Why Guest Blogging is a Waste of Time; and What to Do Instead
Like many new bloggers, when I first started out I tried my hand at guest blogging. After all, it's the stock advice for anyone wanting to grow a new blog.
The idea is that if you guest-blog . . .
You'll send a juicy link back to your website.
More readers will discover your work and your name.
Google will reward your blog with a higher ranking.
It sounds awesome. But there is more (or less) here than meets the eye. After writing for several blogs and professional sites, I discovered that, although the articles themselves did well, few readers actually clicked through to my website.
Furthermore, people don't typically pay attention to the author's name. Think about it, how often do you make note of the writer? Unless they're already well-known, you're unlikely to pay any attention.
Finally, although Google does reward you for guest posts, it's only worth it if a.) the blogs you write for are a close match to your own niche and b.) they're getting a lot of traffic themselves.
Even at that, however, there is a better way.
There is a way to make stronger connections with new readers - who will take notice and remember your name - while at the same time send Google-rewarding links back to your website.
The best part is that it doesn't take hours of writing (which benefit other blogs a lot more than yours). In fact, it takes little effort at all.
So what is it?
It's becoming a guest on a podcast. I've been on 15-18 different podcasts over the years and they've never failed to benefit my blog. I can't count the number of times readers have said that they discovered Smart Classroom Management while listening to so-and-so's podcast.
Another benefit to being on a podcast is that it helps solidify your message. It forces you to become clearer in describing your work. Because we can edit and perfect our writing, we can control every nuance of our strategies and approach.
Not so on a podcast.
You have to be able to explain simply and briefly in a way that helps the audience - and potential new readers and fans. Being a podcast guest has always been a positive learning experience for me, even when I don't feel good about my performance.
The rub is that you have to reach out to podcasters in your niche and ask to be a guest. Truth be told, this isn't something I've had to do. Podcasts came of age after my blog was established and so I get asked relatively frequently.
But if I were to start a new blog today, this is a strategy I would focus on. There are so many podcasts starting every week that are just begging for guests, so I don't think it would be a great challenge to get your foot in the door.
Start small, however. Book new podcasts for your first half dozen interviews or so and then move up as you gain experience. Once you get a reputation for being a good guest, you'll get invited regularly.
By then, of course, your blog will be growing as more and more readers discover you and Google sends more and more traffic your way.
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