Behind an Insane Single Day 50 Guest Post Blitz: the Strategy and the Results

  • May 17, 2012 by Guest Writer
  • 89 Comments

This is a guest post by Adam Costa of Trekity.com.

Crazy, huh?

I mean, 50 websites – each with your byline and link to your site – all going live the same day?

And even if you could coordinate something as massive as this, you’d still have to write 50 guest posts (while still adding content to your own blog)… something most bloggers aren’t too keen on.

But here’s the thing: guest posting (even 50) all at once is do-able.  In fact, it’s MUCH more effective than publishing one post at a time.

Why? Because all those posts give the impression you are EVERYWHERE. It practically guarantees your market will sit up and take notice of you and your blog.

My wife and I just finished a 90-day blitz, during which we landed 50 guest posts on sites like ProBlogger, Business Insider and Lifehacker Australia.

Now, I’d like to share you the stupidly simple secret to our guest posting success.

How to Quickly Build a Ginormous List of Leads

Before you contact anyone, put together a list of leads. We use Excel, but any spreadsheet software will work.

The spreadsheet should include the website URL, domain authority (more on this in a second), status, contact info, and the URL of your guest post once it’s published.

Here’s a simple example or you can download a template Excel spreadsheet:

50 Guest Posts in One Day

Now it’s time to fill in the spreadsheet with leads. For our recent blitz, we compiled a list of 1,000 prospective sites.

Don’t worry. This is much easier than it sounds.

Simply visit the top websites/blogs in your niche. Many of which have a “Resources” or “Directory” page with links to other websites… which gives you a great list to start with!

To speed things up, install the Linkclump extension for Chrome. It lets you select multiple links on a page (e.g. resources page) and automatically copy the URL into a spreadsheet.

After you’ve installed Linkclump, adjust the settings as shown in this video:

So as you can see, building a large list of leads won’t take long.

The next step is to qualify these leads to maximize your results.

How to Determine the Best Sites to Write For

The three main criteria for potential partners are:

  • Authority
  • Traffic
  • Brand

1. Authority

Authority – from an SEO perspective – will help your website rank in Google and other search engines. Therefore, the more authoritative websites you write for, the more authoritative your website becomes.

Why? It all comes from the links in your byline. If Google notices that Copyblogger, ProBlogger and Smashing Magazine all link to you, it concludes your site is trustworthy.

A simple way to measure authority is to use the SEOMoz toolbar (works in both Chrome and Firefox). It gives you a website’s Domain Authority (DA) on a scale of 1 – 100, with 100 being the highest. DA is measured logarithmically, which means it’s easier to go from 20 to 30 than 80 to 90. The higher the DA the better. Generally anything above 40 is worth pitching.

Here’s an example with a website having a DA of 93.

SEOMoz Toolbar

Of course, authority is only one piece of the puzzle. You also want traffic.

2. Traffic

Posting on blogs with high traffic will (hopefully) send some of that goodness your way. You can use the SEO for Chrome extension (works only in Chrome) to quickly see if a site is receiving any kind of valuable traffic.

For example:

Alexa Rank

Look at the “Compete unique visits (Monthly)” for an idea of how many people visit the site.  The image above is Google with 172,774,681 unique monthly visits.

Another method is to check their subscriber count. Most blogs publicly display this publicly on their homepage.

This number is important. It shows how many people will receive your post in their feed (or inbox) and helps you understand how dedicated a blog’s audience is.

For example, a site may get a million page views a month from search engines, but without any subscribers you won’t get any of that traffic.

3. Brand

What I mean by “brand” is how relevant a site is to your own. For example, my wife and I run a travel site, and while we posted on all types of blogs (e.g. marketing or health) we focused mainly on travel blogs.

Think about it: you don’t just read one blog in your market, do you? You probably read at least a few… and if they all feature the same writer - on the same day – you’re much more inclined to check them out.

Which is most important?

The truth is, they’re all important.

But it does help to set some standards. For our campaign we chose only to pitch websites with a minimum Domain Authority of 50. Sites with higher traffic and/or stronger relevance were given priority.

Remember your spreadsheet? Go through each site and find their contact info and Domain Authority then add it your spreadsheet.

The next step is to…

Craft a Mouthwatering Pitch

Guest post pitches should show:

  • you’re a real person
  • you’ve read their guidelines
  • you’ll submit unique, quality content
  • you won’t waste their time

Before you start emailing, have a list of 50 pre-written guest post headlines that are catchy and about an article you can write about.  The guest post headline is what’s going to sell them on the guest post so it has to be very good.  Get a list of 101 Proven Headlines.

After you look at a website, select three of the headlines you think would be a good fit for the website and copy/paste them into an email template.

The following template works well…

Hi (NAME),

I’m a big fan of (YOUR WEBSITE), especially your post on (SUBJECT).

I’d like to write for your site and was wondering if you’d accept a guest post?

Guest Post Suggestions

HEADLINE #1
HEADLINE #2
HEADLINE #3

Qualifications 

Here are links to other posts I’ve published:

LINK #1
LINK #2
LINK #3

So, which do you like best? Let me know and I’ll submit a draft within the next two weeks. Of course, I’ll submit the post fully formatted with images so all you have to do is copy and paste. 

I appreciate your time and hope to hear from you soon,

Speak soon,

YOUR NAME

Easy, right? All you have to do is personalize the intro and add three post ideas and you’re done!

Well, almost.

Some will respond. Others won’t. Therefore, wait a week and send out a reminder email like this:

Hi (NAME),

Just checking in regarding the guest post.

