How to Earn $12,840 from a Single Guest Post (Plus: Email Scripts & Checklists)

  • April 10, 2012 by Guest Writer
  • 54 Comments

This is a guest post from Maneesh Sethi of Hack The System.

[Note from Caleb: Maneesh is giving away special goodies, scripts, and reports for Think Traffic Readers at his site Hack The System. Read till the end of the post to find out how to get them.]

Email marketing is all about sex appeal.

A couple years ago, I was relaxing in Florence, Italy with a friend. He and I were chatting about email marketing campaigns and I believed that pure text emails would have a better conversion rate, while he believed that graphical emails would perform better. Eventually, we turned over to a girl at the table next to us.

“Excuse me,” I asked. “Quick question—if you were to receive a subscription email with images, versus one with just text, which would you be more likely to open and click?”

The girl thought about it for a few seconds, replied, ‘Hmm…I like pretty images. But I think I might click on the text one more. I’m not really sure.”

She then looked at me and said, “So, where are you from? Tell me about yourself.”

From that day I knew it: I had to make email marketing my #1 priority. Hell, it was my newest pickup line.

Why Email Marketing?

If you didn’t get the memo, email marketing is much, much, much more profitable than any other type of online marketing.

Why? Because email converts into sales and revenue at an extremely high rate compared to any other online method.

How much time do you spend using Twitter to market your site? Facebook? Almost all of that time is being wasted.

Instead, focus on your email list. The return on your time investment will be exponentially higher. Check out this source, which demonstrates a 250% higher conversion rate through email versus social media. Or check out this article by Derek Halpern, where he shows that email has a clickthrough rate (CTR) of 24x. In my experience, email has proven to be over ten times as effective as social media.

The general rule of thumb is that an email list’s value is $1 / subscriber / month. So an email list increase of 1000 people equals $1000/month or $12,000/year. Not bad for a single guest post, eh?

My Most Recent Guest Post

A few weeks ago, I published a guest post on Scott H Young’s blog. I organized a new set of strategies that I thought would earn me more subscriptions than average, and I set my target at 200 email subscribers.

I tested my strategy and tweaked my copy for several days before telling Scott to hit the publish button. Sitting down with a glass of Trader Joe’s finest Merlot, I repeatedly refreshed my Aweber analytics, watching the subscriber count. At first, it flowed slowly — 5, 6, 7 subscribers in the first hour. Nothing crazy, so I took a break, topped off my wine glass, and returned after a couple hours.

My jaw dropped—my wine glass almost did, too.

100 subscriptions in two hours.

I went to sleep, woke up, and counted another 150 email subscriptions. It’s been a few weeks since my post went up, and the number of incoming subscriptions continues to increase. From a single guest post, I’ve gained, as of today, 1070 subscribers—and the numbers show no signs of stopping. Based on a conservative valuation of $1/subscriber/mo, this post will gross $12,840/year in pure profit.

So, now I’m going to reveal to you the exact steps I took to make this happen. Let me break it down.

  1. Find a blog where you can write a guest post.
  2. Write a compelling headline and introduction story (slippery slope) to your meaty, actionable, useful guest post.
  3. End your post with a Call to Action that leads people to your landing page.
  4. Build a landing page on your site specifically for incoming readers. (Here is a landing page just for Think Traffic Readers)
  5. On the landing page, give away some incredibly useful extras in exchange for the email address.

The Step-by-step email subscription guest posting system

I spend the majority of my time researching how to create high-converting copy and build successful landing pages; that is, landing pages that cause people to input their email address into a form and hit submit. Today, I’m excited to share the process with you. Read on to learn exactly how to bring in an insane amount of email subscriptions from a single post. Don’t forget to check out Hack The System, where I’m giving Think Traffic readers special, never-before-seen reports and scripts.

Step 1 – Getting The Guest Post

If you didn’t already know, guest posting is the SINGLE BEST WAY to bring in high converting traffic to your site. Why? You’re not just getting access to the eyeballs  of another writer who’s already built an awesome reputation—but you’re getting the writer’s endorsement as well.

So, your first step is to identify potential blogs that will allow you to guest post—preferably, blogs with lots of readers and content that is in line with your message.

For some, this part seems to be the hardest. How do you solicit or pitch a blogger who will let you write a guest post? The first step is to genuinely know a blogger. I go out of my way to meet and network with interesting bloggers every day—not because I want to use them, but because I genuinely want to meet and help other interesting people.

I discuss this in detail in my guest post on Scott H Young’s blog, where I demonstrate my Interview Technique. I created a podcast that you should totally subscribe to where I interview interesting bloggers. I used this interview series as a platform to meet the bloggers that have inspired me (like Leo Babauta, Chris Guillebeau, J.D. Roth, The Minimalists, and more). Having a compelling reason and a remarkable story is the first step to connecting with respected bloggers. Winners like to help other winners.

