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Feb. 23, 2015

98: Guest Blogging is Here to Stay: Respect the Content and the Creators

98: Guest Blogging is Here to Stay: Respect the Content and the Creators

Some people say that guest blogging is dead, but Neal Schaffer disagrees. Content curation is a great way to have enough content to share, and it’s beneficial for both business and the content creators. How? This week, Neal talks about the importance of building those relationships between brands and influencers: how organizations can strategically partner with bloggers, and work with them to create a mutually beneficial relationship that leverages each of their networks.

Key Highlights

[01:40] Two Parts of Social Media

[02:09] What is Guest Blogging?

[02:36] Why Blog Owners of Businesses Want to Have Guest Bloggers

[03:17] Looking at Guest Posting in Two Different Aspects

[05:35] The ROI of Blogging

[07:00] Save Your Best Content for Blog

[07:32] What to Look for in a Guest Blogger

[08:56] Why I Created Maximize Your Social Business

[10:40] Stick to Unique Content

[12:18] Guest Blogging for Brands

[12:37] It's All About Food Chain

Notable Quotes

  • We all know that social media is the convergence of information and communication.
  • Guest blogging, in essence, is the curation of original content for your own website. Now, that content isn't necessarily authored by you can be authored by someone else. 
  • And blog owners or businesses with blogs want to have guest bloggers because it helps lessen the burden of content creation, and it's part of a social media program that is probably going to be the most time or resource-intensive part of your operation.
  • You want to work your way up the food chain, because people don't scale your time is limited. And if you can only have time to write one or two guest posts a month, you want to do it, where you're going to get the most bang for your buck, or in this case, bang for your content to your time. 
  • I really want to have my best content, I maximize social business, but every once in a while if a company reaches out to me, and I haven't guest posted for them before, I will do that if I think it helps me yield thought leadership. You know, it opens up a new crowd to me, and it helps me build a relationship with that company. I'm all about relationships, and that's sort of my background in b2b sales and that's what's helped carry me far in social media.
  • And when I do things, I want to do things big, you know, I think it was pro blogger Darren Rose, who said, Whenever you guest blog, you want to save your best content for guest blogs, because that's where you reach a new audience.
  • You want a guest blogger that is obviously an expert in what they do. You want them to write about content that's relevant to your site. And hopefully, you want them to be so proud of their content, that they're going to share it as well, so that you get to access this new network.
  • And so it really got me thinking and when I started getting more and more of these requests, I thought to myself, you know, I don't want a one night stand with content creators. It leaves no value for a blog to have just one contribution from one person.
  • Well, by all of us getting together and sharing each other's content, through our unique networks, we can reach just a broader audience. And it's about the platform. And that's where I went from window networking to maximize social business when I realized that it wasn't my blog anymore. 
  • And this is the thing that sort of got me about guest blogging, from, you know, the flip side, obviously, you want to work your way up the food chain, and you want to guest posts on bigger, bigger sites, but at the end of the day, you're feeding the content machine of someone else. 
Transcript

Neal Schaffer:

