Personal Branding: 5 Steps to Promoting Yourself Online as an Industry Thought Leader

I’m excited to show you a really powerful personal branding strategy. A way that builds your online visibility, and allows you to promote your business to a targeted audience of potential customers. All while increasing your or your business’s reputation as a thought leader within your industry. Best of all? It’s completely free! Sounds too good to be true, right? Welcome to thought

By Jamie Dalzell
Content Marketing Specialist

Published on November 12, 2015

5 Steps to promoting yourself online as an industry thought leader

I’m excited to show you a really powerful personal branding strategy.

A way that builds your online visibility, and allows you to promote your business to a targeted audience of potential customers. All while increasing your or your business’s reputation as a thought leader within your industry.

Best of all? It’s completely free!

Sounds too good to be true, right?

Welcome to thought leadership with guest posting!

Why is guest posting a powerful way to promote your business online?

The way users search online is changing.

Nowadays? They’re increasingly looking for experts and thought leaders within a given field, industry or niche. When you consider that some 98% of users don’t trust what they read online? This is hardly surprising!

As a business, becoming this go-to expert places you in the best possible position to drive traffic, leads and potential sales. But unless users know you are the expert they’re looking for? You may as well not exist.

Guest posting gives you the opportunity to step out of the digital shadows. Quickly building your personal brand and promoting your business in the process. And as a result? You better your standing in the eyes of potential customers in comparison to your competitors.

Better still, regular guest posting will build your portfolio of content and sites you’ve written for. All lucrative additions to your website that help to increase customer trust, boost your position in the search engines and promote yourself as a thought leader within your industry.

Convinced? Ready to learn exactly how to promote your business via guest posting? Then read on for our five simple steps that will kickstart your journey to internet superstardom!

1Find The Perfect Blog

There’s one thing you need to know about popular blogs:

They’re always in need of new content!

And that’s where you come in.

You see, guest posting is a ‘You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours‘ kind of deal.

The blog? They receive some killer new content.

In return? You get your personal brand, business and insights out there and in front of a targeted audience.

Best of all, established blogs have already done the heavy lifting for you.

How so?

  • They’ve built a large, established audience. An audience that you know are interested in what you do.
  • They’ve built a go-to, high authority site within your niche that you can leverage for building an audience interest in you and your site.

Here’s how to find them!

Let Me Google That For You

Accounting Guest Posting Google Search Phrases

What better way to find the perfect blog than the internet’s search engine of choice: Google. Simply use keywords related to your business with the search strings below.

  • Your Keyword + “guest post”
  • Your Keyword + “write for us”
  • Your Keyword + “submit post”
  • Your Keyword + “contribute to our site”

Guest Post Targets For Promoting Your Business

As you can see above, these searches will provide you with a wealth of sites that have accepted guest posts in the past. Or are currently looking for guest contributions.

The logic here?

If they’ve accepted guest posts from other people in the past, they’re far more likely to be open to your offer of writing for them!


Twitter Advanced Search To Find Ways To Build Personal Brand

Google? Sure, it’s a great source. But as with keyword research, it isn’t the only one!

Turning to social media like Twitter can often provide you with new results Google didn’t find. Providing you with a range of new opportunities to build your personal brand and promote your business!

Simply head over to Twitter’s Advanced Search page and try:

  • Your Keyword + “guest post”
  • Your Keyword + “write for us”
  • Your Keyword + “written by”

Guest Posting Opportunities On Twitter To Promote Business

Tip: Looking to speed up the process? Buzzstream makes the guest posting process that much faster and easier. 

2Pick Your Guest Post Targets

A few searches in, and you’ll have a number of potential blogs to pitch to.

At this stage, it’s important to remember:

Not all blogs are created equal.

How so? Let me explain:

Yes, while a site may accept your guest post, this doesn’t immediately mean they’re a great target. Contributing to poor quality sites can do more harm than good.

