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Christina Clemens4/7/15 4:36 PM5 min read

Why Guest Post? The Real ROI Behind Writing for Free


Guest Posting isn’t new – far from it. It’s a technique people and companies have used since the dawn of Blogdom to build their reputations, increase their reach, establish themselves as experts, and of course, build high-quality backlinks. In short, it’s Free Advertising that gives you street cred. So the real question is: How do backlinks and street cred help pay your bills?

Yep, this writer girl don’t work for free (and doesn’t think you should either), so there had better be some real ROI attached. Fortunately, there is.

How Guest Posting Feeds Your TOFU (Top of the Funnel)

When marketing a product or service, one of the first key steps is to build brand awareness. People won’t know they’re looking for you unless they first know you exist. Which means they can’t enter your sales funnel until they stumble across you…somewhere. Where? Good question. When deciding where to pitch your guest post idea, look for blogs and publications your Customer Personas read and with which they actively engage.

Oooooh, that’s a big one. You don’t just want blogs with big numbers, you want to publish your guest post on blogs with engagement. If someone approaches you to guest post, it’s okay to ask how many people actively sign up to follow their blog every month (we have a lot of signups, even though our blog is relatively small), how many comments they get on blog posts (if comments are enabled), and how people react when they share their content across various platforms (ours receive lots of upvotes on!).

This engaged, active audience is ripe for your TOFU because they’re the ones who will actually click your backlink.

And, since you selected blogs/publications that cater to your ideal customers, these leads are higher quality than you’ll likely find with other forms of online advertising you have to pay for.

Why Street Cred Raises Your Bottom Line (as a content writer)

If you’re a content marketer, you can also make money by writing for Free. Not directly of course, but when we look to hire writers for our internal marketing efforts, or our clients’ marketing efforts, we look for writers who have written elsewhere.  Back when I was pitching newspaper and magazine stories, I’d have a list of “clips” to show where I’d been published. Now I send a list of links. The more links I have to high-quality, high-authority, well-respected websites, the more I can charge for my work – because it’s proven. Don’t forget to publicize all of your guest posts on your Social Media accounts, repeatedly, to give your websites some additional reasons to ask you back.

Hint: Some of the very highly-paid content writers we’ve worked with have built up their Social Media following so much that it became a selling-point for their work. If you want to charge more for your work, get social.

Why Street Cred Raises Your Bottom Line (as a business)

If gaining exposure on blogs with engaged followers and/or massive amounts of followers isn’t enough to apply fingers to keyboard, maybe this is:

  • When you guest post great content on sites with engaged readers, and link to more great content, your site, you’ll increase your readership.
  • Those engaged readers will link to and share your content.
  • This gives your website authority, making it easier to find on SERPs.
  • This also gives you a pool of leads who think you’re cool, and with whom you’ve already built trust.
  • When they want to buy your solution, they’ll come to you all warmed up and ready to go.
  • When their friends want your solution, they’ll recommend you.
  • Result: You sell more.

For best results: Combine with a customer success program.

The Karma Factor

Me, I like to see ROI in the form of cold, hard cash. But, there’s another benefit to guest blogging that shouldn’t be ignored, even in the face of the almighty dollar: Karma. When you were developing your business, you learned a lot from the online community. You read their How-To posts and benefited from their hard-won wisdom. And now it’s your turn to pay it forward. Write about topics that you would have benefited from reading yourself – before you had to learn the hard way! Offer something of value. It’s not just good marketing. It’s good Karma.

Okay, okay, even good Karma has ROI, and here’s what it looks like:

When you build up authority through high quality content on good, reader-focused websites, when you do post good content on your own site, people will link to you.  You’ll earn visibility and gain the traffic and shares that come with it, which you can then bend to your own purposes on your own site.

How to Successfully Pitch a Guest Post

Okay, we’ve covered what’s in it for you, but to successfully pitch a guest post to any website (ours included) you have to be able to explain what’s in it for them.

You’ll need to understand:

  • Who the blog’s audience is
  • What they’re interested in learning/doing
  • Why they subscribe to the site (ie, why are they there?)

Then craft a post topic around those three points, and send the idea to the website in an email with at least one clip to something you’ve previously written. Not a writer? No problem. A lot of brilliant entrepreneurs use ghost-writers.

As publishers and marketers, we want our blog audience to be happy, not sold-to. So don’t treat this as an advertisement or cheap link bait. Quality content wins every time.

Want good guest blogging karma?

Guest Post On Inturact

A Word of Caution: If You’re Only Out to Rank, You’re Gonna Get Spanked

If you’re doing a lot of guest posting to get links back to your site in order to rank: Expect to get spanked. Um, not by us; that would be inappropriate. Google is cracking down on low-quality guest posts that are, clearly, link bait. So, like we said, quality content wins every time.

Christina Clemens

Check out all of the latest marketing blogs written by Christina Clemens, Inturact's Client Success Manager.