This guest post is by Mathew Carpenter of Sofa Moolah.
I’m an avid blog reader. My Google Reader is packed with hundreds of different blogs, each one covering a subject that I may or may not be directly involved in. There’s the work and marketing category, the finance blogs, and then the blogs that deal with subjects I really don’t know anything about, nor do I have any interaction with in my work or personal life.
Every time I scan over these blogs, I’m reminded of how I came into contact with them in the first place. It wasn’t through search, or even social media. It was because the authors of these blogs—ones that I would never have found on my own—went out of their way to pen a guest post for another blog I followed.
There’s a slight stigma attached to guest posting, at least in the field I work in. When most people see a guest post their immediate reaction turns to working out what the writer is promoting. Sure, it’s not entirely commercial—most guest posts have great content and an interesting take that you might never otherwise see—but the assumption that guest posts are commercially motivated is a pretty tough one to shake.
Part of the reason for it is that throughout the last few years, or at least up until the most recent line or Google search shake-ups, posting on other blogs was a great way to provide link diversity for your website. It was the solution of choice for SEOs and bloggers alike, with both eyeing up blogs not as sources of information or worthwhile outlets, but as link resources waiting to be exploited.
Today, I’m going to look at a different side of guest posting, one that’s completely unrelated to search engine benefits or PageRank juice. Today, we’re going to look at the brand and reputation that can be created through smart guest blogging. From building an audience for your own blog to increasing awareness of your product, here’s why you should guest blog for reputation alone.
1.Fresh faces often become the best readers.
Amongst bloggers, there’s a belief that the longer someone continues to read your website, the more they’re worth, at least from a purely business standpoint. The idea is that by building trust with your readers, they become more likely to view your future projects as a serious possibility.
For some bloggers, this could mean more ebooks sold, more opt-in leads generated, or a greater amount of referred readers. But amongst experts in online advertising, the opposite belief is true. Online ad experts value fresh visitors significantly higher than they do returners, largely because they’re more responsive to new content, and more likely to be interested in advertising.
You don’t need to sell advertising space on your blog, nor do you need to have something to sell in order to understand the value here. Fresh faces may not have a deep level of trust with you, but they have a newness to them that can often lead to valuable action. From selling products to converting a clickthrough reader to a subscriber, gaining fresh readers from guest posting really does work.
2. Guest posting improves your search visibility.
In the earlier days of search engine optimization, bloggers desperately sought out other high-traffic blogs in order to gain link juice from their websites. The assumption was that by linking to their own websites from a more influential source, they would gain approval from Google, in turn increasing their own website’s search visibility.
That may still be true, but the benefit of guest posting appears to be decreasing somewhat over time, particularly as content farms and other search exploiters milk the strategy. However, the real strength of guest posting isn’t just its ability to increase your website’s search visibility, but your own.
When you have an archive of guest posts, perhaps five published on five different blogs, a search for your name reveals multiple angles of your online publishing, multiple resources that a reader can learn about you from, and an entire results page of content. That’s definitely worth more than a single, solitary result for your own website in the first position.
3. Purely business? Take an opportunity to share your interests.
One of the blogs I find myself reading most often, and one that I’ve gained a lot of information from, is Tim Ferriss’ blog. Equal parts business blog, travel guidebook, and sports nutrition cheat sheet, it’s an eclectic mix of different subjects joined to create a very popular, very acclaimed blog.
But what makes it so great isn’t necessarily the mix of styles, nor the quality of the content, but the fact that despite technically being one man’s blog, it’s been opened up to a range of high quality, no-nonsense guest posters. For every post by Tim there’s generally another from a guest poster, often one with little to do with the previous post.
It’s tempting to be purely business online, often in an attempt to promote the suit-and-tie image that so many people think is essential in a “professional” role. But online readers aren’t interested in just the business side of you. Every successful business blog I can point to has used guest posts and an assortment of other smart techniques to be just as much personal content as it is pure business.
4. Great guest posts can quickly open doors.
I’ve noticed that many bloggers have started offering consultancy services, often with a portfolio or order page linked to in the sidebar of their own blogs. It’s a great idea, and one that can produce a useful form of income for full-time bloggers and professionals alike. But why stop at using your blog as a promotional outlet? Why not indirectly advertise your services using another blog?
I’m not suggesting you take over someone else’s blog with a purely promotional post, nor am I suggesting that you buy advertising space on other blogs. What I am suggesting is that you view each guest post as an opportunity to extend your brand onto other people, and as a change to add another knot into your online net. Even a non-promotional post can work wonders when it comes to helping other readers remember both you, your blog, and your services.
5. It can take several encounters for a reader to start listening to you.
It’s always disheartening to see a great blog that’s been given about a week’s worth of attention. It’s not an uncommon sight online – blogs that have received a week of consistent content are left to die by their authors. The reason? They didn’t receive the “instant hit” status that far too many bloggers expect to experience.
There’s an old ad industry saying, that it takes anywhere from six to ten impressions for any single advertisement to have an effect on you. If your first guest post doesn’t hit home, relax. It’s the first of many chances to capture the reader’s attention. Write consistent content, not just for your blog, but for others too, and eventually you will build an audience that’s interested in listening to you.
6. Yes, there are SEO benefits to writing guest blog posts.
While guest posts, published articles, and other content-driven SEO strategies may have lost a little bit of their search influence in recent months, they’re still an effective strategy for driving your blog or website up the search results. However, there’s a catch—one that may not have been around in the earlier days of search engine optimization.
Instead of posting your articles anywhere and everywhere, it’s now more important than ever for you to pick outlets that are authoritative, reliable, and trusted by Google. Aim for blogs with high quality audiences. Not only will these produce the best search-related benefits, they’ll also bring in significantly better short-term results from your post’s readers.
7. Guest posting builds long-term online connections.
If there’s one true benefit of guest posting, it’s this. While guest posting is great for getting a leg-up in the search engines, boosting traffic, and expanding your online influence, it has one benefit that outweighs all of its others: the connections it can create with other bloggers, online publishers, and influential people.
Not all bloggers are based in their bedrooms. Many have offices, businesses, and connections with very important people. Guest posting opens this world up to you, at least in the small slice you can gain by interacting with other bloggers. It also opens up long-term terms connections, ones that are capable of producing guest posts on your blog, and a publishing network that’s second to none.
ProBlogger’s own guide to guest posting may be a year old, but it’s every bit as relevant today as it was when it came out. Read this to get your guest posts polished, professional, and reader-friendly.
Copyblogger shares ten simple tips for getting “in” with A-list bloggers and networking your way to great guest posting opportunities.
My Blog Guest is a great way to network with other bloggers and find guest posting opportunities.
Have you written a guest post recently? Did it boost your reputation? I’d love to hear how it went in the comments.
Mathew Carpenter is an 18-year-old-business owner and entrepreneur from Sydney, Australia. Mathew is currently working on Sofa Moolah, a website that teaches you how to make money online. Follow Mathew on Twitter: @matcarpenter. Follow Sofa Moolah on Twitter: @sofamoolah.