If you have yet to incorporate guest posting into your content strategy, now is the time. By contributing high-quality content to online publications your audience reads and trusts, you can reach new readers right where they are. If they like what they see, you’ll drive qualified site traffic and contribute to a funnel of opportunity for your business, all while building customer confidence and establishing thought leadership at the same time.
While that may sound too good to be true, guest posting really can help you accomplish these business goals and more. The catch is that it’s not a “set it and forget it” undertaking. As with all marketing strategies, guest posting requires you to consistently evaluate and adjust based on results, which means data is your best friend as you develop and refine your methods.
To produce valuable insights for digital marketing leaders, my team at Influence & Co. went right to the source. We surveyed editors at top online publications and analyzed more than 3.5 million pieces of content published in 2017 to compile our second annual “State of Digital Media” report.
Understanding how to create and deliver the best content for your audiences is key—but in the world of guest posting, editors are the gatekeepers. So, the first step is to understand what editors are looking for.
1. Editors Are Demanding Multimedia Content
Different forms of content, such as videos and infographics, are rising in popularity, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to forward-thinking content marketers. Audiences love video—and that means editors do, too. In fact, 67 percent of editors plan to publish video content this year, which is up from last year, when only 45 percent of editors expressed interest in publishing video.
And it’s not just videos that are on the rise. Infographics are another a great way to engage audiences. 52 percent of editors report planning to publish infographics this year—an 8 percent increase over last year—while 40 percent of editors surveyed say they plan to publish podcasts.
Clearly, editors are looking to diversify the ways in which they engage audiences. That said, written content remains one of the most effective ways to reach, educate, and engage an audience, and it’s one of the easiest methods to scale. Editors still want articles, and if you’re looking to consistently meet that need, written content is incredibly valuable.
2. Page Views Have Overtaken Social Shares As the Biggest Success Indicators
Last year, 66 percent of editors reported that they use social shares to determine the success of a piece of content. While that number has increased to 69 percent this year, it has also been overshadowed by other metrics.
Page views have emerged as the leading indicator of content performance, according to a whopping 93 percent of editors, up from 62 percent last year. In second place is time on site, which is used by three-quarters of editors this year as a barometer of success, compared to only 39 percent last year.
The fact that these metrics have changed so much since last year indicates that this industry is rapidly evolving, and these newly favored metrics represent an improvement in measurement.
The significant differences year over year demonstrate editors’ evolving preferences. Social share numbers on their own have never been a particularly accurate gauge of content’s effectiveness. It’s encouraging to see content spread and reach people, sure, but it’s also important to editors that audiences engage with content through the publication that produced it.
It’s important to note the overlap in these responses. Almost all editors will rely on a combination of factors to determine successful content. These benchmarks will vary, so make sure to do your research and talk with the editors you’re working with to understand what success looks like to them.
3. Promotional Content Is a Bigger Problem Than It Was Last Year
Last year, 71 percent of editors reported that promotional content was the biggest problem they found in guest post submissions. This year, that number has increased to 79 percent, which suggests that many brands and content marketers are executing their guest posting strategy in entirely the wrong way.
Overly self-promotional content has no business crossing publication editors’ desks. They’re looking to share value with their audiences: unique ideas, fresh perspectives, actual expertise. Instead of using your content to sing your own praises, you need to contribute content that meets your audience’s needs. The most effective content marketing isn’t for you; it’s for your audience.
Contributing original content has the potential to change the way you connect with audiences—but only when you deliver the kinds of content editors are looking for. The good news is that the content editors want to publish is also the content that resonates most with readers.
Done right, guest posting is a strategy that benefits everyone involved: Editors get the content they need, you get the chance to reach new audiences, and audiences get the high-quality content they’re looking for. These trends have the potential to change your approach; use them to your advantage to win over editors and engage your audiences.