Inbound marketing is obviously anything that pulls someone in and generates traffic and/or leads through marketing initiatives and related content. Inbound marketing typically includes things like websites, ebooks, emails, social media, and blogging. And if you really want to get the most out of the blogging portion of your inbound marketing strategy, you need to leverage guest blogging.
What is Guest Blogging as an Inbound Marketing Tool?
At its core, guest blogging is the strategy of creating blog posts on another company or blogger’s website. Guest blogging is a mutually beneficial strategy whereby the company/blogger gets free content to populate their blog and the guest blogger gains access to a new audience and/or generates backlinks that amplify the search rankings of their own website.
Guest blogging is essentially an investment in networking, though it also requires some copywriting skills and basic understanding of SEO. The more authoritative and relevant the publisher’s website is, the more value you reap.
But Wait…Didn’t Google Stick a Fork in Guest Blogging?
If you’re already familiar with the term “guest blogging,” you’re probably slightly mystified. After all, you’ve heard people say things like “guest blogging is dead!”
You may have even read a 2014 post by Google’s Matt Cutts where he wrote, “So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy…I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a link building strategy.”
So why are we still talking about guest blogging. Isn’t it an obsolete relic from the past?
Well, not exactly.
While Google did put an end to spammy guest blog posting tactics, it’s been very clear that high-quality, authentic guest blogging is alive and well. Google wants – even craves – quality content. If you’re producing high-quality content that’s relevant to the publishing site, you won’t run into any trouble at all.
The Benefits of Guest Blogging as an Inbound Marketing Tool
When guest blogging best practices are followed, they yield numerous benefits to the guest blogger. These include perks like:
Increased Reach and Exposure
When you publish a piece of content on your own blog, your traffic and view numbers are limited by the size of your own audience. If you only have a reach of 10,000 people, it’s impossible to reach any more than this. (And in all likelihood, just a tiny fraction of this audience will actually visit/read your onsite blog post.)
When you publish a post on a guest blog, you instantly add an entirely new audience into the mix. Not only can you share the link to the post with your own audience, but you’re able to tap into the people who regularly visit the site where your post is published. (And if your post is good enough, the blog might even share your content on social media, which increases exposure even more.)
Direct Referral Traffic
Reach and exposure are nice, but you ultimately want to funnel people back to your website. A well-optimized guest blog post will direct referral traffic back to your pages and give you an opportunity to generate leads.
Boost in Search Rankings
One of the primary goals of guest blogging is to generate backlinks. And one of the top benefits of backlinks is that they enhance search rankings and boost your website’s SEO profile. And the more authoritative the referring website, the more SEO “juice” you get in return.
It’s not all about branding, conversions, or SEO. The act of guest blogging is also an investment in professional networking. As you pursue and secure guest blogging opportunities, you’ll simultaneously build relationships with powerful and successful people in the industry.
Social Proof and Clout
Imagine being able to say you’ve been “featured in XYZ Publication.” When you write a guest blog post for a prominent website, you can tout it as social proof and build clout with your audience. That’s exposure you can’t buy!
Give Your Inbound Marketing Tools a Boost
Guest blogging requires tremendous patience and discipline. It’s not something that generates overnight results or a quick influx of traffic. However, when you commit to it over a period of weeks, months, and years, it’s known to generate profound results and tangible benefits (such as the ones outlined in this article).
If you’re unable to shoulder the burden of consistent guest blogging on your own, you can always hire a guest blogging service to spearhead this element of your inbound marketing strategy on your behalf. Again, this will come with some up front cost, but will generate significant ROI down the road.