About three months ago, I stopped accepting guest posts on MrRyanConnors.com. From two to three per week, to zip, zilch, nada. In a move that seems counter-intuitive, I took a stand against prior assumptions and am now refining the brand I started slightly over a year ago, which includes ending guests posts. If you’d like to know why, and learn how my reasoning may apply to your blog or website, continue on…
When I started MrRyanConnors.com, I was looking to differentiate myself from the sea of recent college grads in the big scary real world. I wanted to draw a line in the digital sand and showcase some of the skills I’ve learned in marketing. From social media to content creation, I grew my website into a personal beacon that I could stand on.
Over time, my brand evolved from just a twitter handle to an embodiment of the professional I’m aspiring to become. My dreams are too big to be just another fly on the wall, and I find them to be a strong driver of personal success. It’s why I spend a lot of time networking and learning about whatever I can to better myself. This concentrated focus personal brand awareness led to personal and professional success, like blog articles being published on Social Media Today and getting a kick-ass agency job. Not bad for a guy in his early 20-somethings.
Moving forward, I wanted to get the most share of attention for myself I could by utilizing inbound marketing. It’s what I’ve done for companies my whole career and I wanted the same for myself. Though blogging, the posts I created drove traffic to my site and I figured I could keep the ball rolling by accepting guest bloggers. Whether they were from free resources like My Blog Guest or solicitations from my site’s contact form, I was open to any value-adding topics related to marketing, business or technology, and thankfully there’s a lot of content out there waiting to get picked up.
The way I saw it, I was trading exposure to my network and moderately page-ranked do-follow backlinks for content and both ends of the equation were happy (Are there any missing pieces in said equation? I’ll get to that in the next paragraph). Theoretically, I was helping bloggers to meet their demand for exposure while raising their SEO value. Likewise, they were doing the same for me. My assumptions, however, were somewhat misguided.
For starters, you get what you pay for. Though many of the pieces on my site are value-adding, the free posts were often rehashes of beaten-to-death topics that were covered in much greater detail elsewhere. I focused on the fact that some readers were satisfied, while choosing to ignore those who weren’t. My shortsightedness in this respect resulted in devaluing of the brand I was trying to build. My website visitors (“customers”) were expecting to learn more about me or the topics being marketed, and for the former, the quality on my site wasn’t on par with similar results from a Google search.
Because of those reasons, there was actually little SEO value being added to my site. The analytics showed a general dissatisfaction with the content, and if anything, the poor content weighted down the good content and overall site analytics. Traffic seemed to plateau and eventually slid downward. As this trend materialized, I foolishly continued with the same tactics and got the same results. Something needed to change, and thankfully today, I am much more comfortable with saying nothing if there is nothing to say.
Finally, the value mismatch wasn’t just limited to my site and the visitors- it also effected the guest authors themselves. Most of them were commissioned writers trying to build backlinks to various companies and increase the organic traffic and visibility. On one hand, the backlinks within the articles and bio sections were do-follow links from a moderately ranked site, yet on the other, the individual article pages had poor analytics and low individual PageRank’s. From a strategic marketing point of view, it didn’t take an SEO expert to know their efforts were for naught.
Taking into account the lack of value across the board, that’s why I’ve decided to stop accepting guest posts on mrryanconnors.com. Today I’d much rather have less, quality content on my site and focus my blogging efforts on bigger strategic goals, like helping the inbound marketing where I work at Verndale. I think I’ve had a few good ones recently, listed below,so take a look and let me know what you think.
- Inbound Marketing… Meet Your Protégé, Customer Experience Management
- Why (not provided) Is The Best And The Worst Thing To Ever Happen To SEO
- Google Evolved: The Past, Present and Future of Search Engine Marketing
Hopefully, you can take away some wisdom from my experience and know that I’m not at all saying guest blogging is bad, (it’s actually great).The golden nugget here is to always keep your customers at heart and realized the role you play in delivering value. If there’s a mismatch between producers and consumers, something has to change, otherwise the system breaks down and nobody wins.
What are your thoughts on guest posts? Share in the comments down below.