Why Guest Blogging is a Powerful Way to Gain Exposure for Your Blog

Every blogger has been there: you’ve been blogging for a few weeks, but not many people other than your close friends and relatives every stop by. You ask your readers a question, and the response is a resounding silence. You need to find ways to gain exposure for your young blog.And guest blogging is one of the most powerful ways of doing that.When I first started Zen Habits, I faced this challenge, just like everyone else does. “I’m writing great stuff,” I would say to myself, “but no one is reading it. What do I do?”I tried guest blogging, and it paid off big time. I now regrettably have to turn down requests to write guest posts elsewhere, just because I’m so busy writing. I wish I didn’t have to, because every time I do, I miss an opportunity, but there’s no question that guest blogging has been a major part of my success.There are many things you can try, but I can tell you that most of them will flop if you don’t have many readers: submit a story to Digg, and it’s not likely to go anywhere. Submit a story to a major blog, and you could get lucky, but they get dozens of submissions a day, and can only link to a few.But if you’re a good writer, you could get the chance to write a guest post for a more popular blog. Here are some reasons you should make guest blogging one of the main parts of your overall exposure strategy early on:

  • Increased likelihood. While another blogger might not be that willing to give your young blog a link, he might be more likely to give you a guest blogging spot. Why? Because it gives his blog varied content and fresh ideas, and it gives him a small break from writing. Now, not every blogger will allow you to write a guest post for him, but if you ask 10, you might get a couple to say yes. Be sure to be friendly, positive, polite, enthusiastic, and offer him the chance to write one for you in the future. Also show him some of your best writing — that helps seal the deal.
  • Helping out a blogger. By giving this blogger a little break from writing, you are helping him … and that’s one of the best ways to improve your standing in the blogging world. Never turn down a chance to help another blogger (assuming it’s for a legit reason) if you can possibly spare the time. Why? Because you’re building a blogging relationship, one that could pay off in the long run. And whether it pays off or not, you’re forming connections that could help form more connections … and that’s the best overall long-term strategy.
  • Increased traffic.If you write a guest post for a bigger blog, with a link back to your blog, it will almost certainly increase traffic to your blog, at least for a couple of days. How much traffic will depend on how much traffic the other blog gets, but hey, any little bit counts in the early days, when you’re not getting much at all.
  • Increased exposure. Aside from the direct benefit of increased traffic for a few days, you are also exposing your blog (and your name) to a new audience — and helping to brand your blog and yourself in the process. Sure, most of the readers of the other blog won’t follow the link to your blog … but they might notice the name of your blog, and your name. And the next time you write a guest post for another blog they read, they might notice your name and the name of your blog then too. After a little while, they’ll start to take notice. “Hey, this guy is everywhere!” They’ll also start to remember your blog’s name — that’s the nature of branding. And soon, they’ll decide that they just have to find out what this new blog is all about. Constant exposure is a good thing.
  • Best advertising there is. You can pay to put an ad on another blog. You can beg for a link. You can get dugg and get 40K visitors in a day. But those all pale as methods of advertising compared to a guest post. Why? Well, an ad on another blog might contain a few words and a link … but many people will ignore it, and it doesn’t really highlight the best points about your blog. And it costs money. A link has the same problems (although it doesn’t cost money), in that it’s just a few words, and doesn’t do much to promote the blog.A Dugg story is great, but most of the people coming to your blog are probably the wrong audience, and will leave quickly, never to return. But with a guest post, people get to read your writing in depth, and can see what amazing stuff you have to offer. If they want more, they’ll click on over to your blog … and that’s the best kind of traffic possible, because these are people who are already interested in what you write, in the topics you write about, and they’re looking to read more. They’re the most likely to stay, read a bit, and even subscribe.
  • New audiences. This is related to the above points, but I wanted to emphasize it: if you already have a readership, even a small one, it’s likely you’ve tapped into a portion of your potential audience. But imagine that there’s a much larger pool of potential readers out there, people who haven’t even heard of you yet, and they are contained in different pockets all over the Internet. Your job is to find these pockets, expose your writing and your brand name to them, and hope to attract them. The more of these pockets you can find, the better. So by guest blogging on different types of blogs, each containing different pockets of potential readers, you are find more and more of that larger pool of potential audience all the time.
  • Future reciprocation.A great thing that could happen if you do a guest post for a bigger blogger is that they will agree to write one for you in return. Now, you can’t expect it to happen, but definitely make the offer. If they consent to write a guest post for you, be grateful! This reciprocal guest post is great for two reasons: 1) your readers are treated to some excellent writing from another blogger, possibly one they admire, and it’s fresh content that’s varied from what you provide; and 2) if you’re lucky, the bigger blogger will link to the guest post from his blog, thereby sending more of his readers your way. Win-win!
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54 Responses to Why Guest Blogging is a Powerful Way to Gain Exposure for Your Blog

  1. Amrit Hallan says:

    Hi Leo.So tell me if you want a guest blogger because I’m seriously looking for this opportunity and in fact I wrote about it recently (under the Promote your blog heading).Great post and I totally agree that guest blogging on comparatively popular blogs establishes your credibility and gives you great exposure.

