Now that everyone is on board the guest blogging bandwagon, its time to share some insights on best practices, and set the record straight on how best to approach guest blogging for maximum impact.
In the process of providing outsourced guest blogging services to businesses and marketers I’ve had a lot of time to observe the strategies and tactics used by hundreds of clients around the world. Rather than using guest blogging as a way to legitimately earn links, grow their audiences and generate direct referral traffic, most are attempting to utilize guest blogging as a brute force link building tactic.
I use a consultative selling process when talking to prospective clients. This means I listen to their needs and provide an honest assessment of whether and how we can fulfill those needs. Typically clients are inclined to pump out articles at high volume with the goal of landing single guest posts on as many blogs as possible. They’re pursuing guest blogging as a means of simply increasing the number of inbound links they get from unique, authoritative domains – as if this is the only thing that matters. This approach is severely flawed.
Its Not In Your Own Best Interest
First, the sort of blogs you want to pursue are real blogs with real readers. Not just blogs with an attractive Pagerank. As a guest blogger, your goal should be to build trust and brand loyalty by sharing cutting edge industry insights with an audience of readers whose demographics match one or several of your customer segments. This is as opposed to trying to offer a single article to as many blogs as possible without first establishing any sort of relationship with the bloggers. This type of ‘hit it and quit it’ approach rarely works out well for the SEOs because it delivers nothing of value to publishers.
Publishers Get No Value From a One Off Guest Post
Unlike advertising, ethical guest blogging does not involve the exchange of money between marketers and publishers. So, in order to provide something of value to publishers, the best approach is to become a regular contributor on the sort of blogs that cater to your target demographic. This way the publisher gets a steady stream of thoughtful, well written articles in exchange for providing you, the marketer, with the opportunity to communicate with the publisher’s audience. As in any relationship, guest blogging works best when all parties come out ahead.
Why Guest Blogging is Like Dating
In many ways guest blogging is like dating. If a man has his sights set on the beautiful woman at a cocktail party, would he have better odds of winning her affections by asking her to go home with him right then and there? Or would he be better served by acting like a gentleman and get better acquainted with her first? When it comes to men and women, sometimes our desires are at odds. And so it is with guest blogging. SEOs often behave like horny, selfish guys with absolutely no game at all. Publishers, like beautiful women, need to be courted.
Conversely, if the woman at the cocktail party said “yes” and agreed to go home with him right away, he’d probably wonder how often she goes home with men she hardly knows. Similarly, if a publisher is willing to accept any and every article sent to it, its probably not the sort of blog you want to be affiliated with. It could hurt the reputation and credibility you’re trying so hard to build.
Its important to place yourself in the shoes of the publishers you’re targeting. When you understand their motivations, its easier to offer something that they value. Publishers are in the business of generating ad revenue. The more page views they generate by serving up quality content to real, human readers, the more they make. For this reason, a single guest article is highly unlikely to generate enough page views to matter in the slightest. A study on advertising revenues in the online publishing industry revealed that even The Huffington Post only generates something like $2.36 in ad revenue from a typical blog post. This is why many of the most respected and successful publishers rely upon a steady stream of high quality articles from a variety of industry thought leaders.
The next time you want to offer a single guest post with a made up pen name to an authoritative blog, ask yourself why on Earth they’d want a random article from a random marketer when they already have an army of regular contributors posting several articles per day on their blogs. Remember, your goal is to become one of those valued contributors. This will work out better for you as well as for the publisher.
Dan Ripoll is co-founder and CEO of Guest Blog Genius, an outsourced guest blogging service that helps turn marketers into valued contributors on relevant blogs in their industry niche.