The Ultimate Guide to a Successful Blog Tour

If you have a launch coming up, or simply want to get together with a few of your favorite bloggers to build your community, a blog tour might just be your new favorite way of collaborating.

Having hosted my own blog tour for my personal development site, Becoming Who You Are, and taken part in several as a blogger, I find them to be a win-win way to share my work with a wider audience, plus a super fun way of cross-promoting with other fab bloggers out there.

In this post, I’ll share the basics of what a blog tour is, plus a few best practices you can use to make your blog tour as successful as possible.

How does a blog tour work?

In its simplest form, a blog tour works as follows: you, the host, decide on a theme and time period for your blog tour, and reach out to fellow bloggers asking if they’d like to take part. On a pre-agreed date, they publish a post about that topic on their blog, including a small text snippet about the tour (plus any relevant links), and you share all posts on your site as they’re released.

Tips for hosting a successful blog tour

Blog tours are fairly simple to set up, but they do require organization and planning. Here are a few best practices you can use to ensure your blog tour runs as smoothly as possible:

1. Get clear on the details

There are two questions to ask yourself at the start:

1 – “What is the purpose of this blog tour?”
2 – “What is my metric for success?”

Do you have a product or service you want to promote? Who are your ideal clients for that product or service? What is your ideal outcome for the blog tour, and what metrics will you use to measure that? Your answers to these questions will influence the topic of your tour, who you invite to take part (you’ll want to invite people whose communities will be interested in what you’re offering), the call to action you provide, and where you link to on your website, so it’s important to get clear on these points from the beginning.

Once you have the foundation for your blog tour, it’s time to decide practical details like duration (most blog tours are a week or less, however some big launch-related tours can last as long as a month), how the bloggers will notify you of their posts, and how you’ll go about posting them on your site (individually; in a daily roundup, etc.).

2. Plan in advance

Many bloggers plan and schedule content weeks, sometimes months, in advance and won’t necessarily be able to accommodate an additional post at short notice.

Inviting people at least a month in advance will increase the likelihood that they’ll be able to take part without it being a last-minute stress. It also frees up more time for you to spend on sharing and promotion closer to the event.

3. Make it as easy as possible for participants to contribute and share

With your cadre of bloggers on board, the fun really begins.

As a blog tour host, you want to make it as a easy as possible for your participants to take part and share. This starts with giving them all the relevant information they need from the beginning. This might include:

  • The date you’d like them to publish (or a calendar where they can easily snag a date if they’re exclusive)
  • Any graphics or links you’d like to include (I created a text snippet bloggers could copy and paste, which you can see below)
  • Pre-written tweets they can use to share their post when it’s live

Here is the initial email I sent out to potential participants:

“Hi X,

I hope you’re well! I’ve been a huge fan of your blog for a while and so appreciate all the goodness you’ve been putting out into the world. I run a site called Becoming Who You Are, where I teach people how to be kind to themselves, and I’m reaching out to invite you to take part in a blog tour I’m putting together later this month.

The Thriving Blog Tour will run from 24th to 31st March. The theme of the tour (as you might be able to tell… :)) is thriving. I’d be so honoured if you’d be willing to take part, share your insights around this topic, and help me spread the word about self-kindness as widely as possible.

The Blog Tour will be celebrating the start of my upcoming course, From Coping to Thriving, and, on a broader level, I hope it will get people thinking about where in their lives they might be settling for coping and could use a little more self-care.

I’ll be posting a link to each post on my site and sharing them far and wide on social media. I’ll also be compiling the posts into an ebook at the end of the blog tour (working title: The Little Book of Thriving) and you’ll be free to distribute this to your audience as you wish.

I have some topic suggestions and pre-prepared tweets ready for you to share but I want to be respectful of your time so I’ll keep this as brief as possible for now.

If you’re interested in taking part in the tour, please send me a quick email back, and I’ll get the relevant info to you ASAP. If it’s not a good fit for you right now, no worries at all and thanks for taking the time to read this 🙂

Thank you for all the great work you do!”

Once a blogger responded in the affirmative, I sent them the following info:

“Here is some additional info about the tour:

1. Timing

Would you be willing to post on {insert specific date}? Let me know if this isn’t going to work, otherwise I’ll assume you’re good to go on this date.

