Why would someone give up their hard won platform to someone else?
What if they screw it up?
What if people stop reading my blog because of what someone else wrote?
These are real questions and valid concerns. Extending your platform to others doesn’t come without risk. But many people, myself and Tom included, are doing it every day.
I would argue that there are more reasons to do it than not. You’ll gain far more by opening up your blog, website or social media accounts to others than you’ll risk losing. Today, I’m going to share with you four reasons why I think you should extend your platform to other writers, bloggers and webpreneurs.
1. Good Karma
I try to operate under the “serve others first” philosopy. It’s never good to give with the intention of receiving, but often when you do give (from your heart), you’ll find that it’ll come back to you in spades.
“Giving feels better than receiving any day of the week.”
Allowing others to guest post on your website is a great way to give or pay it forward. New freelance writers need this opportunity more than anyone.
Everyone starting out needs samples and even though you could gain them by posting content to your own blog, getting published on someone else’s (even if it’s unpaid) looks a lot more professional. It adds to your credibility if someone else thought you were a good enough writer to share your work and your prospective client doesn’t know whether or not it was a paid gig!
2. Expanding Your Reach
When you open up your blog to someone else to contribute to, odds are they are going to share the published link with their network. They want to get the word out about their guest post and a great way to do this is by sharing it socially with their audience.
I always share posts that I’ve written on other mediums – whether it was a paid gig, a guest post or just a mention. An online writing ‘pat my back, I’ll pat yours’ if you will.
We all know different people. Sure, there’s bound to be a little overlap, but oftentimes the website owner isn’t in the same city, state or even country than you!
This opens you both up to new potential readership. As the blog owner, you should allow the guest poster to add links to their own site in the post and/or their bio at the end, so people can click over to find out more about them. As the guest poster, ask what the “rules” are.
And by them sharing the post on their social media channels, odds are that some of that audience will stop by to read what’s on your site. And many won’t stop with the guest post itself.
3. Exposing Your Audience to New Voices
As you get exposed to new readers, your audience will be exposed to new voices. It’s true that people come to your blog to hear from you, but they can also benefit from hearing a different viewpoint, someone more knowledgeable on a different topic, or simply a fresh perspective.
People love to read personal stories. Depending on how niched your site is, you might only have so many of your own to tell. So why not open it up to others to share theirs? You, the guest and your readers will all benefit!
I personally enjoy this in writing weekly profiles for two of my paying clients – one is sharing experiences with food intolerances and allergies, the other is sharing student success stories after taking my client’s course. Both are fun for me to write and fun for others to read. The stories are personal, relatable and I for one always learn something new. Odds are the readers do too!
An additional bonus is that it gives the interviewee exposure too. And you’ll look like a nice guy or gal for sharing your platform with them.
4. We’ll All Get Further Together
I don’t know where I’d be without others opening up their platforms to me. This is how I gained my first few samples, which ultimately led to me getting paid writing work and being able to continue to build my freelance business.
I continue to guest post on a regular basis. Even though I don’t typically get paid to write them, it opens me up to additional audiences, increases my visibility and builds credibility in my niche.
I also offer others the chance to guest post on my site. It gives them a chance to secure a sample, connect with a new audience and gives me additional content (and hopefully views).
But It’s Not Without Risk…
I don’t think sharing your platform comes without risk.
Someone could steal and re-post other people’s content and claim it as their own. They may not be a competent writer, which leads to a difficult conversation or hours of editing on your side. It might not be a good fit for your audience. Or it could simply be misinformation.
There are ways to circumvent some of these risks, however. You could run the article through a plagiarism tool to make sure it’s unique. Much of it comes down to proper screening and setting appropriate expectations.
I usually ask people to pitch me a few ideas as an initial screening. I also make sure to point out that the content needs to be unique.
I’ve been lucky in that the writers that have submitted ideas/posts to me have been competent. I do usually have to edit, reformat the article so it matches the other content on my blog, sometimes I’ll propose a stronger title. But the potential advantages I believe outweigh the admin time.
I think it’s a great idea to open up your platform to other webpreneurs. It’s good karma, you’ll expand your reach, it’ll expose your audience to fresh perspectives and we’ll all get further together.
Don’t let fear keep you from doing so and miss out on making awesome new connections and giving others a leg up. Make sure to set appropriate expectations off the bat and don’t publish something just because it was sent to you. Don’t compromise the quality of your content – send it back and ask for rewrites instead.
Would you ever open up your platform to others for guest posting?