So when it comes to choosing who you pitch to? If you keep the following factors in mind, you’ll pick a winner every time:

  • Relevancy
    The more relevant a site is? The better. You won’t get far pitching an article on accounting software to a car restoration blog!
  • Active Social Media & Comments Sections
    An active community often shows that a site has both engaging content, and an engaged community. So look for sites with active comments sections in existing articles. As you can see below:Guest Post Prospect's Active Comments Section
    Similarly? Target blogs with active social media accounts and high social sharing numbers on their posts. A site with an active social media presence will be able to boost your post – and your position as a thought leader – even further!
  • PR & DA Ratings
    Use tools like PR Checker or MOZ’s SEO Toolbar to check the site’s PR and DA rating.Guest Post Prospect With High PR Is Good For Personal Brand
    Generally speaking, the higher these numbers, the more authoritative the site is and the more likely they’re to send you more traffic as a result. For search engine optimisation reasons, it also shows your associated with a neighborhood of websites which is becoming increasingly important. Better still? Writing for these sites will help to further associate your personal brand with high-profile sites and sources within your industry or niche.

3Batter Up! Pitch Your Guest Post

Blog in your sights? It’s time to make your pitch!

But if you’re anything like the majority of us, now is when the nerves kick in and impostor syndrome hits the hardest.

I can’t write for this site! They’re too good! What if they say no?

You know what? That’s completely normal!

Even the experienced among us can get a little nervous when pitching. Especially if we’re making contact with a high profile or well-respected website for the first time.

The best approach here? Back yourself! Confidence is a tangible thing, and this will come across in your pitch.

Tip: Still hesitant about making your pitch? Build a relationship with bloggers via their comments sections and social media. And if you still feel out of your depth? Kick impostor syndrome to the curb with advice from some of the best names in the business. 

As for the pitch itself? All at once it should showcase:

  • Who you are.
  • What you do.
  • What you can offer the site you’re pitching to.

Most importantly of all? Your pitch should show that you have an understanding of the target site, and what their readers are interested in. Doing so will help your pitch stand out from the generic crowd!

Guest Post Pitch Template

Hi [NAME],

I just saw the post on your website by [AUTHOR NAME]:


And I just wanted to reach out to you.

I really enjoyed the article. It was a great read! Especially [HIGHLIGHT SECTION YOU ENJOYED]. And I’d love the opportunity to contribute some content for your website also!

I have a few ideas for topics in mind, and I think these would go down great with your reads.

To give you an idea of the quality I can offer, here are a few examples of my previously published work:

[Link 1]
[Link 2]

With [TARGET’S SITE NAME] being all about [MAJOR TOPIC], I think an article about [TOPIC YOU HAVE EXPERTISE IN] or [TOPIC YOU HAVE EXPERTISE IN] would work really well.

If you have a specific topic in mind please don’t hesitate to let me know.

I look forward to hearing from you!


Tip: Rejection is an everyday part of the guest posting process. So don’t lose heart! Just because one site may not be interested in your idea, doesn’t mean the next site won’t fall in love with it.

Promoting your business – and personal brand – via guest posting is a trial-and-error process, so stick with it. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your prospects can turn around!

4Put Pen To Paper – Write & Submit Your Guest Post

Contrary to what you might think, successful guest posting doesn’t require you to be a professional writer or journalist!

In fact, all you need to effectively promote your business is your knowledge, experience, and a bit of time. Oh, and a few of our go-to productivity hacks for those late-night writing sessions that’ll help you get that post out the door, including:

Ready? It’s time to write!

Choose A Topic

Looking for something to write about? Try these ideas:

  • Browse the blog you’re pitching to and see where you could build on or expand one of their existing articles.
  • Similarly, look for any older posts on topics that could use a second look.
    Example: Writing for a tech site? Well, we all know how fast technology moves these days. Writing an updated version of their post on ‘The Best Apps of 2012’ or ‘Tech Trends Of 2013’ can provide a great foot in the door.
  • Research your content topics with sites like Alexa, Alltop and Social Mention. These offer a great insight into the most popular sites and articles on the web.
    Writing an article that takes a unique angle on one of these topics? Well, that could very well be the guest post that cements your place as a true thought leader!