I look for interesting people in my niche. Often, many blogs will publish lists of influential bloggers in a niche, so I’ll have my virtual assistants go through the list and create a spreadsheet of people that I should know. Then, I research their blogs and ask myself an important question: how can I help them? For readers of Think Traffic, I’m sharing a template that my virtual assistants use to create lists of bloggers to network with. Get it at Hack The System.

Here’s a secret I briefly mentioned: winners love to help other winners. When you approach bloggers with a confident attitude, with interesting and insightful questions and advice, they will WANT to help you succeed.

More often than not, there is something you can do to help a blogger. Help them. Post thoughtful comments. Respond to their emails. Whatever it takes, build a connection.

When it’s time to pitch your post idea, make it clean and simple. Here is a sample script you might use as a model.

Hey Corbett,

This is Maneesh—we’ve talked quite a few times via email, and I’m a frequent commenter on your blog.

I love your stuff, especially your recent posts on [stuff you actually loved], and I thought I might be able to make a positive contribution to your site.

See, I’m an avid reader of [this topic] and I think your readers would love to know more about it. Are you open to guest posts? I’ve already begun outlining some that would fit well into your site. The one I believe would be the best fit is:

[Potential article title]

But here are some other ideas:

[Potential #2]
[Potential #3]

Let me know which you prefer, and I’ll send you an outline shortly.

Thanks,

-Maneesh
http://hackthesystem.com/thinktraffic

P.S. Here are some of my best previous articles:
[Link 1]
[Link 2]

Do you see what I’m doing here, in this email? First, I reintroduce myself to the blogger. I don’t waste much time talking about who I am, but instead I focus on how great he is, and how I can help him.

Then, I pitch specific ideas that are in line with his theme. Notice that I don’t ask ‘What could I write for you?’ but I suggest several options for the blogger to decide on. It makes it easy for the blogger to respond—he just needs to say ‘I like #2, send me a draft.’

It all comes down to making the process as easy as possible for the blogger.

Of course, not every blogger will say yes, but if you refine your approach, you’ve got a much better chance.

Step 2 – Writing an Awesome Blog Post

Now, you’ve been cleared to write a post. I spend 2-3x as many hours on a guest post as I do on my own blog. Folks, we’re talking about 10+ hours. Why? Because this is going to be your first content that these new readers see. It must be amazing. You also definitely want to impress the blogger you’re writing for.

So, spend a lot of time crafting an awesome post. An epic post isn’t like writing a high school essay—converting copy is different than a 5 paragraph essay. There are a ton of techniques that I recommend, but let me show you the biggest changes you can make in your writing to improve your copy.

The Elements of A Successful Guest Post

1) The Overarching Goal

The goal of my posts are to convince the reader to read the entire post. This requires, first, that the reader read the first sentence. The headline has to grab his attention, the introduction has to be interesting, and the article needs to be clear enough that the reader never gets bored.

Here is the basic structure of all of my guest posts.

2) The Headline

The headline’s sole purpose is to get the reader to read the first line. I’m going to repeat that once more, because it is incredibly important.

The sole purpose of the headline is to convince the reader to read the first sentence.

The headline must be intriguing, attention grabbing, and lead the reader to read the first sentence. The first sentence’s goal is to convince the reader to read the second line, and so on.

3) Introduction

Often, a blogger will want to introduce you to his readers. Ask him for one. A good intro is effectively an awesome endorsement.

Now, when you start your own article, I almost always lead with a story. That story serves as a slippery slope—the readers will connect with your story, read the first sentence, then the second, the third, until suddenly he’s finished the whole thing.

The introduction should blend very cleanly into the next section with a smooth transition.

4) Content

My major advice here is that your content must be awesome. It should be actionable, not just fluff. Notice that this post contains scripts, and specific steps and checklists—readers love checklists. Content on your own blog should always be good, but content on others’ must make people excited, enthralled, and driven to read more.

Try to link to your own articles throughout the content in order to drive more clickthroughs.

5) The Conclusion / Call to Action

This is the section which almost nobody does, yet it is by far the most important.

Most guest posts tend to end with a simple conclusion. The point is made, the writer is tired, and the last sentence trails off. But, what’s the goal of your post? It’s to convince readers to subscribe. Your call to action is the final and best shot to make that happen.

Here is the secret to a successful CTA—give something valuable away to the readers in return for subscribing. For example, here is the CTA on my Scott H Young Post.

