You’ve probably been told at some point to explore guest blogging opportunities as a platform building strategy—maybe even by us. Guest blogging can be a great way to identify key influencers in your area of expertise, create professional partnerships, and—perhaps most importantly—attract a new potential readership. But not everyone has immediate access to a thriving blogging community. So how can you find a popular guest blogger in your specialty? We’ve gathered a few of our favorite tips below.
Google is likely to be your first stop on the hunt for a perfect guest blogger; in fact, it’s practically a requisite. In order to make the most of your search time, be sure to come up with a list of keywords and phrases that bloggers in your arena are likely to have used in their metadata (this is a helpful exercise to engage for your own website optimization as well). The more specific you can get, the more likely you’ll be to find an expert in your ideal niche. You can use Google’s Advanced Search function to streamline your results. Remember that placing quotations around a phrase guarantees an exact hit (ie: searching for the phrase “emotional intelligence” will only bring up pages that mention those words in tandem) and putting a minus sign in your search is a great way to minimize erroneous results (ie: searching for “motivational speaker” –religious will only bring you pages that mention motivational speaking but not the word religious).
The first places you might consider branching out to after a Google search are blog directories. Sites like Technorati, BlogCatalog, Blogarama, Alexa, and Alltop allow you to crawl blogs for specific keywords and browse blogs by category and popularity. Directories can be overwhelming, so don’t go too crazy researching every single site. Focus on those that look professional and seem to have a lot of comments, yet are also within realistic reach. Also be on the lookout for any past blog swaps.
Social media is a tried and true way to identify influencers in your area. Searching for phrases on Twitter will give you the top tweets mentioning the keywords and a list of people whose profiles mention the phrase as well. You want to pay the most attention to those with your phrase in their biography line on Twitter since that typically indicates a more in-depth expertise on the subject. LinkedIn Q&A can also be a good place to drum up some fans and also to make connections with other bloggers. Social media is a great way to make an initial connection. You might try commenting or tweeting back and forth with your prospective guest blogger to create a level of familiarity before formally approaching him or her.
HARO, or Help A Reporter Out, is an excellent tool for prospecting potential bloggers, commentators, and experts. HARO is a free daily list serve that compiles requests for sources from reporters and then sends them out to more than 200,000 experts. We can’t recommend HARO enough to authors and experts building their platforms. You can sign up here.
If you’re starting to feel exasperated by the number of potential bloggers you’re finding (or not finding, as may be the case), you should look into joining a blog-matching site. We’ve written about sites like this in the past. Mashable also recommends BlogDash, eCairn, and GroupHigh as valuable “blogger dating” services.
Think Outside the Blog
Don’t forget that it might make sense to reach out to experts who aren’t necessarily bloggers. There are plenty of experts out there with strong social media and website followings who might be willing to write a quick post for you. Another way to “think outside the blog” is to suggest a video blog or social media swap. Many experts don’t have time to type an entire blog post, but might be willing to record a video with a few tips or write an advice-oriented tweet or post.
Once you’ve found your perfect blogger, you can follow our guidelines on how to best contact them and run your event. You might be asked to swap a blog post with your guest blogger. In that case, be sure to check out our suggestions on being the perfect guest blogger for your host.
Let us know any other ways you’ve found the perfect guest blogger in the comments below!