Here are the three ideas again:

HEADLINE #1
HEADLINE #2
HEADLINE #3

Let me know if you’d like me to write one of these exclusively for you.

Thanks,

YOUR NAME

You’d be amazed how well this works. We doubled our success rate just by sending a reminder email.

Write Like a Fiend

As approvals come in, tell them you’ll get them the post within two weeks. This gives you time to polish it before handing it over.

Try and write a guest post every day. Will you get tired and want to give up? Yes. But don’t! Keep pushing, keep writing, and keep submitting them until you’ve hit 50 posts.

And remember: when you send them the post, mention the exact day you want it published (hopefully this is at least 30 – 60 days in advance).

Then comes the fun part.

Coordinate All Posts to Publish at the Same Time

A week before your release date, email your partners reminding them of your intended publish date.

Also, ask for the URL in advance so you can promote it.

Once the posts go live, you can…

  • Mention the post on Twitter
  • Like it on Facebook
  • Share it on Google Plus
  • Bookmark it (Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, etc.)
  • Share the post in related forums

Then follow-up in the comments on each post. Most blogs let you subscribe to a post’s comments, which makes it easy to respond.

Then, after a few days, email your partners and thank them for the opportunity. At this point you may want to suggest another guest post ideas.

Results

So, what were the results?  Overall, the results were very positive.

My wife and I reviewed hundreds of websites within the Travel and Marketing industries (as that’s our background) and over 60 blogs accepted our posts with 51 being published on May 1st.

The top five websites that published our posts and referred traffic were:

  1. Problogger.net: Why I Steal Content (And Why You Should, Too)  (158 visits)
  2. BusinessInsider.com: This Couple Is Feeling Great After Selling Everything They Owned To Travel  (102 visits)
  3. Vagabondish.com: The 10 Hottest, Most Passionate and Sexually Satisfied Countries In The World  (73 visits)
  4. LifeHack.org: 5 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Flee America (And You Should, Too)  (42 visits)
  5. ArtofBackpacking.com: Why Travel Pays Better, Gives You More Freedom and Creates An Epically Awesome Lifestyle  (28 visits)

Now these traffic numbers might seem low, but guest posting is a long term strategy and isn’t necessarily to gain immediate traffic. The three main long-term benefits are:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Market Research
  • Relationships

All of the guest posts were published on websites with a domain authority of 40 or higher.  In fact, the average domain authority was 65.  This is huge for search engine optimization.

But by far the biggest benefit were the relationships. We now have 50+ dedicated partners who will accept our guest posts in the future and potentially do JVs or cross promotions down the road.

Lessons Learned

So was it worth it?

For traffic – no. But for SEO and the chance to partner with top bloggers in our industry, the experience was priceless. So much so that we’ll be planning another round of 50 in a month or two.

In other words: watch out, Danny Iny. ;)

During the process we learned a few key lessons…

  • Don’t take “no” for an answer… at least for the first two times.  Be creative and try negotiating other tactics to get a link or guest post.
  • Some people are MUCH easier to work with. You’ll quickly realize that there are very easy people to work with and very difficult people to work with.  Don’t waste your time with the difficult people.  No matter how authoritative their site, it’s not worth your time.
  • Be organized and follow up with your partners.  Not only will doing so convey your professionalism… it will help keep things moving forward to ensure your posts gets published.  Then after your post goes live, promote it and thank the blogger for their help. Pro tip: ask them how the post did, and how you can improve results the next time around.

For a even more detailed case study on these guest posts and the overall launch of Trekity.com, check out this post.

And there you have it. A simple, actionable process for landing 50 guest posts.

***

Your turn: What has been your experience with guest posting? Was it worth it? Let us know in the comments below this post.

Adam Costa is the editor of Trekity.com, an awesome travel site that gives you travel ideas just for you, and is co-founder of TravelBloggerAcademy.com, a site that helps travel enthusiasts start their own blogs. Follow him on Twitter.


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Adam Costa May 17, 2012 at 6:18 am

Hi Guys,

I’m dying to answer your questions – lemme know!

Stefan Nilsson May 17, 2012 at 6:23 am

I have to say the traffic is a big letdown and I’m still surprised a blog with thousands of readers only result in 50 – 150 visits even though I’ve seen the same pattern through my guest posts.

Today it’s even more important to “stand out” (regular guest posts ain’t enough) and I guess this might be a useful method to “be everywhere”.

Is the stats from the same day you published the posts or is it from the last two weeks? Would be interesting to know how many visitor each post resulted in during 6 – 12 months.

Adam Costa May 17, 2012 at 6:44 am

I totally agree – guest posting for direct traffic is not worth it. However, the SEO benefits can yield long term traffic for months, if not years to come.

The stats are from one week following the launch.I agree it will be interesting to see which posts continue to deliver traffic for 6 -12 months… only time with tell ;)

Marius May 17, 2012 at 6:48 am

ProBlogger only 158 visits? What was the period for the stats taken?
Also avg time per visit is also not so impressive…

Adam Costa May 17, 2012 at 7:16 am

Indeed. Vagabondish (a travel site) sent less traffic, but they stayed 2-3x longer.

Business Insider also sent better traffic, however, it is worth noting that ProBlogger set a crateload of Tweets to Trekity (about 25% of every tweet during launch came from ProBlogger).

Tom Ross May 17, 2012 at 6:50 am

I’m with Stefan, I’d love to know some more specifics about the traffic. Were the stats posted for that one day on May 1st? Also given that 51 posts were published what were the total traffic stats on that day?

I also agree that long term traffic would be a really helpful stat (how many visitors per day are you now averaging from the 60 sites)?

