines, we can’t make a store rank well if there isn’t enough textual content for the search engines to decide that a store should rank well.

Search directories and search engines such as Yahoo, Google Alta-Vista (and most of the others) crave fresh and new information that is frequently updated, and a well maintained blog provides exactly that.

The more search engines like Google find daily and updated content, the more often their search spiders will visit your store, resulting in high search engine rankings for your store.

Here’s a little equation for you….

Regularly updated blog = more visitors = more sales!

In other words….

Writing detailed entries, and putting links in to products in your store will help you sell products more than alt tags, keywords, bolding text, H1 tags, and all of the other SEO tricks can ever do!

If that’s not enough to convince you, here are a few of the many benefits of using your blog:

1. Higher search rankings on Google with no paid-submission

2. Other search engines will most likely position you higher too

3. Pay-per-click (PPC) is great but free marketing has infinite ROI

4. Your customers are also happier, because they can find out much more about you and your products

5. Fresh information appears on Google in only a few days, not weeks

6. If you write interesting articles, other bloggers will link to you for free.

I hope you’re convinced!

Blogs should, as with all your marketing activities, be viewed as an added, parallel solution to increase communications and ideas to your prospects and customers, while at the same time helping your store achieve greater success with the search engines.

We see your store Blog as one of the most important utilities for getting web traffic to your store, so be prepared to see a lot more developments in this area in the coming months.

Cheers!
Shawn