Guest Blogging: 3 Case Studies That Prove Its Power

Some people are starting to say that guest blogging is dead. Is that true, or are they just tired of the hassle?

While it may be true that guest posting blah content on low-traffic blogs is a waste of time, there are ways to optimize your guest blogging efforts and make them enormously worthwhile.

Numbers don’t lie, so here are three case studies that might change your mind if you’re losing interest in guest blogging:

Case Study #1: Jon Cooper on the SEOmoz Blog

Jon Cooper is an SEO consultant and founder of Hyperlynx Media, Inc. His writing can be found at PointBlankSEO.com. In the post linked to above, he analyzes the results of a guest post for SEOmoz, a major hub for SEO and online marketing gurus.

The post was initially found in the YOUmoz section, the community blog for SEOmoz where anyone can share their posts. His blog got a bit of exposure this way, but really took off when it was selected for the main blog.

The day the post went live on the main blog, Jon’s site received over 400 site visits. He doesn’t tell us what his daily site traffic was like prior to this, but based on the graph, it looks like his usual traffic was under 50 visits a day. That’s a huge boost.

Because SEOmoz is so influential, the post was syndicated 30-40 times, generating 60-80 links back to Jon’s site. He also gained 60 RSS subscribers—a 400% increase!

If the numbers and SEO-speak are confusing, here’s where the rubber meets the road: The massive exposure from this one article piqued the interest of numerous potential clients, which generated more income for Jon’s SEO business.

Jon lists 4 takeaway reasons that this guest blog was so wildly successful:

  1. The post was on a relevant blog
  2. The post was on a popular blog
  3. The content was of high quality
  4. He had an awesome byline

Guest Blogging: 3 Case Studies That Prove Its Power | Sweet Fish Media

Case Study #2: 6 Amazing Guest Blogging Tips from Neil Patel

Okay, this isn’t exactly a “case study” persay, but the advice is too good not to share!

I was going to summarize Neil Patel’s bio, but this guy’s credentials are so impressive I couldn’t help but share the whole thing. Here it is, straight from his website, QuickSprout.com:

“Neil Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and KISSmetrics. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 online marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies in the world.

He was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 35 by the United Nations. Neil has also been awarded Congressional Recognition from the United States House of Representatives.”

Okay, so now that we’ve established Neil probably knows what he’s talking about, let’s dive into the six lessons in his article.

Lesson #1: Relevancy is more important than traffic

Here’s Neil’s first insight into what to look for as you’re checking out the stats of blogs you want to target: Post engagement > Site traffic

Guest Blogging: 3 Case Studies That Prove Its Power | Sweet Fish Media

This seems a little counter-intuitive. If the goal is to “get your name out there” then surely you should just go for the sites that have the most readers, right? Wrong.

Even if total readership is lower than a major news source, you’ll see better results on a powerful industry-specific blog.

Lesson #2: You need to be consistent for at least six months

The longer your content floats around the Internet, the higher it will rank on search engines. While you might get a quick traffic boost when a post is first published, the really significant results take more time to develop, and you have to be consistent to reap the benefits.

He cites specific examples from Buffer and Jayson DeMer.

Takeaway: Commit to guest posting once a week for six months or longer.

Lesson #3: Pick blogs based on engagement

See Lesson #1. Go for the blogs with high reader engagement. If the readers comment, share, and purchase from the host blog, they’re more likely to do the same for you.

Lesson #4: Don’t forget to participate

This is important: Respond to every comment.

Yes, this can be time consuming, but it’s crucial if you want to build your brand and keep those new readers engaged.

Guest Blogging: 3 Case Studies That Prove Its Power | Sweet Fish Media

Lesson #5: Don’t guest post for SEO

Manipulating SEO by guest posting is not cool. Neil even suggests that you nofollow the links back to your own site when you post. Some sites—he mentions Search Engine Journal—will do this for you, but if not, it’s worth considering.

Lesson #6: Make sure you are in good company

This is networking 101, applied to blogging. If you associate yourself with experts in your field, people will believe you’re an expert, too.

Be choosy, even when you’re first starting out; not every opportunity is a good one.

Lesson #7: Guest post on partner blogs

If there are sites and companies you’re already working with, you should be guest posting on their blogs, too. This generates a bigger conversation and shows continuity.

Neil says: “We’ve found that guest posting on partner blogs drives more signups and revenue than guest posting on any other channel.”

Case Study #3: Bryan Harris on his first guest post at OKdork.com

Bryan Harris is the guy behind Video Fruit, a web-based marketing consultant business. His website states that in less than a year he built the Video Fruit concept into a full-time business generating over $15,000 a month. I’d say he’s probably worth listening to.

Here’s a quick summary of the initial numbers his guest post generated:

Daily site visit average: 285

Site visits in the first two days following the guest post: 1,782*

*73% were new visitors. Here, I’ll do that math for you. That’s 1,300 people!

New site subscribers: 215 (a 12% conversion rate)

That’s pretty impressive, especially for a first-time guest post. (Something tells me he followed some of Neil Patel’s tips when he was choosing host blogs to target…)

Bryan pulls out three takeaways from this experience:

Lesson #1: Spend 20+ hours writing

Anyone can throw together a 300-word blog post with some mediocre tips. People are starving for in-depth, high-quality content, but you’ll have to put in some serious time to create pieces that are worthwhile.

Guest Blogging: 3 Case Studies That Prove Its Power | Sweet Fish Media

Lesson #2: Comments supercharge traffic

Bryan makes a great point here: replying to comments not only builds your brand—like Neil suggests—it gives readers another opportunity to click on your name and link to your site.

He also lists a few pro tips about how to set up parameters for accurate traffic tracking.

Lesson #3: Reverse engineer it for your site

I love this. When Bryan saw how helpful the guest post was for him, he immediately realized he should be providing the same opportunity for other people.

Once you have a platform, share it.

Conclusion

Based on case #3, I think Bryan would say that quality > quantity if you have an opportunity with the right niche host blog.

But this is not in contradiction with Neil’s suggestion to guest post once a week for six months. You need to be both prolific AND excellent to really succeed with guest blogging.

So if you’ve been on the fence about the effectiveness of guest blogging, we hope the case studies mentioned above have opened your eyes to a new perspective!


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Katie is a writer, musician, avid reader, craft guru, wife, and mother. After getting her B.A. in music from Belmont University, she founded a successful floral design studio. Katie loves intelligent novels, a good cup of tea, and those complicated board games that only your nerdy friends like.

Posted on July 27, 2015 in Content Marketing

About the Author

Katie is a writer, musician, avid reader, craft guru, wife, and mother. After getting her B.A. in music from Belmont University, she founded a successful floral design studio. Katie loves intelligent novels, a good cup of tea, and those complicated board games that only your nerdy friends like.

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  • Sharon Pettis McElwee

    I agree with everything in Neil Patel’s article except for the amount of time you should spend writing. The longer you spend crafting a guest post, the less your ROI will be. I understand that a well-thought out and carefully written post will do more for your credibility, but that type of time investment is insane for someone who is just starting out. Thanks for this overview; I am getting ready to write a second guest post and wanted a little refresher on how to do it.

    • James Carbary

      Really glad it was helpful, Sharon!

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