Adam Costa May 17, 2012 at 7:28 am

Hi Tom,

The traffic stats are from the first seven days (April 30 May 6). Total referral visits for the week: 1,019.

Total visits (including other marketing measures)for the week: 3,709

Here are the updated numbers (April 30th – May 16)

Facebook: 300 visits
Problogger: 166
Business Insider: 108
PrWeb: 97
Vagabondish: 95
Aweber: 84

Total referring traffic from April 30th – May 16: 1,619.

Keep in mind not all referring traffic was from guest posting (though the vast majority was).

alamin May 17, 2012 at 6:55 am

I thought if someone post guest post on problogger he must get lots of traffic. But here I can see that’s not the case. So I think a link from blog like problogger will give huge SEO advantage.

Thanks

Adam Costa May 17, 2012 at 7:19 am

You nailed it. ProBlogger has a Domain Authority of 90 which is huge for SEO. It’s also a great credibility indicator (which you can use on “As Seen On…” logos).

Tom Ross May 17, 2012 at 6:56 am

Oh also, I think it’s worth noting that a travel site isn’t going to get anywhere near as much traffic on site’s like ProBlogger as sites that discuss blogging strategies and are much more relevant to the ProBlogger audience. I’m a little more surprised about the low traffic from the travel niche sites.

Adam Costa May 17, 2012 at 7:33 am

Me too, Tom. Me too.

The ProBlogger post was quite popular (70+ comments), but didn’t really result in a lot of traffic.

Many of the travel blogs are much smaller (OK, all of them are a lot smaller) which explains the lack of traffic. Posting on those blogs was a way to build relationships with people in the industry (many of whom are truly excellent).

Danny @ Firepole Marketing May 17, 2012 at 7:00 am

Hey Adam, way to go!

I love that you shared the numbers, and you’re realistic about just how much work it takes to do this sort of thing properly.

There are too many people running around under the illusion that a handful of well-placed guest posts will skyrocket them to success, but the real world requires just a tad bit more work! ;-)

BTW, I’m well past 100 guest posts so far, and doing more and more webinars, which are like guest posting on steroids for list growth. But hey, catch me if you can! ;-D

Adam Costa May 17, 2012 at 7:37 am

Thanks Danny. Over 100, eh? Plus webinars? As usual, I’ll be following your lead ;)

Webinars might be hard to do in the travel niche – if anyone has ideas on this, I’d love to hear them!

Ryan Hache Information Marketing May 17, 2012 at 9:10 am

Danny I had the pleasure of watching your webinar where you talked about 10x traffic on day 1 and 2x traffic their after.. Do you think Adam would increase his traffic numbers from targeting blogs that are more relevant to his niche? or does it make sense for a non marketing niche site to post on authority marketing blogs for the SEO benefits?

Gregory Ciotti May 17, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Webinars are where it’s at, especially joint webinars.

Nick Thacker May 17, 2012 at 7:02 am

Good stuff, guys!

It’s funny you mentioned Danny too–I’m actually in the middle of a guest-posting campaign (albeit not all on one day), and I’ve used a lot of his advice to get quick growth and subscribers to my blog.

Thanks for the details, and the insight! Here’s to your success!
Nick

Coach Comeback May 17, 2012 at 7:07 am

I have to disagree with the other comments. I know that traffic is what everyone measures the success of a website on but I think we are missing the bigger picture . . . CREDIBILITY

How impressive would your resume look with 50 top websites featuring your? Even without the super impressive traffic numbers we all hoped for, don’t you think his business is forever changed?

If he were to release a book, info product, WSO, Clickbank Product, Webinar series or book speaking engagements I am pretty sure listing this under “As seen on…” in any of the promotional material will hold a substantial amount more weight in the long run than say a site with no featured guest post lists and tons of traffic.

there are lots of sites that get thousands of viewers a month but have no subscribers!

I just think traffic is the only measure to how INSANELY successful this type of “Blitz” can be!

Hats off to you my friend

Adam Costa May 17, 2012 at 10:58 am

Cheers Coach, it’s all about building relationships, branding and SEO. Traffic was the cherry on top.

Ryan Hache Information Marketing May 17, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Coach, I too think it is an exceptional accomplishment.
And the credability alone makes it worth doing.

It just seems a bit low from a traffic standpoint. I’m just interested in why some seem to get killer results from posting on problogger and some get less. I’m thinking the only thing it can boil down to is targeting assuming his article was good like this one is. which led me to my question is there sites big enough in the travel niche he should be targeting instead of marketing blogs? thats all :)

Steve May 17, 2012 at 7:07 am

50 guest posts live on one day, damn dude that’s amazing! I struggle getting through writing one guest post extra in a month. You are a writing machine :)

Maybe it’s just me, but when I see an email come in with a template like the one suggested above, I instantly think “this is a person who doesn’t actually read my site and could care less about what I do, and only wants to build backlinks” and instantly send it to trash/spam. I understand sending out emails to 1,000 people requires some sort of template, but those template scream “back-link building robot.” Maybe spend twice as much time on personalization and only sent out 500 emails (instead of 1000), you could have a much higher response rate? especially from the sites with super loyal audiences that would have higher click through and subscribe rates.

I understand the focus on building lots and lots of back links, but consider finding a few sites that are massive and you truly admire, and spend a few weeks cultivating a relationship with those bloggers before even asking for anything in return, and then spend another few weeks/months writing that post. I had a guest post on one site that added 1,000 email/rss subscribers in a week because i put in the effort to build that relationship over months, while my guest post on the massive Copyblogger (still a great site) added maybe only 50?

