Grow Your Blog By Giving Away Your Content

What should you do with your best content? The normal reaction would be to post it to your site, but is it possible that giving away your best content can be more effective? The answer depends on your business strategy and goals as well as your current situation, but sometimes giving away great content can be more valuable than keeping it for yourself.

You’ve likely noticed posting here has been a little slower in recent months than it had been previously. Mostly it’s due to a heavier workload, first in moving to the new site, and more recently in agreeing to a little more client work than I probably should have for the month. In small part I’ve also been giving away some posts to other blogs and sites.

Each time I write for someone else it leads to a few more subscribers here, a few more connections on social networking sites, and a general increase in the reach of my personal and professional brand. It’s a good argument for writing more posts than you need to run your blog and saving some in a blogging account.

Benefits of Guest Blogging

There are quite a few advantages in providing content for others:

  1. Builds links back to your site – At the very least you should get a link back in a bio, but some sites will be fine with you embedding a few links back to your deeper content within the post.

  2. Gets your brand in front of a new audience – The greatest benefit in my opinion. There are likely many people who would be interested in your content that don’t currently know it exists. Writing for others is one way to let people know you exist and grow your brand.

    Many of the current blog I subscribe to first gained my attention when the blogger wrote a series of guest posts for a blog I was already reading.

  3. Increased subscribers – This comes from the above point. As more people become aware of you, more will follow a link back to your site and subscribe.

  4. More opportunities – Similar to gaining more subscribers when you put yourself out there it introduces you to more opportunities. The third guest post I listed above came about as a direct result of the first guest post listed.

  5. Strengthen connections with bloggers – Writing a quality post for another blogger is a great way to network with that blogger.

  6. Improve your writing – Any time I write for a different site I adopt a slightly different voice. I try to tailor my writing to the blog I’m writing for. That allows you to experiment a little, which ultimately leads to an improvement in your writing.

For me the greatest benefit is in the brand building. Marketing is all about getting your name in front of others in connection to what you offer and convincing those people you’re the one to best provide that offering.

In this case your offering is your content and giving some of that content to other sites gets it in front of new audiences and helps create the desire for more.

How to Find Guest Blogging Opportunities

Opportunities to write for others are more plentiful than you might think. Just about every week I come across a few bloggers looking for guest posts. Often the blogs in questions have subscribers numbering in the thousands so it’s not only small bloggers looking for posts.

A number of sites offer standing opportunities to write. In the SEO community SEOmoz offers this kind of opportunity through the YOUmoz section of the site.

Anyone who registers can submit a post at any time. If it’s a good post it will be published and if it’s a really good post it will get promoted to the main blog where it will land in front of 25,000+ potential readers. How many of your posts have been read by that many people?

Whatever your industry, you should be able to find similar standing opportunities if you keep your eyes open.

Targeting Blogs for Guest Posting

You don’t have to wait for the opportunity to be offered in order to guest post. If you have a particular blog you’d like to write for, spend time participating with that blog.

Write thoughtful comments that add value to a post, link to the blog, engage the blogger on social sites. The better a blogger knows you the more open they will be to you writing for their blog.

Pay attention to when they mention going on vacation or having a higher workload. Offer to help them during these times when they most likely could use a hand.

If you do target a specific blog look for those that hold the best fit for your content. Ideally find a blog with more readers and on a similar topic to your blog. Be aware of the tone the blogger uses. If you write off color posts you may not want to guest post for a family blog as your style may not be what the readers of that blog are looking for.

Try to find the best match for your content, but don’t be afraid to expand beyond your usual content.

None of the above is meant to suggest you should give away all your best content. Naturally you need to keep a lot of great content on your site if you want people to come back. But don’t hoard it all either. Sometimes your best content can do as much if not more good if you allow it to be published on a site other than your own.

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10 comments

  1. Guest blogging is such a great idea. I’ve used this tactic with success in the past. You also never know where or when an opportunity will turn up.

    This is a great post that every blogger who is trying to grow his or her audience should read.

    • Thanks Kristine – It’s true you never know where your next opportunity is going to come from, which is why you have to put yourself out there and place give yourself as many chances as possible for that opportunity.

  2. I definietly believe in guest blogging too, however I still don’t think I have enough content on my own site (or am happy with my blog design fully) to do this.

    You’ve re-inspired my interest in the idea. Gotta get a custom design going first…my stock theme is nice and its beautiful for a free theme but I need something custom…

    • Adam I think you have more than enough content already to make guest blogging pay off. And nothing wrong with your design either.

      I understand wanting to improve your site first as long as you don’t let it stop you from growing.

  3. I always find it a little difficult to hand over a piece of work for a guest post. Is this the one that will go hot and attract loads of traffic and links…?

    But ultimately you have to take a long term view. Sure… you won’t get the direct traffic, but long-term readership growth is the name of the game as you point out.

    By the way… if you’re a little busy it sounds like you might need a little help with a guest post or two Steven… :)

    • I had a hard time too giving away my first post or two. It’s ok though, if your post attracts traffic and links somewhere other than your site. It still ultimately back flows into your site and helps build your brand.

      I’ll email you about guest posting.

  4. Great post, Steven. Reading your blog these past several months inspired me to write more about SEO and SEO accessories and split that off into its own blog, separate from the baseball and politics I usually write about.

    I’m intrigued by the idea of guest blogging, and am totally on board with the idea of giving away your content. I’ll be watching for when you head out on vacation…!

    • Thanks Rudy. I’m glad you haven’t stopped writing about baseball and politics. Baseball for one is perhaps my favorite subject. One of these days I need to start blogging about it myself.

      Glad to hear I’ve inspired you to write more about SEO and accessories.

      I’ll email you about guest posting.

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