=====
My special gift to Scott H Young readers:

I put together a resource kit especially for Scott H Young readers, just because I love Scott (and you!) so much. Check out this Hack The System page. Drop your email address, and I’ll send you over some awesome stuff I’m preparing specially for you. Here’s what you’ll get:

  • A 3 minute video with my DJ Partner where we deconstruct EXACTLY how we did it. A 3 minute video that shows you the exact steps we took to become “successful” DJs—in just one month.
  • The Travel Hacking Report – How to get a) an international plane ticket for less than $100 and b) free office space in every country of the world.

Thanks so much for reading my stuff, and don’t forget to check out Hack The System.
=====

Notice what I did? I gave a special gift that I prepared just for the readers. I directed the specific actions they should take (“Drop your email address and I’ll send…”). Then I urged them to take action by providing them with direct links to my site.

But it wasn’t just a link to the home page on my site. If you look carefully, not a single link on my guest post links to my homepage. Instead, every incoming link lands on a landing page that I created specially for readers from the guest post—www.hackthesystem.com/scotthyoung.

The Landing Page

Nothing surprises me more than the fact that other guest posts don’t utilize a landing page. Creating a guest post with no landing page is like setting a trap with no bait——you’re unlikely to catch anything.

The landing page is the final thrust in convincing the reader to subscribe to your site. Unlike your blog front page, the landing page should be single purpose: no navigation, no links to other pages in your site—simply well converting copy and an email subscribe form.

I tested two different landing pages using Google Website Optimizer. The rule of thumb is that it takes 100 conversions on a form to find statistical significance. Take a minute before continuing on and guess the conversion on my two landing pages A and B.

The first converted at 26%. The second? 38% (!!!) Even my brother Ramit, from IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com, a recognized expert on email marketing, remarked that 38% is unheard of.

So how do you create a high converting landing page? That brings me to my special gift for ThinkTraffic readers.

Just for Think Traffic Readers

I’ve put together a resource kit just for you. No one else has seen some of this content before. Head over to Hack The System, drop in your email address, and I’ll send you over this special resource kit.

  • The Networking Spreadsheet – The spreadsheet template that I give to my Virtual Assistants to help me track the best people to network with and potentially interview.
  • The Travel Hacking Report – How to get a) an international plane ticket for less than $100 and b) free office space in every country of the world.
  • Just for fun, I’ll link you to our Tim Ferriss Party Video (during my 90 days to becoming a famous DJ in Berlin project)

The Networking Spreadsheet is only available through this link to Hack The System. Thanks for checking it out.

Go out and get those email subscribers. :)

Maneesh Sethi writes at Hack the System.


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Internet Marketing Hustle April 10, 2012 at 6:23 am

Great giveaway Maneesh, you got me signed up.

This article itself is a great example of actionable content. No fluff just simple step by step guide with decent information and lots of resources to help us

kuddos

Fernando April 20, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Kuddos I just paid a visit to your Blog after seeing the epic name “Internet Marketing Hustle” Loved the concept mate. Loved reading your article “I finally did it, An Amazon sales” I would advice others to also have a look at your article.

Mike Yasieniuk April 10, 2012 at 6:31 am

I thoroughly enjoyed this post and truly believe in the power of guest posting. I recently got an opportunity to guest post on a large web design blog and in just one weekend my lists on http://bestpsdfreebies.com increased by over 30%! It was jaw dropping as you said. Now I continue to look for new guest posting opportunities.

Maneesh, your email outline for asking for a guest post is fantastic. Thank you for the share.

Maneesh Sethi April 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Thanks Mike! That means a lot! Guest post all you can :)

Gregory Ciotti April 10, 2012 at 6:45 am

1,000 emails from a post that essentially says: “Interview people in your niche”…

Apparently I need to find better blogs to guest post for :P

Maneesh Sethi April 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Hah, there is definitely more to it than just saying ‘interview people in your niche.’ That’s not even 10% of that guest post!

Hector Cuevas April 10, 2012 at 6:50 am

Awesome post Maneesh.. landing pages are crucial if you want to build a list quickly.. Why spend time getting 3 or 5% from your blog when you can get 40%+ from a dedicated landing page.

thanks for sharing..

Maneesh Sethi April 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Exactly! Put in a few minutes of work and reap the benefits.

Sheyi April 10, 2012 at 7:13 am

Since i don’t drink wine (anything alcoholic though) it means i’d buy a plane ticket anytime I write a guest post.

thanks for sharing this long article. lots of sense there in

Sheyi

Paul April 10, 2012 at 7:55 am

“Instead, focus on your email list. The return on your time investment will be exponentially higher. Check out this source, which demonstrates a 250% higher conversion rate through email versus social media. Or check out this article by Derek Halpern, where he shows that email has a clickthrough rate (CTR) of 24x. In my experience, email has proven to be over ten times as effective as social media.”

Can’t agree with this. If you think conversion rate is a good metric to compare the effectiveness of email marketing and social media then you misunderstand how the two channels work in unison in a complete marketing strategy.

