Guest Posting for Backlinks is Dead, Do This Instead with Social Media

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In late January, Google’s Head of the Webspam, Matt Cutts made a big announcement about guest posting that had a lot of PR pros holding their breath. In his post, The Decay and Fall of Guest Posting it initially sounded like guest posting was dead.

Within a few hours, clarification was made that what Cutts is talking about is SEO-driven guest posting which is focused purely on creating backlinks.

Rest assured, guest posting is alive and still an incredibly powerful part of your PR campaigns. Much of what we do in PR is about creating thought leadership and credibility for key players and the organization as a whole. That’s where guest posting should fit in.

The original intent of guest posting was to build off the long standing tradition of guest contributors to magazines and to create a diversity of opinions and ideas on blogs. Somewhere along the way, the SEO folks got involved and started to use guest posts to game the Google system.

For PR teams, this “correction” is a positive development as guest posting is put back in the right place – as a tactic to boost credibility along with reach, branding and community building.

The Overlooked Benefit of Guest Posts

An added – and often overlooked – benefit of guest posting is that once published, each post is a compelling piece of third party credibility.

Many organizations struggle with finding the right mix of selling versus serving across social media platforms. Guest posts offer a great way to share content that is on message without being self-serving.

Think about it from the perspective of those who follow you on social media. What’s more credible? Your organization talking about your organization or your Chief Operating Officer sharing specific tips or perspectives on a trend on a respected industry web site?

Actively sharing guest posts via social media boosts thought leadership while providing valuable educational content, and it means less social media content you need to curate or create.

How to Make the Most of Every Guest Post on Social Media

To make the most of each guest post, start by creating a checklist with all the steps your PR team needs to take each time a post is published.

Your checklist should include:

  • Publish Date – The anticipated publish date for the post.
  • Visuals – Create a visual to accompany the post. Pull a quote from the article and use that on an interesting stock or original photo.
  • Tracking Links – Set up a unique link so you can track the results from each post.
  • Text Updates – Creation of text-based updates in advance for each social network based on the specific requirements of that platform.
  • Hashtags – Determine hashtags that should be associated with social media activity for this post.

Responsibility for executing the promotion of the guest post the day it is published should be clearly outlined so that updates are timely. This not only helps to promote your posts, but it sends a signal to the blogger/media outlet that you understand the value of guest posting on their site.

Additionally, ensure your guest posts are posted in your press room as media coverage and seek out ways to curate this content into a resource. It could be the creation of a resource page on your site which content on a specific theme included or an “in the news” board on Pinterest.

After publishing day, remember that your post can be shared for months to come via social media. Set up a process to include all guest posts in a library of your evergreen content that you consistently promote it. For example, for each guest post, you could prepare three tweets that can used in the coming months to continue sharing the article, the tweets along with the shorten linked could be saved in a spreadsheet that your team can pull from when preparing social media updates.

In short, guest posting offers a great way to boost thought leadership and share educational content via social media. If you are running a guest posting program, take the time to make the most of your efforts by leveraging social media to its full potential.

Maggie Patterson
This monthly Social Media and Media Relations column is contributed by Maggie Patterson. Maggie is a PR strategist, freelance writer and blogger. She has 15 years of hands-on experience in PR, working with some of the largest brands in the world to solopreneurs securing hundreds of speaking gigs, along with thousands of guest posts and media hits. Maggie currently offers PR and social media consulting and coaching with a focus on guest blog posting and leveraging social media to support more traditional PR strategies. +Maggie Patterson
Maggie Patterson


Communications strategist, host of the Marketing Moxie show and blogger. Creator of The Story Distillery. Grateful for the beach, books + my thesaurus.
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