If you have an attorney website, you may have been contacted by someone who wants to write an article for you. Free content sounds pretty sweet, right? Unfortunately, it’s not always a good deal for you and your firm.
On the one hand, content is very important to the success of your attorney website. But on the other hand, guest contributors are creating content to achieve their own business goals—not yours.
So is it ever worth it to allow guest posts? The short answer is that if you are being offered a free blog article, it’s probably too good to be true. For the long answer, keep reading. This article explains why guest authors want to write for you, what to watch out for, and tips for a winning guest author strategy.
Why do guest authors want to write for your website?
In general, there are two main reasons that a guest author may reach out to offer you content:
- Build their reputation
- Build backlinks
By publishing an article on your website, guest writers use the strength of your reputation to bolster their own. That’s why so many experts try to place thought pieces on websites like Forbes. The reputation of the publication or website lends serious credence to writers who are published on that platform. A guest writer may want to take advantage of your reputation in the same way.
Backlinks are another key goal for many guest authors. When a guest author publishes an article on your site with a link back to their own website, they increase the domain authority of their own site. In general, the more backlinks a site has, the more reputable it is considered by search engines—and the higher the site is ranked on the results page.
Here’s an example. Let’s say a no-name legal expert publishes an article in the Harvard Business Law Review. In this transaction, it’s far more beneficial for the no-name writer than it is for the established law publication.
What to watch out for
Watch out for guest writers who attempt to convince you that this will be an equally enriching, mutually beneficial arrangement.
Be very wary if they propose a link exchange. A guest writer may explain that publishing their post is a win for you, too. They will link to your site and this will help with SEO. That’s link building, right? Wrong!
There is a major difference between link building and link exchanges.
Link exchanges are a reciprocal agreement where two parties agree to link to one another. Even if the topics are mutually relevant, know that link exchanges are not viewed well by search engines. If you engage with bad actors, it could actually hurt your online reputation.
Link building, on the other hand, is good for SEO. It is an organic process whereby other sites link to your website simply because it provides value.
If a proposed guest post will not truly provide value for your website and your business, don’t hesitate to politely say no.
A winning guest author strategy for attorney websites
So are guest blog posts ever a good idea?
Yes! Guest posts can be wonderful if they deliver extraordinary value to your site visitors. But you are far more likely to get a great guest post as a result of a conversation with a trusted colleague than a pitch from a random writer who submitted a form to your website.
Here are three key steps to a winning guest author strategy:
1. Only solicit and accept content from trusted people and companies.
2. Ask writers to share an outline with you.
3. Review the content (and links) carefully before approving.
As you review the content, ask yourself: Does it truly speak to the needs of my audience? Is it ethical? Does it address the questions my readers have? Does it reflect my practice’s views? Do I want to send visitors away from my website to follow the links in this article?
Review and next steps
Guest posts can either hurt or help your attorney website. But once you know how to assess a guest writer and their content, you don’t have to be afraid to embrace the power of having guest bloggers.
- Guest writers always want something for themselves—make sure you know what it is.
- Review all guest content carefully before publishing it on your site.
- You can use guest posts to improve SEO but posts must provide valuable information.
It’s very important that you keep a firm grasp on the content strategy underpinning your attorney website. Prepare to get comfortable rejecting content that won’t enrich the lives of your clients.
As your firm grows, you’ll likely receive more and more pitches for guest posts. Determine now how you will handle these inquiries, who is responsible for managing them (hint: you can hire us!), and what your priorities are regarding long-term content strategy.