Not too long ago, I noticed a nice bump in the number of authors subscribed to my book marketing newsletter—enough to make me wonder why it was happening
Then I remembered: The author bio box at the end of my guest blog post for a membership organization for journalists and authors encouraged readers to subscribe to my free email newsletter…and they did!
SHAZAM! It was magic!
I am a serial guest blogger, using this easy-for-me marketing tactic to reach more of the right audience for my work as a book marketing consultant. I’ve used it to educate authors while selling more copies of my ebook, introducing new training programs, and expanding my newsletter subscriber list—all good.
Authors can use guest blogging, too, to sell more books by finding and connecting with more of the right readers.
Guest Blogging Defined
First, though: What is guest blogging?
Guest blogging is a marketing tactic that involves writing an article for someone else’s blog (or having someone else write an article for your blog). Done properly, it helps you reach more of the right readers. And in the end, it’s all about finding more readers, isn’t it?
Guest blogging is about providing useful, entertaining, or interesting content that helps you reach readers you probably wouldn’t find on your own.
It’s a marketing tactic that works especially well for authors who write because they love to do it (me!). In fact, some authors will tell you that writing articles for another person’s blog is easier than doing some of the other book marketing techniques often recommended—public speaking, pursuing mainstream publicity, or mastering social media, for example.
Why You Should be Guest Blogging
Here are six reasons why guest blogging should be in every author’s book marketing toolkit:
1. You will reach more of the right people.
When you contribute information to someone else’s blog, you’re sharing your message with people in your target audience who might not know about you already.
This is particularly true for novelists who get creative, reaching past the usual book review or contest giveaway approach to blog appearances by tapping into the nonfiction nuggets in their books. This helps them reach people interested in the topics, issues, or themes covered in their fiction.
2. You will connect with potential readers and fans in a deeper way.
When you write for a site that allows comments, readers can ask you questions that you can answer in a way that helps them see that you’re a real person, not someone on a pedestal.
It’s a much more effective way to connect and engage with readers than Twitter, Pinterest, or other social networks. And while Facebook Pages allow comments, they aren’t conducive to real dialogue because reader posts are tucked to the side and all but hidden to other Page visitors.
3. It will boost your own site’s search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO refers to how well your web-based content matches up with the terms people use to search for the information you’re providing.
Your SEO improves when quality, relevant sites publish content that links to your site, called “backlinks.” When you’re thoughtful about the sites you’ve approached about guest blogging and make sure your guest post has a link or two back to your site, you’ve helped improve your search engine ranking.
4. You will create and solidify important relationships that will support your author career over the long run.
Do you think that Tom Corson-Knowles is my new BFF after inviting me to write this guest blog post? Absolutely. We are now connected in a way that isn’t superficial. I will go out of my way to support Tom to help repay him for the opportunity to share helpful information with his network.
5. You will establish credibility and showcase your subject knowledge or writing skill.
Through guest posts, fiction writers can demonstrate that they’ve mastered their craft while giving readers an opportunity to learn more about them.
Nonfiction authors can establish themselves as the go-to source for their topic, whether it’s stress management, how to do home repairs, or strategies for landing that first job.
6. You will sell more books.
Your guest post should include a link to your book’s sales page on your favorite book retail site. A link to your sales page offers instant gratification to readers—they can purchase it quickly and easily. And they will!
Whenever I run a guest post on my blog from an author who’s written a book on a topic that will help my readers learn more about book marketing, that author sells books.
I know this because I use Amazon Associate links for the books—not for the tiny sales commission I get from each purchase, but because it helps me identify the content that resonates with my blog readers. (For example, this guest post on my site gave its author a nice sales boost.)
How to Find Hosts for Your Posts
Here are three ways to find sites that might be interested in running your guest post:
- Start with the blogs you read and follow already. If you write cozy mysteries, for example, you probably know which blogs reach the most genre readers. Similarly, if your book is on flea market finds, you’re probably already connected to blogs followed by flea market aficionados.
- Type your topic plus the word “blogs” into the search bar at BlogSearchEngine.org.
- Do a Google search for your topic plus the word “blogs”—“Amish fiction blogs” or “crisis communication blog,” for example.
After you’ve created a list of target blogs, study what type of content each prefers before sending an email proposing a guest post. You want to make sure that you’re offering content that’s a good fit for the site.
When what you write resonates with your host’s followers, they will want to know more about you and your work. They might follow the book link in your guest post bio to purchase your book, visit your site and subscribe to your newsletter or blog, or connect with you on social media and start paying attention to what you do and say.
And it all happens because you made the effort to connect with these folks originally on someone else’s blog. Why wouldn’t you want to do that?
What’s your favorite guest blogging tip? Please tell us in a comment.
For more on how to build buzz around your book, read on:
- How to Host Book Signing Events in Bookstores to Promote Your Books
- Virtual Book Tours: A Powerful Promotion Tool for Authors
- 9 Amazon Book Promotion Programs That Can Help You Sell More Books Every Day
Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Three groups have recognized her BuildBookBuzz.com site as an outstanding resource for authors, so you know her advice is author-tested. Download her free “Guest Blogging Cheat Sheet” to get nine best practices that will make sure you make the most of every guest blogging opportunity.