Some people say that guest blogging is dead, but I disagree. Content curation is a great way to have enough content to share, and it’s beneficial for both business and the content creators. How? This week, I talk about the importance of building those relationships between brands and influencers: how organizations can strategically partner with bloggers, and work with them to create a mutually beneficial relationship that leverages each of their networks.
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In This Episode:
- Content curation is great when you don’t have enough of your own content to share, or amplify the voice of your fans, or you don’t want to just be talking about yourself
- From an SEO perspective, people want to guest blog because they want that link back to their site
- We had heard from Google that they were going to look down on guest posting, but really, guest posting is alive and well
- Now, let’s look at it from the two different perspectives: you being a writer and writing blog posts for a company, or you being the company and seeking out guest posts
- There’s a food chain – when you’re just getting started, if someone wants to interview you or put you on a top 100 list or have you write a guest post you do it!
- As you get your name out there, you can start to pick and choose where you want to guest post
- I recently got an email from a company I had written a guest post for, and they relayed some pretty impressive stats about my blog post
- If you’re a small business looking for a guest blogger, you run into a problem: you obviously want someone who is an expert at what they do, you want them to be relevant, and you want them to be excited about what they’re writing for you so that they’ll share it to their networks
- This is how I created Maximize Social Business: I started a blog, got a lot of requests from people asking to write guest posts, and after a while, I decided I didn’t want a one night stand with content creators; It allows me to widen my audience, and it allows the other writers to widen theirs too
- It’s not just about the content, it’s about the relationship – if you build the relationship the content will be more genuine, transparent, and it’s going to lead to better things for your brand
- It doesn’t have to be bloggers creating the content – reach out to employees, reach out to customers, reach out to partners
- What about you as a writer or blogger or social media marketer? You, as a writer, need to see the ROI of guest blogging as well, otherwise you’re going to stop doing it, right?
- Take a good look at the blogs! Look at how they share content, the authors page, what they’re promoting, think about if you want to be affiliated with that
- As a guest blogger, it’s important to think about the ROI from the other side; At the end of the day, you’re feeding someone else’s content machine
- Guest blogging is here to stay; It has ROI both from a business/brand perspective as well as from the perspective of a blogger or content creator
- Hopefully this episode stops you from accepting the occasional random guest blog post, and encourages you to be more strategic
- You as a content creator should demand more for your content, and businesses and brands should value content creators more than they currently do
This is Neal Schaffer. Welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Social wherever you are in the world. I am at my office here in Orange County, California. Last week I was at the Social Media Strategy Summit in Las Vegas, really great event. I did the closing keynote on something new that I haven’t talked about, but I’m excited to share new content about future proofing your social media program. And you’ll be hearing a lot more about that in the near future.
I was hoping to get an interview or two while I was there, but you go to a social media conference. And it’s just a crazy time meeting a lot of great folks, a lot of great content. And well, those memories, unfortunately, will not make it to this podcast. But the experiences, obviously, live on in everything that I share. Today I want to talk about an email that I got, and I know I’ve been promising you some information, this Part II Social Summon Podcast, which is gonna come.
But I always like to keep these podcasts fresh by dealing with clients or questions or things that happened in the world of social media over the last few days. So a few days ago, I got an email. Now, the topic for today is “Guest Posting.” This is a blogging topic. We all know that social media is the convergence of information and communication. And when I taught that social media strategies summit, I said, “Okay, let’s break it down into two easy parts, right?” It’s content, and it’s communication/engagement.
So this is the content side. There’s content curation when you want to share a lot of content, and you don’t have enough of your own content to share or you don’t want to just be talking about yourself or maybe you want to amplify the voice of your fans whatever it might be, right? There’s a need for curation. Guest blogging in essence is the curation of original content for your own website. Now, that content isn’t necessarily authored by you. It could be authored by someone else.
