Get ready to get uncomfortable, as anything that grows your business significantly is sure to push your comfort limits. I'm talking about guest blogging, which is the art of hitting up other bloggers for the privilege of speaking to their audience. You get to borrow someone else's platform and audience for a moment and direct them to connect with you over on your own site.
This activity is actually more important than posting stuff on your own blog. In fact, you can do this even if you don't have a blog. Danny Iny at Mirasee even suggests that you focus on guest blogging initially until you build up your own subscriber base a bit. Then you'll have an audience to launch to.
Guest posting, if you do it right, will get your content in front of the right eyeballs and build back links to your site which is important for Search Engine Optimization. As uncomfortable as the asking sounds, if you can make it to the end of this, I've got an offer for you to help you get started painlessly.
Here's how to get started
First up, you need to read and follow some blogs that are similar to yours that accept guest posts. Their audience needs to be a good fit for the kind of content that you produce for your own business or blog. Often you can be a bit creative in tweaking things to fit, but don't adjust too far from what you naturally do or it won't be worthwhile.
If they have some writers guidelines or guest posting info on the site, read and follow it to the letter. If they have a "most popular posts" feature, check those out and see what works there, but don't write what's already been covered.
Think about how you would fit there.
What does that audience need that you can write about? If you write that, is it a close enough match that they would find your own site or blog interesting? This needs to be win/win/win for you, the host and the host's audience.
Write a proposal
Following the submission guidelines, draft up your idea, maybe in outline form or write the whole article and send.
Write top notch stuff.
This needs to be your best work. You can churn out whatever you want on your own blog, but this needs to be truly exceptional. I don't know about you, but after I hit publish, I continue to add on to the blog post. I tinker with things for awhile. You can't do that on somebody else's site. Make sure you were thorough with your info, get a proof reader to look at it, and sit on it to make sure you've said all that you need to say.
Get your author blurb/call to action right.
In most guest posts, you'll see a little section with a sort bio and a site link. Sometimes there will be a call to action to motivate people to go over there. You'll want to carefully match this with your content you just posted to maximize the benefits of guest blogging. This is the whole point, so don't leave it off and assume people will find their way back over to you.
Make sure they are glad they had you over.
Be respectful, adaptable, look first to serve and you'll be a good guest.
Bonus points if you can find ways to further benefit your host. I did a guest post for an essential oil blogger who sells oils on her site. I wrote a post explaining the differences between flower essences and essential oils and how to use them together. I created a recipe using both and linked to her sales pages for ingredients as well as my own. I also included a photo, an infographic I made, and sent the whole works as a html document so all she had to do was plop it in, rather than spend time properly formatting a blog post. (Side note, proper formatting results in better readability, retention and sharing. Great instructions here.)
Another thing you should do is help promote. Send an email to your people when the post goes live, link it all over social media, get them some exposure too! Post an excerpt on your own blog and link to the whole thing. Then you need to interact with your host readers in the comments.
Start with this.
Are you ready to get started? As promised, here's your easy way to get going. My friend Michael King from over at Kings of Eden is organizing a guest blogging shindig in the Dream Ventures Facebook group. All you need to do is join the group if you haven't already, and follow the instructions in this thread. We're a friendly, non-scary bunch who want to see you succeed. If you're not sure what to write about, we can take a look at what you're doing and maybe give some ideas as to how you might fit with who's blog.
And no doubt by now you're realizing the benefits for both sides, so you might consider being a host and post your blog for others to pitch ideas to. You'll be able to take a week off from creating content, or use the time to post on somebody else's blog!
You'll need to repeat this process as much as you can. Not every blog host, or every piece of content will yield the same returns. But if you make a consistent effort to keep getting out there to new audiences, you'll build a following much faster than just posting on your own site.