3 Simple Ways to Make Your Blog Posts More Conversational

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/FOwb-1nRBZs/

make-blog-post-conversational.jpg

This post is by ProBlogger writing expert Ali Luke

You’ve probably heard that your blog posts need to be “conversational”.

You may also have been told why: to create a sense of connection with your reader, keep them engaged, and make your blog sound less like a lecture and more like a discussion.

That’s all true. But making your writing “conversational” can be tricky – especially if you come from a business or academic writing background.

If your blog posts tend to sound a little dry and stilted, here are three simple ways to change things.

#1: Talk Directly to Your Reader

Write your post as if you’re talking a specific reader. Picturing an actual person may help – someone you know in real life, or who comments on your blog. You could even imagine you’re emailing them, or writing a Facebook post or comment.

And use words like “I” and “you”, even though you were probably taught not to at school or work. When you’re blogging it’s totally fine to write from your personal experience, and to invite the reader to step into your post.

Here’s an example from Jim Stewart’s post 9 Tips for Recovering Your Google Rankings After a Site Hack. (I’ve highlighted each use of “you” and “your”.)

If your WordPress site has been hacked, fear not. By following these tips you can fortify your site and kick wannabe hackers to the kerb.

And provided you act quickly, your WordPress site’s SEO traffic—and even its reputation—can recover within 24 hours.

This is clear, direct writing that speaks to the reader’s problem. And it’s easy to read and engage with: it’s almost like having Jim on the phone, talking you through fixing things.

Note: As Jim does here, always try to use the singular “you” rather than the plural “you”. Yes, you hopefully have more than one reader. But each one will experience your blog posts individually. Avoid writing things like “some of you” unless you’re deliberately trying to create a sense of a group environment (perhaps in an ecourse).

#2: Use an Informal Writing Style

All writing exists somewhere on a spectrum from very formal to very informal. Here are some examples:

Very formal: Users are not permitted to distribute, modify, resell, or duplicate any of the materials contained herein.

Formal: Your refund guarantee applies for 30 calendar days from the date of purchase. To request a refund, complete the form below, ensuring you include your customer reference number.

Neutral: Once you’ve signed up for the newsletter list, you’ll get a confirmation email. Open it up, click the link, and you’ll be all set to get the weekly emails.

Informal: Hi Susan, could you send me the link to that ProBlogger thingy you mentioned earlier? Ta!

Very informal: C U 2morrow!!!

With your blogging, it’s generally good to aim for an informal (or at least a neutral) register, as if you were emailing a friend. This makes you seem warm and approachable.

Typically, you’ll be using:

Contractions (e.g. “you’ll” for “you will”) Straightforward language (“get” rather than “receive” or “obtain”) Chatty phrases (“you’ll be all set”) Possibly slang, if it fits with your personal style (“thingy”, “ta!”) Short sentences and paragraphs Some “ungrammatical” features where appropriate (e.g. starting a sentence with “And”)

You might want to take a closer look at some of the blogs you read yourself. How do they create a sense of rapport through their language? How could you rewrite part of their post to make it more or less formal? What words or phrases would you change?

#3: Give the Reader Space to Respond

Conversations are two-way, and that means letting your readers have a say too. If you’ve decided to close comments on your blog, you may want to consider opening up a different avenue for readers to get involved, such as a Facebook page or group.

When you’re writing your post, don’t feel you need to have the last word on everything. You don’t have to tie up every loose end. It’s fine to say you’re still thinking about a particular subject, or that you’re still learning. This gives your readers the opportunity to chime in with their own expertise or experiences.

Often, you can simply ask readers to add to your post. For instance, if you’ve written “10 Great Ways to Have More Fun With Your Blogging”, ask readers to contribute their own ideas in the comments. Some people won’t feel confident about commenting unless explicitly invited to do so, ideally with a suggestion of what they could add (e.g. “What would you add to this list?” or “Have you tried any of these ideas?”)