We all know from an SEO perspective that people want a guest blog because they want to get that link going back to their site that’s usually included in the bio, although it could be included within the text of a blogpost. And blog owners or businesses with blogs want to have guest bloggers because it helps lessen the burden of content curation. And it’s part of a social media program that is probably gonna be the most time or resource intensive part of your operation. So that’s, sort of, the background of guest posting.
And there are sites where you can hire guest blogposts. You can, obviously, instead of doing it that way, you can hire ghostwriters, which some companies do. But guest posting is, sort of, here to stay. I know Google had announced that we’re gonna look down on guest posting, and there’s a lot of confusion in the marketplace. But let me tell you this that guest posting is alive and well, okay. Now, I want to look at guest posting from two different aspects, from the aspects of you, whoever you are, of writing a blogpost for someone else, and the flipside if you’re a business, having people write blogposts for you.
Now, this email I got is interesting. I wrote a guest post for a company, and to be honest with you, I’m so busy with what I do. And there’s so much content I want to create for my own brand. I don’t do as much guest posting as I used to do. Now, this brings up the concept of the food chain, right? When you’re just getting started and someone contacts you for an interview or someone puts you on a Top 100 list or you have an opportunity to blog somewhere else, you do it because you want to get your name out there, right. And that makes total sense.
But as you get your name out there, you start thinking well, I can guest post on this site that really doesn’t have much traffic. It has a very, very low Google page rank. It just doesn’t seem to yield that much influence, or I can guest post on a site that has more influence. And you want to work your way up the food chain because people don’t scale. Your time is limited, and if you can only have time to write one or two guest posts a month, you want to do it where you’re gonna get the most bang for your buck, or in this case, bang or your content of your time. So that’s really the background of guest posting.
Now, my whole concept because I could guest post on a lot of different sites. I choose not to. I really want to have my best content and maximize social business. But every once and a while if a company reaches out to me and I haven’t guest posted for them before, I will do that if I think it helps me yield leadership. It opens up a new crowd to me, and it helps me build a relationship with that company. I’m all about relationships, and that’s, sort of, my background in B to B sales. And I think that’s what’s helped carry me far in social media.
It’s also, sort of, the defining value I have on, like, a guest blog. And then I’ll get to that near the end of this podcast. So the email I got, “I wanted to reach out to you, let you know that we’ve done some – and I’m reading the email, obviously – we’ve done some analysis of our guest blogging program. And your post was by far our most successful. It received over 5,000 page views and 1,000 social shares. In addition, the post touched over 600 of the leads in our database and generated 30 new leads. Thanks again for doing this.”
Those are pretty incredible stats. So if you question the art life of blogging, obviously, you need to have – and this company probably has a hubspot or something setup where they can see who is on their website, what content they’re looking at, and finally when they convert, where do they come from and their history of tracking and what have you. But if you have that in place, it’s pretty incredible to be able to generate this data that shows the ROI of having original content even if that content wasn’t created by you. In this case, it was created by me.
So you can see from a company perspective, bringing fresh perspectives – I’m pretty active in social – I get to attract a new audience that hopefully will click back, learn more about me, become a customer of mine in the future, yield thought leadership because I’m on their blog, and they get incredible ROI because this new content – and maybe because I shared it a great deal on social, it had a large social following – maybe that helped them establish more thought leadership as well within their own prospect database, right. And I maybe introduced new people as well that weren’t users of whatever software they have. But you get the feeling that people ask about the ROI blogging that don’t get it. This is, like, the most concrete case study I can offer you from one blogpost of – I don’t know – 1,000 words or whatever it might have been. So I’m really happy to have been able to contribute that, and when I do things, I want to do things big.
I think it was probably or Darren Rowse who said, “Whenever you guest blog, you want to save your best content for guest blogs because that’s where you reach a new audience. And, hopefully, you’re guest blogging on a site that has influence.” So this was a success from their perspective and from my perspective. Now, if you as a business or maybe you’re a small business owner or whatever position you may be in and you want to start recruiting guest bloggers, you run into a problem because ideally you want a guest blogger that is, obviously, an expert on what they do.
