Guest post requests are probably up there as a blogger’s least favourite type of email to discover in their inbox, second only to receiving press releases that definitely weren’t signed up to.
Many bloggers will relate to those ambiguous, often pushy requests to share an article on their site, with no confirmation of what brand is being promoted or whether the subject matter is fitting to their niche. These pitches are often accompanied by vague assurances that the article will be ‘of excellent quality’ and ‘written in their style.’
It is this common nuisance that has likely contributed to the mainstream opinion that guest posting is disingenuous and spam-like behaviour that offers little quality to one’s content. But guest posting is a respected discipline in other areas of digital marketing and in this article we aim to dispel some myths about guest posting, and discuss how you might harness it as a tool for your blog.
Okay, the very basics. A guest post is a blog post or article written by an individual for another website or blog. Contrary to those spam pitches to ‘write in your style’, the written material is clearly marked as a guest post, is written from the personal perspective of the writer and features the credentials of the writer, including a link back to their website/social channels.
“Reach” is the metric for how many individuals see your content. This includes people that have seen your content on social networks, on your website or, the very subject of this article, on other websites. An effective way to increase your reach is quite simply to leverage someone else’s audience.
When publishing a blog post on your own blog, you would share it on your social media channels where your followers who already visit your site see the content promoted. This is known as ‘owned media’; publishing your content on the marketing channels that you have control over.
“Earned media” is when your content is posted to a marketing channel that you don’t have control over, usually through retweets, shares, links from individuals/businesses who have seen and like your content, or guest posts.
When your content is published to these channels, it puts you in front of a brand new audience. Providing your content has been published on to a relevant website or blog, this new audience will typically be similar to your own, but not the same group of people. It’s also likely you’ll gain new followers and readers as a result, increasing the size of your ‘owned’ audience.
Influencers, particularly in the last two or three years, have fought very hard to have their services taken seriously. As with any industry an individual should rightly be reimbursed for the hard work that they provide.
Building a loyal base of followers is a cornerstone of being a successful influencer, but it is a focus point which has been exploited by parties looking for free goods and services. As any influencer will know, opportunists will request free work in exchange for “exposure”, or the possibility to do paid work in the future.
But the concept of mutual benefit can be made to work for you in relation to guest posting; in the same way as gifting collaborations where items or experiences are mutually agreed to be of sufficient beneficial value. The same can be applicable in the right circumstances with guest posting, providing the other party can genuinely provide the type of exposure that benefits you.
Those spam emails asking to share content on your own blog may create a mindset that guest posting can only take place on your own turf.
Have you ever considered guest posting for another party? Thinking outside the box – it doesn’t necessarily have to be for a brand or large body, instead it could be for a fellow influencer. This platform is likely to be where exposure really does benefit you.
An example of where a guest post could work very effectively is by providing an article for an influencer that you already have a great relationship with. Perhaps you’re a fashion blogger and you write a guest blog post for another fashion blogger. It could be an article based on your friendship, for example picking out an outfit for them based on their personality.
Guest posts with other bloggers are a fantastic way to build relationships within a target audience, whilst writing honest and engaging content that links back to your blog. In return, the blogger hosting the post receives new and relevant content for readers that they can trust to be interesting and good quality.
Google determines (among other methods) how authoritative a website is by looking at the number and quality of websites that link to it. Guest posting can therefore improve the rating of your website in search engines; websites with numerous good quality links from other relevant sources will typically perform better in search engines, acquiring more natural traffic as a result.
More places publishing your content means more places linking to your blog. These inbound links are likely to send good quality traffic to your blog, providing you’ve picked websites in a similar niche to your own. Getting lots of website traffic from a variety of sources is a great way to attract new followers, partnerships and opportunities.