Writing a perfect blog post is not always the easiest task. After deciding on a topic that fits into your overarching content strategy, choosing the most effective keywords and researching the subject matter itself, you have to sit down and WRITE the thing.
But, once you’re finished, you’ll have a perfectly crafted article that’s a key piece in your content marketing strategy. It’s like running a 5K — you don’t always appreciate it while you’re in the middle of the race, but you’re always (well, usually) happy that you did it.
After all that work, though, the idea of handing your post off to another site to publish instead of sharing it on your own doesn’t exactly sound too thrilling. All that hard work! All that link juice! However, publishing unique content on an external site — aka guest blogging — is a key component to any content marketing strategy that can generate high-value results while gaining traffic and, ultimately, generating leads.
This guide will explain why guest blogging is so effective, give examples of different techniques and types of guest posts and answer a few questions you might have on the method itself.
The Benefits of Guest Blogging
Before you start brainstorming topics to pitch to different websites, you should first determine what you want to accomplish. Do you want to reach a new type of audience? Or maybe you’re looking to humanize your brand or, on the other hand, give your company a bit more clout.
Regardless of WHY you want to incorporate guest blogging, it’s important to set those goals and KPIs to track your progress.
So, to give you some goal-setting inspiration, here’s a list of different reasons why a guest blogging campaign will benefit your marketing plans.
1. Diversify your audience to boost traffic
Guest posting on high-quality websites is an effective inbound marketing technique. While organic and social media traffic should be a large focus in your audience acquisition plan, referral traffic is just as important.
The example below shows how this author is promoting a digital agency. The article fits into Convince & Convert’s editorial topics, but it also provides insight that is specific to the guest blogger themselves.
Source: Convince & Convert
Along with the increased traffic the agency will receive from this backlink, they’ll also get the added benefit of all the social media engagement that Convince & Convert garners for each post.
2. Improve your SEO rankings
In addition to increased engagement, guest blogging will also help benefit your SEO. By building a solid library of relevant backlinks to targeted keywords, you should see an improvement in rankings, a higher PageRank score and a stronger domain authority.
Google’s own Matt Cutts said guest blogging was dead! If Google is against it, then wouldn’t it actually be harmful to your SEO?
Yes and no.
YES, guest blogging would be harmful to your SEO if your strategy mimicked the habits of marketing teams from 10+ years ago. (Think keyword stuffing, shotgunning non-relevant articles to a host of shady-looking websites, paying for links, etc.)
NO, guest blogging is not considered harmful if you do it in a way that provides genuine value to the reader. It’s a tactic that many high-authority websites use in their inbound marketing strategies. As long as you remember the tenets of creating quality content, you will not be penalized.
3. Establish your brand as an authority in your field
As with all content writing, your main focus should be on providing your audience with genuine, helpful information. When you publish this form of off-site thought leadership on another high-authority website, you’re signaling two things to the readers:
- You’re trusted by the website you’re guest posting on
- You can be considered as a resource for the industry you’ve written about
When an already established thought leader vouches for you, you become trustworthy by association. In the example below, this technical SEO blog posted an article by an author who is promoting an SEO platform:
Be careful not to get too crazy with this opportunity, though. Sixty-nine percent of blog editors say guest content is too promotional, so don’t use this to post a free advertisement for your products and services. Only provide articles to websites that you’d feel good about publishing on your own.
For example, the writer of this incredibly informative post only includes one link back to her site, and it’s in the author bio at the bottom of the page.
4. Talk about topics you don’t cover on your own blog
Once you’ve established a brand voice and style for your own content, it’s important to stay consistent in your communication. However, that might limit the type of posts you choose to publish on your site.
Guest blogging allows you to step out of your zone a little and experiment with different types of writing. Here are some examples of topics that might be out of the norm for most informational blogs:
- Providing a first-person opinion piece on industry news
- Detailing behind-the-scenes events or activities of your marketing team’s efforts
- Giving insight as to WHY your company decided on a certain strategy
- Sharing non-industry-related articles about your company, such as company culture or other departmental activities
5. Strengthen your industry relationships
Even in the B2B world, having connections within the industry is important.
The more you strengthen your relationship with different editors, the more opportunities you’ll have to post your articles on their pages, get shared on their social media or speak at their conferences.
We all know that content marketing, and especially SEO, is a long game. Most likely, one guest post will not move the needle on your rankings and traffic. It takes time, work and multiple articles across a variety of sites to see improvement. The stronger the industry relationships you build, the easier it will be to keep your strategy cruising.
How to Start Guest Blogging
Starting a guest blogging strategy from scratch takes a bit of prep work, but when you have your processes in place, it can be an easy channel to maintain. Here are the basic steps to start guest posting:
- Determine which keywords you want to target or if this is a general brand awareness campaign
- Research relevant, high-quality websites
- Begin outreach to site editors
- Write the article and submit it to the site, being sure to follow their editorial guidelines
- Craft your author bio, including a link back to yourself
- Once the article is published, share on your own social media and blog
- Measure your success
Is Guest Blogging Duplicate Content?
For those of us who have been in the marketing world for a while, the idea of Google finding duplicate content with your digital fingerprints all over it is a terrifying thought. However, over the years we’ve learned that reposted content isn’t necessarily a SERP death sentence.
So, is it okay to repost an article of yours on Medium? Or could you post an article shared on a different blog to your site?
Google’s algorithm is programmed to identify the original source of content and, as long there are no indications of deliberate and malicious intent (such as plagiarism), you shouldn’t be penalized.
Here’s an example of when we reposted content on our blog. Our president Scott Severson contributed an article to Forbes about his thoughts on “content blindness,” a trend in the content marketing industry. While we knew that the incoming traffic from Forbes would be beneficial, we also wanted readers and subscribers of our blog to directly see the post as well.
Above is the Forbes article and here is a link to our reposted version. At the bottom, we included a disclaimer letting readers (and Google) know that this is reposted content. Including this disclosure signals to Google’s site-crawlers that this is not a malicious attempt to game the system and that it’s not plagiarism.
Hosting Guest Blogs on Your Site
As beneficial as it is to write for another company’s blog, it can be just as important to host guest blogs on your site. A few reasons include:
- SEO benefits from including relevant, high-quality links to an industry leader
- The author will most likely share the post on their social media channels, tagging you and including your link
- You’ll be able to provide different points-of-view and industry experiences on your blog
- The turnaround time on the post going live will be shorter since your team doesn’t need to write it
- Further strengthen industry relationships
The guest posts we host on our blog, like the one above, are styled to look like a native post. We create the imagery to match our style guidelines and the post itself is structured to look like an article we’ve authored ourselves.
The Future of Guest Blogging
Hopefully this blog has inspired you to spread your wings and start pitching out your writing to other sites. As guest blogging as a tactic has changed (for the better!) over the last 10 years, we expect the strategy to keep evolving. With video, podcasting and other forms of live content becoming more and more prevalent, serving as a guest across these channels only makes sense.
If you’re interested in submitting your work to be posted on our blog, feel free to contact us! We’d love to hear what you have to say.