2. Topics

Here are some potential topics for you to choose from:

My story of shifting from coping to thriving
My biggest self-care mistake, and how I came back from it
What self-care means to me
How I changed [X] habit (and why I’m happier as a result)
5 lessons I’ve learned about thriving in life

And, of course, if you have a topic in mind, please feel free to go for it! 🙂

3. Decoration

To show you’re part of the Thriving Blog Tour, please add the italicised text below to the top of your post and/or use one of the graphics I’ve attached to this email (feel free to adapt the text to fit your own voice).

From Coping to Thriving is a six-week journey that will teach you how to turn your coping strategies into self-caring behaviours, leaving behind struggle and learning to thrive. This post is part of the Thriving Blog Tour, which is spreading self-kindness to the masses. To learn more and join us, click here.

4. Sharing

As I mentioned in my first email, the aim of this Blog Tour is to spread the word about self-kindness to as many people as possible. Feel free to share your post widely around social media and I’ll do the same.

Here are a few pre-written tweets to get you started:

I’m writing about self-kindness for the Thriving Blog Tour with @becomewhour [http://linktoyourbloghere.com]

Want to learn how to shift from coping to thriving? Check out my post for @becomewhour’s Thriving Blog Tour[http://linktoyourbloghere.com]

Do you have habits you want to change? Read about what helped me in my post for @becomewhour’s Thriving Blog Tour[http://linktoyourbloghere.com]

5. Thank you!

Thanks for participating in the Thriving Blog Tour! I know it’s going to be a ton of fun and a way to spread a valuable message. I am running an affiliate program for the course so let me know if you’d like to join and I’ll send you the details.

Please email the link to your post and your Twitter handle the day your post goes live so I can share it and add it to the Thriving Blog Tour webpage.

If you have any questions about any of the above, or anything else to do with the tour, feel free to get in touch :)”

I also sent a follow-up email a couple of days before their post was due to go live, reminding them to email me a link to their post so I could share it.

4. Provide clear CTAs

Just as you want to make it as easy as possible for the bloggers to take part, you also want to make it as easy as possible for their community to find and follow you, which means you need to create a clear call to action.

When you first started thinking about your blog tour, you’ll have identified your ideal outcome—the action you want people to take as a result of reading a blog tour post. This might be subscribing to your mailing list, signing up to hear more about a particular service or product, or even purchasing the service or product you’re promoting. Provide your bloggers with a snippet of text they can include with their post that asks people to do that as clearly as possible.

For example, when I hosted my blog tour, my aim was to encourage readers to visit the registration page for my course so they could learn more and, if it was a good fit, sign up. As you can see from the email above, I asked bloggers to include a specific snippet of text that encouraged people to do this.

5. Be a gracious host

This goes without saying, but coming out of a whirlwind blog tour and launch, it can fall by the wayside. Say thank you to everyone involved in the tour after it’s over. Share a couple of stats with them, like how many people were spreading the word and educating people about your chosen topic or any positive feedback you received so they can see the impact of the collective project.

6. Accommodate post-tour traffic

Just because the blog tour is officially over doesn’t mean that people aren’t still going to be finding your site through the different tour posts. Even if you were running a time-sensitive launch that ends shortly after your blog tour, include an opt-in form on the page where latecomers can register to hear more the next time you open for registration.

Blog Tours Done Right

As you’ll see from the examples above, blog tours come in all shapes and sizes so don’t be afraid to put your own stamp on your tour! Done right, blog tours are a fabulous way of spreading the word about a new book, course, or event and connecting with similar-minded bloggers and business owners in the process. Although they do take some organization, hosting your own blog tour is a great chance to build relationships, grow your audience and have fun in the process.

Have you run a blog tour, or contributed to one? What are your best practice tips? Leave a comment and let us know. And stay tuned for The Road to Solopreneur Success blog tour, starting Monday, September 14th to promote One Woman Shop’s limited-time Solopreneur Success Bundle!

building your online community e-course

Tonight: March #OWSchat with Regina Anaejionu!

By way of popular request, we’ll be hosting our third official #OWSchat on the ins-and-outs of blogging for your biz. We’re pumped to welcome guest expert and host, Regina Anaejionu of byRegina.com to the party!

