social media viewpointsGuest blogging is one of the most efficient, yet misunderstood, social media marketing tactics.

It’s not new. In fact, it’s almost as old as blogging itself.  It started becoming a standout tactic just a few years ago.

This post answers one of the most frequently asked questions: Is guest blogging good for “big guys?”

By the way, “guest posting, the time waster” is one of the myths I busted in my previous post for Social Media Examiner. Today’s article is one more argument in favor of guest blogging.

Guest blogging is about placing your content for free outside of your own blog to increase its reach. A guest post thus is a piece of content you write for someone else’s blog and include your author information to build exposure and awareness of your brand.

Here are eight familiar brands that are benefiting from guest blogging.

#1: Intel: Create and Support a Blogging Celebrity

Intel has definitely made a good choice.  Ekaterina Walter is a well-known guest blogger contributing to Mashable, The Next Web, Fast Company, Social Media Examiner and many more. She actively collaborates with readers by replying to comments and participating in discussions.

Intel: Create and Support a Blogging Celebrity

Caption: Intel's Ekaterina Walter answering comments to her guest post at Mashable.

So what is Intel doing right?

The company lets Ekaterina build her own personal brand. She always links to her personal blog while making it obvious that she loves working at Intel.

Ekaterina has become a social media celebrity and Intel handles that perfectly. It brings the company credibility, which is an invaluable advantage.

#2: Evernote: Share Your Own Success Case Study

Evernote is one of the best to illustrate the difference between self-promotion and sharing authentic case studies.

Evernote’s CEO Phil Libin is a guest contributor at TechCrunch, sharing the behind-the-curtain and first-hand experience of promoting an iPhone application. This post was an eye-opener for many people, as it shared some pretty awesome stats.

Evernote: Share Your Own Success Case Study

Caption: Evernote's CEO Phil Libin sharing his company stats after the first week on the App Store.

So what did Evernote do right?

Being really open and sharing your actual stats and tactics in a guest post on a popular blog may make you vulnerable to competitors who might try to copy your strategy.

But the loyal community of social media advocates and exposure the guest post brings is well worth the risk.

#3: Xbox: Dealing with a social media crisis

Stephen Toulouse, head of Xbox LIVE Policy and Enforcement, found a great place to explain the recent series of “unfair” console suspensions—the personal blog of his fellow Xbox team member.

The guest article has caused quite a buzz in the gaming community and an active discussion at the post.

XBox: Dealing with Social Media Crisis

Caption: Stephen Toulouse of Xbox deals with a social media crisis with the help of a guest post on a popular blog.

So what did Xbox do right?

To respond to rumors, the company needs to talk back to the community. A guest post shared on a popular niche blog is a great way to start the conversation.

#4: Klout: Promote your most powerful users

Megan Berry, the marketing manager for Klout, hits Huffington Post with a series of guest articles highlighting the most influential Twitter users (as per Klout stats).

Klout: Promote Your Most Powerful Users

Caption: Klout's Megan Berry features the most popular Twitter users (according to Klout).

So what is Klout doing right?

By sharing Twitter lists on a popular blog, Megan manages to achieve two important goals: (1) she shares Klout’s methodology and application example and (2) she attracts attention of those influential Twitter users to Klout (turning them into powerful brand advocates).

#5: Autodesk: Promote your message

The Autodesk team has been working hard to promote sustainable design. They are running an active contributing column at Fast Company called “Autodesk Sustainable Blogging Team” as well as guest posting actively around the web on sustainability in design. Here is a recent post on Designing a Sustainable World in 3D (at Forbes).

Autodesk: Promote Your Message

Caption: The Autodesk sustainable blogging team's guest column at the Fast Company blog.

So what is Autodesk doing right?

Guest blogging is a great way to increase brand awareness, but you don’t need to directly self-promote in your guest posts. Instead, focus on an idea, message or concept neighboring your brand. This will grow your (personal) brand influence and position you as a niche expert. For example, see how many times the Autodesk Sustainable Blogging Team is quoted online:

Autodesk: Promote Your Message

Caption: Screenshot of multiple quotes from the Autodesk Sustainable Blogging Team.

#6: O’Reilly Media: Increase your reach

One of the best-known media companies is hardly in need of more exposure, right? Wrong! O’Reilly Media started O’Reilly’s Radar, an online blog featuring emerging web technologies.

To increase its reach, correspondents for O’Reilly Media maintain regular guest accounts at top online publications; for example, Alexander Howard, government correspondent for O’Reilly Media, is a guest author for ReadWriteWeb, Huffington Post, etc.

O'Reilly Media: Increase Your Reach

Caption: Alexander Howard's guest post at Huffington Post results in a very active discussion.

So what is O’Reilly Media doing right?

Even huge brands with lots of online exposure understand that it is not wise to keep all of the content on their own sites. Yes, the constant stream of news might make other “outside” publications much stronger, but the exposure you get from regular guest posts on high-profile blogs is well worth it.