On a slightly selfish note, if you’re not sure about the value of comments, remember it’s not just about your readers getting more out of your blog. Some of my best blog post ideas have come from a reader’s suggestion or question in a comment. And many other comments have prompted me to think in a more nuanced way about a particular topic.

There’s no one “right” way to blog, and some blogs will inevitably be more conversational than others. If you’d like to make your own posts a bit more conversational, though, look for opportunities to:

Use “you” and “I”. Talk directly to your reader, and share your own experiences where appropriate. Make your language fairly informal. Don’t worry about everything being “correct” – just let your voice and style shine through. Open up the conversation by inviting readers to comment, or encouraging them to pop over to your Facebook page (or join your Facebook group).

Have you tried making your blog more conversational? Or is it something you’re just getting started with? Either way, leave a comment below to share your experiences and tips.

Christin Hume

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How to Plan Your Blog Post from Start to Finish

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/gQhbQBb7aVI/

Plan your blog postsThis is a post by ProBlogger expert Ali Luke

Do you plan your blog posts? Or do you dive straight into the writing?

A lot of bloggers barely plan their posts (if they plan them at all). They’re either too eager to get started, or feel rushed and see planning as a waste of time.

But taking just five minutes to plan your posts can make a huge difference to your blogging.

Here’s why.

Five Great Reasons to Plan Your Posts Before You Start Writing #1: More Planning = Less Editing

By spending five minutes planning, you can often save yourself 15 or 30 minutes of editing. If it’s clear at the planning stage that a post isn’t quite going to work, you can easily change it before you start writing, which will save a lot of time and effort.

#2: A Good Plan Makes it Easier to Write

While some bloggers feel that planning kills their spontaneity, I find a plan liberating. It’s much easier to write when you’re not trying to keep everything in your head and constantly worrying you’ll forget the next three points you want to make.

#3: Well-Planned Posts are More Engaging for Your Readers

If your post wanders off the point and doesn’t deliver on what you promised in the headline or introduction, readers will understandably get fed up. They may not finish reading it. And they certainly won’t be eagerly subscribing to your blog for more.

#4: Planning Can Help You Come Up with More Ideas

The process of writing down your ideas and getting them into a structure can often spark off new ideas. Some may help you deepen the post you’re planning, while others may give you the seed for a whole new post. If you find it hard to come up with new post ideas, plan more.

#5: You May Have to Plan if You’re Working With an Editor

Chances are that at some point in your blogging career you’ll have to write a plan. If you pitch a guest post or a freelance piece, you’ll often be asked for an outline. If you’ve never planned your own posts, writing a plan for someone else to read may feel very daunting. So get some practice in now.

Before I run through how to create a plan for your next blog post, let’s take a quick look at what a plan might actually look like.

The Plan for One of My ProBlogger Posts

Initial idea: “Should You Stop Taking Comments on Your Blog?”

I’ve been blogging for so long my ideas often take the form of potential titles, as this one did. In the end the title became “Should You Disable Comments on Your Blog?” (which is far more succinct), but it was good enough for the planning phase.

The Plan

This is the brief version of my plan for the post:

Introduction – why close comments?

Prominent bloggers who removed comments – Steve Pavlina, Seth Godin, Copyblogger (brought them back), Michael Hyatt (brought them back).

Carol Tice (Make a Living Writing) – always answered comments but clearly not sustainable.

Deciding what to do about comments

Close them or not? Link to Charlie Gilkey’s post

Other options:

– Anti-spam plugin

– Close comments on old posts

– Use Disqus / FB comments

Conclusion – comments are valuable but you don’t NEED to have them on your blog

Now this is a very bare-bones plan. This might be enough for some bloggers, but I tend to flesh out each section with a few more notes before I start writing. (I’ll be recommending it as part of your own planning system in a moment.)

You may also have noticed that my plan has “Introduction” at the start and “Conclusion” at the end. Every plan I write includes these sections, and making sure I have those in place helps to give my posts a solid structure.

