If your “payment” for your work is a bio at the end of the post and links within the article – which is the case in guest posts – you should make this work hard for you. I show you how and give you an easy to follow example.
When you write a guest post you obviously do your best to show your strength and expertise on the subject while giving the audience valuable insight into what you know. You are done, it is brilliant, you checked it several times – only the bio is missing from the end. You quickly look for an earlier bio to copy-paste or scribble down a condensed version of your CV to be able to send it by the deadline.
Well, until now! Your compensation for the whole article is the attention you get for your own site and activity, so give as much attention to your bio as to the whole post. To make it absolutely clear right at the beginning: the reader doesn’t care who wrote the piece they are reading. Unless they are writers themselves, or you are a celebrity (in which case you don’t need to worry about your bio), readers are not necessarily interested in the author. Even if they finish reading the piece, they are not obliged to go on to read the bio. This is the reason why you shouldn’t list all your previous achievements, publications, qualifications and degrees.
Instead, go through these three steps to make the article and the bio work for you
#1 Pick one single goal you would like to achieve when readers click through. This seems to be easy: you usually want them to get through to your blog, website or social media, but the fact is that the readers don’t just want to click through to see another blog. Therefore, narrow it down to a more specific goal which the reader can easily relate to and which naturally matches your guest post. It could be a specific article which has more info on the discussed subject, your TEDTalk on the topic, or even an e-book or a video series they should sign up to. Tailor your bio and the links to support this goal.
To avoid any misunderstanding: your article should be a useful and brilliant piece in itself, not just some trailer that you excel in the content behind the click. But as an expert, you must have loads of additional info about your topic and you should link to these instead of your general webpage.
#2 Once you have a specific goal, match it with one action you want your reader to take. This can be reading a chosen article, watching a video, following one of your social media channels (and the word “one” is important here) or signing up to your lead magnet. Resist the temptation to list many options here and stay focused on the goal. Choose a channel which matches the best the original article and gives the reader the most on top of what he has just read. Also, instead of listing your general achievements, show a result you reached in that specific area.
#3 The last step is to sum it up in a nice message you would like to deliver to your audience. The point is that your bio should not be about you (as surprising as it sounds!) but your reader, and you should be able to show them how they would benefit clicking the link you give in your bio. I give you a bio example at the end of this post (and there is my bio too).
You should add the link(s) to relevant place(s) in the post if the blog owner allows it. (To avoid misunderstanding and to build a fruitful relationship from the start, always read the contribution guidelines, and if it is not clear, ask the blog owner what you can link.) If you are not allowed to place links in the body of the post, you can still refer to the additional info readers can find in your bio.
Measure the impact of your guest post
To be able to measure how effective your guest posts are – and to be able to decide where to put more energy – include a trackable link. It is very easy to build with e.g. Google Link Builder and if you create a chart in Excel with your links and the visitors from them, you can easily keep track of how much it was worth to write the post. If you would like to go a step further, you can also measure how valuable visitors were: if they converted i.e. did what you asked them to do in the call to action.
It is important to note however that the number of visitors coming from an actual article/bio is not the only factor to take into account when deciding where to write. Writing guest posts is also a great tool for building your brand, have a reference and have your name appear more times in an eventual Google search.
Free Bio example for you to follow
To this end use your name the same way (must sound funny but there are people using their names in alternate ways, sometimes with the middle name, sometimes without), you can even think of using a unique author name. If you add a title, use one that is easy to understand and remember, and use it consequently in each bio. This could even be something that is different from the usual titles and therefore catches the attention. (Just to give you an example, a chef could be a Tastemaster if it is appropriate and matches the style of other activities.) Important to note that the structure of the bio is flexible, and you don’t necessarily have to start with your name and title.
If you can, add a professional photo where you are easy to recognize, convincing and can be associated with your profession. Use the same profile photo you use in social media and other communications to build your self-brand.
Finally, here is an example, that you are free to follow and adapt:
The sample bio is for an article written for mothers about how to make their baby fall asleep.
“Anna Eden, Expert of Babysleep, and Founder of www.babysleep.com, is responsible for the calm and silent nights of more than 550 families. Listen to her groundbreaking, 3-minute video of the major misbeliefs about baby sleep issues parents should immediately forget.”