This is a guest post by Adam Costa of Trekity.com.
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:
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 – 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.
Of course, authority is only one piece of the puzzle. You also want 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.
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.
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…
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
Here are links to other posts I’ve published:
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,
Easy, right? All you have to do is personalize the intro and add three post ideas and you’re done!
Some will respond. Others won’t. Therefore, wait a week and send out a reminder email like this:
Just checking in regarding the guest post.
Here are the three ideas again:
Let me know if you’d like me to write one of these exclusively for you.
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.
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:
- Problogger.net: Why I Steal Content (And Why You Should, Too) (158 visits)
- BusinessInsider.com: This Couple Is Feeling Great After Selling Everything They Owned To Travel (102 visits)
- Vagabondish.com: The 10 Hottest, Most Passionate and Sexually Satisfied Countries In The World (73 visits)
- LifeHack.org: 5 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Flee America (And You Should, Too) (42 visits)
- 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
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.
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.