With all the "offers" to guest blog, one has to wonder... does guest blogging have any real value to a writer or a business these days? Does it lead to the good stuff, like generating new opportunities, or is it just a lot of work for questionable gain? Is there any SEO benefit – either in terms of creating backlinks or giving your valuable content to someone else to publish?
These are questions with several possible answers. I know, because I find myself talking about the pros and cons of guest blogging with prospects and clients pretty regularly. Some are quite excited by the prospect of submitting blogs to other websites (self-syndication); others shun the practice.
Mostly, they just want to find the answer to the one question that drives almost all marketing messaging: what’s in it for me?
From my perspective, there are reasons to submit guest posts that are all about business, along with a few that are personal. Today, I want to share a few of my own insights on the topic.
If you’re wondering whether it’s worth your time to share your articles with others or not, here are a few things I invite you to consider…
Guest Blogging Can Be a Great Way to Connect With a New Audience
Suppose you have a fantastic idea that could help your customers, but don’t have enough of a following on your own blog or in social to make an impact. [This guest post by Ann Smarty has generated a lot of engagement for our site and is an excellent example of considered guest blogging.]
In that case, sending your idea to be published elsewhere might be your best (or even only) chance to get the word out. You’ll still get the credit, and an author bio, in addition to a bigger base of readers. To get to those payoffs, though, you need a blog post that builds your credibility with them.
You also need to have a very good idea of what kinds of readers you want in your audience, and some knowledge about where they spend their time online. Nail those details down, and guest blogging can be a great way to raise your profile and even generate new leads.
Your Guest Blog Doesn’t Have to Be All about You or Your Business
Although most marketers are likely to write guest posts because they want buyers or colleagues to take notice, there are non-business-related reasons to submit guest blog posts. For instance, you might write and share an article simply because you want to support a friend or contact who is launching their own venture.
This could be the reverse of the situation I outlined in the first point – that is, you’re letting someone else share their ideas with your audience because you have a good relationship or respect their insights – and you feel what they have to say will be well received by your subscribers.
You Definitely Shouldn’t Submit Blog Posts to Get Links
At this point, I have to take a moment to clear up a big misconception. Contrary to what a lot of business owners and search engine optimization consultants think, submitting guest articles to any site or publication is unlikely to improve your visibility on Google unless it's a really good site. There was a time when this was an accepted link-building strategy (spawning a damaging content mill industry), but recent algorithm changes have put a stop to all of that.
The bottom line is that you should be guest blogging for the exposure and opportunity to build relationships. Don’t waste your time chasing back-links, because they aren’t going to do much to help you.
The Way You Offer (and Accept) Guest Blogs Is Important
Having pointed out two good reasons why you might consider submitting guest posts, and one reason that is highly overrated, let’s look at how you submit guest posts.
Ideally, you would build a relationship with a blogger BEFORE you reach out and let them know what you have to share, while making it clear you’ve got or will write content that resonates with their audience. This is an area where transparency and knowledge of the audience will pay the biggest dividends.
Remember that the goal is to form strategic relationships. You’re not looking to create a one-time post, but a situation in which you can periodically submit new thoughts to be pushed.
That’s right: you should plan on doing more than one guest post. Just as you can’t build a lasting relationship over one day, neither can you establish an audience, name recognition, or reader trust from a single post.
Take the time to get to know the websites and publications you are targeting, and then work to gain the attention of owners, editors, and readers. It might take a while, but the effort is worth it.
Is it Time to Start Guest Posting?
On the balance, I think there are a lot of positive things that can come from a well-written post that’s sent anywhere the right audience can see it. That’s especially true when you’re just starting out and readers might not be familiar with your name, face, or brand. By sharing your ideas with a wider audience, you can cast a wider net, gain confidence in your own voice, and potentially meet others who will read your material in the future.
My perspective is that guest blogging works, but only if you do it the right way, and with the right intentions. Start by organizing your assets and getting to know your audience.