Welcome to maximize your social, actionable 10 minute advice on how your business can maximize your social media presence. Now, the host of maximize your social social media author, speaker, consultant, founder of maximize social business, the Social Media Center of Excellence, and the social tools Summit, Neal Schaffer. This is Neal Schaffer, welcome to another episode of maximize your social wherever you are in the world. I am at my office here in Orange County, California. Last week, I was at the social media strategy summit in Las Vegas really great event, I did the closing keynote on something new that I haven't talked about. But I'm excited to share new content about about future proofing your social media program. And you'll be hearing a lot more about that in the near future. I was hoping to get an interview or two while I was there, but it was just, you know, you go to a social media conference. And it's just a crazy time, right meeting. A lot of great folks a lot of great content. And well, those memories, unfortunately, will not make it to this podcast. But the experiences obviously live on in everything that I share. Today, I want to talk about an email that I got. And I know I've been promising you some information, this part to social selling podcasts, which is going to come but I always like to keep these podcasts fresh by dealing with, you know, clients or questions or things that happen in the world of social media over the last few days. So a few days ago, I got an email now, the topic for today is guest posting. This is a blogging topic. We all know that social media is the convergence of information and communication. And when I talked that social media strategy summit, I said, Okay, let's break it down into two easy parts, right? Its content, and its communication slash engagement. So there's the content side, there's content curation, when you want to share a lot of content, and you don't have enough of your own content to share or you don't want to just be talking about yourself, or maybe you want to amplify the voice of your fans or whatever it might be right, there's a need for curation. Guest. Blogging, in essence is the curation of original content for your own website. Now, that content isn't necessarily authored by you can be authored by someone else. We all know from an SEO perspective that, you know, people want to guest blog, because they want to get that link going back to their site that's usually included in the bio, though it could be included within the text of a blog post. And blog owners or businesses with blogs want to have guest bloggers because it helps lessen the burden of content creation, and it's part of a social media program that is probably going to be the most time or resource intensive part of your operation. So that's sort of the background of guest posting. And there are sites where you can hire guest blog posts, you can obviously, instead of doing it that way, you can hire ghost writers, which some companies do. But you know, guest posting is sort of here to stay. I know, Google had announced that, you know, we're going to look down on guest posting, and there's a lot of confusion in the marketplace. But let me tell you this, the guest posting is alive and well. Okay, now, I want to look at guest posting from two different aspects from the aspects of you, whoever you are, of writing a blog post for someone else. And the flip side, if you're a business, having people write blog posts for you. Now, this email I got is interesting, I wrote a guest post for a company. And to be honest with you, I'm so busy with what I do. And there's so much content I want to create for my own brand, I don't do as much guest posting as I used to do. Now, this brings up the concept of the food chain, right? When you're just getting started, and someone contacts you for an interview, or someone puts you on a top 100 list, or you know, you have an opportunity to to to blog somewhere else you do it because you want to get your name out there, right. And that makes total sense. But as you get your name out there, you start thinking well, I can guest post on this site that really doesn't have much traffic, it has, you know, a very, very low Google PageRank, it just doesn't seem to yield that much influence. Or I can guest post on a site that has more influence and you sort of work, you want to work your way up the food chain, because people don't scale your time is limited. And if you can only have time to write one or two guest posts a month, you want to do it, where you're going to get the most bang for your buck, or in this case, bang for your content to your time. So that's really the background of you know, guest posting now my whole concept because I could guest posts on a lot of different sites I choose not to, I really want to have my best content, I maximize social business, but every once in awhile if a company reaches out to me, and I haven't guest posted for them before, I will do that if I think it helps me yield thought leadership. You know, it opens up a new crowd to me, and it helps me build a relationship with that company. I'm all about relationships, and that's sort of my background in b2b sales and And that's what's helped carry me far in social media. It's also sort of the defining value, I have an electric guest blog, and then I'll get to that near the end of this podcast. So the email I got, I wanted to reach out to you let you know that we've done some and I'm reading email. Obviously, we've done some analysis of our guests blogging program at your post was by far our most successful, it received over 5000, pageviews and 1000 social shares. In addition, the post touched over 600 of the leads in our database and generated 30 new leads. Thanks again for doing this. Those are pretty incredible stats. So if you question the ROI of blogging, obviously, you need to have this company probably has a you know HubSpot or something set up where they can see who is on their website, what content they're looking at. And finally, when they convert, where do they come from, and you know, their history of tracking or what have you. But you know, if you have that in place, it's pretty incredible to be able to generate this data that shows the ROI of having original content, even if that content wasn't created by you. In this case, it was created by me. So you can see