Whenever I get asked for tips on how to grow someone’s personal brand, guest blogging is always one of my first suggestions. I’ve seen how powerful it can be for anyone from the CEO of a large corporation all the way down to a newbie entrepreneur—and it’s even been one of the biggest marketing drivers for my own brand.
But what if you don’t consider yourself a writer? And the whole writing-words-down-and-letting-people-read-them thing freaks you out?
My advice: Don’t let that stop you. Here are four reasons why you should guest blog—no matter how frequently (or infrequently) you use punctuation.
1. It Builds Your Street Cred and Positions You as an Expert
Whether you’re guest blogging about gluten-free recipes or politics, the more you offer up interesting blogs about a certain topic, the more people will consider you to be an expert on that topic.
Then, when a reader of your blog posts happens to be looking for a gluten-free or political expert for an upcoming event, or when a local TV station is looking for gluten-free or political experts to comment on related breaking news, you’ll be top of mind (or, at the very least, in the running!).
Guest blogging is also a great bio builder. Nothing adds credibility to your background like a list of respected outlets where your work has been featured.
2. It Introduces You to New Audiences—and New Audiences to You
Getting to know new audiences through guest blogging (and introducing yourself to those new audiences so they get to know you) will help you make powerful networking connections, grow your business and bottom line, and increase awareness around your area of expertise. It’s why I consider guest blogging to be one of the most impactful marketing platforms out there.
But there’s more: It also helps you write better, richer, more relevant pieces of content. Blogging for different audiences means you’re getting feedback from each of those sets of readers, who have varying perspectives, expertise, and pain points.
In my own experience, digging into each audience’s unique perspectives and questions has inspired blogs I never would have thought to write on my own—many of which turned out to be my most popular ones.
3. It Creates an Online Portfolio
Think of the Google-sphere as another version of your resume. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to get to know you—and your work—online.
Whether you’re applying for a job or pitching yourself as a speaker for an upcoming event, the first thing the person on the other end of your application or email is going to do is Google you. If his or her search turns up blogs from a laundry list of reputable outlets, he or she is much more likely to consider you than if the search returns a list of addresses from Instant People Finder.
4. It’s Great for Driving Traffic to Your Website and Strengthening Your SEO
At least, it’s a great traffic driver if you include links back to your website throughout your blog. The easiest way to do this is to check out the content that already lives on your personal or company website—e.g., blogs, resources, or information about upcoming events or programs—and thoughtfully incorporate links back to those pages in your guest blog. (You’ll see examples of this right here in this post!)
Not only does this drive people to your website, but those link-backs raise your search engine rankings significantly, making it easier for people to find you.
Now that I’ve convinced you to go for it, a few last words of encouragement—especially if you’re nervous about the quality of your writing: Remember that unless you’re writing for The New Yorker, most people are going to be more interested in your perspective and expertise than the grammatical intricacies of your writing. Also, most outlets have editors whose job it is to proofread guest blogs and catch any errors. (If yours doesn’t, send it to your best writer friend for edits.)
Finally, if you’re not sure how to get in the writing groove, here’s a strategy the writer Cheryl Strayed uses (which I’ve now stolen): “I write to find what I have to say. I edit to figure out how to say it right.”