In this short guide, you will learn how to harness one of the most powerful content marketing strategies on the Internet – guest blogging.
What is guest blogging? Otherwise known as guest posting, it is the process of writing articles for authority websites in exchange for credit for your article and a link back to your website and/or social media accounts.
Why Guest Blogging?
Guest blogging is a strategy made for attorneys. A well-placed post can:
• Build Authority and Credibility
When prospects find you through a high-authority website, they don’t question your credibility. Become a go-to expert in your field by tapping into the host site’s brand.
• Drive Relevant Traffic
Authority sites, by definition, have a big audience, making them a fantastic source for relevant traffic back to your site. The better your post, the more clicks you receive.
• Garner SEO Benefits
Google pays attention to the sites that industry leaders are linking to; a few mentions on big websites have way more SEO power than hundreds of scattered, insignificant links.
• Make a Soft Sell
If you choose the right sites and write content that directly addresses the problems of your target clients, it’s very likely some will find your articles, click on your link, and contact you for a consultation.
Are you ready to get started?
Step1: Locate Authority Websites in Your Niche
First, determine a few websites that would be ideal for placing an article with your opinions and expertise.
You very likely already know some blogs with influence in your specific field. Check their menu and footer links to see if they publicly invite guest posts. If not, try Googling “write for NAME OF COMPANY.”
If there is no evidence they accept guest posts, don’t despair yet. Try sending an email to inquire.
Failing that, it’s time to do some research for sites that do want content from attorneys. Some good search strings to try include “write for us personal injury law,” “write for us divorce law blog,” “legal blogs that accept guest posts” and whatever else you can think up. Use your imagination.
Hot Tip: Look for search results that display an image next to the description, like in the photo below. Google Authorship is often used by guest bloggers to maximize their exposure, so this is a sign a blog accepts posts.
Think Outside the Box!
You do not have to write guest posts for legal blogs to benefit from guest blogging. Instead, rack your brain for any type of place your prospects might lurk.
For instance, is there a political issue that greatly affects your services or puts your prospects at risk? Perhaps you could write an article for a political blog. If you’re a divorce lawyer, you might consider an article on a relationship or family website. Business websites are also well-suited for a wide range of legal discussions.
Step 2: Determine Whether the Site is an Authority
To get the most out of your efforts, there are some criteria that go a long ways towards establishing a site worthy of a guest post. The below variables are not mandatory but are great guidelines to keep in mind.
Google Page Rank
This is Google’s metric for determining how important a website is, counting links as votes. You can check PR at http://www.prchecker.info. The higher the better (the scale is 1-10); aim for sites with a PR3 or higher (preferably over a 4).
Domain authority gauges the strength of a website domain over time and is thought by many online marketers to be the most important of all search metrics. The figure falls on a scale of 0 to 100, with higher numbers going to higher authority sites. Look for a rank of 40 or above.
Check domain authority at http://www.opensiteexplorer.org.
Alexa is a third party website that monitors statistics across the website, and the Alexa Rank gauges a particular site’s popularity. The ideal website for a guest post has a rank of 200,000 or below. Check rank at http://alexa.com.
Facebook Likes/Twitter Followers
Active Facebook and Twitter pages make for an attractive guest blog candidate. Often, the webmaster will promote your article further on social media.
Look for blogs with over 1,000 Facebook fans and 1,000 or more Twitter followers for best results.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind:
- These variables don’t need to be perfect, but the better the numbers, the more coverage you’ll get with your article.
- If your firm practices locally, you can get great exposure blogging for local websites, even if they don’t meet any of the criteria above.
- Articles on smaller websites even beyond the local markets can still have SEO benefits. Not to mention that it’s far easier to place a post on a PR3 site than a PR5.
- As an actual expert in your field, you have far more leverage for getting your voice heard than the typical online entrepreneur; keep this in mind when reading guest blogging advice from online marketing websites. Get a “no” before giving up.
Step 3: Read the Submission Guidelines
If you’re lucky, the website you have your eye on will have a page inviting submissions from attorneys. Here you will find the specifics about how to format your post, suggested topics, what to avoid, and any other criteria.
Be sure to follow these instructions to the last detail! The more popular blogs get a lot of submissions, and if you don’t follow the guidelines, your article will not get a glance.
Step 4: Find Out What They’re Posting
Before getting ahead of yourself, familiarize yourself with the existing material. Browse through blog posts and study subject matter, titles, style of writing, and trending topics. Pay particular attention to any posts associated with legal issues (if the blog covers more than law) and posts by other guest bloggers.
Also, look for articles with lots of comments. Tapping into what works can provide more exposure to your article and your attorney website.
Step 5: Write Your Article
Some sites want you to query first with a pitch. If this isn’t specifically stated, write your article first and attach it to your initial email. Once they are already reading, it’s a simple click to scan the article and see what they think.
This can often get your article accepted when you otherwise may have been discouraged before you even started.
When writing, always think about the needs and desires of the audience. Remember, people don’t spend time researching legal issues. They do search the web, on the other hand, to find legal solutions to their personal problems. This distinction is key to attracting readers who want to hire you.
That said, guest blogging is good for link-building and credibility as well, so if you’re at a loss or just want to mix up your efforts, don’t be afraid to blog about broader topics.
When your article is finished, write a great resource box. This is where all your effort pays off; be sure to include at least one anchor text link back to your website for the SEO benefits.
Hot Tip: Often, readers stop reading when they get to an obvious resource box. If the site format blends the box with the content, try making the “pitch” flow with the rest of the article by starting with a sentence that “continues” the article instead of starting with your name.
Step 6: Send Off an Email
There are plenty of guest blog query templates online, but unless the webmaster specifies a particular format, there’s really no one set way to get in touch. As an attorney, you know how to approach people; put your skills to work.
Address the webmaster by first name, if possible, and tell them your purpose right away. Honest flattery about their blog and why you see it as a good fit never hurts. Break down your experience, credentials, and any other places you’ve been published.
Keep it brief, but plead your case.
If you haven’t written the article already, include an outline with a title and main points. If you’ve already written it, attach it to the email for their perusal.
Then press send.
REMEMBER: Everything You Put on the Web Represents Your Business
Never cut corners with guest blogging because it is a direct reflection of your law firm. You should take it as seriously as you would take a book published in your name – your post is just shorter.
Do not underestimate the power of this online marketing strategy either; entire businesses are built by professionals like yourself putting their knowledge and expertise in front of relevant audiences and thus building expert status in their industries.
Gain some confidence with the first couple posts and monitor your traffic. With a bit of testing and tweaking, it can very well become your main source of online prospects.