Guest blogging is dead... isn't it?
Some of the industry's most notable figures certainly think it is, and in fairness, they have a point... but it's not as cut and dry as many people believe.
The benefits of guest blogging
Here are a few highlights from the many benefits of guest blogging:
- Building your network: When you get a respected individual in your industry to guest blog for you, you're building your network in two ways. First, you've formed a connection to that person... but you've also formed a connection to other people who listen to them and want to know what they have to say.
- Improving your SEO: Guest bloggers with a powerful web presence (and yes, search engines like Google check who wrote the blog) are more valuable because they have a certain degree of authority. If their name is associated with high-quality, valuable content, then search engines tend to assume that new content from them is also valuable. As such, even a single post from a guest blogger can help improve your results.
However, this also means that guest bloggers need to have solid reputations that you can benefit from - so you can't ask just anybody to do a guest blog for you, nor should you accept every offer to host your content. Don't be afraid to say "no" if somebody isn't notable enough.
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- Original content: Guest bloggers often have new perspectives, expert insights, and a refreshing tone for your blog. This is great for your readers, who will often benefit from a discussion involving another set of ideas and experiences. Of course, this is where many companies stumble. The key here is that guest bloggers also need to write about topics that excite your audience. If they aren't catching people's attention, then you shouldn't be posting them.
- A good way of getting original content is asking for guest commentary on recent events in your industry. For example, if new legislation is passed that affects your industry, you could ask a lawyer to blog about what the new laws mean for your customers. You get expert insight on what's going on, and they get visibility as an expert on the legal aspect of your field.
- The ideal guest-blogger is a semi-regular contributor. Many guest bloggers just post one article and move on - and that's not ideal. Regular contributors effectively become a second 'voice' for your blog, offering a different point of view and some added insights for your audience.
Why many companies fail at guest blogging
The big problem with many guest blogs is spam. Many of these people are what we sometimes call "link-juicers" - they try to squeeze out value and improve their place in Google's PageRank system without putting in the effort to earn those links.
There are also times when guest bloggers don't really fit your
blog's voice or topic, and tend to be focused on a different audience than the people you're writing for. This is frequently the case with unsolicited offers - for example, people who offer to host your content (for a fee!) and share it with their existing audience on a popular site like Forbes.
Don't fall for these kinds of tricks. You can end up spending a lot of money and have very little to show for it by the end; especially from bloggers who make a habit of posting links that aren't particularly relevant to their audience. After all, the fact that somebody is on a popular site doesn't necessarily mean their content is popular and getting read.
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That's not to say that allowing others to host your blog posts is universally bad - it isn't. However, you should always investigate their audience and make sure your content is a good fit before agreeing to let them host it.
Some companies will also try to cheat the system or jump ahead by spamming links on other sites - search engines like Google are very good at detecting such tricks and punishing those who try them.
A Simple Principle for Guest Blogging Success
All of this comes down to a simple principle: pick your guests carefully and guest blogging can be a powerful tool.
Keep your focus on creating high-quality content that's actually worth linking to, and you will absolutely reap the benefits of guest blogging!
Thanks for stopping by,