Guest posting, also referred to as link building, is one of the most important pieces of your organic content marketing strategy. It feeds every other area of your efforts, from building a backlink profile to creating authentic interactions on social media—yet, for many businesses, it’s not even considered.
(If you know you’re ready to get started, send me your content marketing plans and I’ll make it happen for you.)
If you’re not sure whether to invest the time and effort, let’s dig into the importance of guest posting for your business.
Guest Posting Is Part of a Larger Strategy
Guest posting isn’t a lone strategy. It’s hard to be successful when attempted without great content or an active social media presence. As such, link building is part of your larger organic content marketing strategy. All of your efforts work together as one well-oiled machine. For example, great content allows you to get high-value link placements, where you can then promote that great content in a natural and authentic way (if you’re doing it correctly).
Not to mention, it aids in social media branding and traffic efforts, driving brand impressions and sending traffic to your blog or important content assets, like ebooks and guides.
A former client of mine, Selz, pressed pause on the guest posting work we were doing together, for just three months, to focus on other ways to move the needle. They soon realized that the link building work we did together was critical to the organic improvements they saw in the months following:
“Our visitor numbers, sign ups, and sales are all averaging at an all time high right now. All of the backlink work we did together made a HUGE impact on this! Our organic numbers are STILL rising and our posts are still being impacted by the SEO juice we’re still seeing from many of your links.”
It was clear that our link building work was a crucial component of their other organic content marketing efforts. You can check out the full scope of the work we did together, their amazing results, and what it means for the value of guest posting for your brand: Link Building Case Study: Selz.com.
You Can Drive Targeted Traffic—For Free
Paid marketing is one way to drive traffic to your site, and something that most businesses spend a lot of money on. In fact, on average, SMBs spend 1 percent of their revenue on paid advertising, according to Small Biz Trends—and that percentage varies by industry, with furniture and jewelry stores spending upwards of 4 percent and real estate agents spending more than 3.5 percent.
What if you could drive that targeted traffic without spending 1 percent or more of your annual revenue? You can, with guest posting—kind of. While nearly all blogs frown upon blatant promotional links within your content, making it challenging to link to landing or product pages, you can do one better: include a value-add link that educates the customer instead.
Why do you care about educating your customer rather than directly selling to them? Conductor’s 2017 research found that customers are 131 percent more likely to buy immediately after consuming early-stage, educational content.
The challenge of course is ensuring that traffic comes, which is hard to do without a targeted list of consumer preferences and buying patterns to rely on. The best way to handle this is simple: Don’t bury the link, let it stand out.
When done correctly in this way, guest posting gives you the chance to reach a wider audience with your educational content and drive targeted traffic—without the big ad budget.
It Takes 7.51 Touches to Make a Sale
Yes, 7.51 to be exact, according to research done by Laurie B. Beasley, President, Beasley Direct and Online Marketing, Inc. While this is specific to one business and their audience, you’ve likely heard some version of this before—Salesforce says 6 to 8 touches; Hubspot says 5—because when it comes down to it, we know one thing for certain:
Customers aren’t spending the moment they discover your brand.
In most cases, it will require them walking away from a few opportunities before they spend their money on whatever it is you have to offer. That’s where guest posting comes into play, working as another touch point on the consumer’s journey to make a purchase.
This touch is likely one of the few authentic and organic ones within the funnel, making it even more impactful. If customers are only seeing ads for your products, or you’re always asking them to buy and never providing value, you create a reputation for yourself. Consider these two statements:
- “Oh them? Yeah, I always see ads for that brand on Facebook. It’s so annoying.”
- “Oh, [insert brand name]! I got such a good stain removal idea from one of their blog posts. So helpful.”
Which one of these do you think is more likely to lead to a loyal customer down the road? To make the sale, you need to have a few of those organic, value-add touches along the way. Guest posting is one way to make that happen.
Organic Mentions Are Valuable
Social media is all about pushing: pushing your content, pushing for new followers, pushing for engagement. The goal, however, is to eventually get more while doing less, and that’s where guest posting comes in.
When you publish a new article, you post on social media, tagging any relevant brands or people, including the author. It only makes sense that the websites you blog for would follow the same best practices. Except, in this case, you (or your brand) are the author, which means your Twitter handle or Facebook page is the one getting tagged.
This does two things:
- Drives social proof. Other people are engaging with your brand in an organic way; you’re not asking for it—this continues to promote the authenticity and value of your brand.
- You have a great post to engage with. You can RT to share with your followers, thank them for having you as a guest author with a comment, and of course, like the post.
If this aspect of guest posting is an important part of your overall social media strategy, use social media profiles when vetting potential websites. For example, you might say, “We can only guest post with blogs that have more than 2K followers on Twitter and at least 5 engagements on every post.”
Above and beyond social media, they may feature your post on their homepage and include it in their newsletter, giving your name and brand even more organic promotion.
You Need Backlinks
Backlinks, or links pointing from other websites back to yours, drive the SEO value of your website:
Google sees your link on someone else’s website. It thinks: Hm, if this website is good and reputable, it must mean that the website its linking to is also high-quality as well. Google then passes the “link juice” from their website to your website, slowly building your Domain Authority (DA) over time.
The higher your DA, the more you climb in search rankings, which makes your backlink profile a critical aspect of your ability to reach page one for various search terms. But remember: not all websites are high-quality, which means these backlinks can be good or bad. As you can imagine, if the site pointing back to yours is low-quality, not relevant, or spammy, Google is going to pass the same negative connotation onto your site.
While you can “disavow” these bad backlinks in your Google Search Console, it’s not recommended, which is one benefit of guest posting. With this link building technique, you choose the sites you write for based on a variety of qualifications (DA, relevance, regularity of posting, etc.). This allows you to build a positive backlink profile, while also driving traffic, sales, brand impressions and organic social media mentions.
Will You Try Guest Posting?
Link building is one of the most valuable tools available for any content marketer, amplifying every other area of your content marketing efforts. For example, that new blog content can be used for linking within guest posts and that organic social media mention may lead to 10 new followers in a day.
The best part is: you can start slow. While you’ll see the most value from a regular, targeted guest posting schedule (think: 4 to 10 links each month), simply starting with outreach is the hardest part. Don’t have time for that either? Reach out to me. I’d love to help you get your guest posting program off the ground.