”The biggest free agent signing in the world of sports occurred off the playing field,” is how Inc.com described Nate Silver’s recent decision to move of his FiveThirtyEight blog from The New York Times to ESPN.
Silver’s byline was perhaps the most important political byline the Times had during last year’s presidential election. In the last several days before the election, 20% of NYT‘s web visitors showed up to read his blog. Silver’s leaving is considered a big blow to the Times, and only increases speculation and discussion of so-called ”brand journalism” in an era where people gather news from a variety of online sources.
Silver’s high profile also reinforces the importance of the celebrity guest blogger, something that many digital publishers use in their traffic development efforts. High profile guest bloggers offer fresh content, along with a different style and an injection of a different personality. They also draws in fans of their work who may not have visited the site of the guest blog post otherwise. The potential for sharing, linking, and a social media boost are evident as well. Here are five ways high profile guest bloggers can benefit your digital news site.
1. Guest Bloggers Can Bolster Your Website’s Revenue Development
Celebrity guest bloggers can definitely cause a short-term spike in traffic, and when you implement a plan to bring in guest bloggers at intervals, you can help sustain higher numbers for traffic development. Through new traffic, organic link building, and social media promotion, you can make your site more attractive to advertisers and sponsors as well as visitors. This traffic can feed other revenue development tactics, like a white label job board geared toward your readership. Extra traffic can also boost ecommerce features of your site.
2. They Can Increase Comments on Articles and Blog Posts
Healthy comment threads help your conversion efforts because they showcase your website as a thriving online community. Organic comments should increase with each high quality guest blogger you bring on for a guest post. Lively comment threads also help your site’s overall SEO efforts.
3. Guest Bloggers Can Make Your Site Stickier
Returning visitors are the lifeblood of your website. Great guest blog posts strengthen existing visitors’ ties to your site, while bringing in new traffic, some of which will be impressed and stick around if you’ve done a good job with design and filled your site with high quality content. Watch your repeat visitor stats on Google Analytics after each guest blog post and you will probably see an increase in repeat visitors and other important metrics like time spent on the site.
4. Guest Bloggers Reinforce Your Social Media Strategy
A guest blogger will not only share his or her posts on social media, but will draw more attention to your social media posts. Guest blog posts are considered highly shareable, because they’re special events, and if you tailor some of your social media posts around the guest blog post, you’ll see better stats for your social media accounts as well for your site, and indirectly, more attention to site revenue development features like niche job boards.
5. They Can Help Your Site Become More Influential
The reputation and ”authority” that your site develops over time can be helped tremendously when you bring in high quality guest bloggers from time to time. The theory goes, if a famous guest blogger is willing to put his or her name on your site, then it must be a worthwhile publication. By having guest blog posts that are relevant to your site and valuable to your audience, you build your reputation as an online authority in your sector.
Guest bloggers are by no means a panacea for a site that’s struggling with poor design or mediocre content. You still have to do all the things necessary to have a great website. But your celebrity bloggers are like extra credit points: They can really help you show off something good. Discuss with your top writers, photographers, and analysts which high profile bloggers would be appropriate to your site, and start out by making contact on social media or on the blogger’s own site. It might become a partnership that benefits both parties greatly.