It’s been a while since I’ve written here on Geekestate and to those lacking fresh marketing tips, I am truly sorry. The last 6 months have been interesting with regards to SEO and internet marketing under the iron fist of Google, to say the least. With Google Panda, we’ve seen low quality and duplicate content cause issues. Then came the Penguin update, which went after people’s link profiles (for the most part). With all these updates aimed at making your marketing efforts squeaky clean, what does that leave us with? One thing’s for sure: quality content that actually engages the reader and draws natural links is not causing anyone problems.
Guest blogging is a very popular marketing tactic and I’m sure by now most of you have dabbled in it one way or another. It has definitely gotten to the point where it’s become a tactic being abused at a low level for easy anchor text links looking to inflate your rankings. This is not what this post is about, and it is certainly something you should steer clear of at all costs. If you’re not providing any real value to the web, what’s the point?
This post is all about how to tackle every aspect of guest blogging with finesse so you’re benefiting from all the possibilites that the guest blogging tactic presents, no matter the curveballs Google decides to throw our way in the future. One major point I’d like to get across is that guest blogging is not about the link, and it never should be; you could argue that no link building ever should be about getting the link. While links still are the major player in ranking you in the SERPs, I like to think beyond Google and help you become a brand.
Guest blogging is in my top 3 personal favorite branding strategies for one main reason. It gets you infront of your target readers and if you do something amazing you won’t be forgotten! I work with a lot of real estate agents and mortgage brokers and the one thing 90% of them don’t do is stick to a comprehensive branding strategy. Get guest blogging, make amazing videos, do presentations, get involved in the community… get your friggin’ face out there folks!
One very important post-Google-Penguin tip: DO NOT pick an anchor text for a keyword you’re wanting to rank for. This is unnatural and exactly the kind of thing that will look weird if you do too much of it. Just get a normal link with your site/brand name for your efforts and move on. As long as your on page SEO is tight, you’ll do just fine in the long run and sleep better at night.
Set Up Your Blog For Guest Posts
Before I get into the golden resources guest blogging, we should talk about setting up your blog to accept guest posts. Why you ask? Well, it’s another piece of the puzzle for fitting in and welcoming other opinions and view points to your readers. That and there’s no better way to get a dialogue going with bloggers in your vertical than by offering them something! Didn’t your mother ever teach you it’s polite to share? For some reason, a lot of people tend to be wary of allowing other people to write on their blog and this to me is silly. You never have to publish a piece if you don’t want to and you’re getting good, free content. If you’re still not convinced, just think about the potential for your guest author to share the post on your blog to all of their followers. It doesn’t take much work at all and the benefits easily outweigh the negatives!
It doens’t matter what blogging platform you’re using but there’s a good chance that most of you are using WordPress… that’s great. There are several ways to go about taking in guests posts but regardless of platforms, you can always just receive everything by email and plug it in yourself.
If you’re rocking WordPress then my favorite option is just using the good old (and free) Contact form 7. Anyone with the noobest computer skills can figure out how to create a custom form to take guest posts. One of the websites I’ll be mentioning below that takes guest posts is doing just that and they gladly gave me permission to take a screen shot of it here:
Sara Morgan from HomeMortgage.org manages the newish community blog in the mortgage industry, and while they’ve just started taking in posts, she said it’s an easy process. Her concern was giving out WordPress accounts to strangers as the open source blogging platform has enough security issues as is. They do plan on giving out full accounts to established authors on the site once some trust has been built.
With that being said, you can still make it so that WordPress has open registration and then simply moderate each post as it comes in. The most annoying aspect of that is that all the spam bots out there will auto register and you’ll end up with thousands of junk accounts. So, if you’re not ready to open up that registration, I also recommend you check these two plugins out.
1) Custom “About Author”
This plugin is perfect if you have multiple guest bloggers on your website and they do not each have a user account. It also gives an added incentive for bloggers to write guest posts on your site. Multiple custom profiles can be created and they take preference over website user profiles. You also have the option to specify a specific profile to display for each post.
2) WordPress Guest Post Plugin
The WordPress Guest Post plugin is a simple plugin that allows you to accept, edit, & publish guest posts to your blog without writers having to login to your WordPress Admin area.
High Quality Places To Guest Blog
Finding those coveted places to write for is half the battle, and not all of them are as easy to find as is Geek Estate. There are a few guest blogging hubs that I don’t really care to mention. My company has dabbled in a lot of them in the past and 97% of the sites listed are junk looking for good content without paying for it. The rules for acceptance are just too lax and, in my opinion, are treated no differently by Google than are low quality article sites.
