I thought it would be helpful if I shared some of the things I do and have done to promote other peoples’ sites when I have been fortunate enough to be featured on one as the subject of an interview and on another as the guest on a podcast. I’m hopeful that you can learn something from my experience and get even more out of your opportunity.
Most of us are familiar with the benefits of guest posting. By appearing on sites with larger followings and/or better traffic and rankings, our sites gain valued exposure. But thanks to the recent decision by Google to penalize sites and guest authors who do it strictly for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes, opportunities to write guest posts will become fewer and farther between. The standards of those sites willing to risk the wrath of Google will get even higher. And your links will be scrutinized to make sure they are relevant and working. So, in this new world for guest authors, it will become even more critical to give the site owners additional reasons for including your work on their site.
That’s where this post comes in.
Today, I will share some of the techniques I have used to promote the sites where I have appeared and give you some ideas for how you can make your next guest post or podcast appearance just as valuable to the site owner as it is for you.
1. Promote Their Sites
Now, I may have come to my understanding of my obligation as a guest author because I never asked to be featured on other people’s sites. Following the advice of my friend – the blogging superstar – Adrienne Smith, I left lots of quality comments on other people’s posts. People got to know me and thankfully they came to like me. As a result, I was mentioned on a couple of sites. Later, these mentions lead to my being interviewed. So, these opportunities were all unexpected and I saw them as wonderful gifts. Since I saw them as blessings, I regularly asked myself what I could do to show my appreciation. I started as we all do by Googling the subject and here is what I found.
2. Reply To Comments
When you are fortunate enough to have one of your posts published on another site, you do have some agreed-upon obligations. Later I will go beyond these bare minimums.
First and foremost, you must reply to all comments left on your post and contribute to the overall conversation. Failure to do this would be disrespectful to the site owner as well as his or her audience. The best way to do this is to have the site owner give you special status on their site so you receive email notifications of all comments posted. If their site doesn’t allow for this, or if the host doesn’t know how to do this; then the next best thing is to subscribe to comments or to click the box asking for email alerts to all follow-up comments. This one is so important in my opinion that you need to be willing to visit the site often if you can’t find an automated way to keep track of new replies. Not all of them will require your personal response, and some of them will be directed to the blog owner. You do need to write thoughtful replies where relevant.
3. Share On Social Media
Next, you need to share the link on social media. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but here I want to talk to you about effort. Some people will click the buttons provided by the site owner and consider their work done. But you should remember that there is no such thing as a perfect plugin.
When it comes to social sharing plugins, many of them don’t even provide all the top networks much less some of the new networks many of us are involved in.
For example many do not include bizsugar, merchant circle, referral key, just to mention a few that I use myself. And what if the site owner isn’t on sites like triberr, blogoholic, and technorati where the posts only get shared if the site owner’s rss feed is registered? Also, clicking the Facebook, LinkedIn, or Pinterest buttons only shares to your primary site feeds. When I am sharing a post, I make a point of also sharing it to any of my groups that apply to it. If it is about the amusement industry, then I post it to groups for carnivals, amusement parks, concessionaires, etc. If it is about blogging or social media, then I have groups dedicated to these subjects to send the link to. Just write one post in your text editor, copy the post URL to it; and then just send that post to each of the suitable groups.
4. Find New Groups
The next thing that I do is to be on the lookout for new groups and organizations I can join with to share content. I started this after being featured on two sites in one week. I was interviewed for Ashley Faulkes’s new podcast and Lorraine Reguly’s new and improved wording well. I was justifiably excited and may have gone a little overboard. But everything I did to promote their posts put me in a better position to promote my own in the future!
Remember, I am blind. For a while I had shied away from embracing my blindness and using it to promote myself and my blog. I found many new groups for the blind and visually impaired to reach out to to share my good fortune. Many of them decided to follow me on Facebook or Twitter. And several now share my posts on a regular basis. I also placed a post on the site of my university Texas A & M Corpus Christi as well as a site for the National Association of Eagle Scouts, of which I am a member due to having achieved that rank in 1984.
So, you want to make a list of professional and trade organizations, alumni associations, social groups, etc that you can reach out to. Many of them will have groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Pinterest that will be happy to have you join and contribute to their conversations.
5. Blog Commenting
Since it all started with blog commenting, you should have expected I would come back to it at some point. I know most of you probably don’t even think of it when you are leaving comments on another’s blog posts, but there are those fields for name, email, and website. I had the thought: Why couldn’t I change the URL to that of the site where I was a guest? It worked well, I even told a few site owners I was doing it just to make sure it was okay. They were impressed and none saw any reason to stop me. I especially liked doing this on a CommentLuv premium site because, by changing the URL, I could see right away that the guest post or podcast link was there for everyone to see. The only thing I wil caution you about is that by doing this all your future comments will show someone else’s URL’s or posts; so be sure to change the website info back the next time you leave comments.
