The win-win of guest blogging

The thorny subject of ghost-writing on corporate blogs gets a lot of coverage these days (because we, the blogosphere, love controversy), but there is little mention of guest blogging, ie. getting a respected blogger to post an article on your blog. If you run a corporate blog, this is a great way to generate great content and attract good quality, on-target links.

Who should write for you?
Ideally look to the influencial bloggers in your industry. If you have a PR department, they may be able to help you locate who these people are. If not, check Google Blog Search, Technorati or poke around on Twitter. Many trade/industry journalists now blog (either as part of their magazine or on their own). If you’re lucky enough to have an ecosystem of consultants – think of tapping this crowd. They are knowledgeable, they understand the market, and often welcome the opportunity to align themselves with suppliers.

What’s in it for them?
Check out this post from Colin Becker, an expert blogger recently asked to guest. A big selling point is the exposure. Blogging can be a thankless task and at times you feel like you are the lone voice in wilderness (believe me). From a bloggers perspective, it’s great to be able to get the message out across a new network (and hopefully pick up some new readers in the process). A guest blogger will also often push their bio and the link back to their own blog. Great for their self-promotion and SEO.

What’s in it for you?
It’s tough generating regular content to keep a blog going, especially if you are tapping experts within your organization (who are often among the most in-demand individuals). Using guest bloggers can ease the load. By pulling together experts to guest blog, you also help position your blog as a vehicle for thought leadership in your given field. The blogger will also usually mention that they are guesting on your blog and provide a link. This is great for your self-promotion and SEO.

Any pitfalls?
Make sure you pick experts who are at least aligned with where you are coming from. For example, a Michelin-rated chef may be an inappropriate choice for a fast food chain. Beyond that, remember that your guest blogger is writing under your masthead: make sure you don’t tie yourself to someone with a reputation for shoddy business dealings. Make sure you check them out and ensure the match is a good one.

You may incur the wrath (or at least questions) from your PR department. This recently came up for me in conjunction with using guest bloggers to cover an event. The question was “why shouldn’t we ask them to post on their own blog?” This made sense given that PR is interested in the external exposure. For my part, I knew that we would get more content by asking them to blog for us than they would otherwise generate for themselves (for the reasons above). Also, the content generally will end up on the expert blog, even if it just a reference pointing back to their post on your corporate blog. For our event, one of the bloggers actually even took the step of adding the content he wrote for our blog to his RSS feed so his audience could pick it up that way.

You will need to monitor the content to make sure it adheres to your blogging guidelines (even if the blogger is well aligned with your business). Make sure they are adding value and not just seeing it as a promotional tool for themselves. In addition, I’d recommend adding a blurb (either at the top or bottom of each post) that makes it clear the content is from a guest – not someone within your organization.

Find guest bloggers now!
So, if you have blogs that you are struggling to maintain or are looking to increase visibility, think about reaching out to guest bloggers. Just make sure the match is right and you have an editorial process in place.

Oh, and BTW, if it’s not clear already, I’m available to guest 😉

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