How to Generate Leads Without Spending a Dime: The Case for Guest Blogging

blogging for lead gen, guest blogging, how to generate leads through guest blogging, lead generation through blogging

September 21, 2014 by

Lead generation is a big worry for most businesses – if you’re not thinking about it, you probably should be. Keeping your customers returning once you have them is critical of course, but new faces are a requirement for growth and healthy cash flow. Actively seeking out new leads requires effort, yes, but it’s well worth your time and money. Short on money? Invest your time instead by guest blogging.

How Does Guest Blogging Work?

I’m assuming here that your business already has its own blog – because that’s an essential part of any inbound marketing efforts. As you no doubt know, your blog is a resource for leads, customers, and those just sniffing out your business for the first time. Guest blogging is a way to generate leads by pointing them to your blog, and then your business. It’s possible that your site could benefit in terms of SEO from backlinks, but it shouldn’t be your main goal – spammy guest blogging won’t get you anywhere.

The process of guest blogging is pretty straightforward, and works in two possible ways. The first option is to submit a completed blog to a site that accepts them; the second is to reach out to blogs you select, and offer to create a post for their readers. Try both!

Why Should I be Guest Blogging?

You need to generate new leads all the time, and you probably don’t have endless funds for pay-per-click ads, promoted Facebook posts, and all the other myriad ways you strive to reach new eyeballs. Guest blogging is free in terms of cash, and if you’re a practiced blogger (or have one on your marketing or web team) then the time investment won’t be extensive either. And with the right placement on a good blog, and a high quality blog post from you, the payoff can be more than worth your time.

Think about your business’s blog; you probably have a pretty steady readership, or none at all, or the odd uptick in traffic when something gets shared in the right place. Much of your readership may already be converting customers, so you’ll need to draw in new leads and get them to check out everything you have to offer, starting with your thoughtful blog, and hopefully leading to your great products or services.

If you author a strong guest post on a blog that reaches your target audience, enthusiastic readers will follow links to your blog, in your byline or bio. Depending on the blog, you might even be able to mention your business outright, although I’d shy away from a true plug, since you don’t want to seem self-promotional. The value you should be offering readers in a guest blog is your thought leadership – not your services, even if they are great.

Related Class: Introduction to Blogging

How Do I Get Started?

I’ll be talking more about the process of guest blogging in my next post here on the OMI blog. But to start you off, your first step is finding a blog to guest post on. There are many ways to do this, but you’ll want to cast a wide net (among quality sites, of course) since not all your attempts will be successful.

Many different types of sites accept guest blogs at all times. Popular CMS companies, web and eCommerce platforms, and education- or eLearning-focused blogs often welcome the contributions of their users. HubSpot, Shopify and come to mind. But that’s if you want to write about topics relevant to those sites and their readers – largely marketing and eCommerce. If your thought leadership is more specific to the industry you’re in, whether it’s refurbished gadgets or high-end baking, you’ll need to seek out blogs that speak to those niche topics, and those readers.

Obviously a simple Google search will turn up many options in most industries, and then you’ll want to vet them for quality (to avoid spammy sites or blogs that are just poorly done). Even a high quality guest post on a low quality blog isn’t going to get you any leads, because no one will be reading it in the first place!

When you find a site that is relevant to your business and already has a strong blog, you should confirm that they have engaged readers (check for comments, social media shares, etc.) so you don’t waste your time on a blog that isn’t being read, or isn’t resonating with readers. Check out their social media sites – are they reaching an engaged readership that you want to get your hands on? Make a list of blogs that fit the bill, and start the process by making contact.

Want to find out more? Check out OMI’s “Content Marketing Best Practices” class for advice on the guest blogging process – and other content marketing strategies you should consider.

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