The number of free resources available to business owners looking to improve their online visibility is astounding. There are free integrations and data aggregation platforms, like Google Analytics, profile and engagement platforms, like almost every social media channel in the world, and all kinds of tools that exist solely to make the processes of SEO, online branding, and marketing much easier.
There are so many external tools that sometimes, business owners forget what a rich network of resources exists in the form of outside blogs. There are many ways these industry-related blogs can be used to bolster your own reputation and online marketing strategy:
My first suggestion is perhaps the most obvious; read external blogs to learn more about your industry, as well as recent developments that you could harness for your own blog. The more resources you have to learn from, the more diverse and well-read your blog will become.
Rather than directly copying or transforming any of the posts you read, try reimagining a new angle for them. For example, if one of your indirect competitors takes a strong stance on a particular issue, take the opposite stance or examine an element of the argument that they didn’t touch on. Otherwise, you can allow the new information to simmer in the back of your mind, for occasional use in your future blogs. Reading regularly will make your writing more knowledgeable and therefore, more authoritative.
Collect a series of blogs to use for this purpose; you can aggregate them using a newsfeed application, or simply have them as bookmarks in your web browser. Be sure to check them out on a regular, preferably daily, basis.
Guest posting is still one of the most effective online marketing strategies available, especially if you’re aligning your personal brand with your corporate brand. By guest posting on an external site, you’ll gain visibility with a new audience and borrow some of the authority of the host site to propel your content forward. Guest posting on multiple sites can build an appeal with a mutually shared audience, and eventually establish yourself as a leading and reputable authority in the field. Including links to your social profiles can also help build your social following, which in turn will boost your site traffic and brand recognition, and including backlinks that point to your main site can also boost your domain authority.
Getting your content posted on external blogs isn’t as hard as you might expect. For most external blogs, all you’ll need to do is ask the writer or webmaster for a guest posting opportunity, and send along a pitch for a topic they might find valuable. In some cases, you might want to build your reputation as a regular commenter first. In others, you might want to include links to your other content as an example of your work.
The opposite strategy can also be effective. Rather than taking your content and guest posting it on a popular external blog, you’ll be offering the external blog’s writer a spot on your own blog. While you may be reluctant to allow someone else’s words and voice on your blog, especially if you’ve spent a significant amount of time developing the perfect brand voice and blog platform, doing this is a mutually beneficial and highly valuable strategy.
If your writer of choice already has a substantial loyal audience, chances are that audience would love to read the writer’s new piece on your site—that means an immediate flow of new traffic and new readers. Plus, the writer will be motivated to publish links to his/her blog on your site on his/her social media profiles, which will add to your site’s visibility and increase your domain authority at the same time.
Finally, having multiple high-profile writers post blogs on your site can make you seem more authoritative for new visitors. For example, if a new visitor stumbles across your site through a simple search and sees multiple industry leaders featured on your blog page, that visitor will be more likely to associate your brand as a leader in the industry.
Commenting on external blogs is a very simple, but very powerful act. It may not seem like much, and a single comment isn’t going to skyrocket your brand visibility, but over time and when compounded with the effects of a consistent, frequent commenting strategy, your brand comments can culminate in a commanding effect.
When commenting, it’s best if you use the power of a personal brand, rather than your corporate brand—this will encourage trust and more personal interactions. Comment appropriately, adding value to the conversation when you can and including deep links back to your site when possible. If you comment consistently, the audiences of your favorite blogs will come to see you as an important and valuable contributor to the community, and your corporate writing will get more attention as a result. Plus, all your link building and brand mentions will increase your domain authority for SEO.
This strategy is perfect for product-based businesses, though service-based businesses might also find a use for it. When searching for a new product, most potential new users seek out reviews and opinions of their peers before making a final decision—this is the case for practically any product in practically any industry. High-profile bloggers, whose blogs you’re already reading on a regular basis, tend to have the strongest opinions on these products, and they carry the most weight with prospective buyers because of the level of respect they command.
Offer a free sample of your product to one of these high-profile gust bloggers in exchange for them writing up an honest review on it. The blogger will enjoy the free product as a gift, and you’ll enjoy the benefits of getting your product mentioned on the web. Hopefully, the review will go well, and that review post will convince multiple new buyers to go with your product.
Last but not least, simply sharing the content of external blogs can be a beneficial strategy. Your social media campaign demands new posts at a near-constant rate to satisfy your followers, so sharing an external article can take some of the pressure off you to make your own content. Sharing from multiple sources can convey a sense of connectedness, building your own community from pools of different audiences and showcasing your authority in the industry. Plus, sharing content from an external source regularly can influence that source to respond by sharing some of your content in turn. Sharing content builds relationships, and relationships are the driving force in strong online communities.
While as a general rule, you can use any blog related to your industry as a platform for these strategies, it’s also wise to avoid posting directly on a direct competitor’s blog. Doing so could mark you with a negative reputation.
Otherwise, start taking advantage of other blogs as much as you can. The more you build your brand in line with the network of bloggers around you, the greater your reputation will grow and the more traffic and leads you’ll receive as a result.