If that already isn’t sweet enough, one random participant will be the lucky winner of Regina’s Epic Blog Editorial Planner, so you can put all those insights you gain from tonight’s chat to use immediately.

Join us tonight, Wednesday, March 4 at 9pm EST for a fast-paced hour of all things blogging for your solo business! 

PS – First ever Twitter chat? We highly recommend using a platform like TweetChat to keep things organized.

Did You Fall For This SEO Myth? (And How To Fix It)

My friend Joanne is a successful virtual assistant. Her clients adore her and consistently send her referrals. She was counting on her website to bring in new clients as well, but her site wasn’t seeing much traffic.

When I asked her what she does for search engine optimization (SEO), Joanne said:

“I have no problems with SEO. I come up first when I google my business name.”

Ding, ding, ding. SEO myth alert!

Unfortunately, this is a common conundrum for solopreneurs. And it requires a different mode of thinking.

Potential new clients don’t search for your business name because they don’t know who you are (yet).

What do they search for?

Solutions.

Think about the last time you were online. It’s a pretty safe bet you googled something (that might even be how you ended up here). And if you googled something, you were most likely looking for a solution to a problem.

People visit websites because they’re looking for solutions. Even when they’re playing Candy Crush, they’re solving a problem, like boredom or procrastination.

Let’s say I’m a single mom who runs a business from home. I’m struggling to get everything done before my kids get home from school. I could really use a hand, but don’t want the financial commitment of hiring an employee.

A virtual assistant would be a solution to my problem. It would help me get everything done without having to hire an official employee.

Since I’ve never heard of Joanne, I’m not going to search specifically for her business. So what would I search for instead?

  • virtual assistants in [location]
  • hiring a virtual assistant
  • what to look for in a virtual assistant
  • how to find a virtual assistant

This is where SEO comes in.

SEO is not about showing up first when someone googles your business name. That should happen even if you do nothing to optimize your website for search engines.

SEO is about showing up in google when someone searches for a solution to their problem.

What can Joanne (and you!) do to get found more in Google?

Identify the problems your potential clients are trying to solve. What problems do your side hustle or business solve? Consider what you think they are, and survey current or past clients to find out what they searched for when they found you. Get in the mindset of your ideal client(s) here.

Make a list of phrases they would search for to find solutions to those problems. Based on your own brainstorm as well as survey feedback, construct a list of phrases and keywords that should be strategically used to describe who you are and what you do.

Use those phrases and keywords on your website. Producing great content is the key to pleasing search algorithms, but keyword-stuffing will get you nowhere. Intersperse the phrases and keywords you’ve determined your clients will use strategically, and surround them by valuable, quality content.

By figuring out the problems and solutions her potential clients are searching for, Joanne now has an arsenal of keyword phrases for SEO. She can use those phrases in headlines, sales pages, and blog posts to help potential clients find her online.

Did you fall for this SEO myth as well? Now that you know how people search online, you can fool-proof your website by more effectively optimizing it for search engines.

3 Ways to Connect With Your Audience in Your Sleep

Do you yearn to refer to your website as the “salesperson that makes you money in your sleep?”

While it isn’t easy to accomplish, it’s certainly possible. I’m going to get you started.

The first step in making your website work for you is getting to know who your ideal audience really is in order to connect with them. For the purposes of this post, though, let’s assume you have a good, detailed picture of your ideal client.

Because here’s what I’m going to share: I have three ways you can connect with the ideal audience that’s behind the screen.

Making your website your round-the-clock salesperson

Let me introduce you to a certain situation all solopreneurs encounter. In this situation, you’re a hypothetical business coach, and Sabrina just happens to be your ideal client.

Sabrina wants to improve her teaching presence, but she lacks confidence. So she does a quick search on Google with the query “how to gain confidence” and one of your blog posts pop up. She clicks it and reads. You have a few great tips she takes note of, but now she wants more. She starts to click around your website.

At this point, you have approximately 30 seconds to connect with Sabrina, answering her questions and enticing her to stick around. She doesn’t necessarily know what she needs. It’s up to you, in that brief encounter, to introduce the option of hiring a business coach, and communicate the benefits of working with you rather than figuring it out on her own.

