Most content managers are always on the lookout for new guest bloggers -- especially those struggling with internal bandwidth.
Oppositely, those dealing with a packed editorial calendar can still benefit from making room for a fresh perspective every now and then.
In short: Working with guest contributors can deliver a ton of benefits. It serves as a great way to start a new relationship or further an existing one. It frees up your time to create other content. And if you're working together to create a piece of co-marketing content, you can count on some added attention once it goes live.
Here's the thing, though: All of that is only possible when you're working with the right contributor.
Participating in online communities, industry forums, and social bookmarking sites will introduce you to different people creating content in your niche.
When it comes to finding suitable guest contributors, you'll want to look for two types of community members:
Content creators: These are people -- typically other content marketers -- already writing blog posts on other sites. Those posts are then shared and discussed in the communities.
Discussion starters: These are the people that create engaging, long-form posts on forums and discussion sites themselves. They know how to write something that prompts a reaction, and can convey their ideas clearly and intelligently -- even if they’re not a professional writer.
These people can pop up anywhere on those sites, and regularly participating will make it easier for you to build relationships with them.
For Mention’s blog, I regularly browse Inbound.org for possible contributors. I like to look at popular shared posts, popular comments on “Ask Inbound” posts, and trending discussions.
2. Sift through your blog comments.
Another way to identify people with both smart ideas and great writing skills is to look at blog comments -- both on your own blog and others in your industry.
Few marketers still take the time to write thoughtful comments. These days, most of us take the conversation to social media with short commentary. So you can bet that someone who puts work into making a blog comment impressive will add the same effort to a blog post.
If a commenter shares an idea that sounds like it could translate into a valuable post, invite them to write it with you.
This is actually how I ended up writing a post for HubSpot a few years ago:
As a blogger, it’s pretty flattering when someone brings up something small you randomly shared months ago, so this guest blogging invitation tends to stand out in a writer’s memory.
And as the blog’s manager, this strategy works great for creating related or interconnected content. The guest blogger’s post will relate (and link) back to the one they originally commented on, and you can develop it further into a guest series.
3. Keep in touch with HARO connections.
Help a Reporter Out, or HARO, is a PR service dedicated to making connections. Journalists, bloggers, marketers, and PR pros can sign up for free.
Through a few daily emails, HARO helps writers find sources or quotes for upcoming content. It’s a great resource for getting press coverage, but that’s just the direct and immediate benefit. There are other ways it can help you out, too.
When you connect with people -- either as a source or as a content creator -- keep track of everyone you’ve successfully interacted with.
Then, instead of letting your relationship end with that “Hey, I used your quote!” email, keep things going. Bring up further collaboration or guest posting, or suggest they write about a related topic to promote the work they used HARO for.
4. Keep tabs on PR coverage.
You also want to keep in mind anyone who has mentioned your company in a great piece of content before. The fact that they’ve mentioned you before gives you an advantage.
One caveat here: Remember that this isn’t about your product. When you’re browsing through old coverage, you should be looking for great writing and insights, not just how good they made your brand sound.
Once you’ve found a few pieces, reach out to the authors. They’re already writing in your niche, so they know the ropes. And if they’ve mentioned you specifically, they might also be familiar with your product and audience ... meaning they’re equipped to write a post that your readers will love.
This is probably the #1 way we find writers for the Mention blog. I’m always on the lookout for blog posts talking about our platform. And any time I come across one that really impresses me, I’ll try to get in contact with the writer to let them know they have a standing invitation.
5. Follow Quora questions.
Great content is supposed to answer questions, right?
Well, that’s literally what Quora power users spend all their time doing. And the Quora users that are really devoted to the platform toil over answers the way content marketers obsess over headlines.
Take a look at this answer from Chandan Trehan, one of the most viewed writers of answers about digital marketing:
It’s over 1,000 words, is divided up into different sections, and includes in-depth explanations, as well examples.
Sounds a lot like a blog post, doesn't it?
6. Follow your favorites closely.
It's likely that you already have a handful of blogs that you read on a regular basis. Start there.
Do they accept guest posts? Which contributors do you enjoy reading the most? Do they guest post for other blogs?
Start paying attention and monitoring the guest authors on popular sites, as well as your niche favorites. That way, when you write your email pitch, you’ll be able to better talk about their business and recent content.
Building Your Contributor List
It’s always great to have a bunch of close relationships with writers in your niche. Guest blogging can be convenient and beneficial, and can often lead to more collaboration opportunities. Who doesn't want more ways to build their network?
How do you find guest bloggers for your company? Share your ideas in the comments below.
Originally published Jun 6, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated September 19 2017