Guess what? Guest posting is not dead. In fact, it has enough life left in it to spur some controversy in the digital marketing world. Matt Cutts of Google, for example, declared, “So stick a fork in it: guest posting is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.” While Matt is certainly an authority in the SEO space, I believe that guest blogging isn’t quite gone for good. Instead, it has evolved into a part of modern content marketing strategy and the premise behind it remains the same - to reach new audiences by authoring relevant content that is published on a website other than your own. While guest posting in mass quantities with poor quality content is a practice that should be dead, that was not the original intent behind guest posting. If you are a purist, like myself, the focus is (and always should be) on putting out great content that is relevant and interesting to the audience you are trying to reach, so they are inspired to read, follow, and even share your work.
The digital marketing community unanimously agrees that content marketing should be a very important part of any marketing strategy, and blogging (both on your company blog as well as on others) can have a big pay off. In fact, B2B marketers that use blogs have been found to get 67% more leads than those that do not.
So, why is guest posting so important?
1. Website Traffic
When done correctly, a great piece of content can generate more click-throughs to your website, helping you gain exposure to a new audience within your target market. Getting your content placed on websites with high traffic and loyal followers are going to boost your chances of gaining much of the same for your site.
There a lot of hidden gems in a well-established audience of a popular blog. You can find influencers, leads, customers and brand ambassadors. Just imagine an influencer finding something of interest and choosing to share your message to their wide reach of fans and followers. It can take years to possibly capture the attention of influencers if you are always in the asking position. Influencers typically receive thousands of emails a day asking for their attention. One great article on the right site at the right time, however, creates the opportunity for them to share your content directly, without having to ask.
According to a Tomoson study, marketers rated influencer outreach as "the fastest-growing online customer acquisition channel, beating organic search, paid search, and email marketing.”
2. Brand Exposure
Getting known by new audiences within your target market is important. Consistently publishing on well-known sites will help with brand recognition. In the world of marketing, it has been said that it takes an average prospect seven times to see a brand message before they make a buying decision. So, the more your get your brand out there the better the chances are that you'll be remembered.
72% of marketers think that branded content is more effective than magazine advertisements, 69% say it’s superior to direct mail and PR.
What better way to be a thought leader in your industry than by getting out in front of the right people where they search for information online. Today’s consumer wants to know more about a product before they buy, and they are more likely to trust someone with the answers. Thought leadership, and getting placed on sites with industry and search engine authority, is a new marketing practice that can work even better than referral traffic.
80% of consumers said "authenticity of content" is the most influential factor in their decision to become a follower of a brand.
A great article isn’t worth anything if people aren’t reading it. For sites that are just getting started, or are struggling to get noticed, guest posting can be key to getting the attention of the right audience.
4. SEO Performance
That’s right! Guest posting still has an SEO benefit. Don’t give up on this strategy to help with your site’s ranking power. Backlinks, (incoming hyperlinks from one web page to another website), still count, they are just under a magnifying glass today. In the beginning, backlinks were once considered as votes cast about your website’s popularity. As early as even five years ago these votes were what helped Google determine which sites should rank highest in search results. Today, backlinks are still considered votes, but now they only count if they come from a site of value - not just any site willing to post your content. The rules have changed, but the theory remains the same - guest posting will build your brand's credibility and strengthen your online presence.
5. Lead Generation
Who doesn’t want more leads? Posting on other websites is a great way to gain a bigger following on your own social media accounts, increase email subscribers, and add leads to your pipeline. Since most blogs that allow guest posting will let you include company information, be sure to include your website URL and social media sites when submitting your post. Traditional content marketing only encompasses the content on your own site and your social media channels. The wider you can cast the net in your target audience the better the chances are to gaining subscribers and leads.
Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.
It is time to get your head out of the sand and start working on a great content marketing strategy that includes guest posting. While today’s guest posting has changed dramatically, the benefits remain the same. Be smart about it, use well-written, well-planned and unique content. Only market your content to sites within your niche and who have a great reputation. Think about is as if you were choosing a business partner – reputation and authority matters.