The Ultimate Guide to Creating an Effective Guest Posting Strategy – 10 Essentials
Creating content for businesses and websites can be an around-the-clock endeavor. When it comes to staying on top of the latest trends, advertising your product, or producing educational resources, it’s sometimes challenging to fill in all of the gaps. As a result, many organizations and marketing teams turn to guest posts to provide helpful and engaging content.
Guest post services offer a unique opportunity to contribute additional content by leveraging a network of seasoned writers and professionals in a given niche. While there are some important best practices to follow, these collaborations can serve a vital role in an organization’s content strategy.
In this post, we’ll break down what guest posting is, how to leverage these posts for maximum impact, and how to drive quality traffic to blogs and websites. Each of these sections will illustrate why guest posting still matters for modern marketing efforts.
What is Guest Posting?
Guest posting is often referred to as guest blogging, and it refers to the act of contributing a well-written piece to another website or blog in an effort to build connection, exposure, and links.
While guest posting has been around for many years, plenty of blogs and websites still incorporate quality guest posts in their regular editorial calendars. One of the most defining aspects about guest posting is that it’s often used as a mutually beneficial tool for the writer and receiver. Each party has the chance to take advantage of the other’s audience and area of expertise.
Although there are numerous guest posting networks available, the process often takes place organically. Many times, guest posts are initiated through one-on-one outreach, or when brand representatives decide to collaborate on larger projects.
Why Do Brands Use Guest Posting?
Guest posting can offer a variety of benefits, both to the author of the post and to the business that hosts the content on its website. Brands might choose to allow guest posting for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:
- The need to contribute additional content to the blog or website
- Availability within the editorial calendar and a lack of time to commit to content creation
- Offering readers and followers an outside voice or perspective
- Building authority within an industry by including experts and other voices
- Using the opportunity to work collaboratively with other brands or services
Benefits of guest posting
In addition to the reasons why brands choose to take advantage of guest posting projects, there are many benefits for contributors as well. These include:
- Increased traffic to one’s own site or business using links and CTAs
- The opportunity to increase shares or views on social media
- A chance to strengthen personal backlinks for search engine rankings
- The ability to enhance one’s content marketing strategies as a result of outside feedback
Overall, guest posting can help both parties build authority, gain exposure, and enhance credibility when it comes to keywords and search engine results.
Where to Find Guest Posting Opportunities
Whether you’re interested in submitting or receiving guest posts, you need to know where to look. Fortunately, a few simple searches online can reveal hundreds of opportunities to share content. Keep in mind that some businesses have windows of time in which they’ll accept new content, and they may also enforce specific guidelines to maintain brand credibility.
If you’re motivated to do a little digging, guest posting opportunities are just about everywhere. Not sure where to begin? Here’s a few tips for getting started:
- Take a look at your favorite sites or blogs and scan content for any guest post contributions. If they’re present, what kind of qualifications do the authors have?
- Use tools like Link Explorer to check out sites with rich backlinks from guest posts.
- Join guest posting networks to pursue open opportunities by industry or niche.
- Connect with similar brands on social media to start engaging with current content and to keep an eye out for available opportunities.
10 Essentials of a Winning Guest Posting Strategy
Whether you’re investing time in crafting the perfect guest post, or if you’re on the receiving end of a guest contribution, it’s likely that you want to get the most benefit out of the hard work involved.
The areas outlined below will help ensure that your guest posts are not only top-notch, but that they’re consistently beneficial to each party.
When accepting guest opportunities, make sure to establish guidelines and requirements that adhere to your overall SEO strategy. After all, if the content eventually lives on your website or blog, it should contribute in some way to your optimization goals.
One of the main ways to boost search engine results with guest posting is through the inclusion of quality backlinks. Google’s algorithm favors high quality content with strong domain authority, and linking back to reputable sites can boost these ratings. It’s therefore important that links in guest posts come from reputable, trustworthy sites and contributors.
2. Google Analytics
Google Analytics provides one of the most in-depth looks at how your website content is performing. Not only can you survey and analyze organic traffic, but you can also monitor other important metrics like goal conversions.
Encourage guest post contributors to use strong calls to action (CTAs) and other messaging that aligns with your brand. Then, take a look at how these posts are performing or converting by using your company’s GA dashboard. If the posts have high rates of success, you may request more content from certain contributors in the future.
3. Lead generation
One of the key components to high quality guest posting is establishing authority. Whenever you receive guest post inquiries, explore what kind of content swaps and collaborations are available. If the other contributor or business is open, submit a quality piece that showcases your business as a thought leader or industry expert.
In doing so, members of the audience may engage with your company’s own inbound marketing funnel and convert to a lead. Since you never know where these opportunities could go, it’s important not to discount them before attempting to build a bridge to lead generation.
