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Make Sure Your Contributed Article Strategy Is A Three-Legged Stool—Or It Will Ultimately Collapse

Published: February 23, 2021       Updated: June 16, 2024

3 min read

At Idea Grove, we help B2B tech and e-commerce companies Grow With TRUST—with TRUST an acronym that represents the solutions we deliver our clients, namely:

  • Third-party validation
  • Reputation management
  • User experience
  • Search presence
  • Thought leadership

We view the services we offer through the prism of these business solutions, which helps us to clarify for our clients the benefits any specific service package can provide. It also reminds us that in order to yield the most value we can, we must take each of these benefits into account.

This leads to a balanced strategic approach that we believe sets us apart from many agencies.

By way of example, let's discuss a service that most PR firms and digital agencies today provide: contributed article development and placement.

Whether you call them contributed articles, guest posts or bylined articles, creating articles under your name for third-party publications is an important tool in building visibility and trust. Viewing contributed articles through the Grow With TRUST framework, we specifically use this tool to generate trust for our clients in three ways:

  1. Bylines bring visibility to our clients’ thought leadership, and thought leadership builds trust;
  2. Publishing a byline in a well-known publication, like Fast Company, the Harvard Business Review or top industry outlets, delivers the benefit of third-party validation, because that outlet confers trust on our clients by choosing to publish their content;
  3. Contributed articles -- especially those with links to our clients’ websites -- can yield important benefits for search presence, and high visibility in Google also builds trust.

In other words, bylines hit three of the five dimensions of TRUST in our Grow With TRUST framework.

Contributed Article Strategy: A Three-Legged Stool of Trust

For this reason, we think of contributed article development as a three-legged stool. Without ensuring that each of these legs is in place, your guest post program will likely collapse -- or at least not achieve the results you are hoping for. 


Thought leadership: Contributed articles have to be of high quality to have true thought leadership value. Too many contributed articles don’t; a recent survey by Edelman showed that only 15% of B2B decision-makers who consume thought leadership content consider it to be of high quality. That defeats the primary purpose of creating a byline.

Third-party validation: Where your bylines are published is extremely important. It’s critical to consider a media brand's visibility, industry reputation and domain authority before making the commitment to create a guest post for them. Indiscriminately posting content on third-party sites will only diminish the perceived value of—and trust in—your content and your brand.

Search presence: Contributed articles can deliver SEO benefits as well -- but you must be careful here. Over the past few years, unscrupulous marketers have given guest posting a bad name with Google through practices such as paying under-the-table for links and including what Google calls "unnatural" links in content. As a result, Google's algorithms look at guest posting programs with a high degree of scrutiny. Your best course is to focus on creating quality content, placing them in the right outlets, and only including links that are clearly designed to help the reader.

In other words, your best bet for a sustainable contributed article program is to build it on a three-legged stool of trust.

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