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This post was provided by Helen Nesterenko, Founder and CEO of Writtent.com.
Guest blogging has had a rocky road over these last several months. The pundit-sphere was buzzing about the purported demise of guest blogging. This has been prompted by some seriously unsavory practices that remind this writer of bad old days gone by. Those readers old enough to remember radio may recall that in the era BCP (Before Cell Phones), radio disc jockeys sometimes received ‘payola’ – money under the table – in return for featuring one song single or another (that was on vinyl records, a medium that smacks of the Jurassic for most younger readers). The situation with regard to guest blogging today is very similar. Website hosts accept payment in return for featuring a guest blogger, giving them the opportunity to link to their own business webpage. The resulting content often reads more like an advertisement than a legitimate article. Such material loses credibility, and casts an unfavorable light on both the guest blogger and the host site. Thanks to this spam-spinning of some online content producers, the rest of us now have to worry about whether guest blogging is going to be interpreted as slimy and underhanded.
This is really too bad. Guest blogging at its best is simply the sharing of content between bloggers. It happens by invitation, rather than merely in the form of comments, and is accompanied by appropriate attribution and credit, of course. It is still a great idea for expanding the reach and effectiveness of a blog page. It injects variety and new perspectives, while suggesting a broader applicability. It can and should still be a tool in the kit of any online business or website manager for informing the universe of potential readers/users/customers. Let’s look at why guest blogging has such potential, here below, and consider some ways to work around this recent challenge to guest blogging’s credibility.
It should be clear why you would want to do guest blogging. Of course, you want your name and your message to be seen in as many places and by as many pairs of potential customer eyes as you can manage. When you are able to publish an article on an outside online resource of whatever description, you are laying down the groundwork for your future relationship with all the readers and contacts of that site or page. This process is like a snowball going downhill and accumulating more and more snow on the way down. If you create a good base through the readability and usefulness of your initial posts, you can develop some traction with that audience, meaning that you are routinely holding onto their attention for more than a nanosecond. You are thus creating a slightly different experience for that audience from the one that they have come to expect from whatever online resource is hosting your guest post. This, after all, is a major element in the motivation for the host of an outside web resource to invite you in as a guest blogger. The augmented experience your content provides solidifies your business or message as a brand. Appearing elsewhere than in your own accustomed niche, in the role of an expert sharing your experience and best practices, adds credibility to your brand and to whatever you do for your customers and readers.
If your content impels people to take action, then you will be likely to motivate them to follow you and read your advice or insights in the future. They will be more likely to click over to your own website to see what else you might have to say. While there, they may be more likely to check out what you have on offer. They might even be moved to buy what are selling, whether a product, a service, or an idea or cause that you support. They may have never heard of you previously, but now, having read your content, they feel they want to know you better. They can follow the convenient links you include in your guest post, rummage around on your webpage, and be inspired the good sense you demonstrate. They may purchase, or donate, or like, or take whatever action you are trying to encourage. In short, guest blogging may become a productive source of traffic.
In the process of pitching, publishing and sharing a post you will have plenty of opportunities to build closer ties with the staff of the host website. Although these may start out as mere perfunctory interactions, they open the way to social pleasantries and cooperation. You can, for example, feel out the host website staff about how they come up with future topics. If they seem open to suggestions, you can offer a few ideas, making clear that you are not trying to take their job from them. Such mutually beneficial relationships can become fine sources of recommendations for other guest posts, or even other blogging gigs, and partnerships of all sorts.
Guest blogging is fundamentally a sound strategy for expanding the reach and scope of a blog site. This is in spite of the recent nasty practice of some – only some – blog hosts to sell their sites to any and every other blogger for a price. It is also in spite of the equally nasty practice of some bloggers to shovel their thinly disguised ad copy into any site on which they can get permission to post guest content. You can take the high ground and help preserve this useful technique for keeping blogging fresh.