Excited to see how this strategy works out for you in the long run, cheers!

-Steve

Cristina Ansbjerg May 17, 2012 at 7:32 am

I totally agree. Great advice.

Adam Costa May 17, 2012 at 7:42 am

Hi Steve,

You’re absolutely right on personalizing emails. The templates above are for the “meat and potatoes” of the email (just to save time). We always personalize our emails in the beginning to show we’re real people ;)

We did land some big websites (LifeHacker AU, TheNextWeb, Aweber) but none really delivered tons of traffic.

Speaking of Aweber, that post went live a week late so the traffic is lower (even though Copyblogger included it in its weekly roundup).

So you wrote for Copyblogger? I’ve tried – lord how I’ve tried – to write for them. I pretty much worship Brian Clark and channel Robert Bruce whenever I do podcast interviews.

How did you do it?

Agota May 17, 2012 at 7:51 am

Hey, Steve!

What is the guest post that added 1000 subscribers in a week?

I’d love to take a look, since there’s a lot to learn from guest posts that perform really well, maybe you can share a link if you don’t mind? :)

P.S. I agree with your points.

Sending out less requests, but making them more personalized, would results in higher acceptance rates.

Writing less guest posts, but making sure that they’re very high quality, would result in more traffic (although as I understand traffic wasn’t the focus here).

Adria Saracino May 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm

I also agree with you, Steve. I thought the message was a bit templated, but Adam, understand that it wouldn’t have been feasible to express the personalization. Thanks for letting us know more about your process.

What I’m curious about is how much time you actually spent over those 90 days working on this? That’s a really long time to only get 50 posts, so assuming you didn’t spend 40 hrs a week on this? Or did you? I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer, but I agree with Steve that emails like the above tend to not have an awesome response rate to site’s that aren’t actively looking for guest posts – or did you look for sites that only advertised they accept contributions? In my experience, a lot of times if you just cold email “hey I’m interested in writing for you, here’s my ideas” – it’s way too confrontational and demanding and the response rate is low. So can you elaborate if you used more extensive qualifying techniques that pinpointed only guest posting friendly sites?

Lastly, while I am INCREDIBLY impressed that you got 50 guest posts live in one day (seriously – it’s really difficult to get other bloggers to work on your schedule unless you agree on a launch date beforehand), but I would not ever advise that this is a good strategy. It’s really risky from an SEO perspective to have an influx of 50 links coming into your site. Google is getting forever stricter on manipulative link building techniques and while guest posting can definitely be innocent, it usually doesn’t look into the case but rather lets flags to the algorithm determine if you’re going to be stripped from SERPs without warning. Especially if you have the same anchor text going to the same URL, I wouldn’t recommend this because is it really worth taking the chance of losing rankings, even if you CAN get them back, it’s just a headache. Like you said it’s a long term strategy so why would you have to have everything published on one day?

Looking forward to your feedback!

karen friend smith May 17, 2012 at 7:13 am

Great job Adam…and love how you had the foresight to turn this info into a new post. Super helpful tips in here. We’re working on a new site and relaunch this summer. Your tips on building a leads list are perfect timing for us. Thank you for sharing.

Adam Costa May 17, 2012 at 10:41 am

You’re very welcome Karen. I follow a simple principle: do the work, then write about it. People always love looking “behind the curtain” and this seemed a natural post idea.

Good luck on your relaunch!

Marc G. May 17, 2012 at 7:17 am

How about social stats? Can you provide that information. You might not have received traffic but did you snag some twitter followers, facebook fans Google plus circles?

If so, please elaborate. I’m new to blogging and I wouldn’t care such much as the traffic coming in but snagging one brand advocate per site that would share my content into the future.

Marc

Adam Costa May 17, 2012 at 10:43 am

Sure thing:

206 tweets
117 LIkes
18 Google +s
3,094 Stumbles (3,000 were paid for, though)

Cristina Ansbjerg May 17, 2012 at 7:28 am

Guest posting as a sole traffic strategy may not be as impressive as some people think. But when you are launching or promoting a new product it is a very good way to drive attention to it and increase your conversions.

Adam Costa May 17, 2012 at 7:45 am

Agreed – guest posting was just part of our marketing strategy. We also ran HARO ads (dud), press release, interviews, and StumbleUpon ads. You can read the whole sordid tale here if you like:

http://travelbloggeracademy.com/trekity-launch/

Hope this helps!

Tyler Herman May 17, 2012 at 7:32 am

Maybe I’m just paranoid but I’d think dropping 50 links on the same day can get you found by Google, and not in a good way. I guess if the sites are all quality and you diversify your anchor text and the page the links go to.

Still, may look a bit spammy and make for a bad looking link profile in the long run.

Adam Costa May 17, 2012 at 10:45 am

It’s possible – but I highly doubt it. The websites are all high quality (like ThinkTraffic) with an average Domain Authority of 65…. so I don’t see Google seeing this as spam.

The anchor text was predominantly branded (always a good sign) with a few deep links to mix it up.

But think about things that go viral. They get linked all over the place and Google doesn’t see it as spam. Just a natural progression – though in our case it was planned;)

Agota May 17, 2012 at 7:45 am

That’s a really interesting post.

1. Thumbs up for getting 51 guest posts published on the same day, that’s impressive!

2. The traffic you got from travel blogs definitely seems rather small. I’m wondering what’s the reason for that?

My guess is that because you use two links in your by-lines, one to Trekity and one to TravelAcademy, you send many people to Travel Academy as well.

I think that having a link to one site in your byline should works better in terms of traffic, assuming you want to send traffic to Trekity.

