What’s your impression of guest blogging? Do you have your doubts regarding the possible results and effectiveness of guest blogging compared to other online marketing methods you’re using on a daily basis?
If that’s anywhere from “strong yes” to “partly yes” then this post is for you.
I’m going to list some common problems with guest blogging in relation to what benefits it can bring to your business, and also how to use guest blogging up to its full potential as a marketing method.
Each point (each reason) on the list comes with a short description and my take on what to do in order to potentially get the highest return on your investment.
The no. 1 reason of them all – guest blogging is rather difficult
This is something I mentioned briefly in one of the previous posts here, but basically if we were to rank the most popular online marketing methods out there from the most straightforward to the most complex, guest blogging would be somewhere in the middle.
On one hand, it’s not painfully difficult to grasp, but on the other it’s also not as easy as pressing a “launch” button and forgetting about the whole thing.
Guest blogging, when done right, requires a significant amount of effort to plan out your campaign, pick the right sites based on their audience, pick the right topics, figure out how you’re going to relate them back to your own site and the things you have in store, and finally executing it all (nearly) flawlessly through good writing and storytelling.
In short, guest blogging requires resources. So if you don’t have time then you better have money to invest. Otherwise it’s advised to wait a while until you build up the right budget to launch a truly tailor made campaign.
It’s based on building relationships rather than broadcasting
Unlike other more traditional online marketing methods, guest blogging can’t be done at a huge scale. If you’re handling your guest blogging yourself or working with a single freelance blogger, you/they can only create so much quality posts per month. And since one post can only be published on a single site, your reach is limited.
That’s one of the reasons why building relationships with blog editors is so crucial. Having some insider knowledge and access to other perks can help you get your post accepted just in time for your launch, get your message across effectively and even strike a unique long term partnership with the blog.
In the end, to make guest blogging a worthwhile effort, we need to find a good replacement for the possibility to broadcast our campaigns. And that replacement needs to be something of similar value. Having good relationships with some of the most popular sites in our niches certainly can be that something.
It has bad rep because of Google
Like I mentioned here several months ago, Google is not particularly fond of some kinds of guest blogging. More precisely, they hate guest blogging done for SEO. So since SEO is off the table, many online businesses have decided that guest blogging is not worth their effort altogether.
On the contrary, there still are many reasons to guest blog and many benefits it can bring you. Those benefits have very little to do with Google and they are in no way dependent on Google. What this means is that whether Google ends up loving or hating guest blogging as a whole, those benefits are likely to stay regardless.
This brings me to the next reason…
There’s way too many spammy services out there
Literally every day, I get at least a handful of emails where someone is pitching a guest blogging SEO service to me. They promise to deliver great results that will get my site to the no. 1 spot on Google.
Of course, those are very unlikely to deliver in the long run, and even though I’ve never tried any of those services myself, I imagine that they are based on giving you a large number of low quality links right up front.
Those links will bump your SEO position in the short term, long enough for the shady guest blogger to collect their payment. However, soon after that Google will figure things out and penalize you for trying to trick them.
Not to get too deep into this here, let’s just say that the presence of those services has a very negative impact on the guest blogging market as a whole for the rest of us.
So here’s a handy guideline (in a nutshell); if someone promises you any too-good-to-be-true SEO results from guest blogging, run!
It’s difficult to pick the right goal
Like with most marketing methods, we can choose a range of different goals for guest blogging too. However, some of them will be a lot harder to achieve than others.
For instance, getting direct sales from guest posts is somewhat possible, but it’s a lot less possible than getting email list subscribers or leads.
In fact, one of the most vocal online marketers out there – Jon Morrow – names email subscriptions to be the only viable goal for guest blogging.
The problem with trying to get direct sales from guest posts is that asking for a sale requires a serious mindset change from the reader. In short, when someone is in the middle of consuming a post, they’re in the mindset of “receive.” But if the author of the post suddenly starts asking for money, it forces the reader to switch to the mindset of “shopping.”
When asking for email subscriptions, on the other hand, the transition is much softer and it doesn’t require as big of an investment as with asking for a standard sale. Most importantly, no money is involved.
Results can vary greatly based on the site where you’re posting
Picking the right blogs is where the guest blogging game is won or lost. Of course, there are other elements too (like coming up with a topic that resonates with the audience, having a good call to action, and so on), but selecting the right blogs is the first and the most important step.
In simple terms, if you select the wrong sites, nothing will save you later on, and your results will still be few and far between.
Therefore, many business owners get the impression that guest blogging can’t deliver results purely because the sites where they posted gave them no results. This is somewhat like saying that dieting and eating healthy in general brings no results purely because one diet hasn’t worked for you.
As you can see, there’s a lot of elements to a good guest blogging campaign, and most of the time this can’t be done with one day’s worth of work. That being said, guest blogging is still an excellent way to spread the word about your business and get you some fresh new leads.