One of the biggest mistakes I consistently see small business bloggers make is assuming that writing their blog posts — or producing their podcast, or doing their videos — is sufficient to grow their audience.
The truth is, any piece of content you produce today is really only going to reach your existing fans — unless you do some additional promotion for it.
What that means in practice is that I can have the best website on the Internet, but unless I take action to promote it, I’m just preaching to the choir. Only my existing audience will ever know.
When working with my Strategy Session clients, we almost always include ideas for how they can promote their content outside their existing audience, and something that comes up a lot is the subject of guest posting.
Many bloggers think that if they can get their words on a big-name site like Huffington Post, Mind Body Green, Elephant Journal, Entrepreneur, or Forbes that will be their ticket to fame and fortune.
Unfortunately, it rarely works that way.
We’ve all heard the stories of someone who went viral on Huffpo and it made their business (though I see that less and less these days) but for every one story like that, there are thousands of posts that get practically ignored.
Should you guest post or do podcast interviews?
Another question I’m hearing a lot lately is whether a particular business owner should be focusing their time and energy doing guest posts or podcast interviews.
Of course there are pros and cons to each:
- When people listen to podcasts, they almost always listen all the way through. The completion rate is through the roof.
- Listening to someone talk increases that “know, like, and trust” factor exponentially and fast. People will feel more connected to you on a podcast than through text.
- It humanizes you. When it comes down to it, people work with you because of you. So the more they know and like you, the better.
- Usually super easy — I can show up for an hour or less and talk and reach a huge audience.
- It’s harder to get people to take a specific action (like click a link) from a podcast.
- In many cases, people are listening away from their computer, while they do something else. That means they could forget to take action at all.
- The interviewer drives the direction of the conversation, so you may or may not get to talk about exactly what you want to say.
- If you’re allowed to include a link, it’s much easier to get people to take a specific action, ie: sign up for an opt-in freebie.
- SEO can mean that your post has a much longer shelf-life than a podcast.
- Can be a great way to add impressive-looking logos to your “as seen on” page — lots of social currency.
- Conversion rates can be all over the map, and very difficult to predict.
- Some outlets don’t allow you to include direct links to your website except in your byline.
- Much more time and labor intensive — even if you’re fast (like me), it takes more time and effort to put together a really great blog post than to show up for an interview.
- Depending on the outlet, you might get lots of eyes on the article, but very little click-thru or conversion.
When you look at it this way, they’re pretty well matched. But at the risk of repeating myself (over and over and over again…) the direction you choose will depend on your goals.
If you want to beef up your credibility and expertise, getting the logos of places like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Huffington Post on your website through guest posting might be the way to go. On the other hand, if networking and attracting high-end customers is your goal, podcast interviews might be a better choice. (And you can always do a combination of the two.)
Why I’m choosing podcast interviews
Because I’ve been keeping track of where my customers came from last year, I noticed that several good customers said they heard me on a podcast. That makes me think that for the right person, hearing me on a podcast they like is enough to get them to reach out.
On the other hand, I’ve never had a high-value client say they first found out about me through a guest post. It’s entirely possible that they don’t remember and got on my list via a guest post, but clearly they don’t stick in people’s minds as much as the podcast interviews.
Plus, as I said above, a podcast interview is much less labor intensive for me. I can talk all day! I’ve delegated some of the research and pitching process to my assistant, so that pretty much all I have to do is show up and talk.
Guest posts, on the other hand, require a lot more of my time personally. I can still outsource some of the research and pitching, but I feel like it requires more personalized pitches (which I would need to brainstorm and come up with) not to mention the writing, editing, back and forth with the outlet to get it approved, etc.
(P.S. Just want to mention that pitching and writing guest posts is something you CAN outsource to my team if that’s a direction you want to go. Reach out to me here for more info.)
So for me, podcast interviews seem like the way to go for now.
What about you? What promotional strategies will you focus on this year? I’d be curious to hear your thoughts in the comments below.