The Dangerous Myth About Guest Blogging You Likely Believe.
There’s this popular misconception that IF you’re Guest Posting for an A-List blog, THEN your blog will blow up.
Readers will be like, “Hey you posted on that site I love. HERE, TAKE MY MONEY!”
Before your guest blog goes live, you’ve preemptively increased your hosting, lest all these new salivating visitors crash your website because they’ve been starved and they’re hungry to devour your awesomeness .
The inner circle of blogging elite are all firing emails off through their secret network saying “You’ve Got To See This?!”, while simultaneously arguing, and making power plays vying for who’s going to book you to write next.
Smaller blogs in your field simmer with Awe and Envy because you achieved what they never could.
Those who can swallow their pride ask you, the recently ascended, your secrets and if you would mentor them (because you’re not so far removed from their world that you have forgotten how to talk to mere mortals)
Meanwhile, in front of your monitor, you sit glued to your real time traffic data, half expecting more opportunities to crop up from industry blogs/ half expecting a pop up banner saying:
Which of course, never happens.
In fact, none of it happens.
People hardly notice. Your traffic numbers don’t peak. They’re not beating down your door. If you’re lucky, when you told your mom about it, begging her to comment, she responded with “That’s nice dear.”
It’s weird though, your guest post got more comments than all others in recent history.
Twitter, Facebook, Google, those numbers are all up; so you know people saw it. It’s not like your efforts flopped
Heck the publisher was even kind enough to let people know YOU were when they sent traffic to your Twitter account.
So What Went Wrong?
Part of the problem comes from how we think about in the first place.
We think that popular blogs are at the center of big conversations and that by , we’re going to siphon off some of that fame.
But before you start thinking it’s that easy, first you must realize that blogger has done (and is doing) more than their fair share of promoting their blog to be at the center of that conversation. It’s never as simple as just being a good writer.
Second, remember their readers are their readers.
Just because your post went over well on that site, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re interested in checking you out.
I’ll explain a little more why I think that is in just a minute, but first I want to show you a personal example.
Back in October of 2011 I wrote a guest blog for Chris Brogan.com titled 106 Excuses That Prevent You From Ever Becoming Great.
By all accounts, this post was a success. Within the first few hours it received 64 comments and 1011 social shares.
Chris would later inform me that over 38,000 visitors had visited the post within first 48 hours of it being live.
(At the time of this writing, there are 246 comments and 8,332 shares on the major 4 social networks)
Here’s what the traffic on my site looked like the day it went live.
Wait, wut? Only 330 visitors?
Granted, this was better than the 105 visitors that came the day before, but that hardly seems like the type of traffic that should come off a post that received that sort of viral attention.
Now, that next major spike is a little difficult to ignore, and from that comes the real secret. Chris dedicated a post to me.
In this post, he commended the 106 article and briefly discussed why he published it. At the end, he gave a direct link recommending that readers check out my site.
The whole thing was pretty brief, maybe 200 words. But those words were such a powerful recommendation that well over 1,000 decided to visit my site that day.
Here’s the funny part.
Not nearly the same spread, but a ton more referral traffic.
Why Is That?
The truth is, people go to ChrisBrogan.com (or any other popular website for that matter) to read that author, or at least authors who write in the style of the blog.
We don’t read these blogs to “discover” new authors.
The reason there was so much more traffic from Chris’s post was because it essentially said it was ok to check me out.
On a popular blog, reader’s know what to expect.
But on your site? Not so much. They don’t know if coming to your site is will be a waste of time or what. Which is why it’s so powerful when that popular blogger links out to you.
Now when your article is mind-blowingly awesome, there will always be a percentage of people that click through your byline link to learn about you.
But that’s what it takes; MIND BLOWING CONTENT.
I’ve posted for several large blogs now, and I can say with all sincerity there have been posts that yielded no noticeable lift in traffic. But when I spend between 15-20 hours researching an audience, there’s always a decent little bump from byline clicks.
If you were to compare to the technology curve of adoption those brave souls who click your byline would be the “innovators,” they’re brave enough to check you out without any sort of extra referral.
The “early adopters” are the people only pay attention after you’ve gotten a contextual link, or even better a webinar with an influential person. They’re great, and this is the group you should really be fighting to reach.
The “early majority” are the people who begin paying attention only after you’ve been and doing joint work with several bloggers on a steady basis.
And to round out the metaphor, your “late majority” are the ones who discover you via word of mouth, and the “laggards” are the ones that buy your book from a secondhand store because they happened to like the title.
Unfortunately, so many bloggers give up and consider themselves a failure when they reach “The Chasm” because they’re under the misconception that byline clicks are going to make them famous.
How You Should Really Think About Guest Blogging
Think about like your favorite long running TV show.
On Tv an actor might guest star for one or two episodes, but over the course of 100 or 200 episodes, one or two performances won’t make a huge difference.
Furthermore, if that guest star only views their role as a way to move the plot forward, they’re all but forgettable by the show’s finale.
This is not the case for all guest stars though. In fact, some guests give such a stellar performance, the fans DEMAND they become a mainstay of the show.
For example, the character of Chloe O’Brian from my favorite series “24″ was originally scheduled for 4 episodes. However fans liked what Mary Lynn Rajskub did with the character so much, she had the second most appearances on the show, beat out only by the show’s star, Kiefer Sutherland.
Michael Emerson of “Lost” has a similar story. His character “Henry Gale” was scheduled for 3 episodes, but when fans fell in love with his creepy hypnotic performance, it was revealed that Henry Gale was actually Ben Linus, leader of “The Others.” Many of the show’s tent pole moments came to revolve around Emerson’s character making him a deep seeded part of the series mythos. (The Island is a metaphor for limbo btw)
Of course, these two actors are the exception, not the rule.
With , you should absolutely try your hardest to write something where people demand you come back.
But if that doesn’t happen, the next best thing you can do after your post has gone live is to leverage the experience for repeat post opportunities, and expand your network.
Every popular blogger started at zero. Most of them will be willing to help, but only if you’re hungry and WILLING to realize success doesn’t happen overnight.
In other words, don’t make your efforts about “getting famous”, but rather to simply be invited back.
So Where Does That Leave Us?
I share all of this with you in hopes of giving you a realistic perspective of what is really about.
It alone is not what gets you widespread love and recognition.
It’s the introduction; To the audience, to the blogger and to you taking your content seriously.
By itself, it rarely reaches the “early majority” or even the “early adopters.”
If a post does well, offer a follow up webinar, or a Google+ Hangout On Air. Anything you do that takes the information deeper is what’s going to endear an audience to you. Guest blogging isn’t the end, it’s the beginning.
It’s only when you realize this about that it becomes a truly incredible weapon.
The internet needs more driven creators that will not rest until their genius becomes fully realized.
If you demand quality, and you’re willing to do everything it takes, this will help.
And next time, if your guest post doesn’t send a ton of traffic, remember this:
In this game, it’s more about savvy and perseverance than it is raw talent.
So, are you willing to give it a go?