Ann Smarty promoted her own SEO career using guest posting, it’s the only link building technique she uses for her SEO clients and she built a community called MyBlogGuest to help guest bloggers. Here she talks to Ken McGaffin about (have you guessed?) guest blogging.
1) Could you explain for newbies exactly what guest blogging is? What is the relationship between a writer and a publisher? How do they form a community?
A guest post is an article the author and the blogger arrange to publish at the blogger's site for free. The guest post belongs to the author and is attributed to him.
Thus, guest blogging is the process that involves the following:
- The author writes an article and shows it to the blogger.
- The blogger decides if the article fits his blog and if yes, publishes it on the site.
- It is up to the author which sites to link to within the post (normally, from the author byline) and it is up to the blog owner to accept/reject the guest contribution.
The larger version of the infographic is available here
Naturally, the guest author enters the new blog community: he answers the comments, helps to share and promote the guest post. He also links to this guest post from his own site or other guest posts. This way the blog owner and the guest author start collaborating promoting one page. Obviously this might evolve into a long-lasting business connection. This relationship can be further developed by creating a regular guest post column, exchanging guest posts, etc.
2) Uppermost in many people's mind must be the link building potential of guest blogging. How effective is guest blogging as a link building strategy and are there other benefits too?
I am a huge believer in guest blogging for high profile link building. In fact, this is the only way I’ve been building links for myself and my clients for years. A relevant link placed in-content and coming from a powerful blogging platform works wonders: it looks natural and it is placed in a very favorable neighborhood. If your guest post is great and useful, it will earn natural links and will also become the powerful backlink platform of its own (with the link remaining there permanently).
Image credit: Guest blogging versus Articles Marketing
However no matter how much I believe in guest blogging for link building, I always advise against guest posting for links alone. There are other more powerful benefits like networking, branding and building influence. By providing great free content to bloggers, you build a network of niche bloggers around your business. These bloggers may become powerful advocates of your brand in the future.
MyBlogGuest itself is a great example of the power of guest blogging. It has been promoted exclusively by guest blogging. And it is now at that stage when I don’t really need to promote it because bloggers and users post reviews and mention it everywhere they can. I find bloggers I once guest posted for mentioning MyBlogGuest in the comments at other blogs and in their other articles.
Building influence means that people start citing you and this, in turn, means links start coming naturally without you ever building them. Guest blogging is very powerful for building brand and influence and I feel sad when people don’t get it and use it for merely building links.
3) Can you give me some examples of the variety of businesses and agencies that use MyBlogGuest?
I’m proud of the variety of user base. I see small business owners and start-up entrepreneurs successfully using it to bring their projects in front of niche bloggers. I see independent bloggers using the platform to grow their sites as well, naturally. I won’t list names though as I haven’t confirmed with any of them.
There are not many “A-list bloggers” (as they call them) naturally (because MyBlogGuest requires time and effort to network there and busy bloggers seldom have spare time). But we have managed to build a few very powerful partnerships.
We are exclusive providers of guest content for Splash Media Network, for example, and we deliver guest contributions to AboutUs.org blog. But the real power of MyBlogGuest is the ability to connect you to smaller tightly-targeted bloggers, who in turn, can connect you to highly interested audiences.
4) In my own career I've worked with hundreds of small businesses and I've yet to meet one who had spare time on their hands. How can small businesses find the time to guest blog?
Good question :o) Guest blogging only works if you do it a lot and regularly, so self-organization is crucial. I am a control freak and I am very organized, so it’s hard for me to speak for other people.
Do you find time for marketing and branding? Then just include guest blogging in your marketing plan. It is very effective and should not be ignored. If you don’t have time to market yourself and your business, how are you going to develop?
5) How have you used guest blogging in your own SEO career?
Guest blogging has played a crucial part in my SEO career actually. An early guest post at a prominent SEO resource got me a position of a paid blogger and then editor at Search Engine Journal I’ve been building my personal brand ever since through weekly posts on their powerful SEO blog and through frequent guest posts on other great search marketing blogs. I got to the point when my name has become well-recognized in SEO community.
Like I said, I have hardly done anything else except guest blogging to promote my own sites and the sites of my clients …
6) Finally, can you give us three important 'must dos' and three important 'must not dos' on guest blogging.
- Do focus on long-term benefits of guest blogging: always aim higher.
- Do value every connection you build: follow up, tweet, share, comment – do what it takes to show how much you appreciate the opportunity.
- Do focus on giving: this is most important in guest blogging. The moment you stop caring about what you write and only think about what you are ‘getting from it’ is the moment you stop providing quality and will start seeing more and more rejections.
- Don’t ever focus on links: if you are authentic and sincere in your desire to provide value, links will come on their own (and many more links than you expected).
- Don’t ever ‘spin’ your articles: bloggers will always catch it and the opportunity will be ruined.
- Don’t expect speedy results: like any solid marketing tactic, guest blogging only works if you have a solid plan.
About Ken McGaffin
Ken McGaffin is an experienced internet marketing consultant and has worked for major pharmaceutical companies, advertising agencies, government bodies and non-profit organizations.
Ken unveils the secrets of successful link building in his 384-page e-book, Successful Link Building
You can watch recordings of his extremely popular (and free) Link Building Webinars