Together, let’s explore three ways you can connect with Sabrina in those 30 seconds and how you can deliver the answers to her questions without actually having to be there:

1. Communicate via video/audio:

Providing quality video and audio content is one of the best and quickest ways you can connect, gain trust, and build credibility with a potential client. Here are a few ways in which you can use video and/or audio effectively:

Create an introduction video for your homepage. When Sabrina visits your website, she has concerns and questions that she needs you to answer for her. Develop an engaging, 30-second video that welcomes visitors to your site, and answers any or all of the following:

  • How can you solve my problem?
  • What makes you an expert?
  • Why should I trust you to hire you?
  • What would it be like to work with you?
  • How much does it cost to work with you?

Create a free video or video series for your email opt in. List building is a serious tool for increasing audience engagement. Use a free video or video series as your giveaway to entice sign ups. Be sure to make these videos educational and remember, someone like Sabrina doesn’t know they need to hire you. Speak to what your ideal clients want and need.

Develop an educational webinar. Webinars are another fantastic tool for educating your audience, building your credibility, and allowing you to inspire a connection. And it doesn’t just have to be done in real time. Record a webinar and make it available via your site. Sharing or selling the recording will allow your visitors who didn’t attend live, like Sabrina, a chance to obtain value and see you in action. Alexis Grant has a great example of this with her SEO for Bloggers webinar that can be accessed anytime, for free.

Host or guest appear on a podcast. I am not suggesting you start a podcast unless that is what you want to do — it’s a big undertaking! However, being interviewed by someone who has a popular podcast allows you to share your expertise with someone else’s audience, and it can be linked to over and over again without any additional work by you.

2. Grant easy access to your calendar:

Perhaps video and audio aren’t for you. You still want to make that initial connection with Sabrina before she exits your site. What I’ve seen work: allow visitors to schedule a free consultation with you and get on your calendar instantly. This way Sabrina has access to you to ask any questions she might have and you are able to connect with Sabrina one-on-one to see if she’s a good fit. The best part? all of the logistics can be taken care of while you sleep.

Easy scheduling tools you can use:

3. Talk directly to your ideal client in your written content:

Your written content on your website should be working for you all the time. When you write your content with your audience in mind, Sabrina will feel as if you are talking directly to her and not to the masses when she reads. Use more “you” and less “I.” Make your visitors feel important, unique, and like they’ve found the right place.

Imagining connecting with one individual at a time makes all the difference in your writing. Consider their needs that you are fulfilling. Live conversations with new prospects mean sparking interest by framing your services in terms of how you can help them solve their problem — and your written content on your website should do the same.

Each of these three strategies requires some upfront work, but once set up, they’ll begin the transformation of your website from passive tool to 24-hour salesperson. Because we all need some time off, right?

Which of these three strategies will you focus on and use for your business? Share with us below.

Tools We Love: Feedly

Welcome to Tools We Love, where we highlight some of the tools that make us more efficient, productive, and effective in our businesses. Have a tool that you want to share with the community? Email us!

The online world can be overwhelming. Each day, we discover or are introduced to at least one new blog or website that we vow to keep tabs on, because we know it can serve as a resource for bettering our businesses or personal lives.

So it doesn’t take long to become overloaded, keeping at least 15 tabs open in a Chrome browser at all times, and having 10-15 newsletters flood your inbox per day. Sustainable? Not if you want to stay sane.

RSS feeds to the rescue

There’s an answer to the overwhelm: using an RSS feed reader. Back in the day (okay, just last year), the answer likely would’ve been Google Reader, but once Google nixed that service — to the panic of many-a-solopreneur — a knight in shining armor took its place: Feedly.

What is Feedly?

Feedly, founded in 2008, is a news aggregator application where you can search for the news sites, online magazines, and blogs that you don’t want to miss a beat of.

It’s ridiculously simple to add new content to your Feedly — simply paste the URL of the website or blog and Feedly will locate it, or you can use its search function and find the source by name. Once you’ve loaded your must-follow sites into Feedly, organization is easy. For the Type-A personalities out there (heck, I’m one of them!), being able to organize and sort by categories is a dream come true.

When it comes time to view and read, not only does Feedly easily aggregate updates, but it does so cleanly, with three options for viewing.

Titles View:

Feedly Titles View

Magazine View:

Feedly - Magazine View

Cards View:

Feedly - Cards View

Personally, I use the Titles View most frequently, but each of the views are clean and intuitive, and the options are easy to toggle between.