#7: Salesforce: Get the whole team involved

Salesforce is one of those huge brands that takes guest blogging really seriously. For example, their CEO Marc Benioff guest posts at TechCrunch on the future of cloud computing; their coders guest post at the official Google Code blog, sharing how to build a Google Earth app for Foundation grantees and how to visualize your cloud’s data; and their MVPs guest post on file management.

Salesforce's CEO Marc Benioff guest posts at TechCrunch on the future of cloud computing.

So what is Salesforce doing right?

Incorporating your whole team in guest blogging means creating multiple voices around your business. Guest blogging should be a team effort. Salesforce gives its employees the freedom to talk about what they are good at and what they enjoy. The result: plenty of first-hand tutorials on using Salesforce and a lot of well-established contacts with bloggers.

#8: Forrester Research: Share the expertise

The leading business research company successfully uses guest blogging at powerful blogs to share their team members’ expertise.  For example, Forrester‘s vice president and research director J. P. Gownder writes on brand loyalty; their principal analyst guest posts on ICANN’s new domain registry options; and their consumer product strategy professional leader guest blogs on the future of digital music.

Forrester Research: Share the Expertise

Caption: Forrester's vice president J. P. Gownder writes on brand loyalty.

So what is Forrester Research doing right?

Forrester Research makes great use of expert blogging. All of their leaders are blogging and most of them have powerful guest columns outside Forrester’s domain. All of the team members’ posts are highly professional—they all work to the benefit of the company’s image.

So are you guest blogging yet? Maybe you need to start!

What do you think?  Do you know of any other big guys who are using the power of guest blogging? What else can we learn from them?  Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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  • Very impressive what these brands are doing. Over at Wibiya / Conduit we’re starting to do the same. The benefits are great.

    Most recently we wrote a guest post for TechCrunch:

  • Thanks for the post Ann, I am registered on your guest posting site but haven’t been on it in a while. You just made me want to go back and see who’s new there and do some networking.

  • I didn’t realize so many major brands were benefiting from guest blogging; thanks for enlightening us! I’ve used guest blogging myself to grow my business and advise my coaching clients to use this tool as well. I think the key to success in guest blogging is to make sure the blog is well-visited and having a powerful, benefit-rich bio that leads your prospective clients to want to at least get onto your e-mail list.

  • So my guest posting works! Thanks for giving us the second chance due to my post 🙂

  • Thanks for stopping by to read it! That was a frequent question people asked: “Do big guys guest post?” – so I felt the need to share others’ case studies!

  • Unit51HQ

    Right on Soldier!
    Is the content/quality of your guest post all that matters (like Evernote’s post for example) and can be all that matters for top blogs like you mention (social media examiner, mashable etc), or does it also matter what your core content is and your social following? I understand this is directed to big boys posting on other blogs, but that seems to be a gray area to me.

    Hooah! Thankks for sharing Ann.


  • Maria

    Our site is mostly up of guest bloggers. It is our goal to help them get exposure, It is working and we have only just begun. i would love your feedback. Maria

  • Thank you for the Intel mention, Ann! 🙂

  • I love watching a new profession spontaneously erupt seemingly overnight, when it’s really years of hard work and background preparation which makes it possible.

  • Most comments are nofollow, guest blogging is good but how do you get around the issue of your page not having a page rank though the home page of the site might have a good pr?

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  • You are very much welcome! Very well-deserved, Ekaterina!

  • Hey HQ, thank YOU for reading! In most cases, the content is all the matters!

  • Marie, if the domain is powerful, the individual post will acquire page rank of its own (which will be visible after the next PR update). For example my previous guest post at Social Media Examiner is now PR3

  • Feat_albert

    Anna smarty 
    you are very beautiful 🙂

  • Thank you, do you think there is any value to the paid directories such as Pegasus or A1webdirectory? I also was told by an SEO person that the nofollow links do have some SEO value, there is a Realtor in Phoenix that has 40,000 backlinks which are primarily from leaving comments on blogs.

    Thanks Ann

  • While I agree that these brands are really benefiting from their blogging endeavors, I’d like to add that EVERY brand benefits from guest posting. It’s free advertising, a powerful medium to reach customers, and an excellent way to create new business relationships. In some cases, it’s a great way to repair a damaged reputation too.

  • Thanks for this Ann.  Guest blogging is one strategy that is often overlooked. And sadly there are still people who don’t see the point in doing it, and that baffles me. When we try to approach guest blogging intelligently, I believe we can increase our prominence and popularity within our niche quickly, much more if we guest post in popular blogs. Well, there’s always a wrong way and right way to do it so we need to choose the right principles in guest blogging.  

  • I agree with you,Guest blogging is very much important to build traffic to our website and also blogs…
    Most recently we wrote a have written a blog about social media optimization go through it:

    Thanks for posting Ann,

  • It was a great post, gave me a lot of ideas, thank you!

