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September 27, 2012

Is Guest Blogging on a Competitor’s Site Okay?

Whenever I’m working on a client’s link building campaign and I come across a great industry blog that is looking for guest authors I’m quick to send the call for articles over to my client with a note explaining why it’s a great opportunity for their SEO, content marketing, and link building efforts. I’ve found that, even if they have us produce the content, it’s usually better to submit the guest blogging request from someone directly within the client’s company. It makes it easier to not have me as the middleman just work from behind the scenes. I fired off one of these guest blogging opportunities to a client a few weeks ago and got a response that went something like this,

“Is it really a good idea to try to become a guest blogger on a competitor’s blog? They do get a lot of readers but why would they ever accept content from us?”

I can understand my client’s concern – why waste their time and resources writing a great piece of content that is shut down simply because they want to contribute to a competitor’s blog. And while that is a very real possibility, my response was this, why not at least try? A great piece of content is a great piece of content no matter what; if this blog won’t accept it then we can try another or save it for your own company blog. By why not go for it?

Here are the three ways I suggest site owners approach guest blogging on a competitor’s site:

1. Share the Love

While you want to keep visitors on your site as long as possible, there is nothing wrong with sharing relevant and useful information via blog post, even if it’s provided by the competition. If you are worried about your guest post getting turned down by the competition, then you might want to sweeten the deal by offering a trade off; they’ll publish a post of yours and you’ll publish a post of theirs. Obviously the two of you exist in the same niche and target the same audience, so it’s perfectly reasonable to build that kind of relationship (unlike a link exchange that connects two unrelated companies). That one guest post, which you can choose to share on your social networks, gets you a few quality links and some great brand exposure in return. And let’s be honest, one guest post from a competitor is probably not going to undermine your site’s authority and steal all your customers away (although if it does then you’ve got bigger problems to worry about!).

Sometimes you need to stop looking at other sites as your competition and think of them as your colleagues! They’ve got information and a new way of seeing things that is going to be really valuable to your audience and might even help your own authority, as readers might start to see you as a trusted content curator. On the flip side, guest blogging on a competitor’s site gives your brand the opportunity to tell potential customers that you are just as trust-worthy and knowledgeable as your competition; otherwise why would they be publishing your content?

2. Keep It as Educational as Possible

A lot of sites will let you drop a link or two into the body of the post that links directly back to your own site. If you’re worried that this might hinder your chances of getting a guest blog on a competitor’s site published then minimize the self love links (maybe just keep them in the author bio) and link to other educational pieces of content. This could include blog posts from your blog, the competitor’s blog, other industry sites and more. It’s important to remember that you’re guest blogging efforts should focus on educating your audience, not tooting your own horn. This becomes especially true if you want to get a post published on a competitor’s site; they might be happy to share information, but they probably don’t want to actively promote your company.

3. Focus on YOUR Expertise as the Author, Not the Company’s Expertise

One way to keep a competitor from feeling like you are trying to steal their thunder on their own blog is to make sure you play up YOUR expertise in the industry, not just that your company exists in the same niche as them. Guest blogging can be incredibly beneficial for building your company’s online brand, but it can also work wonders for your own personal brand! People like to do business with other people, not name-less, face-less corporations, so approach your competitors as someone looking to improve your own online brand, not just promote your company in any way possible. You as an individual are not competition to their brand and maybe they’ll be happy to accept content from a respected industry professional. I know that if one of the “big names” in SEO wanted to write for my company blog I’d jump at the chance because a strong personality brings a lot attention to your blog. Make your competition see how valuable your name is to their efforts!

As I mentioned, it’s entirely possible that the competition is going to take one look at your email address and send your guest blog right to the trash bin. But guess what? There is also a pretty good chance they won’t! Why not give it a try and see what happens?

Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, a Boston search marketing company that provides white hat link building and other SEO solutions for local and national clients. With nearly 13 years of industry experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his knowledge by publishing the Brick
Marketing SEO Newsletter, read by over 150,000 opt-in subscribers, and writing for the Brick Marketing Blog.

Contact Nick Stamoulis at 781-999-1222 or