The 8 biggest myths about guest posting
Don't believe everything you hear about guest posting. Columnist Timothy Carter discusses the top myths surrounding guest posting and how you can tap into its rewards.
To date, guest posting has been one of the most efficient and beneficial long-term strategies for either content marketing or SEO. The premise is simple, and approachable even for an amateur: use a personal brand to get your work published on various high-authority publishers, and reap the rewards of authority, visibility and traffic for your brand.
Unfortunately, a number of persistent myths are circulating about guest posting in the modern era. These are eight of the most egregious ones I’ve found:
1. Guest posting is dead (or dying).
I’ve seen a number of posts and claims that guest posting is a “dead” strategy, even from some authoritative sources (Google’s Matt Cutts comes to mind). But the fact is, guest posting is alive and well.
It certainly doesn’t work the way it used to — publisher standards are tougher; links don’t pass authority in the same way; and content competition is fiercer — but it can still be tapped for a massive benefit. Otherwise, you’d be seeing far fewer posts in your own news feeds.
2. You need an existing reputation to start.
Guest posting isn’t necessarily easy to break into, but you don’t need a pre-existing reputation to get started — otherwise, how would anyone get started?
The downside: If you don’t have a reputation, you have to start small, getting featured on small businesses’ blogs in your area or working with local publishers to start building some credibility. It won’t pay off much at first, but you need a foundation before you can start reaping the real rewards.
3. It’s too much work.
It’s true that guest posting is a lot of work, and it demands significant upfront investment before you get to levels that reliably pay back your efforts. However, if you’re investing your time wisely (i.e., working with the right publishers, polishing your pieces, forming a long-term strategy), all your work will pay for itself in time.
It’s a lucrative, high-ROI strategy — but only if you have the patience to see it through.
4. It only benefits the individual.
Because guest posting often leverages the power of a personal brand, rather than a corporate one, there’s a misconception that guest posting can only benefit individuals.
However, individuals working on behalf of businesses can generate secondary reputation value — and earn more consumer trust — by leading the publication of the posts.
5. Guidelines are all the same.
Every publisher is unique, so it’s a mistake to think that once you’ve familiarized yourself with one set of guidelines, you know them all.
You’ll have to customize your content strategy for every publisher you work with, in choosing the right topics, writing for the right audience and formatting your posts correctly. This isn’t a step you can gloss over.
6. It’s not a scalable strategy.
Scaling a strategy is rarely easy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. There’s this misconception that there’s an invisible wall when it comes to the authoritativeness of your chosen publishers — that you can’t get yourself featured on higher-level sources once you reach a certain point.
However, this perspective is usually the one adopted by people who attempted a higher-level publisher once, got rejected and gave up.
You have to work hard to move up the ladder, and you won’t get into every publication you want.
7. You can dabble in guest posting.
Guest posting isn’t a peripheral strategy you can pick up or “dabble in” here or there; if you want to see any significant return, you have to fully invest yourself in the strategy.
You have to make sure every post you publish is unique and high-quality; you have to publish on a regular basis to maintain all of your active relationships; and you have to keep pushing higher if you want to see bigger and better results. That takes commitment — and a lot of invested time.
8. Your job is done when the post is published.
I’ve seen guest posting proponents who suffer from this misconception. It takes a lot of work to get a piece published, so once it goes live, you might feel like your job is complete.
However, if you want to see even better results, you can still do the work of promoting and syndicating the piece. Engage with your commenters and your audience, and use your personal and professional social media channels to get more visibility for yourself; there are always ways to get more value out of a piece.
I won’t argue that guest posting is a flawless strategy, or that it’s ideal for every business, but these myths prevent a lot of people who would benefit from guest posting from actually pursuing the strategy.
If you can move past these myths and see the bottom-line value of the approach, I think you’ll agree that its benefits are well worth the effort.