My husband and I were watching an interchangeable Tom Cruise movie last night where one of the clues to catching the bad guy was a fingerprint on a quarter. As they showed the police scanning the fingerprint to find they key identifying markers on it I turned to my husband and said, “That’s so cooool that that works!” The idea that we all carry a completely unique identity right on our fingertips is incredible, and the fact that we can be recognized by them is even more amazing.
While not 100% fraud-proof, our writing style can be very similar. Each of us has a voice that we use in our writing, phrases or expressions, or ways of structuring sentences that are our own. And these markers – whether conscious or unconscious – start to become part of they way readers identify with us. Honing in on that voice, and following through with it, is part of what makes many blogs successful. And those who have achieved it are to be congratulated.
It’s a beautiful philosophy that your style is so unique and engaging that people flock to it, but what happens if it’s not that way ALL of the time? What do you do if you burn out, run out of ideas, or can’t convey the great thought in your head into a format that people are interested in reading?
What is guest blogging?
For many people the solution to this problem is guest bloggers. A guest blogger is someone who can come in with an outside perspective on your topic, field or interest and contribute to the blog – bringing their own voice and style.
Why use guest bloggers?
- Aside from writer’s block, blogging is hard work! You should be writing a minimum of two posts per week in order to keep your content fresh. This can be a daunting task for one person to take on themselves.
- In addition to the time commitment, your blog topic might be a complex one – one that would benefit from having an expert’s opinion on the subject matter—lending credibility to your blog.
- As an added bonus, if your guest blogger is already established and has formed their own blogging community, they may promote and bring their traffic to your blog, which ultimately helps your SEO rankings.
- Formulating new relationships with others in your same industry or niche market is a valuable asset. Not only does it keep you in the loop, it broadens your horizons and increases connections. This opens the door for you to guest blog in return.
- Not least among these benefits is the fact that a new voice can bring freshness and energy to your blog.
What are the drawbacks of guest bloggers?
- The most obvious is the change of voice – your fingerprint on your blog. If your readers are familiar with you they might feel a little thrown out of whack for someone new to be introduced suddenly. Think about ways you can ease the transition by talking up your guest blogger beforehand, or possibly including a quote idea by that blogger before the full post. As readers become more familiar with this concept they will be open to it with increased frequency in the future.
- Guest blogging should not be treated solely as a method to increase SEO. This process is often referred to as article marketing and has become increasingly less effective due to Google’s Panda algorithm. Treat guest blogging as a method to provide your readers with quality content.
- It’s called a blog, not a brag. Guest bloggers may have the tendency to write the post more with their own interests in mind. You can avoid this by defining clear expectations and objectives when you invite or before you collaborate with the guest blogger.
Relinquishing some of that control – losing some of your writing fingerprint – can be a hard concept to come to terms with. But there are ways you can maintain your voice, even with the use of guest bloggers. Undoubtedly you’ve worked hard to build your blog just the way you like it, and all of that can remain intact. Find guest bloggers who jibe (get it?) with your style – who are smart, funny or interesting, and add to the credibility of your blog. If done correctly it can add significant value and put you in a position of even greater expertise in your field.