Marketing your business online is all about finding as many legitimate places to put yourself out there as possible. That means that you can’t just lurk about passively on your own blog or website, hoping to bring in the traffic.
You’ve got to put yourself out there, and guest posting is just the way to do that.
Once upon a time guest posting was an excellent way to improve your search engine rankings. They’re not as useful for those purposes any longer, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t still serve a purpose. They can help you build relationships and they can help you find audiences that might never have found your website or blog. You don’t want to spend all your time on them, but putting out posts every month or so can be a good way to keep your name out there.
As with most efforts, however, you only want to bother with locally focused outlets and blogs that are going to help you get real customers in the door. And you only want to post on relevant blogs, which narrows the playing field still more. There are three types of blogs that you should be looking for.
The first resource you want to look for is your local area’s Patch.com. Now, every city does not have this resource. But if yours does you’ll definitely want to target it right away.
Patch.com allows local residents to set up blogs about just about any topic that they want to talk about. Essentially, you become a columnist for this online local paper. It’s not so much guest posting as it is giving yourself a columnist in a publication that lots of people already read, so if you’re lucky enough to have this resource you’ll want to treat it exactly that way.
Pick a day, and then post either once a week or once a month on the same day. Talk about fitness, talk about nutrition, and talk about anything else that is relevant to weight loss or muscle building. This will allow you to set yourself apart as a local expert on these topics.
Some local papers offer the option for readers to become local bloggers just like Patch.com does. Other local papers only offer blogs to people who go through a lengthy application process. Still others only offer the option to their own employees.
But if you can score a blog in your local paper you’re going to want to milk it for all it’s worth. Use it to post weekly and make sure you’re offering really good, actionable content that is lively and interesting to readers. Your paper is going to have a ton of credibility and plenty of subscribers. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t find any published guidelines for how to get a blog with your local paper. They don’t often advertise this, and they almost never give you a link that you can follow to just start a blog, the way that Patch does.
However, you always have the option of calling the appropriate editor and proposing a column. Sometimes you can even syndicate your current blog’s content into that column, so that you’re not writing a bunch of content over and over again. If you have any small town weeklies in the suburbs where you’re willing to work you may have an even better chance of getting a column.
If you are awarded a column, be absolutely sure that you produce all of your content according to the newspaper’s deadlines. Stress out your editor and you’ll lose this valuable resource.
Some cities will have local blogs devoted to things going on in the city, or places in the city. You may also have a “mom blogger” in your city who routinely talks about things that she and her family are doing there.
Some blogs will have nothing to do with what you are doing. The local real estate blog that talks about all of the local construction projects and neighborhoods won’t help you out, and neither will the local food blog.
But if you do a little diligent digging you might find one or two blogs that offer some opportunities. If you’re creative, that Mom blogger might be open to a guest post about exercising in 15 minute intervals. The events blogger might at least be willing to cover your event, even if he doesn’t accept guest posts. You just have to see what’s out there, make some connections, and find ways that you and the other blogger can both benefit from one another’s activities.
If you can’t find or take advantage any of these resources it’s not something that you have to worry about. They’re useful tools, but there are so many other ways to market your business that it’s not worth stressing over it if you just can’t find any places to guest post. But if you can, you can reap the benefits of an expanded audience, and you can get more eyeballs on you and your business, which is what marketing is all about.