Do you get emails from content marketers offering to give you articles to publish on your website?
Sometimes these can seem suspicious because they come from an unfamiliar email. And so I thought this was a good time to review the opportunity that guest articles offer to business websites.
Is it on-topic?
A client of ours just got approached to see if they’d run a guest post on their blog. The article offered is on a relevant topic to their area of expertise. So that’s an easy first step.
Why Guest Posts can be good
There are two sides to guest articles – one is to be the writer and the other is to invite others to write for you.
I see any invitation to guest post as a very positive step for a business website.
Firstly, the writer recognises your brand is an expert on this topic. And they also see that you have an audience for these things (that’s the power of marketing and social media). Our client got their approach after using the hashtag #growthhack on some social media updates – this brought them to the attention of the writer.
Here’s what I wrote to my client who had been approached
“My view is that if a guest can submit an article that’s ready to publish on this topic we can give him a platform, while introducing the topic appropriately as being a “guest writer” or similar.”
The bigger picture on guest articles
As a professional business you need to be cautious about accepting articles because of brand value alignment and the potential for the unscrupulous to use your respected website for inappropriate means.
But if you are a business seeking to grow your audience, finding an aligned partner who accepts your articles in a reciprocal arrangement and who is not a media outlet (newspaper or social media site) this is a very good idea.
When their audience sees and reads your opinion, they may be enticed to get in touch and buy your services.
What if their views don’t match your own?
Any topic has more than one point of view. The mature, business approach is to be balanced. If your website is seen as a trusted resource, it can also be a platform to amplify the public discussion on these matters. These do not have to be the opinion of you or your staff.
If you choose, you can write a response to the guest article putting the opposing point of view. This could start a public discussion on the matter.
Things to ask the guest writer
You need reassurance about the quality of the writer and their authority and expertise.
- How many people have they got on Linked In following?
- Would they mail a link to the article when it’s published on our site to their contacts?
- If we get any comments, will they make themselves available to answer them?
Be prepared to check
- Audience alignment
- Brand profile compared to yours
- Web traffic on their site compared to yours is sizeable and suitable
- Link-backs are allowed (this builds SEO)
- Discuss if payment is to be made
- Discuss attribution and whether they will be identified as a guest writer
Your marketing or PR agency can help you find suitable partners for joint marketing promotions – we ran these for Hushamok who sell baby crib hammocks using Facebook online contests and very successfully gained brand awareness, direct sales and also grew their newsletter subscriber audience.
In summary, I see this as a very positive, independent verification of your marketing positioning and wide reach into the global audience for your area of expertise.