  2. If you’re looking to connect with bloggers who are interested in guest blogging, then sign up with Guest-Blogger.com. My husband and I started it a few months ago. It’s not fancy, it doesn’t pay our bills or anything, just does the job.We also have a blog with tips for guest blogging and success stories – blog.guest-blogger.com.Thanks for writing such an informative post on guest blogging – it really is a great way to participate in your blogging niche!

  3. AgentSully says:

    Good advice. I never thought of the idea of asking for the person to guest blog back at my blog. Good idea! I’ll be asking you first, Leo!

  4. Jason says:

    Thanks for sharing, Leo. I just found out about this blog from reading ProBlogger today, so yes, you must be right.This is something I’ll have to try. See ya.

  5. Ben says:

    For the first part of this article I thought it was referring to having someone bigger than you come in and write on your blog, but it makes more sense the other way around. =)

  6. shaz says:

    very helpful article, thanks.don’t forget to have some really good posts on your own blog when you do a guest post (especially if it’s for a popular blog) :)

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  10. Gavin Smith says:

    Do you perhaps have an email template that you use to email individuals for guest blogging requests?

  11. You are absolutely right, my posts on other blogs do not send me a tenth of the traffic of a good digging or stumbling but a heck of a lot of loyal readers have found me through those other blogs. If you can’t find a guest spot, almost like guest posting is posting good stuff in forums.

  12. Kenney Jacob says:

    Id like to do some guest blogging. I mainly blog about technology in general and mainly about telecom technologies. Anyone interested ?

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  15. Jason says:

    “If you can’t find a guest spot, almost like guest posting is posting good stuff in forums.”I’m starting to see that trend emerge.I’m part of a forum that’s been around since 1997, and forum users will post entire articles in a new thread. Seems to be effective.

  16. Leo says:

    Thanks for all the great comments, guys.@Gavin: I don’t have an email template. I think the most effective way to approach another blogger is just to strike up a conversation with them, and start to develop a relationship, and suggest that you collaborate. I think most bloggers would like to form relationships/collaborations with other bloggers, as it only helps you grow in the long term.During the course of that relationship, you can offer to write a guest post, or give the other blogger an open invitation to write one for your blog. He might take you up on one of those offers, or he might not — there’s no guarantee.Do this with a dozen bloggers, and maybe half will pay off, or less. But it’s worth it.

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  23. Aloha Leo,A friend of mine linked this post in a comment on one of my posts. Oddly enough, my post was about how to better promote my blogs. Good tips, I will definitely have to try this out!

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  26. Brad Isaac says:

    I did one of my first guest blogging gigs this week. WOAH what a surge! The post made it to the top 10 on Digg, 110,000 reads, and resulted in approximately 7,000 people clicking through the site I guested on to learn more about my blog.

  27. ValerieT says:

    Leo, great tip for us to get some good exposure for our blogs. I had heard the term before, but didn’t really know what it meant until this article. Thanks for the info!

  28. Tavi Nemet says:

    Great post mate, and although I heard about guest posting before your article really convinced me to try it out.Best thing is that you will get visitors likely to stay around and subscribe to your RSS because you are in the same niche as the bigger blogger that let you post on his blog.Cheers!

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  32. Jesse says:

    Excellent article. I think it is a great idea! To test out your theory, I recently launched The Great Guest Blogging Experiment at http://fishtrain.com/2007/10/01/the-great-guest-blogging-experiment/Anyone interested in guest blogging? Here’s your chance.

  33. Mohan says:

    Excellent!Meanwhile, anyone wanna guest blog on my website, http://www.bloggingindia.net, please contact me(contact address in my website).

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  42. Guest blogging works. I recommended this strategy to an author who wanted to promote her book. Not only was she well received as a guest blogger, but the blog owner ended up highly endorsing her book to blog readers. It was a true win-win situation for everyone, and a good friendship was made.

  43. Scott says:

    Well done, LeoI have been guest blogging for about a year now, and it certainly is helpful for “adding value to the Web;” and especially for link-building. It also gives exposure for my (client) sites that I would otherwise not get. A rule of thumb: I try to guest blog on websites that are relevant to the client site I wish to link to. This is beneficial to our google ranking strategy.Cheersscott@usable.co.nz

  44. Cool post. I’m looking for ways to get some guest posting spots to increase my traffic. I found this post from ProBlogger.net

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