I also think that offering some sort of travel related freebie and linking to it from a byline would have worked well in terms of getting people to visit the site.

ProBlogger is not surprising, though, since it’s in online marketing niche and Trekity is in travel niche.

3. I guess in terms on traffic 10 very well written guest posts on top 10 blogs in your niche that are optimized to bring readers to your site (..and probably to get them to sign up to your list) would have worked better than 50 guest posts all over the place.

4. However, that’s an interesting approach to SEO and building relationships.

A good lesson to learn here for us readers is that even an insane amount of guest posts doesn’t necessarily results in loads of traffic, so it seems to be more than a numbers game.

P.S. I see you have a blog on Trekity, you’d probably increase the time people spend on your website by linking to a blog, not to a home page, because your home page might alienate people a bit. Just my humble opinion.

Adam Costa May 17, 2012 at 8:06 am

Wow, thanks for your feedback.

Can I just say I LOVE the comments here?

Yes, traffic wasn’t our main focus: we were more interested in building relationships and improving our Domain Authority with authoritative links (both from heavy hitter blogs and travel blogs).

The two links definitely sliced the traffic – however, Travel Blogger Academy wasn’t linked to in all posts (e.g. ProBlogger, Business Insider just linked to Trekity).

If you’re looking for traffic, it’s best to just go for the bigger blogs.

Regarding the blog on Trekity, it’s a work in progress. We’ve had some development issues and I’m not fully thrilled with the blog layout thus far.

Having said that (and please don’t spare my feelings) do you feel the Trekity homepage alienates people? We linked to the homepage because it’s search feature is unique and – in our opinion – the most valuable page on the site.

What would you – or any other reader here – change about the homepage?

Cheers,

Adam

Nate @yomadic May 17, 2012 at 8:25 am

I am seeing Adam’s site all over the Internet, so in that regard, his campaign is a success.

It would be interesting to see how this campaign translates into the various ranking metrics.

Adam Costa May 17, 2012 at 10:47 am

Hi Nate,

Yep – I’ve seen you in a few places recently, too ;)

What do you mean by ranking metrics? If you’re looking for Domain Authority that usually takes two months to update. So we won’t fully know the results until mid to late July.

Gary Arndt May 17, 2012 at 8:38 am

Problogger is a notoriously bad source for traffic. I’ve done a guest post there and I know other people who have as well. It drives very little and it is pretty far down the list of sites I’d want to guest post on now.

Adam Costa May 17, 2012 at 8:41 am

Hey Gary,

How did your guest post on 4HourWorkWeek do? I know it was back in the day, but just curious.

And by the way, I’d like to interview you for TravelBloggerAcademy.Will follow up via your site ;)

Dahlia Valentine May 17, 2012 at 9:09 am

I’m not really so surprised by the Problogger traffic numbers, though I expected slightly more from the travel blogs you have in the top 5.

In any case, I totally understand the value of having 50 guest posts go up in a single day… I believe guest blogging expert Jon Morrow advocates this technique (I think!). I think it’s a superb strategy if you’re doing a product launch.

But I also believe that there’s a lot more extended traffic to be earned by ‘not’ having all your posts go up in a single swoop. I think the gradual build up enables you to reach more of the same readers over and over again. In other words, it’s easier to miss one of your 50 posts in a single day than it is to miss one of 50 posts spread out over a month. That’s just my opinion.

I appreciate you sharing this case study. One of the best things I read all week!

Adam Costa May 17, 2012 at 10:53 am

Excellent point, Dahlia. We are considering doing another blast of 50 in a month or two, but stagger it over a week.

Another thing I noticed: many people were curious as to why we always requested a specific date. Once we explained, most were totally fine with it – but it may send up red flags initially.

One thing this launch has taught me – if people don’t know you, they don’t trust you. Even if your intentions are gold, you’ve got to tread lightly at first.

Once people know and trust you, your intentions are usually seen for what they are: well-meaning.

Aaron Hoos May 17, 2012 at 10:32 am

Thanks for this post! This sounds like a fun way to get some attention to your site. Yeah, the traffic may not have been spectacular but there was SOME increase (which is good!) and you’ll benefit from backlinks as well as some trickling traffic. I really like the idea of a marketing blitz and have done a few myself (although never with guest posts). Will definitely consider it.

Adam Costa May 17, 2012 at 10:55 am

I highly recommend it. If you want to succeed in your market, you’ve got to know the players. The best way to get to know the players is to provide value to them and their readers.

Guest posting is an easy way to do that ;)

Jamie Alexander May 17, 2012 at 10:59 am

Well done Adam, that’s some accomplishment.

Just think: you’ll probably be getting traffic from those links forever. Who cares that you never got huge numbers straight away. Business is long term, right?

SEO benefits can’t hurt, either.

Michael May 17, 2012 at 11:19 am

Michael here from Art of Backpacking (one of the guest posts). I also want to add that their email to me was very professional and simple. It doesn’t sound spammy and they knew exactly what my audience would like. I hate getting pitched for articles that have nothing to do with my audience.

Was it 28 hits in a day? I’d never consider guest posting as a way to drive traffic but only to get your brand out there and do something good for others. All the guest posting I’ve done has had horrible traffic in return. Obviously their article drove a whole lot of traffic within the article just not many clicked on byline links.

Thanks for the article! It’s still driving in great traffic.

Adam Costa May 18, 2012 at 5:36 am

Hi Michael,

Glad to hear the post was a success, and you’re still seeing traffic from it.

The traffic stats listed above are for the first week (not the first day).

Hope to work again with you in the future!

