This is the seventh post in the Content Connections series.
You know how we feel about digital sharecropping — we’ve strongly cautioned you about not building your business on rented land.
So why do we also tell you that guest blogging is one of the most effective strategies to build your audience?
Odd though it may seem, it’s because providing smart, well-written content on someone else’s site is a great way to efficiently hit a number of audience-growing strategies at the same time.
It’s also robust: unlike certain other strategies, guest blogging will stay strong despite what Google or other titans may do.
And if you tackle it strategically, guest blogging drives traffic (and other benefits) back to your site and builds your audience.
For your consideration today, here are four ways that guest blogging can grow your audience … which means growing your business.
First: How to avoid digital sharecropping
Guest posting takes a lot of work, mental energy, and time. So it’s smart to think about how you can get the most bang for your buck. The more strategically you think when you’re planning out your guest blogging program, the more you’re going to get out of it.
You need to hold two things in your head at the same time — how this post will benefit the host blog, and how it’s going to benefit your own business.
There will be times when you write a guest post to get a single one of the benefits outlined below — maybe to strengthen a relationship with an important content publisher.
But as often as you can, try to include every benefit in this post.
Pro Tip: Before you write a post, make sure you’ll be able to include at least one relevant link to your own content in the body of the post, as well as an audience-friendly call to action in your bio.
1. Guest blogging enhances your authority
When you’re getting started with content marketing, you may be incredibly knowledgeable about your topic — but you have little authority, because no one knows you yet.
Placing posts on other blogs helps your potential audience start to associate your name with high-quality information. And a bit of the authority of your host blog will transfer itself to you.
The more readers see your work, the more authority you will generate. It’s a cumulative process, but one that can happen quickly if you have the ability to put a lot of work in over a short period.
Pro Tip: If your topic is so competitive that you’re having trouble placing guest posts, look for lateral opportunities with content publishers who have the audience you want.
2. Guest blogging brings in an audience, not just traffic
Anyone can buy traffic using pay-per-click or other forms of advertising. And that can be a good strategy. But what you’re buying is just that … traffic.
Traffic from a guest post, on the other hand, is already an audience. In other words, it’s already a group of people interested in your topic who are also intrigued by what you have to say.
You’ll still need to convert those visitors into a longer-term relationship, by using smart content marketing strategies. But with a guest post, you’ve already taken the first few steps in that process.
Pro Tip: In the bio for your post, send traffic to a landing page you set up just for readers of that blog. Use a strong, clear call to action and remember that the content there needs to benefit the reader.
You’ll be able to add, refresh, or update content to your page as your business evolves, without having to ask the host blog to update a link.
3. Guest blogging builds your publisher network
How do little content publishers grow up to become big content publishers?
They make connections. They develop a healthy network of publishers (large and small) who will help them get the word out.
A tweet or link from a big enough publisher (one with a passionate, responsive audience) can get you well on your way to the minimum viable audience that can support your business.
You probably won’t start out by writing for the biggest names in your topic. And you don’t need to. Most successful content producers build their networks by writing for sites with slightly bigger audiences than their own, then gradually working up to sites that have more and more readers.
Pro Tip: Writing one post for a blog is nice, but writing multiple times for the same blog will bring in much greater rewards. Create a relationship with the blogs you write for, and contribute as regularly as you can. Once a month is often a good rhythm.
4. Guest blogging is superb for natural SEO
Building high-quality links is one of the trickiest elements of effective SEO. Guest posting allows you to get a relevant, natural link, using the anchor text of your choice, on a site that has excellent search engine authority.
Just remember: as always with SEO copywriting, keep things natural and audience-friendly. Write for the readers first, and search engines a distant second.
Pro Tip: Don’t stuff your guest posts with links back to your own material. One or two highly relevant links will do you more good. Include a few links to your host blog’s cornerstone content in your post as well.
OK, so how do I do it?
It’s one thing to know you want to place some guest posts … and another thing to actually place them.
Because guest blogging is such an important strategy, we’ve written about it often here on Copyblogger. I’ve also included some resources on other sites that will help you write great content and get it placed on high-quality sites.
- 7 Crucial Tactics to Writing a Successful Guest Post by the Blog Tyrant
- What I Learned from Writing 42 Guest Posts in 7 Weeks by Josh Hanagarne
- 10 Proven Steps to Snag a Guest Post on an A-List Blog by Jordan Cooper
- 7 Mistakes that Lead to Guest Post Failure by Andrew Nattan
- How to Get Your Guest Posts Accepted Every Time by Ali Luke on ProBlogger
- Why I Quit Blogging, and What to Do if You’re Struggling by Jon Morrow on GuestBlogging.com
- Jon Morrow’s Guest Blogging course (recommended)
This is part seven of the Content Connections series
This post is part of a series on making connections with other web publishers — the kinds of connections that will serve your business.
It’s the other half of content marketing — what happens after you’ve created something worth reading.
You can read the first six posts here:
- What Michael Phelps’ 19th Olympic Medal can Teach You About Smarter Online Marketing
- Score More Traffic, Subscribers, and Buyers by Discovering Your Second Customer
- How to Win a Zero-Sum Game: What to Do if Competitors Won’t Link to You
- The Granola-Munching Hippie’s Guide to All-Natural SEO
- A 10-Point Plan for Connecting with Online Influencers
- Need More Links and Social Shares? Try Making More Enemies