Using a Standard Template for Your Blog Posts

At its most basic, a good blog post template looks like this:

Introduction Main body Conclusion

If you want, you can use that template for your posts. However, some bloggers like to go further and create a more detailed template to make their blogging easier. A great example is Michael Hyatt’s blog post template, which he details in Anatomy of an Effective Blog Post.

You may want to develop your own template, or even a template with variations for different types of post, to help you create plans quickly and easily.

How to Plan Your Next Blog Post

Of course, this isn’t the only way to plan a blog post. But hopefully  it’s a useful starting point for you. Once you’ve tried it out, you can tweak and adapt it to suit your workflow.

Step #1: Write Down Your Topic or Idea

Write  down the idea/topic for your blog post. Turn it into a working title, which often helps pin down the format of the post. For  instance, “7 Ways to…” is clearly going to be a list post.

Step #2: Create a Mindmap

On paper, or using an app, create a mindmap for your post. Write your title (or a short version of it) in the centre of the page, then jot down your key points around it. You may find that you start coming up with more details – perhaps an idea relating to one of these points, or a link to include. Write those down too. If your mindmap starts getting unclear, circle or highlight your key points in a different colour.

Step #3: Type an Outline

Type your key points into an outline, with any sub-points or extra details beneath each point, as in this example (from my plan for the post you’re currently reading):

Using a Standard Template for Your Blog Posts

– Introduction, main body, conclusion
– Michael Hyatt’s template

How to Plan Your Next Blog Post

– Write down your topic or idea
– Create a mindmap
– Type an outline

At the start of your outline, add “Introduction”. And at the end, add “Conclusion”. Even if you don’t include any further details, it will remind you to write those sections.

Write down the topic, and come up with a working title to help you pin down the format.

Step #4 (optional): Flesh Out Your Outline

For a very short post, or one where you know the material well, you may want to omit this step. But again, I believe that every minute you spend planning will save you several minutes of editing.

Go through your outline, and write a few notes for each key point. What will that section of your post cover? Are there any resources (yours or other people’s) that you want to mention and link to?

Now, it’s finally time to write. Hopefully you’ll find drafting your post easy, as you’ve got the whole structure laid out for you. And at a glance you can see where you’re up to and how far you’ve got to go, which can help you pace your post appropriately.

For your next blog post, challenge yourself to spend at least five minutes planning and see what a difference it makes. 

And feel free to share your plans with us in the comments.

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5 Critical Elements You Need to Check Off for Every Blog Post

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5 critical blog post elements

This post is by ProBlogger subject matter expert Ali Luke

Over the past few years, I’ve conducted a lot of blog reviews for fellow writers. It’s always great fun to read other people’s posts … especially when they’re on topics that are totally new to me!

Along the way, though, I’ve noticed that there are five critical elements that far too many bloggers miss out of their posts.

Could your posts be missing any of these too? They are:

1.       The Hook

2.       Subheadings

3.       Transitions

4.       Links

5.       The Conclusion

#1: The Hook

I’ve never seen a blog post that didn’t have an introduction. I’ve seen plenty of posts, though, that had over-long introductions without a hook: a compelling reason for the reader to keep going.

Here’s an example of a good hook, from Laney Galligan’s post 5 Ways You Can Use Facebook Groups to Benefit Your Blog:

That’s right, more than 1 billion people are using Facebook groups. That’s where the conversation and community is happening and it’s something you can easily create for your blog.

Laney makes the benefits clear (Facebook is where “the conversation and community is happening”) and also makes an implicit promise that this post will teach the reader how to “easily create [that] for your blog”.

The first few sentences of your post, too, need to convince the reader that your post is worth their time.

#2: Subheadings

Very short blog posts (say, under 400 words) don’t need subheadings. Anything longer, though, can normally benefit from being broken into sections.

If your post is missing subheadings, it’s easy for the reader to get lost midway.  When that happens, chances are, they’ll stop reading. Subheadings help because they act like signposts: they tell the reader where they are and what’s coming next.

For more help with subheadings, check out my podcast for ProBlogger, How to Use Subheadings to Add Structure to Your Blog Posts.