Get Wordy

We’ve already discussed how lengthy content goes viral. But it’s important to check word count requirements with the blog you’re pitching to before you start writing.

Guest Post Word Count Guidelines To Follow When Promoting Your Business

And if they don’t have any guidelines? Write to your heart’s content!

But only to a point.

Let me explain:

Lengthy content? It’s great. But novel-length walls of text? Definitely not.

As a general rule? Stephen King said it best in his book On Writing with a quote from his editors:

Formula: 2nd Draft = 1st Draft – 10%

The word-culling process is difficult, but they tell us to kill our darlings for a reason: attention spans are only getting shorter. The quicker you can communicate your message? The better. And your readers will thank you for it!

Tip: Matching the tone and style of the site you’re writing for is a great way to increase the chances of your guest post being published.

Go Multimedia Mad

There’s nothing worse than the dreaded wall of text, so break up your copy with images and video.

Not only will you be providing a better reading experience, but blog managers love it when their writers show the initiative to include appropriate media with their articles!

Links & Things

Links, links, links.

The seeming be-all and end-all of the internet!

Some blogs offer the opportunity to link to you own website within your author bio. Others? They’ll encourage links within the article itself.

But no mater how you include them, it’s important to consider the following when it comes to links and guest posts:

  • Resist The Link Temptation 
    Many sites have abused guest posts in the past, and filled these to the brim with links to their own sites.
    To build effective, long-lasting links? Resist the temptation to litter your copy with links, and instead only link to interesting pieces of content on your site that supports your message and the article as a whole.
  • Mix Up Your Links
    Don’t hog the limelight! Sure, guest posting is an excellent way to build your personal brand and establish yourself as a thought leader. But what is it that true experts are always doing?
    By linking to relevant, external sources you’ll take your post from quality article to unmissable resource. And show that you’re constantly searching for ways to increase your own knowledge and understanding. A sign of a true thought leader!

Tell The World About You

When it comes to establishing yourself as a thought leader via guest posting? Your author bio shouldn’t be ignored. In fact, it’s your 100-150 word opportunity to truly promote your business, brand, and why people should be listening to you.

So take this as an opportunity to tell the world about who you are, what you do, and why – exactly – you’re so great. Do you have a killer e-book? A newly launched website? Or worked with a high-profile client? This is your place to promote it and shout it to the world!

Guest Post Bio That Builds Personal Brand & Position As Thought Leader

5Make The Most Of Your Guest Post

Guest post submitted?


You’re now well on your way to becoming a thought leader and expert in your field.

But before you move on to your next literary masterpiece, there are multiple ways you can ensure you’re maximising the effect of your guest post once it goes live. Including:

  • Join The Conversation
    Be an active participant in discussions around your guest post. Reply to questions. Thank readers for their feedback. And generally ensure you’re as visible as possible. This will help to build your personal brand as someone who is an engaged, open and honest source of information within your industry.
  • Get Sharing
    Share the post across your social networks, mentioning the blog or site within your tweet to promote yourself and your business further.
    Better still? Write about your guest post on your own blog, linking through to the article to strengthen cross-promotion and clue your own readers in on what you’ve been up to.
  • Write another!
    Striking while the iron is still hot? It’s the best way to continue to boost your reputation and build your personal brand. And in the process? You’ll accumulate a profile of knowledgeable, insightful and popular guest posts that will help boost your standing as a thought leader and promote your business.

Now it’s your turn! Get writing & tell the world why you’re a thought leader!

So there you have it! The 5 steps you need to effectively build your personal brand online, position yourself as a thought leader within your industry, and promote your business.

From increasing your exposure and industry reputation as the go-to expert, to driving traffic, leads and sales for your website and business. Guest posting is an excellent way to build your personal brand or business.

So what are you waiting for?


Jamie Dalzell

Content Marketing Specialist
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    Get Your Business Found

    Ready to go where your customers are?

    75% of people never scroll past Google's first page. If you're ready to get found where they're looking, get in touch and find out how we can grow your business and drive more traffic, leads, & sales with search marketing.

    Let’s Talk