How to use Feedly

While Feedly provides an in-depth tutorial on the mechanics of using the site, what One Woman Shop solopreneurs really need to know is how it can be used to better their productivity and business. Here are three ways it can do just that:

1. Content marketing + social media: By following news, your favorite blogs, or inspirational resources, your Feedly becomes a goldmine of posts to share via your social outlets and garner ideas from for your own content marketing and blogging. You can even share directly from Feedly, though I don’t often use this option, as I prefer to generate my own bit.ly links for tracking purposes.

2. Create a content library: Use Feedly’s “Save For Later” option to easily bookmark posts that you want to keep track of. This comes especially in handy if you’re a common curator of posts like One Woman Shop’s Weekly Finds.

3. Curate content + resources for clients: As a blogger and ghostwriter for several different companies, I find my Feedly invaluable to aggregating news, trends, and resources for each company I write for. I work with clients to find the best sources, do research on my own, then load them into a new category in Feedly. When it comes time to brainstorm topic ideas or find resources for posts, I have one place to go.

4. Consistent learning + updates: By cataloguing the news and blogs you want to keep track of most, you’re guaranteeing educational reading and consistent updates on your industry. It’s yet another way to satiate the need for perpetual learning, and a great way to keep in touch with what’s going on around your online space.

Feedly on the go

For the on-the-go solopreneur, there’s the free app for both iPhone and Android. And we promise you this — the mobile app is just as good as the desktop version.

Even the Google Reader fanatics agree — Feedly is an amazing tool, with a clean design, and an intuitive app to help you keep up on news and blogs from anywhere. It’s certainly our go-to, and after one day of set up, we’re confident you’ll find it to be yours, too.

5 Reasons Every Solopreneur Should Write an Ebook

As solopreneurs, we’re constantly on the lookout for ways to keep business booming. But a simple downside of solopreneurship is just that: you’re solo. And while you might think of yourself as Superwoman, in reality, you can’t do it all. So if you could create one product that would actively promote your business and services, increase your credibility, and start a passive income stream, you’d do it, right?

That’s where writing an ebook comes in. Every solopreneur out there could benefit from writing one, and you’re no exception. Here are my top five reasons writing an ebook could make your business boom:

1. Ebooks Build Your Audience

Launching an ebook forces you to go past your comfort zone and promote your work to people outside your usual circles. If you’ve been hesitant about self-promotion, having a quality ebook that will genuinely help people is a great way to introduce yourself to new markets without feeling pushy.

You can expand the reach of your new contacts even farther by including a simple Click to Tweet code throughout your book. This makes it easy for readers who are loving your ideas to spread the word!

2. Ebooks Promote Your Other Products/Services

There’s nothing like a little cross-promotion to boost your other products or services. The pricetag on your premium services might make new customers hesitate, but an accessibly-priced ebook gives them the perfect place to enter your sales funnel.

Think about what your customers need to know or do before they’re ready for your premium services. Give them that beginning information in your ebook—along with reminders that your other offerings are ready and waiting to help them.

3. Ebooks Enhance Your Credibility

It takes a lot of hard work to write a book, which is why having your name on the cover of your own ebook gives you a boost in credibility. There are a lot of people out there who want to write a book, but only a fraction of them actually take action and make it happen.

By writing an ebook, you’re showing prospective clients that you have the initiative and follow-through to get things done. With qualities like that, who wouldn’t want you on their team?

4. Ebooks Can Land You Speaking Engagements

Organizations look for speakers who are motivated, inspirational, and experts on their topic. By writing a book, you’ve already proven that you’re an expert in your field—it’s hard to write an entire book if you don’t know anything about your subject matter!

Your book also shows organizations that you know how to connect with and inspire an audience. No one wants to listen to someone who rambles without giving their audience what they need. As an author, you’ll already have proven that your ideas are well worth paying attention to.

5. Ebooks Earn Passive Income

Unless offering your ebook for free is part of your marketing strategy, you’ll be bringing in passive income with minimal effort. Since all the work of writing and publishing is done up front, you’ll be free to sit back and enjoy your passive income stream. (Just make sure you have an ongoing marketing plan so your book doesn’t fall off the radar!)