#3: Transitions

A transition is like a little bridge from one thought to another. Sometimes, you don’t need a transition at all (a subheading can essentially serve the same purpose). If your post feels disjointed or abrupt in places, though, you may need to add in a quick transition.

Often, a transition is helpful before any major new section of your post. They can also be used to introduce lists.

Here are some examples, from Nicole Avery’s post How to Reduce Your Time on Social Media to Increase Your Blogging Productivity – you might want to read the whole post to see how these work in context:

There are two different ways that I see social media impact bloggers’ productivity negatively.

 

How does this behaviour on social media impact their productivity? It impacts it in three key ways:

 

It doesn’t mean that you can’t be on social media, it just means you need to take a more planned and proactive approach to how you go about it. Here are two actions you can take to help you:

#4: Links

While it’s not absolutely essential for your post to contain links, it’s almost always a good idea to include at least one. Both internal links (to your own blog) and external links (to other websites) matter.

Links to past posts on your blog help readers dig in … and stick around. Links to posts on other people’s blogs position you as someone helpful and knowledgeable. Links to your products or services help you make more sales.  Links to books on Amazon can bring in affiliate income – and also make you look helpful and well informed.

It’s often appropriate to include links throughout your post, usually to give more information about a particular point. If you quote someone or give an example, you should provide a link too.

Sometimes, you might not have many opportunities to link within a post (or you may not want to distract readers – e.g. in a how-to post): if that’s the case, you could include some “further reading” or “where next?” suggestions at the end.

#5: The Conclusion

Of all the missing elements, this is probably the one that seems to get left off the most! If you finish your post too suddenly, though, it not only seems weirdly abrupt to readers … it robs you of a great chance to direct their next actions.

There are several ways to tackle the conclusion: personally, I think it’s good to sum up briefly (if only in a sentence), and to give a “call to action”. You can find out more about those in the ProBlogger podcast episode How to Write a Post That Contains a Call to Action.

Here’s an example of a conclusion that encourages the reader to take action based on the content – this is from Colin Gray’s post How to Get Your First Podcast Sponsorship:

If you’re looking to dip your toe in the waters, but sponsoring your blog is a step too far, then try your podcast. Build a relationship there and who knows, it might lead to your blog, your video channel, your social media.

If that gives you the time and the space to spend time on the content you love, offering more and more value to your readers, then it’s worth an ad spot or two. Give it a shot!

When you’re busy writing a blog post, it can be difficult to think about everything you need to include … you’re probably hurrying just to get all your ideas down.

As you edit, though, use these five critical elements as a checklist: make sure you’ve included each one – or that you’ve got a very good reason not to!

Which of these five elements do you find yourself inadvertently missing out? How could you include it in your next post? Share your thoughts or tips with us in the comments!

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

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How to Craft an Outstanding Guest Post

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How to craft an outstanding guest post

Last week, I explained why guest posting is so valuable (and not just for link juice). Then, one of our regular contributors, Ali Luke, wrote about how to find opportunities and pitch your post.

Today I want to dig further into coming up with an idea and writing your post itself.

As a guest poster, you want to provide a great post that readers love … but also one that helps you achieve your own goals. There’s nothing greedy about this: reaching your goals may well help readers reach theirs too (e.g. if you want them to subscribe to your newsletter so you can provide them with great weekly tips).

Before You Write Your Post, Think About:What value will you provide?p.p1{margin:0.0px 0.0px 13.3px 36.0px;text-indent:-36.0px;line-height:32.0px;font:18.0px Helvetica;color:#444444;-webkit-text-stroke:#444444}span.s1{font-kerning:none}

How will your post change readers’ lives? (This might be a small change rather than a huge one, but there should be some important benefit.) Will readers understand something new, feel reassured, get inspired..?

What outcome are you hoping for?

New readers, new subscribers, new customers? Or is your main goal to build your brand by getting your name out there? By getting clear about your goal up-front, you can design your post to ‘funnel’ readers to different things – e.g. if you want to get new subscribers, you might mention your newsletter during the post then link to it in the bio.

