By Nate Freedman,
CEO @Tech Pro Marketing
I've said it before, and I'll likely repeat it: the number of small business IT decision-makers who wake up in the morning and say to themselves, "I'm going to check the blog of my favorite MSP" is likely close to zero. That’s not to say that small business leaders are not taking in content as part of their daily routine: they're checking out the EOS blog, following Gary Vee on LinkedIn, and probably reading the newsletters of their industry associations, you name it. But intentionally visiting the website of an individual IT support company to see the latest news posted there? I’m not sold on that possibility.
Now, I do not doubt that you're publishing high-value, quality content to your website. But the point is that if it exists only there, it's unlikely that people are going to see it - making it not worth the time and effort required to create it.
When I talk to MSPs, they seem obsessed with their websites despite the reasons outlined above. I’m convinced the major reason for this is that most MSPs don’t know an alternative to posting on their own website.
The alternative is guest blog posting, and it is one of the best strategies for generating leads using content. As a guest blogger who has personally been published in authority blogs over 85 times in the last four years alone, I should know.
In this article, I’ll share the major steps to help you get started too.
Guest blog posting, at its core, is the act of submitting an article to an existing publication that has its own readership. This could be an industry magazine, the blog of a high-profile vendor, or a coach or mentor in a specific space.
When you create guest posts, you accomplish a couple of important things simultaneously.
For starters, you're getting the attention of an entirely new audience of people who may be totally unfamiliar with who you are and what you do. Instead of posting on your own website, which we’ve already mentioned most likely has a minimal readership, you are posting on a platform that already has a dedicated and passionate audience.
Second, you gain authority through association. If the readers consider the organization you're guest posting for authority, you get a bit of that authority if you get published on that site by association. When someone calls you, they automatically trust you more than they would have. They simply come across a random blog post on your website via Google - which puts you in a better starting point in the relationship than you otherwise would have been.
For starters, one of the most crucial steps to taking full advantage of the guest authorship process involves doing some research on the front-end of this process.
Namely, you have to make a list of potential publishers who would be an appropriate fit for your voice and your brand. Not every site out there will be a perfect match, and that's okay - the ones that are will be far more likely to generate success.
Take a look at industry blogs and other things like newsletters, vendors, and other strategic partners. You may even want to look into specific competitors that you think would have a similar target audience. Remember, the point is that you're trying to find the pools that your potential customers already swim in.
Once you find one, don't hesitate to reach out to them and see if they accept guest content. Many content publishers are in need of great content, so there is a good chance for a win-win.
The next step is a little harder: you have to write an amazing article. You have to create the type of content that people actually want to read, and I'll be honest with you, that's not easy. But it's also something you shouldn't over-think, either.
If you've been following me along on my own journey, you may have noticed a pattern in some of my posts. I always work hard to provide my own thoughts on a topic - ideas that (I hope) provide insight and a fresh perspective and go beyond simply regurgitating best practices that could be found anywhere on the web. I don't want just to provide the cursory details of a topic, which is the mistake that I often see many MSPs make.
If some major cyberattack happens, everyone will be writing about it. But don't just outline what happened - your target audience is already going to be reading about that on CNN and a million different news websites. Instead, give your own point of view. Why is this such a notable story? What could have been done to prevent it? How do you stop that type of thing from happening for your own customers? These are the questions you should be answering, and they'll lead to a much better article because of it.
Beyond that, you also need to make it absolutely effortless for readers to contact you should they want to find out more about your services. The article will not exist on your own site - it gets published on someone else's. Therefore, there should be a clear call-to-action at the end - something that helps people know exactly where to go moving forward.
Find an appropriate way to link back to your website and allow the readers to learn more about you, should they be so inspired.
Without getting too “meta,” you could use this article as a framework for doing the same. I found a great publishing partner in Zomentum – we share many of the same values and have the same end goal of helping MSPs increase revenue. My article provided value beyond “5 tips to writing a great blog post” – I shared a detailed strategy that I came from my personal experience. And this has inspired you to want to learn more; here is my call-to-action:
On Feb 24 at 11:00 AM ET/4:00 PM GMT, along with MSPGo’s Tom Watson and Zomentum’s Shannon Murphy, I’ll be participating in a 60-minute webinar: “Leads at Scale: Leveraging Existing Communities.” We’ll be discussing guest blog posting and more ways that MSPs can leverage existing communities to win new customers. Register here: https://hubs.li/Q013ZrlZ0