You want them to write about content that’s relevant to your site, and, hopefully, you want them to be so proud of their content that they’re gonna share it as well. So you get to access this new network. And even from employee advocacy data, we know that there’s usually very little overlap between a brand social following and their employees. Chances are any guest blogger out there has a different social following than your brand social following, and there’s probably very little overlap as well.
I’m just gonna generalize on that, but I think generally that is true. So it really comes down to choosing the right person. And probably if you’re a company or you have a blog, you get pinged by lots of people saying hey, I want to contribute this article or. And there’s a lot of SEO companies that will go out there trying to get their client’s content onto your website. There’s a lot of fake people out there, and these people just have a name and an email address. They don’t even have a website. They don’t even sometimes give their full name.
So there’s a lot of anonymous people out there that you really want to try to avoid. It’s all about, ideally, the relationship because if they’re successful once, you want to have them again, right. And through that relationship, who knows what might happen. You may have found a great content writer that you can rely on for other projects for your company like eBooks and whitepapers and so on and so on. So that’s why I created Maximize Social Business. I started out as an individual blog. I used to get guest blogpost requests.
And some of them didn’t make sense, but when some of them pitched me a topic that I thought made sense, I had them guest blog. And then I got emails like hey, can you please delete out the spackling to our company? And maybe this was after the Google Penguin update. Google sees this as being an irrelevant site to what we do. And it’s because the content was relevant to my site, but the backlink went to some random moving company in Australia that just was trying to build backlinks.
And so it really got me thinking, and when I started getting more and more of these requests, I thought to myself I don’t want a one-night stand with content creators. It leaves no value for a blog to have just one contribution from one person unless if I could get a guest blogpost from Magi Kawasaki or a Brian Solis, it’s one thing. But if it’s not of that caliber, it, sort of, I believe, cheapens the blog especially when it’s these anonymous profiles. No matter how good the content is, who are these people? Where are they on social media? What do they represent? Who are the companies they work for outside of the link that’s in their profile?
So that’s where I embarked on really evolving from the old blog of Windmill Network into Maximize Social Business of saying hey, let’s work together. The idea about guest blogging is you want to blog on a platform that’s bigger than yours. Well, by all of us getting together and sharing each other’s content through our unique networks, we can reach just a broader audience. And it’s about the platform, and that’s where I went from Windmill Networking to Maximize Social Business when I realized that it wasn’t my blog anymore. It was our blog. It was our platform.
But today, I still stick to that mantra that says it’s unique content, and it’s a commitment. And I want that commitment to be at least a year. So I still get random emails. Hey, I have this one piece of content I’d love to share on your site. No, I don’t want your content. I want a relationship. And through that relationship, I think, bloggers are gonna create the best content, and it’s gonna be more genuine. It’s gonna be more transparent. It’s gonna lead to better things in social media for your brand.
So if you were thinking of having guest bloggers, that is, sort of, the route that I would take. And I’d really concentrate on that relationship and understand who they are and what their ROI is because I’ve had people sign up on Maximize Social Business to blog for over a year. And I’ve had some quit, like, even after a month or three months saying sorry for whatever reason. Now, I don’t not trust these people. I trust each and every one of them, but on the other hand, I realize that you need to see the ROI of guest blogging otherwise, you’re just gonna stop doing it and go to other sites or concentrate on your own site.
So I’m pretty passionate about showing the ROI to people of what they’ve done and hopefully delivering ROI to them. And this is a great example of I’ve never had a brand reach out to me and say hey, thanks for your guest blogpost. This is the result of what you did for us and actually show me the data. So if I wanted to do it again, obviously, and they want me to do it again, I can get pretty broad coverage and get a lot of people reading my content, which is a great thing.
