Now that we’ve covered a lot of the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of guest blogging in this series, it’s time to get practical. Today, we’re going to look at some of the items you might want to include in your guest blog toolkit.

First up, your tools for making and keeping connections.

Social media tools

As we pointed out in our first post in this series, you’re going to have to get out there and get active in the online communities you are hoping to post with. That means, establishing yourself as a content author and networking with your potential (and in-network) guest blog opportunities.

But, using the proprietary interfaces for Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest (among others) is a time-consuming and potentially futile way of working.

You need to work smart.

Fortunately, there are some fantastic tools out there to help you manage your growing social profile – some free, some insanely affordable.

If you’re going to choose any tool, we’d recommend one that covers the most bases. And our tool pick in this category would most certainly have to be Hootsuite. From one interface, you can review, add, delete, manage, monitor, research and control virtually All the social media networks you will want to – or need to – be involved with.

Like many useful tools out there, it is free to sign up and get started with the tool, and its paid plans are well worth it due to the management tools, research and analytics you get.

Here are a few others to consider:
Tweetdeck
Post Planner
Buffer

Research tools

In this category, you are blessed with choice. There is, of course, the ubiquitous Google search and its incredible suite of tools. On the social side, each network as its own search features. We like Twitter search for its simplicity and ability to tap into what’s happening right now in our market niche.

When you are researching your opportunities, you will no doubt want to know if the sites you are looking at will yield any worthwhile results. Open Site Explorer allows you to check backlinks to the sites you are targeting, and gives you insights into further opportunities to pursue. Google AdWords Keyword Planner is another great tool, giving you statistics and insights into the kinds of topics your audience might be interested in.

Guest blogging specific

We’ve mentioned a couple of these before, but there are many tools out there that were built to help budding guest bloggers. Some will be a better fit for your business that others, but here are two that have good reputations and wide networks of both writers and sites seeking posts:

myblogguest
Blogguests.com

Tools for writing guest blogs

By far your most important tools will be your mind and your writing tool. Most sites that accept guest blog posts want you to submit your post in a specific format. This might be text-only, .Doc (Word) format, PDF, HTML or possibly through an online interface.

But before you submit your post, you have to write it.

Most of you will probably turn to Microsoft Office’s Word application, and it’s a good one. But it’s not the only one you can use. For instance, Apache’s OpenOffice platform is free, community supported and it opens and saves out files in .doc format.

If you’re online, you can use Google Drive and its word processor, which gives you the option of either sharing your doc directly with your guest blog, or downloading it in another format.

Managing it all

We keep mentioning this because in order to work smart, you need to organise yourself. We highly recommend you keep track of every opportunity and every guest blog post you put out there using a simple spreadsheet. Google Docs, Excel, OpenOffice…whatever suits you best.

As for monitoring your success with guest blogging…well, that’s another post altogether!

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