This is a risky title for a post as I’m potentially opening myself up to what I like to call ultra-critique. Telling people how to write fantastic content is a dangerous topic to get into, as your own writing needs to be absolutely spot on. I’m not sure this is something that I’m going to achieve, but after writing (and publishing) what feels like thousands of guest posts in recent months I’ve definitely noticed a distinct trend in styles and personalities.
The first thing that almost goes without saying is that you shouldn’t be writing just to get a link. In doing that you would be devaluing one of the most effective and gratifying areas of SEO that, happily, has taken over from the horror that was article spinning. We’re now in a position where we can write great content and be rewarded for it – both through better rankings and increased exposure. In return, however, you should be giving other blog owners some of your best content.
Knowing Your Audience
When you write for yourself it’s usually the case that you know your target audience. Whether it be content for your pet website, or a post about SEO for your company’s blog, you’ll know the style and tone that should be used. What readers like. What they don’t. The same has to be done when you’re writing for another site. Spend some time to research previous posts that have done well.
An easy place to start with this, if social sharing is integrated, is to check what type of post gets the best reaction. Whether it’s a ‘how to’ or something focused on a particular subject matter there will usually be trends that are quite easy to spot. Remember to go back at least a couple of weeks so that you’re working from a level playing field. Finally, take into account the fact that social widgets may have only been installed at a certain point in time; if you notice a sudden drop-off prior to a certain date that’s more than likely the cause.
Pro Tip: Use the ‘Top Pages’ report on OpenSiteExplorer to see which posts have gained the most links.
Going The Extra Mile
There are times when you won’t know who you’re writing for, particularly if you’re using a service like MyBlogGuest. That doesn’t mean you can ignore your audience though, as you’re now writing for the site owners. Making your posts stand out will bring more, better quality offers. Don’t just write 4-500 words, go the extra mile and write a longer post. Include a good description, don’t forget the image, and make sure that your HTML is absolutely perfect. The easier you can make it for a site owner to post the more likely they are to take the time to do so.
On that note, don’t forget to break your post up into sections. Using header tags, bullet pointed lists and font formatting is a great way to make yourself stand out. For longer posts, add in an extra image or two and do your best to make the post look good. Linking to relevant sites within your content, not just your own, also gives you extra credibility and makes it more likely that the site owner will be receptive if you do the push the boundaries a little (3 links instead of 2 maybe).
Finally, when it comes to your author bio, be original. Don’t just add a sentence about who you are – be a little quirky. Let’s be honest, nobody’s really that interested in the anchor text that you’re posting but they might be intrigued to hear that you’ve just written a post about how a banana inspired you to come up with a great new link building tactic.
About the author: Although not recently inspired by a banana, Matt blogs about SEO and Web Design whilst also running Pet365 – an online store selling dog coats, jumpers and brands like Dublin Dog. He reserves his best content for other sites, hence the reason that his personal blog is currently quite average, although he does plan to change this very soon.