Allie | Ramblings of a WAHM May 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Adam,

I am tired just thinking about all that typing, lol.

Guest posting is such a great experience for any blogger. From building relationships to getting that extra push for your blog’s SEO.

I love how you mentioned Danny Iny. I read his stuff a lot and one day I saw him everywhere, writing at so many blogs!! I mean I was visiting my favorite blogs and I couldn’t get away from the guy! Lol. He put in so much effort I bought his book and write a post about him. (Yes, I am a smaller blogger but that guy needed some kudos for his efforts. Oh, and I left the link above. :-) )

I see you learned from him also.

I will work on my GP efforts, you have given me hope. I am reinventing my site right now and will need sort of a “relaunch” to a new audience soon. I think this is the way to do it.

~Allie

Adam Costa May 18, 2012 at 5:38 am

Danny is the king. I’m just playing in his court ;)

Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon May 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Hi Adam,

I have to say, this is honestly the best post on guest posting I have come across so far! Thank you so much for writing this! Once I fill out my blog with some more content (only have 7 posts live right now) I am definitely going to put some of these strategies into effect. Thanks again!

Thomas

Adam Costa May 18, 2012 at 5:40 am

Glad you dig it, Thomas.

I’d advise creating 10 – 15 posts on your blog, then doing a bunch of guest posts promoting them (or a free course, which is even better).

Sheyi @ Ivblogger.com May 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Adam, like you said, guest posting should not be meant for traffic alone but SEO and also to connect with the leaders and influencers in the industry.

Lovely post, errr i don’t see myself doing this but will surely give it a try (maybe outsourcing will work),

Sheyi

Adam Costa May 18, 2012 at 5:42 am

Hi Sheyi,

You can totally do it (if you want)!

Outsourcing the writing could work, but it would get costly. The real benefit are the relationships, so I wouldn’t outsource that. Actually, I wouldn’t outsource any of this – you want to put your own foot forward through the whole process ;)

Jared May 17, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Adam,

Great post…like everyone else I can see how the “direct” traffic seems disappointing, but according to the marketing “rule of seven” if you can get in front of the same people through 7 different interactions then you could potentially gain a subscriber for life.

Everyone expects online marketing and blogging to be easy. Just like staying in shape :)

From my personal experience it’s not, and generating traffic and building relationships takes time.

Thanks for the insight and helpful post.

Jared

Kerry May 18, 2012 at 1:23 am

Super helpful post. Kudos to you, Adam. And love the excellent critique from Agota.

I too was surprised by the traffic numbers. I’m curious if that is because many people read the post in their email (I read this post in my gmail – only clicked over to comment), vaguely note the byline and then keep going about their day. So you did get some attention, there is just no click on your site to demonstrate that. But if you keep popping up in front of them they start to confer some authority to you, so that when they’re ready to hear what you have to say, you’re already a known, trusted source and they look you up. I don’t think you can underestimate the value of the trust and authority and it builds up over time.

I have to say that I clicked through to several of the articles you linked to in the post, as I’m an American expat entrepreneur and the headlines appealed :) I love this post due to its thoroughness and practicality as well as the introduction to useful Chrome extensions that were not on my toolbar (and in just a few minutes I already REALLY appreciate).

I found several of your other posts to be not quite up to the standards of this post and some of the content I found on your Academy page. They seemed to be typical “magazine” style posts that gloss over the real core information for a few skimmed “expert” details, or were simply sensationalistic (I would assume hot German blondes do well as lead photos).

I get that you’re writing for a blog’s particular audience and you tailored your post to fit that audience, but the meaty depth or personal knowledge beyond what can be looked up on Google was not there. It is this connection to your topic that would cause me to confer authority to you and I found it missing, so that may be why there was less traffic.

Please take my implied criticism as constructive. I give you big kudos for getting things done and published.

I look forward to seeing this payoff for you in the long term as links, brand-building and relationships will serve you well for years to come. I hope you will post an update in July or August.

All the best,
Kerry
Cape Town, South Africa

Adam Costa May 18, 2012 at 10:29 am

Hi Kerry,

Thanks for your in-depth (and honest) comment. I totally appreciate the criticism, too – it keeps me in line ;)

Adam Costa May 18, 2012 at 5:44 am

Hi Jared,

You’re absolutely right – your blog is a lot like fitness. It takes concentrated, prolonged effort to get (and maintain) results.

No silver bullet here.

This process began 90 days before, so it certainly didn’t happen overnight. Just pick a date and get to work ;)

Sean Davis May 18, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Hey, Adam. First of all, you and your wife are beasts. What an accomplishment! I’ve only written two or three guest posts and I was a little bit afraid to do those.

I have a post going live on problogger.net on the 21st… and that’s definitely the biggest site I’ve ever guest posted on. I was told by someone very influential in the blogging world, though, that it wouldn’t lead to very much traffic. This post confirms that for me.

Overall, I know it’s going to take a lot more to get out there the way I want to be. I just can’t wait until the day where I’m asked to be a feature on someone’s site. The thought of guest posting just doesn’t feel right to me for some reason and I probably won’t do it too much more after this.

Sean

Tommy Walker May 18, 2012 at 12:26 pm

First off, this is a very impressive feat. I’m planning to do a 50 post in 30 day challenge myself where they’re all released steadily over the course of a month, and many of the preparation tactics are exactly the same.

I’m curious though, how much research time were you able to spend catching up with the sites most popular and most recent items?

I wonder if the lower traffic results were a by product of trying to push out so much in such a concentrated period of time?

From my own experience, I know when I guest post after doing massive research on the most popular, most recent, and comment threads, I’ve been able to drive a considerable amount of to traffic back to my site, and at times even close 5 figure deals.