  • Hi Ann! This post has given lot of ideas in my mind regarding the benefits from Guest blogging. Interesting way of presentation. Keep updating.

  • David Gitonga

    I have always known that guest blogging is important for a growing business and I would never have figured CEOs guest blogging. I now see what keeps brands like Salesforce and Forrester Research among others relevant. I will definitely keep guest blogging.

  • Bob Bedi

    This is a great article Ann.  I really like the way you’ve used tangible examples and then reiterate the actionable tactic that people can apply.

  • Thanks! It took me quite some time to find the examples to illustrate my points!

  • Good plan! Guest blogging works in any niche, so it’s really something to look into!

  • I will! I am already working on the follow-up. Thanks!

  • Thank YOU for reading! It’s great to know the article can inspire!

  • Exactly, Judy. Not many people know how to approach guest blogging properly! Those win who know how to do that right!

  • Exactly! I have chosen those brands to make one point straight: guest blogging can work wonders! The key is to “get” it!

  • Yes, there are a few great directories which are still worth a shot: BOW is the old and established one. Directory Journal does lots of content marketing and has developed a strong domain. I am not that familiar with Pegasus or A1webdirectory, sadly.

    As for nofollow links, I wouldn’t waste time into turning these into a strategy. I comment because that’s a great networking tool, that’s all I want from the comment!

  • Very nice job Ann. Serious effort with great results. I liked the specific examples. Although I do feel cheated that there were no mentions of shoes anywhere in this article. 🙂

  • Hi Ann, Yeah, I too joined your guest posting site… more than a year ago. Will definitely be going back to check 🙂

  • Jonywags

    Thanks for sharing this article Ann, i really want to learn about guess blogging. this post is very helpful for me

  • Thanks! I did spend quite an effort to find the good examples!

  • Thanks for stopping by to read and comment!

  • wow, that’s an awesome guest post and the awesome connection! Great job!

  • Yes please 🙂 do check us back!

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  • Nice research Ann…Guest blogging has grown to really next level and you have been doing a great job by promoting it..!!

    You should also look into strategy of Bufferapp as they also leverage the power of guest blogging.

  • Yes! Exactly! Thanks for the great reminder!

  • Great article, Ann! Guest blogging is really good when it comes to giving your audience something fresh and something to look forward to. Kudos SME!

  • The Evernote example really resonates with me. From a transparency point of view it’s really powerful and I think goes a long way to setting a precedence for building trust with your industry. Anything that encourages openness and outside discussion should be embraced, it takes real guts to put your methods and most crucial intelligence out in the open.

  • Very well said, Anthony!

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  • Steve Anderson

    Guest blogging on a blog less visited than your own obviously won’t do much to increase your readership and so it’s important that you take the time to identify the absolute best bloggers in your niche. Once you determine the best of the best, make contact and see if they may be interested in having you contribute a guest post.

  • Steve Anderson

    If you’re happy with a small audience that shapes up as something similar to that shown in this infographic, and that is sometimes the case for low-key, personal bloggers, then you can feel free to surf away from this article now. If, on the other hand, you’re a blogger looking to take the next step to a bigger audience, guest blogging may be just what you need to get that extra burst of targeted traffic.


  • nancysv

    I have seen the site lists from this which allow guest blog author in it. Within that quick response and I got benefits shortly. You can also benefit by visit that link as mentioned above.

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  • Great article! =)

    I agree that most people are largely unaware, or simply don’t understand what guest blogging is…never mind the great marketing utility it is becoming. I tapped into this micro niche recently by creating a simple guide on how to actually get into guest blogging. So far it’s been very well received =)

  • Such big brands also follows basic rules of marketing its really appreciated.

  • sharonthoms

    I believe the reason why these big brands are so successful with there guest posts, is because when they do, they always put out an epic post.  Unlike a lot of guest posts these days, who are only looking to get their name associated with a brand, and throw together any old thing which they haven’t truly given their all too, these guys are a tremendous example of how effective guest posts can be, providing the guest goes out of their way to provide a fantastic and worthwhile post.

  • Exactly! Great points, Sharon! Thanks!

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  • Sanjaydhawan51288

    Awesome Post thanks for share 🙂

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  • This is an awesome article. I’ve just written a guest blog post on a brand’s tumblr blog. I’m wondering how I can set up Google+ authorship for this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

  • This is an awesome article. I’ve just written a guest blog post on a brand’s tumblr blog. I’m wondering how I can set up Google+ authorship for this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

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  • Kinjalk Tripathi

    Great Point Smarty ,
    Nowadays Guest Posting became one of the easiest way drive a lot of traffic to your blog and Create Quality backlinks for your blog

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  • I think Kissmetrics should be in the list. Anyway, you did a pretty good work!