Guest blogging is a lot more than a strategy to build links for your SEO to improve your search rankings. There are many marketing goals that you can reach through guest blogging. And there is one major aspect of online marketing that is not only easy to achieve through a guest post. In addition, it can be combined with any number of other goals. I am talking about growing your social media audience through guest blogging.
But how far can a simple “You can follow her on Twitter” in the author bio really get you? And how many guest posts would you need to write and get published to see a significant increase of followers on Twitter (or any other social network where you want to grow your audience)?
What if I told you you might just be a single guest post away from doubling your followers? Would you believe me?
I did it. And here is the story.
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The guest post that doubled my Twitter followers
It was back in 2012. I was a newbie to Twitter and online marketing. I had a Twitter account for almost two years but never managed to earn more than 430 followers.
We were desperately trying to find a marketing strategy for our internet startup – without a considerable marketing budget and no expert marketer to help us out.
I was also totally unknown in the blogosphere, I had no contacts with bloggers from the marketing niche and references. I had published some guest posts on a German website but since they were in German I could not use them as a reference.
Still, I started guest posting. My first guest post was published on a smaller blog that sadly does not exist anymore – so, I am sorry but I cannot show you my first published guest post in English.
How did I get in touch with these bloggers that I did not know?
I simply wrote a short email stating who I was and what I wanted from them. I also included a finished post. Yes, I am aware that most guest blogging advice asks you to send 2 or 3 topic suggestions. I figured as a totally unknown German who asks English language blogs for a chance, people would want to see some writing from me before they would even consider me as a guest author.
For the first couple of guest posts I wrote, I did nothing more than mention my startup and my Twitter account in the author’s bio.
After getting some posts published on smaller blogs, I dared contact some bigger blogs. One of the first was Jeff Bullas.
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The problem? I did not even have an email address and the blog only had a contact form.
I used the contact form, and included the complete article text in my message.
It only took Jeff Bullas a couple of hours to get back to me due to the time difference between Berlin, Germany and Sidney, Australia where Jeff Bullas lives. Another couple of hours later my post was published.
I am aware, that most blogs today are so swamped with guest blogging requests, that you cannot expect your guest post to get published a couple of days after getting in touch. Often their editorial calendar is already filled and it may take weeks until you get published.
In 2012 that all worked a little faster.
I wrote another post for Jeff Bullas’ blog. And this one nailed it.
Here is what happened:
The article inspired an active discussion in the comments of the post. Naturally, I took an active part in this discussion and answered many comments (which you should always do in the comments on any guest post you publish.)
Jeff Bullas also send the post to his email subscribers and tweeted about the post which got the post another boost of attention. We could see the time he sent his newsletter with this article in the spike of traffic to our startup that was linked in the author’s bio.
But Jeff did even more. He syndicated the post to Business2Community. That means instead of one place, the post appeared on two outlets: Jeff’s Blog and Business2Community.
On Business2Community the post also inspired a discussion that gave the post some added exposure as the most actively discussed articles on Business2Community got featured on the front page. Again, I took part in the discussion and helped the post stay on that front page for some time.
Every reader of the post on Jeff Bullas’ blog and on Business2Communiy saw my author bio that included a simple sentence “You can also find Susanna on Twitter” with a link to my Twitter profile. And some of the readers followed the link and followed me on Twitter.
Before publishing this guest post my Twitter account had 430 followers – after 2 years of activity on Twitter. A couple of days later my Twitter followers had more than doubled to over a thousand followers.
This was the start of a Twitter marketing journey that took my Twitter account to over 200k followers today. And some of these followers are still due to some guest posts which always mention my Twitter account in the author’s bio.
Most of the other followers are mainly due to Jeff Bullas’s Twitter strategy that we started following back in 2012…
In addition to growing my Twitter followers, there were other things happening that we had not expected. Sure, our search traffic increased due to the additional links from the guest posts. And bloggers started to notice us and mention us in their blog posts. Before starting our guest blogging efforts no blogger wanted to write about our startup, our guest posts got our names and business out there and even inspired bloggers like Jeff Bullas to write about our business. Something they would not have done, had they not noticed our guest posts.
Note: in case you are searching for that active discussion on Jeff’s blog, it’s gone, sorry. Due to some redesign, and the elimination of the comment section on his blog, this discussion is gone.
There are actually several lessons for newbie bloggers and marketers in this story.
1# You do not have to be famous to become a guest blogger. While you may need to start your guest blogging journey on smaller blogs, there still is a huge opportunity to grow your blog and business through guest blogging.
2# It does not take many guest posts to reach some great results. While I wrote several guest posts over the years, I never published a crazy amount of content on other people’s blogs. And I still got a ton of benefits out of it.
3# Growing your social media audience through guest blogging is one of the most effective ways when you are starting out. Plus, you can combine this strategy with other goals like link-building or even growing your email list.
4# Guest blogging has huge branding power. When you are new to the market, guest blogging will help you get noticed even by influencers from your niche.
Are you a guest blogger, yet? What’s your experience?