Build brand awareness and establish thought leadership for your CEO and organization by guest blogging on websites.
Several years ago, as the head of public relations for a new joint venture, I took on the challenge of raising the visibility of the new CEO. Like any good PR pro, I used what was in my toolbox: speaking opportunities, media interviews, and award submissions. All were valuable and effective tactics, but I liked it best whenever we placed an article with our CEO's byline in a national newspaper or an industry magazine.
It was a huge amount of work to pitch and write. But it was worth it, because, unlike in a media interview, our messages were almost completely unfiltered. Of course, the editor made some changes, but mostly, it was word for word what we wanted our audience to hear.
But this was all before the boom in blogging and the critical role that search engines play in driving new business.
Blogging = Branding
Fast forward to today: CEOs and business owners now have a tremendous opportunity to build their own personal brand and extend the reputation of their organization by blogging. As brands become publishers, the CEO can have his/her own, regular "column" published on their company's website. And there's no third-party editor to fiddle with the content.
While this is extremely valuable for building the brand's voice and shaping its personality, I think it's also somewhat limiting. In fact, keeping blog posts to yourself is, well, a bit selfish. And, it's a huge missed opportunity. Instead, CEOs should be looking to spread their viewpoints and ideas far and wide. They should become guest bloggers.
With shrinking editorial staffs, many industry blogs are willing to accept contributed articles. There are also dozens of subject matter experts who cover industry news and developments on their own blogs. Many of these are also willing to have guest bloggers contribute. Just like any content marketer, they're trying to produce enough content to feed the machine.
The Benefits of Guest Blogging
Your organization can benefit from guest blogging in several ways.
First, you'll gain greater credibility and more visibility by appearing on blogs that your customers and competitors read. In addition, your bio, photo, and website URL will likely accompany your post. People will start to attach a face to your organization - and that's good in today's socialized world. Most critically, readers will know how to get to your website.
Guest blogging makes a huge difference in traffic to your website.
This is extremely valuable because now you have an inbound link to your website from another website - and one that likely has high authority in the eyes of the “search algorithm.” This applies a bit of the halo effect to your website, meaning your site gains in authority, helping it to rank higher in search results.
Appearing on industry websites can also get the major media calling you, as many reporters and writers read industry and subject matter expert blogs to find story ideas and stay on top of their beat.Guest blogging on a popular website makes a huge difference in driving more traffic to your own website and blog. One small business owner told me that after she started guest blogging, her little company blog jumped from a few dozen hits to a few thousand overnight.
The Best Way to Land a Guest Blogging Gig
Clearly, these are all good reasons to seek guest blogging opportunities. But how do you start?
- Do your research. Identify the subject matter expert and industry media blogs that your customers read. Get to know the type of editorial content they produce, their point of view, and the style of their writing. Pick a handful that you think fit your goals.
- Have a few posts ready to go. Spend some time looking at the blog's editorial calendar, if they have one. Once you have a sense of upcoming themes, write a few posts that you think would be appropriate based on their editorial approach.
- Network to meet the editor. Approach this in the same way you might network for a job: Use LinkedIn to find someone who can make a connection. Follow the editor or blog owner on Twitter. Take opportunities to post comments on the blog or engage in social media. Once you've established a relationship, email them directly.
If all goes well, your CEO will be in demand, and you'll have a new problem: how to create enough content.