But when I’m putting it out there just to grab the link, I get meh… kind of average results.

Something else I’ve seen some really great results from has been publishing to sites that don’t normally get a ton of guest posters.

I think that works better because the impact of “Woah, they’re letting someone else publish here?” is a little greater.

Impressive feat. none the less, and hopefully you leverage some of those relationships soon :-)

Adam Costa May 18, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Hi Sean,

My wife laughed out loud when I called her a “beast” ;)

If guest posting isn’t for you, that’s totally fine. There are other methods – including interviews, giveaways, contests, etc. – that work well too.

Danny Iny’s already onto webinars, which works well for him too.

The important thing is to connect with people who have connections – and free content is a pretty good way to start!

Leah McClellan May 18, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Hi Adam,

Thanks for the great tips. I especially appreciate the spread sheet–I’m in the middle of a similar project right now and that’s a super way to stay organized (but I’m not likely to take the time to put one together!). It’s perfect, and I’m definitely going to use it.

Also, I downloaded the SEOMoz toolbar–cool. I agree that lots of other stuff has to be taken into consideration as well, but that adds an interesting piece to the puzzle.

Thanks!

Halina - Flow~Integration May 20, 2012 at 8:12 am

Wow, I’m learning so much from this post! Thanks A LOT, Adam, Corbett and everyone who has contributed with a comment!

A couple of remarks:

Traffic numbers can be seductive or depressing or puzzling…. But the real significance, I believe, is not as much in traffic as in how it converts into long-term relationships.

Which brings me to the next remark: The problem with most tactics is that people get so enthusiastic about them that they get “overused” — and then stop working. What was perfect for an early adopter of a strategy (or its creator) may not be perfect later on.

I believe that integrating a tactic in your own way and letting your unique marketing mix unfold naturally, in a way that is right for you and your business, might be a fine and sustainable long-term strategy. Time will show if I’m right about that. :-)

All the best to all of you!

ruggero May 21, 2012 at 8:31 am

My only question is: why on the same day? what is the advantage of doing that?

Alex May 21, 2012 at 4:59 pm

I think this is a fantastic idea and thanks for being transparent with the traffic stats. Apologies if this comes across as critical/harsh but have you considered that it might have been the quality of your articles which attributed to the poor traffic? I’ve followed your blog for a while and think your writing style is great but because you’ve gone for a quantity approach for the purpose of this project, has quality suffered somewhat?

Either way, props for a great idea and the hard work that must have been involved. Inspiring stuff!

Monja May 23, 2012 at 2:52 am

What an awesome, in-deepth guest post. That truly helps – and agreed: not only commenting is set up for a long term traffic but also guest posting is.

Hani May 31, 2012 at 10:36 am

Thanks so much for the excel sheet! This post puts things in clear step by step perspective and I really like that. I’ve been listening to Danny Iny a lot and getting excited about guest blogging but the task just seems so huge and daunting and something as simple as a spreadsheet just somehow made it better! LOL!

Chris @ NPI June 4, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Hi Adam, great tips, huge effort and amazing results. Congratulation!
BR, Chris

Sheyi @ Ivblogger.com June 10, 2012 at 7:41 am

Danny Iny here again? The guy is surely everywhere and I love him so much. As much as I love guest posting, I’d rather do it when i have something good to promtote – this surely pays better than paid advertising.

Think about spending $200 on facebook ads which brings 200 fans or less (depends on the niche it might be more) and just 5% of such traffic converted, that’s not what you want but keep your $200, write 50 guest posts and that is surely going to help you, get much more visitors and more sales – more money.

You could actually hire a good writer on fiverr or public outsourcing sites and good guys out there could take as little as $10 to write a quality guest post for you! 20 guest posts, bringing in at least 1000 visitors (sure its doable) 5% conversion which brings it total of 50 sales I guess…. write more guest posts yourself and earn more money.

Sheyi

Ken Ashe June 13, 2012 at 12:47 pm

This is great advice. 50 sites is huge. I think I’m going to try this, but a little smaller at first. Maybe shoot for 5 in one day. Thanks for the idea!

Duncan September 3, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Hello Adam. Been a subscriber/follower of Think Traffic for a while now. Thanks for sharing your insight. I’m certainly going to try this. I’m a one man operation and my focus is in the real estate niche teaching agents and giving tips on how to market online. So getting it organized and executing will require some effort but, I”m committed. Cheers! Duncan

Zach Dreyfuss September 7, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Great article and I love it on the Travelbloggeracademy but I do agree that it lacks any in-depth coverage on how to grow a travel blog and profit form it.

I am grateful for such great templates as this for guest posts or 101 proven headlines but some of the more meaty topics are not covered.

But it is a free service and for free it is one of the best sources out there for travel bloggers.

Keep up the great work Adam, I look forward to seeing more from you soon.

Felix February 6, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Hey Adam,

Awesome post…i had a plan to create 100 guest posts to a site of mine, but unfortunatly i got lazy, and only done 20. I am not surprised that you haven’t received much trafic from your posts, because guests posts usually don’t, from my experience.

The big question i got for you, and i can see nobody else asked you this…did your organic traffic increased a lot? That’s the main goal of doing guest posts…to create high quality links to gain more authorithy in search engines..so, did Google loved your guest posts?

Satish April 3, 2013 at 11:07 am

Hello Adam,

Cheers to your effort of making 50 guest posts in one day. Its amazing to see your wife helping you out with your content and PR. I hope i can reach the 50 guest posts target in 3 months for sure. I just can’t believe i read a 1837 words article in 5 minutes. Worth spending my time on this article. Keep going! :)

Pankaj April 20, 2013 at 6:20 am

I am totally that guest post play a big role, but the main thing is it is much difficult to find the guest post website especially related to car rental niche.