Once you’re clear about what you want to achieve, you’ll want to write the best post possible … not just to get it accepted, but to make a great impression on readers.

Here’s how to do that:

#1: Always Research the Blog Before You Begin

Even if you’ve been reading your target blog for months, you may not be sure what the audience is like … so don’t skip this step.

You want to figure out:

Who the readers are: their typical age, where they live, whether they’re highly educated or not (demographics)Why readers read the blogWhat their problems, fears, questions, dreams and goals are (psychographics)

Look at some of the blog’s previous posts on Buzzsumo: which ones have done well? What types of posts get shared and commented on a lot? (You can learn more about Buzzsumo in the second point of Chris Crawford’s post here: Four Blogging Tools to Make Your Content Go Further.)

See if you can replicate these formulas without just doing the same thing: find a topic that hasn’t been covered, but use a style that’s worked well in the past. For instance, if big list posts tend to do well on that blog, come up with an idea that would suit that format.

#2: Make a ‘Heart’ Connection

Show readers that you see them – that you know what they feel. The comments on a blog, or in a blog’s Facebook group, can often give you a good idea of this. For instance, readers might be:

Stuck about where / how to beginDiscouraged by slow progressOverwhelmed by lots of (perhaps conflicting) advice

Writing with empathy is so important. You could give a post full of good, solid information, but if you don’t make any emotional connection, readers will simply use it and move on.

Jon Morrow’s post, which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, is a good example. While Jon talks about his own story in How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Get Paid to Change the World, his focus is on the reader.

Take a look at that post again, and see how he uses the introduction to talk about what bloggers want (using ‘we’ to position himself alongside the reader) and to hone in on what many bloggers worry about: are their dreams unrealistic?

#3: Solve a Small Problem or Deliver a Quick Win

Not all guest posts need to be as epic as Jon’s, and you don’t have to fix every problem that readers have. If you can help them them solve one small problem, they’ll look to you for help with bigger ones.

Here are some recent guest posts on ProBlogger that did a great job of solving specific problems for the readers:

These 5 Rules Will Help You Work More Productively at Home (Nicole Avery)The Psychology of Comparison and How to Stop (Ellen Jackson)How to Avoid Writing Boring Outlines using the IKEA Method (LJ Sedgwick)

Try to focus your post around providing a solution or answer that readers have been looking for.

#4: Craft Your Content Carefully

I’m sure that you always try to produce well-written posts on your own blog … but it’s worth going that bit further for a guest post.

That might mean:

Spending a little longer planning before you begin, so you can make sure your post is solidly put together and reads logically.Writing a really engaging introduction that hooks the reader and draws them into your post. (It doesn’t necessarily need to be long.)Making sure readers can easily navigate through the middle of your post, using subheadings and linking sentences.Crafting a great title that “sells” your post – remember, this will go in your pitch, and it’s the first indication the host blogger gets of your ability to write a good post!

This can be a good place to involve a friend: once you’ve written your post, ask a fellow blogger to look over it and give you feedback. They may well be able to point out paragraphs that might be better rearranged, or sentences that aren’t quite clear.

#5: Use Links in Your Post and Bio Wisely

Almost every blog that takes guest posts will give authors a “bio” – you get to write this yourself and your can normally put anything you want in it (though do check if the blog has any restrictions in their guidelines).

A lot of guest posters simply link to their front page from their bio, but it’s much more effective to link to a page that will convert in some way. You might create a special landing page that points new readers to your best posts … or an opt-in incentive to encourage readers to sign up for your newsletter.

During the post itself, you may want to put in a link or two to your own blog (if that’s allowed by your host blog), but don’t only link to your own content. Aim to:

Link to other posts on the blog you’re guesting for. This is helpful for the host blogger and shows that you’re very familiar with their blog.Mention and link to other bloggers in your niche. This shows readers (and the host) that you’re well read … and it’s a brilliant way to start or develop a relationship with the bloggers you’re linking to. They may well link to your guest post from their blog or newsletter, too.#6: Don’t Forget the Details

Make sure your post is as polished as possible before you submit it: edit it carefully, and proofread to make sure you haven’t made any typos.

