7 Ways to Leverage Major Brands to Build Your Own Brand
Guest posting has been popular for years as a strategy to build brand visibility, improve SEO, and build credibility. But as with most content strategies, the art of guest posting has evolved quickly, and today, there are several particularly effective tactics for entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on this strategy.
Try using one or more of these guest opportunities to grow your brand:
1. Guest Blogging on Content Networks. One of the most obvious and popular forms of guest posting is submitting content to major content networks, such as The Huffington Post. These sites are dedicated to establishing enormous archives of content in many different categories. Since they rely on content to exist, they allow great writers to submit content at their own discretion (once they go through a review process). These networks usually generate ample visibility, but since they don’t have a niche focus in most cases, you might not be able to build your authority on a topic as quickly.
The readership of these content networks tends to be looking for quick, general information — so it isn’t the place to be posting multi-page whitepapers, but it is a valuable opportunity to capture the passing interest of thousands (or even millions) of readers. Applying and getting approved to become a contributor to major content networks is difficult and time-consuming, and requires a strong existing content portfolio, but it’s well worth the effort.
2. Guest Blogging on Industry Sites. Industry sites have an opposite composition. Their readership tends to be more focused on niche topics and more detailed, in-depth analyses. Industry sites tend to have higher standards than the broader, wider-reaching content networks, but that shouldn’t be a problem as long as you’re publishing high quality content.
On industry sites, it pays to get into more detail. The readership you’ll be writing for will be much smaller than that of the giant content networks, but it will also be more powerful, more loyal, and more interested in what you have to say.
Start by identifying the major publishers in your industry, then follow my Ultimate, Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your Business by Guest Blogging to apply to become a contributor.
3. Being an Interviewee. Interviews make for excellent content, both for the interviewer and the interviewee. The interviewer prepares a few questions and sits down with a major player in the industry for a short discussion. By the end of the interview, the interviewer has an entire post’s worth of content, plus a mutual authority boost that strengthens the appeal of both individuals and both companies involved.
Look for interviewing opportunities, and make yourself available as an interviewee. You may have to build up your personal brand before you start getting incoming requests, but if you can land a few gigs as an interviewee for a major brand, your authority in the space could skyrocket. One great way to find interview opportunities is through Help a Reporter Out (HARO), which will send you daily emails containing descriptions of stories that need a source. Apply to be a source for any stories that are within your realm of expertise, and you could get quoted in major publications.
4. Participating in a Podcast. Getting an opportunity to speak on a podcast can be very beneficial. Many companies try to syndicate a podcast once a week, and it takes a significant effort to fill up those weekly podcasts with enough unique content to make them worth doing. Reach out to regular podcasters who have made a name for themselves in your industry, and ask if they’d like to have you as a guest.
Your role in the podcast largely depends on the podcast’s format. Some podcasters might have you as an audio interviewee. Others might like you to talk about a new subject you’ve been working on. Still others would just have you as a panel speaker, chiming in as you see fit on various subjects of the day. As long as you have an opportunity to build your brand awareness and show off your authority, the time you spend is worth it.
5. Guest Speaking. Not all guest opportunities are limited to the digital world. You can also increase the visibility of your personal and/or corporate brand by pursuing guest speaking opportunities in your own city. Do some research to find out what networking events are in your region, and make a list of those that might be relevant for your business. Some local events are constantly looking for new guest speakers to share their experiences or give advice to audience members. At the end of your presentation, you can usually give a small pitch about your company, and you can always use the event as an opportunity to write a press release or a new blog post about your experience.
6. Performing Original Research. Instead of actively seeking your guest posting opportunities, you can let them come to you with original research. Original research can be hard to come by, especially for niche topics. If you perform and publish your own set of research, such as an infographic, you’ll attract authors and bloggers who will cite, repost, or feature your work. The hardest part of this strategy is conducting the research itself — in order to be relevant, accurate and significant, you’ll have to pour some serious resources into the project.
7. Host Your Own Guests. Guest posting isn’t a one-way road. You can easily earn a spot as a guest poster simply by offering someone a guest post on your own site, and you can boost your authority by conducting an interview almost as much as being a part of one. Open your brand up to the possibility of hosting other guests, and you’ll improve your reputation both in the landscape of your industry and in the eyes of your readers and customers. You’ll end up sacrificing a bit of control in terms of the direction and voice of your content, but you’ll construct a gateway to a much higher level of communal authority.
An extra boost of authority is just the beginning. Most guest posting opportunities are permanent additions to the web, serving as additional roadways that lead to your website. When you build enough of these roads on a consistent basis, you’ll start seeing traffic in record numbers, since a wider range of readers will have direct visibility and access to your brand.
Guest posting isn’t a strategy that becomes successful overnight, however. No matter what selection of strategies you choose for your campaign, you’ll have to be consistent and frequent with your efforts for months before you start seeing significant results. Keep your expectations in check, and monitor your progress in terms of web traffic on a regular basis to analyze and improve the strengths and weaknesses of your campaign.