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Should You Open Your Blog to Guest Bloggers?

Are you considering a guest blogging campaign? Creating a blog is probably one of the smartest nouveau marketing tactics for any emerging brand, particularly if you’re looking to drive sales, establish credibility or  expose your brand to target markets further afield. It’s also a vital step if you’re looking to build links and enhance your site’s SEO performance.

For many, opening their blog to guest bloggers is the next obvious step after building up a significant archive of content. Potentially, you’ll reap the benefits of exposure to a new audience and improve your authority, whilst also developing future link-building opportunities. But, like any progressive strategy, it can occasionally backfire. Blog owners walk a tight rope when it comes to preserving an online reputation, so if you’re considering opening your blog for guest posting, you need to be confident this move will not have any adverse effect.

Exposure: Help or Hindrance?

‘Mere exposure’ is an interesting psychological principle around which many big brands build their advertising campaigns. The phenomenon, backed by the findings of scholar Robert Zajonc in the 1960’s, suggests that individuals develop a greater liking, yearning or preference for something if they are regularly exposed to a stimulus over a period of time. In essence, familiarity with a brand name, publication or writer can be influenced by increased exposure to that subject, therefore if someone is exposed to the content of your blog on a regular basis, this would in theory, have a similar effect.

What you need to remember is that increased exposure isn’t always beneficial. If you focus only on building partnerships with influential writers in your niche and gathering a nice number of guest posts, you can easily forget about your own content. And while this attracts new followers to your blog at first, due to the lack of quality content from you as an author, subscriber numbers will dwindle to almost nothing overnight.

Guest blogging can be beneficial to your overall exposure, providing you have already built strong foundations. Inviting someone to guest post on a blog that is struggling to maintain consistency, doesn’t have a following or overcompensates on SEO will do nothing to benefit the owner, and could even sully the reputations of both the brand and guest author!

A Question of Trust

Ask any established blogger worth their salt if they’ve entertained a guest blogger on credentials alone and you’re likely to be met with an outright ‘no’. This is quite simply because you can’t verify someone’s trustworthiness on credentials alone. In her post “Do You Trust Guest Posts For Your Blog”, Logallot founder Sonia Winland discusses the importance of establishing trust with potential guest authors, perhaps best summarised by her comment – “for me to trust you, I have to know who you are”. It’s all well and good choosing bloggers with a discernible following and established reputation, but unless you interact with them, how do you know they don’t use ghost writers?

Blogger rapports, much like friendships, take a considerable amount of time and effort to nurture. Even when you’ve forged a good online relationship, it pays to research the person you’re interested in, starting with:

  • Integrity: Can you verify sites where the blogger’s work has been published?
  • Authority: Is the author well respected by other established bloggers?
  • Relevance: Are their posts relevant to the style and direction of your blog?
  • Familiarity: Would they feel qualified to contribute for your brand/ campaign/ cause?

Qualified vs. Random Traffic

Inbound links are the bread and butter of guest blogging campaigns, yet their effectivity in boosting page rank and re-routing traffic can be hit and miss. This is partly to do with the irrelevancy of links embedded in static blog content. Back-links are like currency to guest bloggers, therefore writing for your site presents them with an opportunity to access some of your traffic and vice-versa. Linking to a site high in organic traffic can be advantageous, however, you’ll only benefit from it if the subject of your blog is relevant to that site. The short-term implications may not be apparent whilst your blog is still in the developmental stages, however, it could adversely affect your site’s authority (as ranked by search engines) after you’ve spent months tweaking SEO.

According to SEO Moz, Google achieved in excess of 3 billion searches per day in 2011 (up 17% on the previous year), signalling a dramatic increase in the demand for static information. While it cannot be broken down to represent the number of people searching for blog content alone, it does tally with the increases in traffic reported by the likes of ProBlogger and SEO Moz. Qualified traffic is only achieved with natural, relevant links, therefore linking back to an authoritative blog in the same niche could potentially improve your own page rank and authority.

Opening Your Blog To Guest Bloggers

As mentioned previously, opening your blog to guest authors can be a potentially lucrative move, and especially useful if you’re keen to drive targeted traffic to your site. Whether this is right for you is largely dependant upon the developed status of your blog; your ability to return the favour at a later date, and your capacity to cope with the ensuing traffic/ commenters as a result.

Author Bio:– Jack Samuelson is a contributing author who writes articles on numerous subjects. He has a wide range of interests, and a soft spot for weird news and funny stories funny stories. He has been an insightful observer of the world but always tries to balance his commitment to serious issues concentrating on some less serious, funny news. My Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/jack.samuelson.54

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