Having a blog on your website is an essential part of your content marketing strategy. But let’s face it, people don’t really come to online stores to read blogs. They come to shop – and that’s what you want them doing.
Content marketing on your own website is thus primarily a SEO tool. Still, you can put all those hours spent crafting blog posts to an even better use and make your blogs actually seen, so they can better fulfill the main purpose of content marketing – to raise awareness and drive traffic to your online store.
To this end, consider guest blogging on sites that cater to your niche and are known to be read, shared and relevant for the industry. This is by far the cheapest way to get exposure to a greater audience and attract potential customers, great for a digital marketer with a limited budget, so basically all digital marketers.
The best potential partner sites are those you visit regularly and are well-acquainted with. This means that you know something about what the audience expects and comes to read there, what kind of content is most popular on that blog and, the topics the blog has covered and, most importantly, that you can home in on those it hasn’t, so you can pitch them a relevant and valuable contribution.
Write the blog post first and attach it with your pitch email. No industry blog worth its salt will shy away from insightful, relevant and well-written contributions from a guest poster, even unsolicited ones. Just make sure to be polite and to describe why you think your blog post would be a good fit for the blog, thus benefiting your hosts with increased interest and traffic, which is bound to spill over to your online store (the link should be placed next to your name and title – placing it in the blog post itself is OK if you have a great case study or use a really relevant example, but otherwise could feel jarring for the reader).
Remember that you are not writing for yourself or your business – that kind of value will come when visitors come knocking after reading your great content on a website they love! And speaking of visitors, making a dedicated landing page that load specifically for visitors coming from your guest blog – a simple customized greeting saying “Welcome (Guest Blog) Readers” can make visitors feel welcome and make them stay and browse a bit longer.
Guest blogging can also be a two-way affair, which means that you can create a guest blogging program on your website, built to attract the readership of your guest bloggers. The program should define your strategy (i.e. what kind of topics you want covered and by what sorts of experts), contain clear guidelines – both stylistic and technical – for your guest bloggers and include a person in charge of measuring the performance of your contributors through simple site analytics.
Go for gold – invite industry leaders and opinion makers to have their say on your platform and deliver content that is unique and watch the incoming traffic grow as they share their posts on their own blogs and social media. Coupled with guest blogs of your own on other platforms, this strategy will result in a marked improvement in your audience acquisition and retention rates, for almost zero financial investment.