I’m only going to list the sites that I think are of good enough quality from which to get a link. In addition to simply listing guest blogging sites and hubs, I will go over techniques and strategies I use that will help you find blogs in the real estate/mortgage industry, and I’ll let you be the judge if you want to write for them or not. Most of the sites listed are specific to the industry and we’ll also talk about finding local guest blogging opportunities. Last, but not least, I’ll share with you how I go about building real relationships with blog owners and work my way into guest posting on blogs that don’t otherwise advertise.
- Geek Estate takes posts in from authors, and that’s a given, but it should be mentioned just in case you missed the notice. Apply Here.
- Wanna Network is another great resource for guest bloggers in the real estate industry and it shouldn’t be overlooked. Apply Here.
- From my mention above, HomeMortgage.org is open to real estate and mortgage professionals to guest blog as much or as little as they like, as long as it’s good. Apply Here.
- KHusan.com offers up their blog for unique and useful real estate posts and the response time here is quick so don’t miss out. Apply Here.
- The Real Trends blog has accepted guest blog posts a few times and while they have no specific mention of the process, I’d get in touch with them. Apply Here.
- Real Estate Success Link is always looking for a smart young whipper snapper to blog, so add this to your watch list. Apply Here.
- Luxury Real Estate Mag takes posts on, you guessed it, luxury properties. While their page is a little wonky, you can get accounts via their contact form. Apply Here.
- The same folks who run the above site also have Luxury Branded running and features guest posts from agents with luxury properties to market. Apply Here.
- Bigger Pockets shouldn’t be a name you’re not familiar with and they do take guest posts on the main blog if you’ve got something amazing to say. Apply Here.
- Home Gain is well known and respected and they have, in my opinion, one of the top blogs powered by guest writers in the industry. Apply Here.
- For those marketing in Australia, there is Real Estate Buzz and its open to the market there. Apply Here.
- The Realty Blog takes guest posts and it’s a great spot to get in on the action. Apply Here.
- The Niche Report is another reputable site that accepts guest authors. They do have pretty strict guidelines so bring your A-Game! Apply Here.
Finding Local Blogs To Write For
The true value for an agent is to make yourself known in the local scene, and nowadays that isn’t a problem if you put a little effort into it. We’ll go over free tools that will find blog candidates, as well some Google queries to find the local gems that are already open to accepting guest posts. When we’re working on behalf of a client and actually build a relationship with local bloggers, the guest access comes at a high success rate. Always keep in mind that you are a part of their community and your actions will reflect on who you are in real life. Always try to give back before taking anything. Am I getting too preachy yet?
First up, we’ll talk about a few key search queries that will more than likely bring a few great results. Most people think alike so I won’t go into queries that are too obscure. If you don’t find much, I’ll let you use your noggin and try out some more interesting words.
- your city + “write for us”
- your city + “become a contributor”
- your city + “guest bloggers”
- your city + “blog for us”
- your city + “submit your post”
- your city + “submit guest post”
Three Must Use Resources:
Topsy.com – This social search engine is an amazing tool not only for finding blogs for which to write, but also finding social influencers in your area. Let’s say you’re a Realtor from Manhattan and you want to see which blogs were taking guest posts and making some social waves. This search query gives you a pretty darn good idea of sites to contact and get a feel for what kind of content they’ll take in.
Twitter – Most of you folks have caught on and started using Twitter in one way or another. A lot of people don’t see the value in it but as for relationship building, it’s invaluable. I highly recommend making a list of the influencers in your area and follow/retweet/befriend them as you would normally in a real life situation… make nice and play nice!
WeFollow.com – This is basically a directory of Twitter users that you can sort by followers and/or influence. So, sticking to the Manhattan/NYC theme, you can see here that there are over 1100 leaders on Twitter for that area. This can save you a lot of time identifying the most active people in your vertical and get to making some friends on a scalable level.
Other Reads & Resources
I thought I’d play nice and link out to some other resources on the subject that are worth a read and will help you further your efforts. Like with most of my posts, I encourage you to link up something great I missed in the comments below because there were just too many things for me to consider in this post.
- Guest Blogging: The Ultimate Guide via Viper Chill
- How Savvy Inbound Marketers Get Results From Guest Blogging via Hub Spot
- Guest Blogging Strategies (Whiteboard Friday Video) via SEOmoz
- Guest Blogging/Blogger Network via MyGuestBlog.com
- The Ultimate Guide To Guest Blogging via KISS Metrics
- Guest Blogging In A Post Penguin World via Econsultancy.com
- Three Annoying Reasons Guest Bloggers Waste Your Time via Famous Bloggers