Writing a ebook isn’t easy, by any means. It takes hard work, time, and sincere dedication. But it’s ultimately rewarding. Ready to write an ebook for your business? My new e-guide Typing Away: Your Roadmap to Writing a Book has 25 resources and printables to make writing your book pain free. With an easy writing strategy to keep you on track, you can focus on running your business and having a life — all while writing your ebook.

What is “Launching” Anyways?

Launching is a buzzword in entrepreneurial circles. It seems like everyone is launching something these days. Your colleagues are launching a website, a podcast, an online course, or a start-up.

Maybe you’ve even heard they are launching a launch! (Okay, too far?)

But what does it really mean to launch something? And should you buy into the launch mentality?

Launch mechanics

A launch is an “all-hands-on-board-let’s-get-this-puppy-off-the-ground” approach to getting something new out of your cradle and into the world. It’s about telling the story of a new product or service, then distributing that story in as many ways as possible.

If you’ve poured time into building something new, ask yourself a few questions before choosing to soft launch (release it into the world without much fanfare) or go big with your launch strategy:

1) Do I have a new product or service I want potential clients to know about?

To launch effectively, you MUST have something worth talking about. There’s a saying in the journalism business: “if it’s not new, it’s not news.” The same applies to your launch.
Get creative and find a new story regarding your product or service, a new way of packaging it or a way of enhancing it to freshen it up.

2) Do I have the emotional and financial support to invest in a large undertaking?

Launching involves an emotional and financial investment. If there’s already a significant amount of things going on in your business and life, it’s smart to wait until you have space to really focus on your launch. Be patient and don’t put pressure on yourself. Financially, if your budget is already stretched, running a large-scale, effective launch will be tough.

Depending on your strategy, you’ll want to have the funds to buy more product, hire that extra team member or handle any problems that come up – without going into debt.

3) Do I have systems in place to take advantage of this opportunity?

Every successful launch creates new opportunities for your business. Are you positioned to take advantage of these opportunities?

For example, you’ll want to make sure your email client is set up with an opt-in and auto responders for anyone who jumps on board with your launch. In addition, clear your schedule to give yourself time to be available for sales calls, interviews or Q&A’s. Have a post-launch plan in place to follow up with new and potential clients and keep the momentum when the official launch is over.

Launching isn’t for everyone.

A big push like this takes a lot out of any entrepreneur. It involves long hours, a few tears and many, many decisions. You need to be organized in advance with a plan. No one can launch alone (even a one-woman shop). You need to mobilize friends, family and your entrepreneurial colleagues to support you in getting the word out about your launch.

Successful launches, though…

…can yield fantastic results. There’s a buzz about launches for a reason. With a launch, you have the potential to build your list, generate more sales, and position yourself as an expert. All of which helps you in the short (and long) term for your business.

What’s your one piece of wisdom (or question!) when it comes to launching? Comment below!

Google’s Not Always the Answer- and That’s Good for Your Solo Business

We often catch ourselves thinking that Google is always the answer. But it’s not- and here’s why that’s a good thing for you and your solo business.

It’s true that pretty much every question can be answered on Google (in fact, we just talked about our love of Googling the other day). Googling “How do I set up email reminders for myself” pops up BoomerangMemo to Me, NudgeMail, and several other relevant email management tools.

Googling “how to pair boots with a dress” results in tons of advice from Harper’s Bazaar, MSN, SheKnows, and many others about how to wear boots with dresses.

Googling “how to integrate MailChimp with Google Analytics” shows some pretty handy tutorials on how to do just that.

So, yes, all of these answers are on Google- but what if your target client or customer had no idea that there were external add-ons to help them manage their email? Or that pairing boots with dresses was a cute option? Or that you could connect MailChimp and Google Analytics to get more advanced data?

Then they wouldn’t be Googling those things. But if you’re in front of them telling them about these things, they’re going to more likely to follow you, trust you, and hopefully even hire you when they need someone who specializes in productivity and systems, a wardrobe stylist, or an SEO expert.

Keep that in mind next time you feel like your content creation or curation is all for nothing.

10 Ways to Generate Ideas for Your Blog

If you’ve made a commitment to blog regularly- in order to strengthen your personal brand, attract more clients, or establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, perhaps- but you’re having trouble coming up with things to write about, we have some quick and easy ideas to help you generate blog post topics.