Yes, the host blogger will likely edit your post too … but you shouldn’t rely on them to do so. If your post gets lots of attention, you don’t want there to be any glaring mistakes in it! (Plus, look at it from the host’s perspective: would you want to take on a guest post that takes you an hour to edit?)

Make sure you’ve formatted your post correctly – check the guidelines to find out how. Common requests are:

A Word document attachmentA Google DocumentHTML code (you can create this by pasting your post into your own blog’s software and copying from the “Text” or “HTML” tab … be careful not to accidentally publish it!)

Think about visuals, too. Some blogs will do this themselves, especially if they have a particular “branded” look to their images, but many bloggers will appreciate suggestions or even images you’ve created yourself.

Earlier this year, Pamela Wilson wrote a five-part series of guest posts here on ProBlogger that was beautifully crafted, complete with graphics: A System for Easily Publishing Consistently Great Content.

I know there’s a lot to take in here. You might want to work through this list one point at a time, as you develop your ideas for a guest post and start to write it.

Don’t aim for perfection, but do aim to make your guest post an example of your best work: after all, if it goes well, there’ll be a lot of eyes on it.

Guest Posting Series

Next week, we’ll be looking at how to follow up once your post has been published.

So far in this series:

7 Powerful Non-SEO Reasons to Try Guest Posting

Find and Pitch the Perfect Guest Posting Opportunities

 

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7 Powerful Non-SEO Reasons to Try Guest Posting

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/YqX3OUak5mg/

7 Powerful Non-SEO Reasons to Try Guest Posting

This is the first post in our series on Guest Posting, with a focus on benefits other than just SEO, for a more successful and fulfilling approach to finding readers for your blog.

Guest posting is not all (or even mostly) about SEO.

My first experience of ‘guest posts’ was back in 2005 here on ProBlogger when I decided to take a month off blogging to have a holiday with Vanessa and wanted to keep posting on the blog.

I put up a post calling for people to contribute posts while I was gone – and had a great response.

Here’s my post announcing the guest posters.

This opened my eyes to the potential of hosting guest posters on my blog – but I also got feedback from many of the contributing bloggers that guest posting on ProBlogger was hugely positive for them too.

Among the benefits they saw were:

Spikes in traffic to their blog Building their brand Showing their authority

One blogger even told me that it led to them getting a dream job.

Some of these bloggers then started to offer to ‘guest post’ on other blogs and continued to see benefits.

How Guest Posting Developed

Over the next couple of years we saw numerous bloggers leverage the power of guest posting to launch their blogs: Leo Babauta from Zen Habits comes to mind, and also Chris Garrett.

Both of these guys would do bursts of guest posts on numerous blogs over a few weeks – they’d seem to be everywhere – creating high quality content, building their brand, driving traffic to their blogs, and getting their work in front of a wide audience.

It was a win-win-win situation: Leo and Chris benefited, of course, but so did the host blogs (who got great posts for free) … and so did the readers of those blogs (who got access to fresh new voices).

Around 2010, though, things started to change.

Bloggers I’d never heard of would pitch to post on my blogs.

The posts they submitted seemed to be more about inserting links than providing value or showing the author’s expertise.

People had realised that there was another benefit of guest posts: SEO/link building.

A few things happened at this point: an explosion in the amount of people doing guest posts, lower quality posts, and people just wanting a link – not caring about delivering value.

Some people even paid to have their posts/links inserted onto blogs.

This went on for several years. Everyone was doing it, but then in 2014 Google put a stop to that, and Matt Cutts (who was the head of the web spam team) caused a huge stir in the blogging world with this post: The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO.

As a result, many bloggers stopped guest posting and looked for different ways to grow their blogs.

I wonder if people threw out the baby with the bathwater. They’d become so obsessed with link building that they forgot the other many benefits of guest posting.