6. Write A Blog Post and Follow Best Practices
Now, the next thing I did was to write a blog post. I wrote about the two opportunities in one article. I thanked the site owners and explained a bit about the two posts. I included the links to the posts. And I know most of you are aware of this, but don’t forget you want to link to the actual post not just to the main website URL. And if you are featured on a podcast, you don’t just want to include a link. In that case you want to also go to the site where the media is hosted and grab the code for embedding the audio or video in your post. It isn’t hard, and it is considered best practices. This is because most media hosting sites such as YouTube give more credit to videos hosted on other sites than those played via a direct link.
7. Create An “As Seen On” Page
But I went a little farther. I had just read a post about gratitude and creating a document listing all your accomplishments in one place so you could look at them on those rare days when your gremlins have you down and are making you wonder if you are doing the right thing with your life. I thought why not make a page on my site with links to all the places where I had been mentioned. This resulted in everyone getting a second link and me getting the reminder that I am doing so much better than I thought. 🙂
8. Reach Out To Mainstream Media
Now, this next method might not apply to many of you, but I wanted to share so anyone thinking of inviting me to participate in a podcast or write a guest post will know how far I am willing to go to promote a post. So many people have told me that I am an inspiration to them. So, I thought maybe there would be some interest in my story among the main stream media. So, I found a site that listed a lot of the websites and social media pages for radio and TV stations. I started with those in Texas (specifically the Houston area) and gradually progressed outward. I thought the best way to approach them would be through their Facebook pages. And to avoid being seen as spammy, I sent messages to them privately first. I included a short description of the interview post and podcast, a photo of myself, and links to the posts. I asked if they would check them out. I received several messages back thanking me for sharing. I then followed up by asking them to share on their Facebook page for me. Some of my messages were referred to reporters and I have bedn told that two stations (one in Waco and another in the midland Odessa area) have plans to do stories on me. The plans aren’t definite. I don’t have a date yet, but their messages seemed sincere. And in my thank-you messages, I included all my contact information as well as mentioning that I am an expert on the amusement industry and available to talk on subjects such as blogging, social media, podcasting, YouTube videos, and starting a new business in general. I don’t know if the interviews will ever happen, but the possibility is there because I was working my butt off to push the guest posts!
I hope I have made the point clear that the best guest opportunities are those that help the site owner just as much as they help you. And the more effort you put into promoting their site, the more rewards you will get from it. Just today Ashley wrote to tell me that my podcast interview was still the most listened to after eight weeks. And he has had guests on his show with much larger followings than my own! Lorraine tells me that my interview with her is still one of her most viewed posts. At the time of this writing, it has had 225 views. That may not seem like a lot, but her new site has only been around since February and our interview was posted on March 11.
The page I created listing all my past site mentions has become a poor man’s press kit being shared by some of my friends with anyone who might be able to give me or the site more publicity. I finally broke 500 Twitter followers. The site gets a lot of referral traffic from those past posts even long after they have been published. I’m not telling you this to brag. I’m telling you this to show how important it is for you to put as much effort into promoting the post or podcast as you put into doing it in the first place. And don’t forget the ogre that is Google is watching. They are going to discourage some from having guest posts at all or having them much less frequently. You want to be known for being one of those guests that is worth the risk. You want to be known as the P. T. Barnum of guest posting who will promote, push, and hustle; and then work some more to make the experience a success for both of you.
9. Be Gracious and Grateful
At this point you expect the call to action. You expect me to remind you to share this post with your friends and family, and I do want you to do that. You also expect me to ask you to leave comments which I would love. But I want to give you one last lesson about being a grateful guest. At the end of the post tell people that if they want to show their appreciation not to do it to your site but to give all the love to the person who was gracious enough to have you on theirs. There are several site links included in this post, and I would consider it a personal favor if you would visit them and let them know they are still appreciated for their generosity. I hope you have learned something from my efforts. I honestly believe that a truly successful guest post or podcast interview must bring just as much attention to the site host and his or her website as it brings to you and your own.
I also want to tell you that I welcome your questions. I am always happy to hear from my readers – whether it is about the amusement industry or it has something to do with blogging, social media, podcasting, YouTube videos, or what its like to be a business person who happens to be blind. I’m looking forward to your messages and emails on this one. Thanks so much and take care out there, Max