The Advantages of Guest Posting

“Since I’m not trying to build a blog, how does contributing to other blogs help me as a freelance writer?” a friend of mine asked recently.

We were talking about the pros and cons of guest posting. Most frequently, guest posting is hailed as a way to build traffic for your site–it exposes you to a new audience, and the goal is for them to enjoy your writing enough to then go visit your site and become readers.

But what if, like my friend, you don’t have a blog that you’re trying to drive traffic to? Is guest posting still worth your time?

My answer was a solid yes. While I think every freelancer needs a website, whether or not you need a blog depends on your client base. This particular friend writes mostly for magazines–while editors might want to see her unedited writing, her personal blog should give them enough to judge her style without the need for a dedicated “freelancing blog.” Instead, her site shares her credentials and her portfolio.

Improved SEO

Guest posting does a lot more than send readers to your blog or website. First, it improves your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The way that SEO works, the more keyword-link backs you have to your site, the higher it will come up in Google search results for those keywords. Most blogs that allow guest posts allow you to link back to your own site. By carefully choosing the phrasing of your bio, you can create links back to your site for the keywords you’re trying to target. That results in your site being easier to find, which in turn makes it easier for you to get paying assignments.

It’s a Great Way to Network

Guest posting on blogs is a fantastic way to network (although you can network almost as well without guest posting if you just leave really  good comments). Offering to guest post for a fellow freelancer helps you establish relationships with others in the field–I met several of my closest freelance buddies online. These are women that I’ve learned incredible amounts from and who I’ve benefited time and time again from knowing. Guest posting helps them out because it means they don’t have to create new content; so long as your post is relevant for their audience and in the right voice, it makes their lives easier.

That said, the best way to network is if you find a blog written for your target audience. The readers who comment on your guest post will be potential clients–you can interact with them and begin to build valuable relationships.

“Touch” Your Target Customers

Marketing research has shown that most customers need to be exposed to a brand seven times before they’re prepared to purchase something from that company. Marketing is what you do to make a sale possible. If you choose to guest post on the right blogs, it also serves as one of those seven “touches,” exposing your brand to your target customer and positioning you as an expert in your field.

For someone like my friend, who mostly writes for magazines, her target is magazine editors. So she needs to find the type of blogs editors read–blogs on editing, writing, grammar, or if she’s targeting editors focusing on health, for example, she could guest post on health focused blogs. If those editors have already read her writing and are familiar with her name before she pitches a story to them, it significantly improves the chances that she’ll get an assignment.

Image credit: Image from here.
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