Brands use social media, including blogs, as a way to gain trust among their communities, but not every brand has the editorial or writing team available to produce a top notch blog. If no writers are available, brands use the marketing, community, or social media team to write blog posts and those departments are spread thin already. As part of their content strategy they may use guest posts on their blogs as a way of getting content at little or no cost, while sharing tips and advice from outside experts. However, when a corporate or brand blog is nothing but guest posts, the brand runs the risk of losing credibility.
Many people are learning that blogs are a great way to increase their visibility and establish expertise. They offer to write guest blog posts on brand blogs as a way to gain personal brand recognition and drive traffic back to their own endeavors. There’s nothing wrong with doing this and it could be a smart way to gain clients and a social media presence. However, when a brand runs guest blog posts all the time it can take a hit to its reputation if their brand blog becomes nothing but other people’s content.
These are just some of the things that can happen when you bring in guest bloggers:
- Poor writing: Just because someone has expertise in a topic, doesn’t mean he or she is a good writer.
- Shady facts: We’re living in the Google it and write it age, but that doesn’t mean Google is always right.
- Self promotion: Most people aren’t writing guest blog posts because they care about your community. They want to sell something or drive traffic to their own interests.
- Confusion among readers: Whose blog is it anyway?
- Lack of focus: Different bloggers from different walks of life can mean you run the gamut when it comes to topics. When a blog isn’t focused, people get confused.
Keep in mind that just because someone offers to guest blog doesn’t mean he’s shady and lacking skill. Many times guest bloggers are the best thing to happen to a blog. When super smart people share with a community, there’s nothing better. However, the onus is on the brand to be sure they’re providing the best content possible. If there’s no editorial team in place, having a steady parade of guest bloggers may not be a good thing. Moreover, if you’re using your blog to gain trust it’s better to have one or two people as primary bloggers and introduce occasional guests.
Vet your guest bloggers
Know who is writing for your blog. Bringing in a guest blogger just because you need free content is the wrong way to go about things. Don’t just agree to a blog post because it sounds like a good idea.
- Ask yourself, “Who is this blogger?” The problem with experts is that in this day and age anyone who Googles can say they’re experts. Take some time to be sure the blogger is who he says he is. Read social media profiles, see if he has a blog or website, and see what other people are saying about him.
- Research past employment: Does your expertise truly have experience in the topic she wants to write about? Check LinkedIn and other profiles to check her past. Working for a Fortune 500 brand for six weeks before getting fired doesn’t always equate to “I’m a blogger who works with Fortune 500 brands.” Always go for a specialist over a generalist because some generalists have a tendency to Google and rewrite.
- Research past writing: Look into where your guest bloggers have posted before. Sometimes bloggers are posting repurposed content everywhere in exchange for exposure, which doesn’t do your brand any good. You’ll also get a good feel for the voice, grammar usage and expertise.
Use guest posts sparingly
People follow blogs because they feel as if they built up a relationship with the blogger(s). They follow the voice and consider the advice. There’s a trust that comes with having a steady blogger or bloggers over a mishmash of guest posts. People like familiarity. It’s the same as having a favorite newspaper or magazine columnist. Too many guest posts with unfamiliar names and different topics doesn’t enable your brand to establish relationships with your readers as they don’t have a favorite, familiar writer to look forward to.