What convinced you to make your last online purchase? Why do you read a particular blogger? You might have purchased or subscribed because of something you read on the site in question. You might also have purchased or subscribed because of something you read away from the site in the question.
Sometimes what you say away from your site is the key to success on your site.
James raised an interesting thought in a comment on my last post about guest blogging.
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…?
I understand the thinking. I felt exactly the same the first time I wrote for another site. It’s easy to question why you should give up great content instead of keeping it for yourself. However it’s important to keep in mind that not every part of the selling process needs to happen on your site.
Let me share a couple of examples to illustrate.
Clients Can Find You Away From Your Site
Many of my clients first encountered me due to my participation in forums. They were already sold on my services prior to ever having visited this site and some of them made their initial contact through the forum’s PM system.
They became clients without ever having visited my site.
Instead of spending time answering questions on those forums I could have easily turned what I said into blog posts and kept the content for myself. Without the forum presence though, some of my clients might never have found me.
It’s unimportant to me where and how they first came across my name or where they were the content that convinced them to call was published.
Where Do Subscribers Come From?
One of the blogs I read regularly is Chris Garrett’s blog at chrisg.com. I subscribed not because of the great content Chris has on his site, but because over a few weeks time I came across several of Chris’ posts on other blogs I was already subscribed to.
The first was a guest post at CopyBlogger. I read the post, enjoyed it, and took note of Chris’ name. A few days later there was another post by Chris at CopyBlogger and once again I enjoyed the post.
Over the next couple of weeks I found other posts by Chris on other blogs. Problogger, Performancing, BloggingTips, and a couple of others I’m not remembering at the moment.
Eventually I clicked on the link back to chrisg.com and immediately subscribed. I had never read a single post on chrisg.com prior to subscribing. I didn’t need to. I was already sold based on what I’d read on other blogs. Had Chris not given away his content to other sites I may never have found his site and subscribed.
I doubt Chris cares all that much, which post or posts he wrote that convinced me to click that rss button, I doubt he cares all that much whether or not those posts were on his site or not either.
What You Do Off Your Site Matters
It’s easy to think that everything has to happen on your site and your goal is to bring as many people to your site as possible. What you do off your site can be just as important though.
I have clients in part because of content I give away to forums. Chris Garrett has subscribers in part because he gives away content to other blogs.
It wasn’t easy the first time I gave content to another site. I wondered the same things James did. What if this is the post that gathers traffic and links? What if this is the post that really gains people’s attention? Wouldn’t I be better off keeping that content for myself?
In the end it doesn’t really matter if the post is the one that gathers traffic, links, and attention. That attention might not be flowing directly into your site, but it’s still flowing directly to you and it’s still flowing indirectly into your site.
The content still promotes you and helps gain mindshare and brand recognition.
I’m now very happy if a guest post I write does well with links, and traffic, and social media submissions. The more links the post gathers the more attention I gain and the stronger the links back here become.
It’s also important to consider that the same content won’t do as well on different sites. Any post I write will gain more traffic, links, and attention were it to appear on ProBlogger than it would here. By default more people will see the post on ProBlogger than they will here, which creates more opportunities for it to gain attention.
Instead of seeing guest blogging as giving away something that could work well on your site, think of it as an opportunity to get your message across to an audience not yet familiar with you.
Short term you may end up giving another site links and eyeballs, but keep in mind that all those eyeballs and links are still looking at a post written by you.
Much of what you do to convince people to buy from you or read your content can happen away from your site. Guest blogging is an opportunity to convince people they should visit your site in the first place.