4. Digital marketing
Guest posts should always fit nicely into an overall content strategy, and the content should be seamless and cohesive. Random guest posts that don’t align with a blog’s tone, focus, or standards can be distracting and confusing. It’s therefore important to set high standards and always maintain careful editing practices.
Additionally, if you choose to write or accept guest posts, be clear about your specific goals. For instance:
- What do you hope to accomplish with guest posting?
- How many guest posts will you accept or pitch in a given time period?
- What branding or style guide elements are non-negotiable?
- How will you incorporate guest contributions into the inbound marketing funnel?
- What SEO knowledge do you need for a successful guest post strategy?
These questions are important to discuss prior to accepting or sending submissions, and it’s vital that the entire marketing team is on board.
5. Affiliate marketing
Occasionally, guest post contributors will aim to include affiliate links in guest post submissions. These links are used to make affiliate sales when a reader clicks on a link and then makes an eventual purchase. Although this sounds like a profitable opportunity, there are many red flags and special considerations when it comes to guest posts and affiliate linking.
For one, some affiliate networks have rules dictating how and when links can be used. Violating these terms could lead to account suspension or cancellation. In general, the guest post contributor is responsible for understanding specific rules related to their personal affiliate links.
Even so, it may be more beneficial to play it safe. There’s no need to face a Google penalty as a result of misleading links that may come across as spam. Additionally, always be sure to protect your own audience from improper targeting.
6. Content marketing
Successful guest posting always relates back to having a rich understanding of an organization’s content marketing goals. In many ways, this aspect of guest posting is incredibly relational. Although guest posting takes place online, the process is still focused on the development of quality professional connections with others who have similar goals.
To truly contribute to the content marketing efforts of another site, guests posts should always incorporate elements such as:
- Extra value to the reader or audience that they wouldn’t receive otherwise
- A well-written guest author byline or short biography
- Relevant and helpful internal links to the host site and other resources
- An invitation to engage further, with an optional download or strong CTA
7. White hat link building
In marketing, the term “white hat” refers to the most ethical practices in a digital marketing initiative. Most of the time, best practices are determined by industry. Within the realm of content marketing, white hat stands in opposition to black hat, which refers to what you should not do.
Black hat tactics include shady and otherwise poor practices such as:
- Using spam or other methods of illegal advertisement
- Illegally buying or selling content, including backlinks to other sites
- Implementing bots to offer fake engagement on social media and other platforms
When accepting guest posts, white hat practices are a must. Set the standard high for your own marketing team and for any guest contributors that you choose to work with.
8. Optimized anchor text
Anchor text includes the clickable words of phrases that are visible to a reader as they peruse an article. The anchor text is actually a hyperlink to another site or source. These are used frequently both for in-house blog content and guest posts.
Believe it or not, anchor text can play a critical role within the Google search algorithm. If your team has a dedicated SEO specialist, that individual can help fine tune the anchor text so that it aligns with Google’s standards for keywords, backlinking, and annotation.
9. Domain authority
Domain authority (DA) is a numeric value given to websites that predicts how well each site performs in search engine results. Many websites choose to work with guest post contributors with similar or higher DA scores. This includes websites above a certain threshold, which can be a score of 60 and above.
When considering guest post guidelines, domain authority might not be one of the first things you consider. However, if you have an interest in how content ranks in search engines, you may wish to get more exclusive with your DA requirements.
10. Avoiding Google penalties
Some businesses are skeptical about guest posting due to the reported Google penalties that take place on some guest post submissions.
Although there’s no official statement from Google, users should expect that the search engine would not reward sites that ignore best practices. This underscores the need to decline any paid linking opportunities, as this is not an ethical practice when it comes to Google’s algorithm.
Tips for Driving Traffic and Leads with Guest Posts
As you’ve hopefully learned in this guide, guest posting can be a powerful way to expand content, build authority, form relationships, and convert new leads. These actions are vital to inbound marketing, and fortunately, they’re well-supposed by the evidence. In fact, 62% of blog readers find blogs with multiple authors to be more credible.
To start driving traffic and leads, take the time to:
- Craft an open-minded, collaborative guest posting strategy
- Define content standards and branding requirements
- Accept submissions that provide extra value, authority, and thought leadership
- Stick to “white hat” and industry best practices only
Incorporate Guest Posting Into Your Inbound Marketing Strategy
Strong content marketing requires in-depth knowledge of several principles that each contribute to brand success. Now that you know more about the benefits of guest posting, you may want to incorporate this tool within your content strategy.
The team at Striventa can help you craft a path to content marketing success. As you move your customers through each staying of the buying journey, our experts will help you incorporate new elements and trends to ensure that your content is helpful, authoritative, and engaging.
Reserve your free Discovery Session today to learn more about Striventa’s content marketing services.