Launching an online reputation marketing campaign is a great way to raise your personal or corporate profile and ensure that you’re controlling the online conversation around your key search terms. But with so much chaos and clutter in the digital world, the idea of carving out a positive space for you or your company—a fortress of digital brand authority that suppresses negative content and introduces you to others on the best possible terms—seems daunting, even laughable.
But it’s doable.
This article will walk you through the process, showing you how to find quality guest-blogging opportunities, create a network of positive content that points back to your owned web properties, and build long-term, reputation-enhancing relationships with thought leaders in your industry.
Here’s how to set up a reputation marketing campaign that expands your online sphere of influence keeps your digital reputation sharp.
Find guest blogging opportunitiesGuest blogging is one of the cornerstones of reputation marketing. It has several goals:
- Attracting inbound links from external websites with high Domain
- Authority (DA) and other metrics of quality that link to positive reputation-related web pages
- Boosting your image as a thought leader in your niche or industry
- Creating an overall positive image for you or your company
- Drawing traffic to your owned web properties
Creating “authority” around your web presence — a positive space in which you control the conversation
A guest blogging campaign begins with an exhaustive, disciplined search for high-authority target sites that serve your niche and cater to audiences that fit your target audience.
If you’re a business owner, you’ll want to go after prospective customers in key buyer personas: affluent twenty-somethings, 40-year-old marketing executives, senior citizens with disposable income and so on. Typically, the best guest blogging target sites are influential blogs, trade publications and online media outlets that cater to these groups.
If you’re an individual, you’ll look to business and/or lifestyle sites that relate to your industry, interests or lifestyle. But since you’re only selling yourself, you won’t focus quite as much on targeting specific buyer personas.
In order to compile a list of potential guest blogging targets, conduct searches using the relevant industry keywords and variations on the guest posting theme. For instance, if you’re looking for guest blogging opportunities in the clothing design niche, you might search “clothing design blog write for us,” “clothing design blog submissions,” “clothing design journal guest posts” and so on.
To find even more opportunities, retrace the footsteps of your competitors and fellow thought leaders. Try search strings that combine the names of such people and variations on the guest posting theme. For instance: “Tim Gunn where I’ve posted,” “Tim Gunn guest posts,” “Tim Gunn blog contributor.” (Sorry, Tim. Love “Project Runway”!)
Eliminate low-quality candidates
Depending on your niche and how widely you cast your net, you could end up with more target blogs than you can possibly manage. That’s okay. For the sake of your online reputation and your relative position in key search results, you’ll want to narrow down your list of targets anyway. Here’s how:
- Make sure the site is still accepting guest posts. Many change their policies without warning.
- Evaluate the quality and content of existing guest posts. If any seem weird — for instance, stuffed with unnatural keywords or links, or about topics that don’t seem relevant to the site — you may want to steer clear, as the site may be practicing questionable SEO tactics. Weirdness makes a “bad neighborhood.”
- Check the site’s Domain Authority using a tool like Open Site Explorer by Moz. Note that DA isn’t the be-all-end-all of site quality, as newer sites tend to have a lower DA regardless of their practices, but it’s a good proxy.
- Check the site’s social footprint. It’s no longer optional for blogs and publication to engage with followers (and attract new ones) on social media. If your target isn’t doing this, it could be an indication of mismanagement, and you may not attract your desired traffic besides.
Set up a content creation plan and publishing schedule
Even the best-laid guest blogging and content placement plans fall apart without a sustainable content creation and publishing apparatus. If you’re serious about improving your online reputation through reputation marketing, an experienced reputation management company can guide you through this part of the process. Your total reputation management cost will pale in comparison to the potential cost—financial or otherwise—that an unaddressed reputation threat can do to your reputation.For now, here are a few content creation and publishing pointers:
Set up a brainstorming document that all relevant stakeholders — you, your employees, your reputation management company, bloggers and contributors — can easily access and edit.
- Create a master content plan with approved topics, publication dates, notes to the writer, information sources and anything else relevant.
Create and update a list of relevant guest blogging targets and contacts.
- Set up an outreach plan that finds you contacting a minimum number of targets per week or month and following up as necessary.
- Delegate tasks to others as necessary, saving the highest-value or most important ones for yourself (if you have the time).
- For higher-volume content creation and publishing, tap your reputation management partner for help finding quality writers and media specialists — there are plenty of resources online, but it’s often a matter of knowing where to look.
Turn the tables: attract reputation marketing contributors
One important aspect of reputation marketing doesn’t get as much attention as it should: contributorships. Yes, placing guest posts on relevant, high-authority blogs certainly qualifies you as a “contributor.” But we’re talking about the reverse: attracting contributors to your owned web properties, if and when appropriate.
For many reasons, it’s important to exercise firm control over who’s allowed to post on your owned web properties, not to mention what and when they post. But if you establish the right relationships with high-authority, high-quality contributors, you’ll transform your blog or publication from an also-ran personal mouthpiece into a powerful platform for positive ideas that support you and your activities. And, through the power of SEO and social sharing, quality guest posts on your own website or blog — provided that they’re relevant to what you do — are likely to attract high-authority links that boost your search visibility for critical keywords.
Reciprocal guest posting relationships are a great place to start. Work out arrangements with non-competitors who share your industry or interests. Perhaps you’ll post on their site one week, and they on yours the next - just don't link to each other as that may be construed as a "reciprocal link" by Google. Reciprocal links are believed to be devalued as part of a link exchange program.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to us for advice suited to your particular situation. Are you ready to take the next step in your reputation marketing adventure? Great. We’re ready to help.