Recently I’ve seen a raft of articles trumpeting the death of guest blogging as an effective content marketing strategy. It’s a shame that these authors miss the true value of guest blogging because they’re just focused on the short-term SEO ROI of guest blogging. If they understood the long-term sales and marketing value of guest posting, they would be better prepared to compete in today’s modern day digitally centric sales & marketing world.
So let’s talk about where companies are getting it wrong and how you can get it right.
That’s why people like Matt Cutts (Google’s Head Web Spam Guy), say things like “(S)tick a fork in it: Guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.”
And he’s right. Over the last 10 years companies have sprung up out of every corner of the earth that do little more than spam website editors with offers to provide guest posts “your audience will love” for free. All they ask in return is that you provide a “follow” vs “no follow” link back to their clients’ websites.
Barf. Seriously, if you could see the Connect form entries from the Converse Digital site, you’d see what I mean. And since Google is all knowing, they know this kind of subterfuge is happening and as they should, have taken steps to penalize this approach in an effort to dissuade companies for continuing to employ it.
Read any articles on guest blogging and you’ll find a disturbing trend. The use of the phrase “guest post.” It’s disturbing because it shows the authors are still stuck in 2010. They’re thinking in SEO benefits to a single post. They’re thinking in terms of Inbound Marketing efforts.
But what they’re not thinking in terms of is Propinquity. And in my mind, that has ALWAYS been the primary benefit of an aggressive guest posting strategy as part of your content marketing strategy.
Yep. Every guest post you publish is an opportunity to bump into a stranger, or as I like to call them “potential client” or “social agent” and begin to move that person down the Propinquity Pathway. So what if those eyeballs are consuming your content on another website vs reading it on your own website?
If what you’re writing about or selling is truly unique to you and compelling to the reader, folks that become interested have no choice but to find you if they want to buy something you’re selling or learn more.
When you’re focused on using guest posting as a relationship builder… you start to see so many benefits that go way beyond simple inbound traffic.
When I was planning the launch of my book, The Invisible Sale, I knew I’d need to create targeted Propinquity amongst sales & marketing practitioners. But there was no way I could effectively do that through SEO and my own Converse Digital website alone.
So I picked a handful of social media, content marketing and B2B sales websites. I familiarized myself with the kind of content those sites published. I also took note of what content I felt was missing.
Then I befriended their editors. Then I asked if they would accept guest posts featuring the kind of content my analysis suggested would be valuable to their audience but was currently under represented on their sites.
And I didn’t just offer up a single post at a time. I sent groupings of three or four. And I customized each post for each website audience and unique tone of the site’s current content.
And when those posts went live, I was not just sharing them liberally, I paid attention to comments left in the comments of the post AND anywhere I found them on social media. And I answered every… single… one I could find.
And all of that guest posting activity turned into speaking opportunities at every single one of those websites’ annual conferences — all of which fell within a 45 day window surrounding the book’s publication date. And let’s not forget additional guest posting opportunities, podcast interview invitations, etc.
But that’s not even the best part. The best part is that even today I can email, call or walk up to every one of those editors, seven years later, and re-engage them with a similar offer or approach because I built a relationship with them vs a series of transactions.
For years I wrote blog posts for Ad Age’s Small Agency Diary. I was the president of an ad agency. And the readers of that Small Agency Diary were other ad agency folks. None of those folks were going to hire me or the firm I was working for at the time.
BUT – the halo effect of writing for Ad Age? The social proof that came from folks seeing my byline on Ad Age’s pages?
And that doesn’t even count the relationships I forged with my fellow diarists and the editor that ran the Small Agency Diary. All of which have provided so much value over the years and continue to do so often.
And even though I no longer write for Ad Age’s Small Agency Diary – because they’ve discontinued it – I can still say I wrote for them… the content I wrote is still available on the Internet and I still gain social proof against prospective clients, employees and future guest posting opportunities.