As a freelance writer, I have a rather low opinion of writing “for the exposure,” which essentially means you’re writing for free in the hopes that exposing yourself (ahem, much like a flasher) will get you more business. So, why am I dedicating an entire blog post to exposing yourself online via guest blogging?
Imagine exposing yourself in a crowded football stadium
Let’s imagine that you win some contest and are flown out to your favorite football stadium during your favorite team’s game. Imagine that you get to stand in the middle of this packed football stadium for 15 minutes before the game starts and talk about whatever topic you want to the crowd While we’re at it, let’s also imagine that you have no stage-fright.
So, given these 15 minutes of availability in front of 100,000 fans, what would you say? Would you talk about your trip there and what bar you just visited? Or would you create a game plan of your own and try to drum up some business?
Publishing a guest blog post on a really popular blog like Huffington Post, Moz, Smart Passive Income, or Social Media Examiner is your chance to stand in the middle of a crowded virtual football stadium and promote whatever you want to promote. It’s also, and more importantly, your chance to make some of this crowd your own; i.e., get blog subscribers. Don’t blow this opportunity.
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Put on your advertising hat back on- discretely
It goes without saying that you’ll be ignored or booed off the field if you start directly promoting your product or telling people to visit your website/blog/sales page. However, there are ways to get attention without appearing overtly salesy and/or spammy.
First of all, you don’t go and speak in front of thousands of individuals without first preparing your speech. Guest blogging is no different. So, consider the message you want to convey and its desired outcome. Play out how you’ll go about achieving a goal such as an increase in subscribers or product/consulting sales.
Now that you have your goal in mind, how will you make it happen?
To begin with, you probably won’t get much of a chance to advertise within your guest blog post. Also, thanks to Google’s crackdown on link spamming, you may not even get so much as a link next to your byline.
But that’s OK. You see, there are ways to strategically maneuver around this road block.
Secret game plan to making money from guest posts
1. Create a catchy headline for your guest blog post.
Your guest blog post headline must be nothing short of spectacular. You must grab your audience’s attention by announcing that you’re about to make them smarter, or sexier, or richer…or maybe even do something risque. And all in a very unique way that no one else has tried.
How much smarter, sexier, richer or more risque will your audience become? Why, exactly 45%, or 60%, or 215%. But definitely some very specific and quantifiable number that you can back up with data.
In short, you need to make a defined value proposition that’s measurable and, as a bonus, titillates your audience’s senses. Otherwise, no one will even bother listening to your follow-up message.
2. Create your sales page.
You’re going to need a sales page, aka squeeze page, aka landing page. This page is going to be separate from your general website/blog and carefully aligned with the theme of your guest blog post. And its entire purpose will be to encourage a user action such as an email list sign-up, a download of your ebook or infographic, etc.
This call-to-action, or CTA, might be just about anything- including asking the user to purchase your product or service. However, unless you’ve been habitually guest blogging on the same blog and its audience knows you well, your best bet is to encourage the absolute minimum user action. Typically, the minimal user action is a sign-up to your email list.
3. Create your bait product/service.
How exactly will you entice the readers of a third party blog to not only go to your sales page but complete its CTA? By offering a nice, tasty carrot in exchange for their action. The carrot in question could be anything ranging from a free ebook to a tip sheet to a free lesson or even a consultation. However, that freebie needs to be
good great and provide an excessive amount of value for your subscribers.
One caveat here: Your freebie may need to be edited if it doesn’t completely match up with the subject matter of your guest blog post. Or vice versa. Just offering a freebie because you happen to have one on hand isn’t good enough; your item needs to stay relevant to the topic you blogged about.
Finally, if you’re worried about giving away the store, don’t be. Offering incredible value for free is a surefire way to attain blog subscribers as well as eventual customers. In fact, businesses that give away free stuff end up achieving more sales down the line than businesses that are miserly.
4. Create a hidden CTA on your guest blog post.
Many guest bloggers make the mistake of simply stating their name in the byline area (i.e., boilerplate) and providing readers with a CTA to read their blog online. However, your byline area is second only to your headline in terms of importance for achieving your desired goal. So, instead of leaving a boring byline like this one which does nothing for you, your site or your bottom line:
Steve Razinski is an internet marketer and has been operating I’ve Tried That since 2007.
You can instead leave a secret CTA in your byline as shown below and start generating subscribers immediately:
Do you want to make $6,000 per month through your own online business? Steve Razinski shows you how in this free training session. Sign up today!
Furthermore, as far as encouraging people to just go to your blog…it’s a waste of time. Even if readers visit you online, so what? Unless there’s some amazing piece of content there that completely infatuates them , they will click off your site and never visit it again. You need to acclimate folks to constant contact with your website and/or blog…and the most realistic strategy for achieving that aim is by getting email subscribers.
Are you ready for some overexposure?
If you want to expose yourself even further, put in some extra effort and utilize this technique that Jon Morrow (of Copyblogger fame) developed- and which I totally swiped:
5. Create “satellite” posts on your blog related to your guest post.
As you’re writing your guest post, write posts related to the guest post’s subject matter on your own blog. Mention that you have this additional content in your guest blog post. Hopefully, you can grab a link to this related content from the top blog. However, even if you’re not allowed to link, you can still tell readers of this content and where it lives.
This is a sneaky way of hopefully creating a link from a top blog that you’ve guest posted on within your own blog. This link not only bumps up your own blog’s rank but, even better, creates another pathway for readers from that top blog to enter your blog. Such additional traffic increases your chance of gaining blog subscribers long after you’ve guest posted.
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Do you have other sneaky ways of exposing yourself online (sans webcam)? Let me know in the comments below!