Now, that’s if you’re a brand, and you want to bring on guest bloggers. And I’m not gonna say it’s a best practice because as part of an employee advocacy program, I’d love to see you having your employees create content. I love to see your customers create content, your partners. You don’t necessarily need to reach out to bloggers. But as part of an influence or marketing program, having influencers guest blog for you is one of the many things you can do. And it may make sense to some companies, so that’s the guest blogging for brands. What about you as a social media marketer or whatever role you have in a company or for yourself of guest blogging for others? Once again, it’s about that food chain and understanding where you are and always trying to get ROI from reaching a broader audience. Look at the blogs. Look at how they share the content of their contributors. Look at the site, and is there even an author bio for their contributors?
Is there, like, an author’s page? I go to a lot of sites where I see a guest bloggers, and it’s like hum, I wonder is there a list of all the different bloggers on the site. And there isn’t even a list, right. I think if you look at Maximize Social Business, you’ll see that every author is featured both on a widget on the side on the front page, on every page actually, as well as there’s actually a menu for the authors. And the authors you see there, obviously, are only the active authors. But even the inactive authors that have blogged in the past have robust bios at the bottom of all their blogposts.
So that’s something you need to ask yourself. The other thing is when you guest blog what is the ROI from the other side? And this is the thing that, sort of, got me about guest blogging from the flipside. Obviously, you want to work your way up the food chain, and you want to guest post of bigger and bigger sites. But at the end of the day, you’re feeding the content machine of someone else, right. You’re not part of a platform like a Maximize Social Business which is the closest thing to a coop or a commune. You’re more, like, doing it so that that business or person doesn’t have to blog themselves.
And, therefore, when you go to the site, is it overly blatantly promoting a person or a product, and do you want to be affiliated with that? Do you want to be part of that knowing that your content is working for the benefit of others? So when this business reached out to me with this email, it’s like wow. That’s, sort of, one sided because if you think of the value that they got from the leads versus the value that I might have gotten from a few people subscribing to the RSS on my own website, there’s an imbalance there, right?
But, obviously, it’s PR for me, and there’s a value in the PR. And you need to weight that, right. So that’s the other thing you need to think about is, sort of, the balance, the fairness, the food chain, the ROI from the other side, and the relationships, right, making sure you pick the right places where you want to host your content because content is precious, right. Just as professionals, as I always say with LinkedIn, our networks are our most important assets. As a content creator, where you publish your content is a critical aspect that you need to give a lot of thought to.
So the net net of this podcast is that guest blogging is here to stay. Guest blogging has ROI both from a business/brand perspective of recruiting others to blog for them as well as for you if you are a blogger or a content creator. But, hopefully, the parameters or framework or guidelines that I talk about in this podcast, will hopefully get you stopping from just randomly accepting or guest blogging when there’s opportunities to being more and more strategic about it. And right now, everybody loves content creators because there’s just a need for so much content, and businesses just don’t have the resources. And while they can pay to have a ghostwriter make something, they’re always gonna get a better result when they have a blogger with unique experiences, with a unique network that’s gonna also share that in social when they can provide that content. So you as a content creator should demand more for your content, and businesses and brands should, perhaps, value content creators more than they currently do.
And that’s why with my own maximize social business, I try to be passionate about promoting the content creators because I think they in the world of social and in the world of content marketing, they probably deserve a little bit more respect than what they’re getting. So respect the content. Respect the content creators. Maybe that’s the net net of this podcast. Those are my thoughts, and like I said, this podcast we cover a wide range of things in the world of social media, the business of social media. If there’s something you want me to talk about, hey, ping me, email me. I really appreciate all your comments on iTunes.
We had to re-launch this podcast on iTunes, so we lost a lot of reviews. If you were one of those people who wrote one of the reviews, I’d really be honored if you could rewrite that review you had for me, or if you’ve been listening to the podcast and find value in it, I would appreciate your comments and your sharing it in social media as well. But for this week, that’s it for another episode of Maximize Your Social. And wherever you are in the world, well, we’re gonna talk to you next week. But for now, make it a great social day. Bye-bye everybody.
Transcript provided courtesy of GMR Transcription Services, Inc.