The ‘Four Ps’ of Guest Blogging

Guest posting is on every blogger’s mind when it comes to improving domain ranking and traffic stats. It’s an intimidating task at first, but if you follow a few basic rules and put in some genuine effort, you lower your chances of miserably failing and spending your life in tainted embarrassment.

OK, that wouldn’t happen, but if not for fear of failure, why aren’t you doing more of it? Here’s a handy framework to help you get going.

Think of guest blogging in terms of marketing where you have four necessary tools – the Four Ps of Marketing (Product, Price, Place, and Promotion) – to push you in the right direction. This framework was designed by Phillip Kotler several years ago to help businesses promote their products and services. Today, we adopt the Four Ps to the guest blogging world.

The First P: Product

In traditional marketing, this is the product or service you want to sell. In guest blogging, the product is your excellent guest post. If potential host blogs think your guest post “product” is superior, you’re going to earn a lot more placements than all those spammy outreach emails pitching terrible post ideas.

The Topic: All stories need a plot, and all blog posts need a central topic. It’s not difficult coming up with ideas for your blog, but guest posts need to maintain relevance to ‘two’ blogs, which may not always be in the same niche. The solution is to adapt your article to suit the other blog’s field while maintaining your essence. For instance, a guest post from a finance blog for a medical site may talk about different ways to finance healthcare, or the trends in healthcare expenses over the last decade.

The Content: Don’t take your guest posts for granted. You’re reaching out to a new audience, and you want them to like your work, so it only makes sense to carefully research and write your article. Grammatical errors and typos are a turnoff, and busy bloggers often don’t have the time to go about correcting poorly written guest posts.

Over-Deliver: Add value to the other blog by citing their previously written articles and offering content that genuinely helps their viewers. This one is pretty simple, but it’s easy to forget. Give host blogs something they can be proud to publish. Always try to deliver content that’s at least as good as your blog, if not better.

The Second P: Price

In traditional marketing, this, of course, is the price you want to charge customers. In guest blogging, it’s the price you’re willing to pay to get your article published.

Paid post submission versus free submission: Bloggers vouch for both sides of this debate, even though Google enjoys penalizing paid link placement by devaluing do follow paid links, or also downgrading rankings of all sites involved. The key is to minimize– if not avoid entirely– paid links, and to keep them relevant to your site’s subject. Should you submit an article that requires payment, it’s always a good idea to make sure the backlink is nofollow.

Free guest posts are better because they go easy on the pocketbook, and you’re likely to work harder on them. Links are supposed to be given because the content is worth it, after all, and that’s what passes link juice to help improve your SEO.

Hiring a team or writing articles yourself: There’s no right answer to this one. You could hire someone to write guest posts for you if your writing skills are terrible or if you don’t have the time. There are plenty of guest blogging and content writing services on the web to choose from.

The Third P: Place

In traditional marketing, place refers to the distribution channel you rely on to get your commodity to customers. In guest blogging, that’s the sites you approach to submit your guest post.

Blog Popularity: For better link juice, strive for blogs with Ranks higher than yours. But no harm done in considering blogs with the same Rank as yours because you’ll get the benefit of link diversity, and you may get lucky if the other blog’s popularity rises in the future. Moreover, approach active blogs that frequently publish articles and serve a large subscriber base. Rank isn’t everything.

Blog Niche: Ideally, the blog chosen for your guest post should be in the same niche as your own. There are two reasons for this– to improve ‘subject authority’ and to target relevant audiences that have an interest in exploring your site by clicking on your backlink.

But some bloggers believe it’s also important to create ‘backlink diversity’ by submitting to blogs that are not necessarily a perfect match, like the ‘finance blog and medical blog’ example mentioned earlier. The key is to keep the guest post topic within your niche, even if the two blogs operate in different knowledge areas.

Article directory or individual blogs: This debate has officially tilted in favor of guest posts instead of free article directories, even those with editorial boards. Sure, both methods can yield results, but article directories publish hundreds of articles about hundreds of topics each day, and your work is not likely to stand out much. Links earned from duplicate article placements aren’t worth much, either.

The Fourth P: Promotion

In traditional marketing, these are the tools you use to tell potential and current customers about your products/services to drive sales. In guest blogging, it’s about spreading the word about your guest post, not what you’re selling.

Relationship Building: The easiest way to build relationships is by frequently leaving constructive comments on other blogs. Regular conversations with blog owners not only put you in place to request a guest post feature, but also give you an idea of what type of article will interest their readers, and what topics could use your help. Of course, the relationship should be genuine – reply to comments on your guest post once it has been published, and continue to converse with (and thank) blog owners after the publication.

Social Media: Use whichever social media network you are a part of, to promote your guest posts. Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, are just a few examples that can help drive more traffic to the post in question. The improved traffic stats (but also the gesture itself) will encourage the other blog’s owner to accept guest posts from you in the future too.

Own Site: Lastly, remember to publish a small post on your blog that refers to the guest post on the second blog. This will tell your readers of your fantastic feat and the link back will give valuable link juice to the other blog. Over time, your cross-linked guest posts create an extensive web of content that goes far beyond your site.

That’s about it! You’re now ready to become the best guest blogger on earth. ;-)