7 Great Reasons to Guest Post

Why guest post, then, if you’re not using it as a link building strategy?

#1: Get Your Name Known

When you guest post on a major blog in your niche, you instantly boost your authority and credibility: your writing has been featured somewhere impressive.

At the very least, guest posting on several blogs in your niche will get your name recognised. It allows you to get your work in front of a new audience … and it can also impress big-name bloggers. However, to even be considered by other blogs, your writing needs to be of high quality and value to their audiences. Earn the opportunity and earn the authority.

#2: Drive Targeted Traffic to Your Blog

Guest posting will bring in traffic: not just any traffic, but quality, targeted traffic (if you appear on a blog with a similar topic and audience to yours).

This traffic can turn into qualified leads: people who are a good fit for your products or services.

Check with the hosting blog about what you can and can’t include in your bio at the end of the post, in terms of linking to your own site.

#3: Build Your Email List

If you direct guest post readers to a sign-up incentive, you’ll quickly grow your email list … giving you a ready-made base of potential customers to promote your products to.

Some bloggers link to a “landing page” for their newsletter in their bio, and you may even want to customise this so you have different versions for the different blogs you’re guest posting for.

#4: Network with Other Bloggers in Your Niche

While commenting on blogs can be a way to build a relationship with a blogger, the best way to impress someone quickly is to send them a great guest post.

This provides real value for them (content their readers will love … that they didn’t have to write themselves!) and the power of reciprocity means they’ll be more likely to do you a favour in the future.

Bonus points if you take the time to get to know the blogger and their audience, and check if they actually accept guest posts, rather than cold pitching them.

#5: Open Doors to New Opportunities

I mentioned before that one of the first guest posters on ProBlogger landed a dream job as a result. You never know who might read a guest post (or who might be impressed by seeing your name on a major blog).

Guest posts also offer social proof: on your website, you can name the blogs you’ve written for – which could impress a new reader enough to get them to stick around. You may even want to use some of your guest posts as a writing portfolio, especially if you’re looking for freelance work.

#6: Improve Your Writing Skills

When you don’t yet have many readers on your own blog, it can feel like the tumbleweed is blowing past: no-one’s commenting, and certainly no-one’s pushing you to create your best work.

By guest posting, you give yourself more opportunities to write … the more you do so, the better your writing will become. You may also get feedback from the blogger (or blog editor) you’re writing for: this can really help you grow as a writer.

#7: Develop Your Ideas

As you put your ideas in front of different, larger audiences, you’ll get feedback. Some of this may be negative or critical, but in my experience, the vast majority of blog comments are positive.

If you get lots of positive feedback about a particular post, perhaps it contains an idea that you’ll want to develop further (maybe even as an ebook or ecourse). Or maybe you’ll get a comment that offers a different perspective – one you’d not considered before – or a way to deepen your work.

All guest posts will bring some benefit … but you may even find that one particular post is a game-changer for you.

That’s what happened to Jon Morrow when he guest posted for ProBlogger back in 2011. He wrote How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise, and Get Paid to Change the World.

This post did much, much more than just give Jon some link juice (which, of course, wasn’t his reason for writing it anyway).

It moved people and inspired them.

It showed Jon’s ability as a writer.

It sent Jon a lot of traffic.

It won Jon many new fans and deepened his engagement with his existing audience (many of whom weren’t aware at that point of his story).

It also got him 9,000 (yes, 9,000!) subscribers, as Ahmed Safwan explained here.

In case you’ve been skimming: SEO isn’t the only reason to guest post. There are a whole host of benefits to guest posting, whether you’ve just started blogging or whether you’ve been doing it for years.

In a couple of days one of our regular guest contributors, Ali Luke, will share how to find guest blogging opportunities and how to boost your chances of getting your submission accepted. I write a weekly newsletter with a wrap up of the latest ProBlogger content. Sign up so you don’t miss out on the rest of the series.

What has been the best thing you’ve experienced from guest blogging? 

The post 7 Powerful Non-SEO Reasons to Try Guest Posting appeared first on ProBlogger.