Guest blogging is very popular right now. There is a lot of debate about whether it will continue to be a good SEO practice, but it is hard to argue that guest blogging is a great way to build up a lot of content.
Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing has one of the most successful and informative blogs in marketing and he uses a lot of guest bloggers. So when I go the chance to interview Heinz I was very excited to talk to him about guest blogging.
What was his advice for choosing guest bloggers?
How to Choose Guest Bloggers
Heinz suggested that when you choose guest writers for your site or blog, you should look for a couple things. First, look for people who understand that fundamental relationship of content and customer. Look for people who already have a track record of creating content or speaking or writing about issues that the customer cares about. Look for good bloggers—you want people who can actually communicate fairly well. Finally, look for people who have a unique voice—people who aren’t reiterating what everyone else is saying. You want people who are going to have a unique point of view.
In addition, Heinz said you should look for people who may already have a following. Think about what a guest writer’s readers might do when the writer promotes your content on their blog. The hope is that the guest writer’s audience will bring new customers to your site. You want the guest writer to bring you traffic and help new people discover you who hadn’t seen you before.
Try to find a guest writer who is influential in their industry, stated Heinz. This will help your website rise in search engine rankings. Google is slowly decreasing its priority of inbound link volume and increasing the priority of quality links from known influences. If you can get already influential people in their category to guest post for you, and then those guests point back to your blog, Google will like that. It will help your organic search.
When looking for guest bloggers, Heinz encouraged us to go after those people who you want to contribute based on the content they create, the audience they represent, and how well you know they’re going to resonate with your audience. You may get requests for people who want to post content on your site. Some of them may have great content, and some you may accept, but the majority you may actually end up politely declining for a variety of reasons. Often, the content isn’t very good. In many cases, it’s thinly veiled advertising pitches for a product they’re trying to sell. It’s just link bait to drive in-bound links for a product or service that has nothing to do with the content they’re creating for you. The key is, every time, to come back to who your audience is, what they care about, and what they want to see. If you do that really well, then you’re going to continue to earn the loyalty and readership of those who come back to you.
Heinz explained that people should be open to different perspectives on voice and tone. You should have general guidelines for etiquette, quality of writing, and respectful tone that you want to maintain in your content, but beyond that, even from a topic standpoint, some degree of freedom is good. The variety of topics you offer should speak to the audience with which you typically work. For example, you might work with clients who are thinking about sales, marketing, budgets, content, and PR. Some might be more focused on marketing than sales. The more you address the broader needs that organizations have from a go-to-market strategy in terms of building an entire holistic sales and marketing funnel, the better off you’re going to be.
Even though your business may be very focused on a specific area of your industry, there are issues outside of that about which your customers care. They’re thinking about PR or marketing. They’re thinking about a variety of other topics that you do for your business and on which work with your clients. Being able to speak about those topics on a blog is a great way to show your expertise on the breadth of content, as well as attract new readers and new leads.