from a company perspective, bringing fresh perspectives, I'm pretty active in social, I get to attract a new audience that hopefully will click back, learn more about me, become a customer of mine in the future, your thought leadership because I'm on their blog, and they get incredible ROI. Because this new content, and maybe because I shared it a great deal on social and have a large social following, maybe that helped them establish more thought leadership as well within their own Prospect database, right. And I may be introduced new people as well, that weren't users of whatever software they have. But you get the feeling that people ask about the ROI of blogging that don't get it. This is like the most concrete case study I can offer you for one blog post of I don't know, 1000 words, or whatever it might have been. So I'm really happy to have been able to contribute that. And when I do things, I want to do things big, you know, I think it was pro blogger Darren Rose, who said, Whenever you guest blog, you want to save your best content for guest blogs, because that's where you reach a new audience. And hopefully, you're guest blogging on a site that has influence. So this was a success from their perspective. And from my perspective, now, if you as a business, or maybe you're a small business owner, whatever position you may be in, and you want to start recruiting guest bloggers, you run into a problem, because ideally, you want a guest blogger that is obviously an expert in what they do. You want them to write about content that's relevant to your site. And hopefully, you want them to be so proud of their content, that they're going to share it as well, so that you get to access this new network. And even you know, from from employee advocacy data, we know that there's usually very little overlap between a brand social following and their employees, chances are, any guest blogger out there has a different social following than your brand social following. And there's probably very little overlap as well, I'm just gonna generalize on that. But I think generally that is true. So it really comes down to choosing the right person. And probably, if you're a company, or you have a blog, you get pinged by lots of people saying, hey, I want to contribute this article, or, you know, and you know, there's a lot of SEO companies that will go out there trying to get their clients content onto your website, there's a lot of fake people out there. And you know, these people just have a name and an email address, they don't even have a website, they don't even say they don't even sometimes give their full name. So there's a lot of anonymous people out there that you really want to try to avoid. It's all about, ideally, the relationship, because if they're successful once you want to have them again, right. And through that relationship, who knows what might happen, you may have found a great content writer that you can rely on for other projects for your company like ebooks and white papers, and so on, and so on. So that's why I created maximize social business. You know, I started out as an individual blog, I used to get guest blog post requests. And some of them didn't make sense. But when some of them pitched me a topic that I thought made sense, I had them guest blog, and then I got emails like, Hey, can you please delete out this backlink to our company? And maybe this was after the Google Penguin update. You know, Google sees this has been an irrelevant site to what we do. And it's because the content was relevant to my site. But the backlink went to some random, you know, moving company in Australia that just was trying to build backlinks. And so it really got me thinking and when I started getting more and more of these requests, I thought to myself, you know, I don't want a one night stand with content creators. It leaves no value for a blog to have just one contribution from one person. Unless they're, you know, if I could get a guest blog post from a Guy Kawasaki, or, you know, a Brian Solis it's one thing but if it's not of that caliber, it sort of I believe cheapens the blog. Especially when it's the To anonymous profiles, no matter how good the content is, Who are these people? Where are they in social media? What do they represent? Who are the companies they work for? Outside of, you know, the link that's in their profile. So that's where I embarked on really, you know, evolving from the old blog of women networking to maximize social business and saying, Hey, let's work together. The idea about guest blogging as you want to blog on a platform that's bigger than yours. Well, by all of us getting together and sharing each other's content, through our unique networks, we can reach just a broader audience. And it's about the platform. And that's where I went from window networking to maximize social business, when I realized that it wasn't my blog anymore. It was our blog, it was our platform. But today, I still stick to that mantra that says it's unique content. And it's a commitment. And I want that commitment to be at least a year. So I still get random emails, hey, I have this one piece of content, I'd love to, you know, share on your site. No, I don't want your content, I want a relationship. And through that relationship, I think bloggers are going to create the best content, and it's going to be more genuine, it's going to be more transparent, it's going to lead to better things in social media for your brand. So if you're thinking of having guest bloggers, that is sort of the route that I would take, and I'd really concentrate on that relationship and understand who they are and what their ROI is. Because I've had people sign up and maximize social business, the blog for over a year, and I've had some quit, like even after a month or three months saying, Sorry, you know, for whatever reason, now, I don't not trust these people, I trust each and every one of them. But on the other hand, I realized that you need to see the ROI, of guest blogging, otherwise, you're just going to stop doing and go to other sites or constantly on your own site. So I'm pretty passionate about, you know, showing the ROI to people of what they've done, and hopefully delivering ROI to them. And this is a great example of, you know, I've never had a brand reach out to me say, Hey, thanks for your guest blog post, this