Jonny Blair September 3, 2013 at 4:09 am

This can also work against you. I built up a load of guest posts and links in a 1 week period and was punished by Google – basically they thought I had bought all those links when I worked my ass off so a gradual period is much better. Too many guest posts at the same time rings alarm bells and you dont want that trust me. Jonny

Leadership Development September 12, 2013 at 4:25 am

ya you are absolutely right Adam Costa.

Adam Costa May 17, 2012 at 10:33 am

Excellent question – Danny, what do you think?

Agota May 17, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Hey, Adam, nice to hear from you! :)

..so here’s what I meant about alienating people..

1. You publish a guest post on a popular blog providing a link to your own website in the byline.

2. Someone reads your guest post, likes it, and clicks the link to your website.

What do they expect?

They expect to find more content that would be similar to what they’ve just read and probably more information about you in general.

They’re used to clicking on someone’s link in their byline and landing on their blog.

3. They land on Trekity home page

It’s some sort of travel service page.

This is not what they were expecting at all.

They leave the website immediately without taking a look around or trying to understand what your service is about and never come back.

My point:

Your home page isn’t alienating at all to someone who is actually looking for this kind of service. It looks great!

Your home page might alienating people who landed on it expecting to land on a blog full of content similar to what they just read on your guest post.

Suggestions:

Okay, so as I understand, Trekity offers a free membership.

I assume that your main goal is to get as many new members as possible.

Well, if I were you, I’d use the same methods people use to grow their e-mail list to grow your member count.

1. Create a special landing page for people who click on your byline link.

On a landing page:

- Explain the benefits of joining Trekity (emphasize that it’s FREE).

- Offer an irresistible freebie as a sign-up bonus and explain the benefits of getting that freebie.

- Provide testimonials from real people who are Trekity users as a social proof.

Basically, phrase everything in a way that you’re offering people this amazing deal, FREE Trekity Membership + Irresistible Freebie.

Really sell it.

Also, have some sort of “Skip to my blog” button visible, so people who can’t be bothered with signing up could skip straight to what they want, more great content.

2. Link to that landing page from your byline (put up that one link, no Twitter, no other sites, just that one link).

I see that you’re referring to Trekity as an awesome travel website or personalized travel results.

Okay, so I’m not a copywriter or anything, but what about something along those lines:

Adam Costa is the Editor in Chief of Trekity.com, your number one website for planning your adventures. You can get a FREE Trekity Membership + bonus 24 page report “Top 10 Incredible (And Affordable) Places For Adventurous People” here.

Again, my copywriting skills suck, but you get the idea.

I bet that by having this type of byline you’d get more people to click on your link and consequently you would get more new members (assuming you have a decent landing page and freebie).

I wrote this all with the idea that your main goal is to increase your members count, so in case that’s not your goal, my apologies..

Anyway, that’s just my two cents, hope that at least something from this comment-gone-way-too-long thing turns out to be helpful.. :)

Agota

P.S. There are two things about your homepage, though..

Okay, so I’m blond (at least here in Spain, where any hair color that’s not black is blond :D ), so maybe that’s just me that’s getting confused, but..

1. I don’t really understand what you’re offering when I land on your homepage. I mean, yeah, I understand it once I look around, but it’s not clear immediately after opening your website. Most people won’t bother to look around (of course, it might be that most people aren’t blond and understand what it’s all about immediately, in that case, my bad.. :D ).

2. I don’t understand that it’s free immediately after landing on your homepage. Travelers are not usually the people with a lot of cash to spend, so if they don’t see that it’s a free service once they land, they might leave the site immediately. I would make it very clear that it’s FREE to join if I were you.

Hope that helps.. :)

Agota

Adam Costa May 18, 2012 at 5:52 am

Agota, that’s definitely worth a lot more than two cents!

And it shows how much work we’ve got to do on the homepage.

Darcie (my wife) and I spent months on that layout – functionally, it does things no other travel site does.

It’s really completely unique.

But the problem is – people think we’re selling something… and we’re not.

Which is our fault. We’re not conveying our value right away.

The homepage lets you select when you want to go, what you like to do and where you’d like to go… then serves up articles (written in-house) about those destinations.

Our goal with the homepage is to get people to use the checkboxes and click through to read more. In other words, we want to have a 0% bounce rate ;)

You raise some excellent points, and I’m going to think long and hard about them.

Because the homepage design is not doing its job at the moment.

Thanks so much,

Adam

Jen Gresham May 18, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Adam, I’d like to hear more about your link text. This is something I’ve heard a lot of conflicting advice on. Can you be more specific on the link text you used and your rationale? Thanks in advance.

Adam Costa May 18, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Hi Jen,

Sure thing. Because Trekity and TravelBloggerAcademy are brand-spanking new sites we primarily focused on “branded” anchor text (e.g. “Trekity” or “Trekity.com”) or general search terms (“travel site” or “fun/crazy/interesting new travel site”).

Overoptimization is a growing concern for many websites, so it’s best to make it look natural.

Of course, that’s always been the foundation of good link building: “make it look natural” ;)

Over time, we’ll focus on building links to specific pages (rather than the homepage) to build deep links to the site and increase the overall Page Authority.

Maybe in the next round of posts.

Adam Costa May 18, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Ugh. Apologies for the terrible (and unintended) pun: “brand-spanking new”.

I should know better.

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