  1. Email friends, family, and current clients and ask them their top questions about your industry
  2. Read a leading industry resource. If you agree with a point, write a post about it. If you disagree, write a post about it
  3. Search a hashtag related to your industry on Twitter and see what questions people are asking
  4. Any time someone emails you a question, turn your email response into a blog post
  5. Search Quora for topics related to your work; write responses to these discussions or questions
  6. Set up Google Alerts for keywords related to your work; use the results you get to guide your blog’s editorial calendar
  7. Use Google’s Keyword Planner to find related keywords for your industry; write a post addressing the topics you find
  8. Brainstorm a list of upcoming holidays and tie them back to your business- for example, May Designs might write a post about May Day (because of their name) or Earth Day (because of their environmentally-friendly product
  9. Play off upcoming pop culture events or entertainment events- like the premiere of 24, the finale of Scandal, or the Superbowl)
  10. Look through your old posts and see if there are any points that you missed or could expand on. Consider writing a Part II

How to Make Guest Blogging Work for Your Business: A Primer

Guest blog posting is a popular marketing tactic for increasing awareness of your business.

There is a lot of great things about guest posting, especially if you are in a build stage of your business, as it can help increase site traffic, drive subscribers to your email list and position you as an expert on issues related to your business.

You know you should be doing guest posts, but the question is how to actually make it happen in your business. Let’s face it. Guest posting is only one marketing activity, and marketing is only one part of running your business. As a one woman shop, there is a whole load of things to get done every single day.

Creating a 90-Day Plan for Your Guest Posting

As the saying goes, failure to plan is planning to fail- and guest posting is no exception. Start by creating a 90-day plan for your guest posting program that establishes:

    • The goal for your guest posting program. It could be a certain number of posts or a percentage increase in traffic to your site.
    • Your specific stories and themes for guest posting. Too often people start by deciding on a place to guest post, when they should really take the time to get clear on what stories they should be sharing. What issues in your niche need to be addressed? What things can you take a stand on?
    • The target audience for your guest posting efforts. Get really clear on your audience and where they hang out. This will help you determine targets for guest posting and keep you focused.

Putting these pieces in place will help make a major difference as you get started as you will be able to avoid shiny object syndrome. Consider guest posting in the context of your other marketing/sales activities and how it can support or leverage what you are already planning. For example, if you have a new service you’ll be offering, guest posting on topics related to that would be a great fit.

Creating Systems for Guest Posting 

Once you have a plan, the next step is to operationalize your guest posting. By creating systems to support your efforts, it will help make the most of the time you spend on guest posting.

Specific systems to support guest posting may include:

    • An electronic folder with all of your assets for pitching guest posting including different versions of your two-line bio, your headshot, copies of your pitches and more.
    • A tracking sheet with all of the opportunities you identify and all of your activities such as when you sent pitches, when you followed up, and when your articles are submitted.
    • A pitch template to help you shortcut writing pitches (editor’s note: we love using Gmail’s Canned Responses for this).
    • Email folders or labels to track all correspondences related to guest posting.

Practical Tips for Keeping Guest Posting Going

Guest posting should be a year-round part of your marketing and publicity strategy, not just something you do when you have a launch coming up.

Over time, your enthusiasm for guest posting may wane or other things may start to feel more urgent.  The true power of guest posting does not come from a single article but from you building up a body of work as an expert.

To keep guest posting going, first and foremost, be realistic. Map out a plan to pitch things in waves so you don’t become overwhelmed with writing, editing and submitting posts.

If possible, break down your 90-day plan into monthly and then weekly activities so you can set aside a block of time every week for guest posting. One week you may spend time on research, the next week on writing/sending pitches and the other on writing posts you’ve secured.

Finally, team up with a friend or colleague if you can to share resources and lend each other support. Brainstorming story ideas, researching or proof reading can be much more effective when there is two of you involved.

Guest posting offers a great way to get you and your business in front of new audiences and build your credibility but you need to make a priority in your business. By creating a plan and systems for guest posting, you’ll be well on your way to success.

Editor’s note: You might find our editorial calendar resources useful for your guest blogging efforts too!

How do you make guest blogging work for your business?grow your community online

 

1 2