is this is the result of what you did for us, and actually show me the data. So you know, if I wanted to do it again, obviously, and they want me to do it, again, I can get pretty broad coverage and get a lot of people reading my content, which is a great thing. Now, that's if you're a brand and you want to bring on guest bloggers, and I'm not gonna say it's a best practice. Because, you know, it's part of an employee advocacy program, I'd love to see you, having your employees create content, I'd love to see your customers create content, your partners, you don't necessarily need to reach out to bloggers, but as part of an influencer marketing program, you know, having influencers guest blog for you, is one of the many things you can do. And you know, it may make sense to some company. So that's the guest blogging for brands. What about you, as a social media marketer, or whatever role you have in a company, or for yourself of guest blogging for others, once again, it's about that food chain and understanding where you are and always trying to get ROI from reaching a broader audience, look at the blogs, look at how they share the content of their contributors look at the site and you know, is there even an author bio for their computers? Is there like an author's page, I go to a lot of sites, where I see a guest blogger and site comm. I wonder, is there a list of all the different bloggers on the site, and there isn't even a list? Right? I think if you look at maximize social business, you'll see that every author is featured both on a widget on the side, on the front page on every page, actually, as well, as you know, there's actually a menu for the authors and the authors you see, there, obviously, are only the active authors. But even the inactive authors that have blogged in the past have, you know, robust BIOS at the bottom of all their blog posts. So that's something you need to ask yourself. The other thing is, when you guest blog, what is the ROI from the other side. And this is the thing that sort of got me about guest blogging, from, you know, the flip side, obviously, you want to work your way up the food chain, and you want to guest posts on bigger, bigger sites, but at the end of the day, you're feeding the content machine of someone else. Right, you're not part of a platform like maximize social business, which is, you know, the closest thing to a Kolhapur a commune, you're more like doing it. So that that business or person doesn't have to blog themselves. And therefore when you go to the site, is it overly blatantly promoting a person or a product? And do you want to be affiliated with that? Do you want to be part of that knowing that your content is working for the benefit of others? So when this business reached out to me with this email, it's like, wow, that's sort of one sided. Because if you think of the value that they got from the leads versus the value that I might have gotten from a few people subscribing to the RSS, my own website, there's an imbalance there, right? But obviously, it's PR for me, and there's a value in the PR and you need to weigh that right. So that's the other thing you need to think about is sort of the balances the fairness, the food chain, the ROI from the other side, and the relationships, right, making sure you pick the right places where you want to host your content content is precious, right? It's just as professionals, I always say with LinkedIn, our networks our most important assets As a content creator, where you publish your content is a critical aspect that you need to give a lot of thought to. So, you know, the net net of this podcast is that guest blogging is here to stay. Guest Blogging has ROI, both from a business slash brand perspective of recruiting others to blog for them, as well as for you if you are a blogger or a content creator. But hopefully, the parameters or framework or guidelines that I talked about in this podcast, will hopefully get you stopping from just randomly accepting or guest blogging when there's opportunities to being more and more strategic about it. And making sure you know, right now, and everybody loves content creators, because there's just a need for so much content. And businesses, like I said, just don't have the resources. And all they can pay to have a ghostwriter make something, they're always going to get a better result when they have a blogger with unique experiences with unique network that's going to also share that in social when they can provide that content. So you as a content creator, should demand more for your content. And businesses and brands should perhaps value content creators more than they currently do. And that's why with my own maximize social business, I try to be passionate about promoting the content creators, because I think they in the world of social and in the world of content marketing, they probably deserve a little bit more respect than what they're getting. So respect the content. Respect the content creators, maybe that's the net net of this podcast. Those are my thoughts. Like I said, this podcast, you know, we cover a wide range of things in the world of social media, the business of social media, if there's something you want me to talk about, hey, ping me, email me, I really appreciate all your comments. On iTunes, we had to relaunch this podcast on iTunes. So we lost a lot of reviews. If you were one of those people who wrote one of the reviews, I'd really be honored if if you could rewrite that review you had for me. Or if you've been listening to the podcast and find value in it. I would appreciate your comments and your sharing it and social media as well. But for this week, that's it for another episode of maximize your social and wherever you are in the world. Well, we're going to talk to you next week. But for now, make it a great social Day. Bye Bye, everybody. Thanks for listening to maximize your social. We appreciate all of your iTunes subscriptions, ratings and comments. If you would like to appear on the show or recommend content, please contact Neal Schaffer at Neal at maximize your social.com Please also make sure to check out Neil's new community, the Social Media Center of Excellence at social media ce o e.com. As well as Neil's first social media event, the social tools Summit, which will be in Boston on May 12. Thanks again and make it a social day.