As I sit at my desk when I arrive at work in the morning, the first thing I do is catch up on a few industry blog posts to keep up with the exciting and ever changing world we digital marketers live in. I’ve been doing this for as long as I have been working in this industry, I love it, and it’s what keeps my job so exciting.
The thing is, just recently my mornings are quite rudely interrupted by the yelps and cries of link builders telling me that guest blogging is about to die and if I continue I will face the mother of all Google penalties.
As you can probably tell, this is really starting to wind me up the wrong way. It’s not just the blog posts that I’m reading that are annoying me. I contribute to a couple of forums where I like to talk about alternative traffic driving sources to Google.
Recently I was part of a discussion named – “What is the future of Guest Blogging”?
Perfect, there should be some really great insights into where this tactic is heading and what other marketers are doing to provide real marketing value to themselves and their clients.
Well, I was wrong, I posted a lengthy comment expressing my rather passionate believes that the link is not the primary goal when guest blogging and all I got were replies saying things like – “Whilst it works you should carry on but when it doesn’t you should stop”.
Okay, so apart from that being just about the worst piece of advice on any subject, the general theory of his answer was completely incorrect.
Guest blogging really should be about the importance of traffic that the article sends to your blog and the increased visibility for your brand to increase followers on social media. The ability to tap into someone else’s audience that is relevant to your business is one of the most valuable aspects to any marketing tactic.
Guest blogging gives you that and much more, so why should the devaluation of guest post links cause you to stop using this tried and tested marketing method?
Will Google de-value guest post links?
That’s something I can’t actually give you an answer to, sure we can all make predictions but nothing is ever set in stone with Google. I’m going to make a bold statement now and I can just see a backlash from this comment but “Part of me hopes Google does devalue guest post links because then at least we know the only people still doing it will be for legitimate marketing purposes
Let’s face it, if people are so worried about being penalised, then why don’t they just request that the link is no-followed?
I guess the people that are doing it legitimately aren’t exactly worried about getting penalised anyway.
Why guest blogging is part of my content marketing strategy
Building links with the main objective of driving traffic, will always increase the quality of the marketing.
I keep that quote in my head when developing content strategies for our clients. Now, with that in mind, why wouldn’t you include guest blogging as a part of your content marketing strategy?
Using an example of a current client of ours at Jigsoar, I am going to explain why guest blogging remains a core part of our content strategy and has been providing solid results on a regular basis.
Immediate target audience exposure
A client of ours wanted to gain exposure to a new product range quickly and in doing so they wanted to build their already healthy social media audience.
A budget was put aside for product reviews. Based on the quality of the products I knew that the traffic they’d drive would be high quality and part ready to buy.
The problem was, product reviews are not the key to building an engaging audience. Step forward – guest blogging.
Forget domain authority and PageRank, the size of the brand within their market meant that they were never going to be knocked from the SERPs. This meant we could begin guest posting for traffic and engagement purposes alone, some real shit! Proper brand marketing.
Now I know that in only a few cases will you be working with super brands but if you adopt the same methodology of building a faithful audience for your business then you can plan for the long term and know you have a group of potential customers to call upon for every new product or service you provide.
You can read this post on guest blogging, that explains the process I use for finding targets that are perfectly suitable to you and your business.
Guest post links to landing pages
The amount of guest bloggers that don’t do this is insane! It absolutely murders your conversion rates if you neglect the use of landing pages to collect vital lead information. I guess the percentage of people that don’t use landing pages are guest posting with the link as the core purpose.
You can sign up to Unbounce for around $100 per month or alternatively there are a range of free or more cost effective tools you can use to build your own landing page on your website or blog. There are also a number of landing page plugins for WordPress – that’s if your website uses WordPress, of course.
How to create a guest post landing page
1. Create a New Page – Not a post because you don’t want it to go out to everyone.
2. Customise the Landing Page towards Readers – What I mean by this is, use a large header in the design of the landing page that says – “Welcome Blogging Wizard Readers”.
Of course that’s just a simple example. You can be so much more creative, so long as you make the reader feel special or in some way unique.
3. If they click on your link, then they want what you have – Of course in reality they won’t all want what you have, but if you collect enough information from them you can nurture them into becoming customers of your business in the future.
4. Link to relevant posts on your blog – Find blog posts you have written that are relevant to the guest post. You know what the readers interests are because they read the guest post, so now you can provide even more value to them after they visit your website.
5. Provide Enough Value – This follows on from point 4, make sure you provide the visitor with around 5 top quality blog posts from your blog. You can immediately make a great impression on them – “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”.
6. Collect Information – So you’re giving something to the reader, now they need to give you something back in return. It’s not all, give, give, give in this business. Set up a feed burner so you can collect their email addresses. If you have something larger like an EBook, then you might want retrieve a little more information before allowing them to download it.
Note: if you are a WordPress user then this is usually much easier to setup, there are some plugins on the market to help you which you can find here.
Use case studies
An alternative to supplying your readers with more blog content, you can show them how good you are at what you do by providing a detailed case study.
A case study is a piece of content. It shows your potential clients why you are the best fit for their business. Use case studies as a conversion tool to increase the amount of leads, customers and retained clients of your organisation.
Why guest blogging will never die
Guest blogging gives you the opportunity to break into someone else’s audience that is relevant to your own, follow them, engage with them, share your content with them, nurture them into your own followers and then eventually into customers of your business.
Now, is there any part of that, you wouldn’t want for your business? I’m going to guess the answer is no, because in terms of building your brand for the long term, guest blogging has to be one of the most useful marketing tactics ever created.
If done correctly, guest blogging will provide more value from the traffic that it sends you than the link ever could in terms of ranking potential. There is a time and a place for link building and if you gain a link from guest blogging then that’s fantastic, but it should be looked at as a secondary action.
If you follow this principle, I don’t see any reason why guest blogging will ever die.
Guest blogging is and will always be a strong part of the content strategies that I create for both Jigsoar and our clients.
I can’t neglect the fact that I can tap into so many vitally important audiences and ultimately build a follower base that I can nurture into customers.
For me at least, the link will always come after all of the true marketing benefits guest blogging can give to me.
I’d love to know your opinions on what I have said.
Let’s try and lift our industry up above the spam link builders that still curse over us and prove to businesses across the globe that we are vitally important to them in growing in their own market.