Email marketing works well with direct response. But if you sell on social media platforms, that won’t work well.

So you use one, to fuel the other. You create compelling and engaging content and use the viral capacity of twitter, facebook, G+ and so on to increase brand exposure and traffic to your blog. You then capture a subset of that traffic through your email signup forms. Then you can hit them with your direct response.

Last attribution analytics can be very misleading.

Maneesh Sethi April 10, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Sure, but I mean, put in your effort where it gets the most feedback. You shouldn’t buy a billboard just because McDonalds does—they have a branding strategy that is completely different than ours. And with a limited amount of time, it’s probably best to focus on what gets the best response… but different strokes for different businesses.

Christine Brady April 10, 2012 at 8:53 am

Hi Maneesh,

Ahhh – I feel like I just found out where I’m missing the boat!

My guest posts have been directly readers back to my blog AND a squeeze page. I had always thought to include both links -

Creating a separate landing page just for the guest post readers is a great idea.

That is a huge golden nugget!

Will do that for my next post – looking forward to the results!!!

Thanks – and great gifts by the way :)

~Christine

Maneesh Sethi April 10, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Please Please PLEASE let me know how it goes!! email me your results!

Conni Biesalski April 10, 2012 at 9:35 am

Sweet stuff, Maneesh! You really studied this whole copywriting/conversion business inside out ;)

I’m just getting started with guestblogging and I will try hard to incorporate your ideas. Hope they will work out as well for me as they have for you!

Maneesh Sethi April 10, 2012 at 6:09 pm

All i do is read marketing books, get in contact for some recommendations

ldf April 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm

ridiculous post. thank you!

Remco April 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm

definitely a good pickup line ;-)

My biggest challenge is to actually finding a website that is in my niche, to guest post on

Andy April 10, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Good tips, but shitty fake math.

Jordan J. Caron April 10, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Maneesh,

I really love the idea of sending people to a personalized page and giving them an the incentive while still reading the guest post to head over to your site.

Not only did I find that helpful but the same with your tips on how to get a guest blog spot. Very detailed and easy to follow.

Thanks Corbett and Caleb for another useful post!

I got my first guest post lined up for Thursday and the launch of my blog Thursday. You guys rock!!!

Jordan J. Caron April 10, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Folks,

Let this be a lesson to always double check your reply before you hit submit! Far too many grammatical mistakes….

Sorry everyone

Custardtank April 11, 2012 at 3:54 am

Great post, but one question (I’m new to this).

How do you make money from someone just entering their email on your landing pages?

Maneesh Sethi April 11, 2012 at 9:46 am

I sell a product only via my email list. I only sell it for a few days a year. So, when they sign up, I give them a ton of free high value quality content, and over time, I may launch a product. Based on my valuation of my previous customers, they are worth about $1/subscriber/mo. Actually quite a bit more—I’m averaging $5/customer/mo

Sheyi April 11, 2012 at 10:18 am

Maneesh,

Even though you told us here how creating a new product for each guest post has helped you, I believe it work and works fine cause i just subscribed to your mailing list now.

I’ve once again gained something and its worth while been a reader here at think traffic.

@Corbet & Caleb, the link to the thinktraffic free pdf is bad (the one you sent to our mail).

Sheyi

Dolly April 11, 2012 at 11:47 am

Maneesh,

Great tips! Thanks. I have previously had blogs which I used just for fun and to connect, but not for business purposes, and so guest posts I did were pretty much wasted, because as you said, I offered people no incentive to come back to my blog.I’m starting guest blogging again for my new website which is about to launch, and is supposed to be a business, so these tips are timely reminder to make good use of the opportunity.

Sajan Elanthoor April 12, 2012 at 2:32 am

Hey Maneesh,

You Rocked!

I was thinking to write to Corbett requesting a chance to blog post. Now I’ve confidence as you show me how to do it.

Corbett you can expect my email at any time:)

Marius April 15, 2012 at 4:18 am

Maneesh,

That is an awesome idea! You rocked me! Definitely going to try this out.

Marcin April 19, 2012 at 10:06 am

Hi,
I have one question. I want to send traffic to the best place
I can and I wonder what’s better: a squeeze page (like in your training)
or a blog focused on list building. Recently I talked to one good marketer
who said, that she has been doing a test in 4 niches for 6 months. She
sent traffic from the same sources to her blogs with incentivized opt-ins
on homepages and to squeeze pages.
The result? She built smaller lists with her blogs, but…they made her
remarkably more money than lists built on squeeze pages! It’s probably
because of pre-qualifying subscribers – people who opted-in on blog
knew her better and were buyers, not only freebie seekers.

Then…don’t you think it’s better to send traffic directly to a blog? Have you tracked you “buyers”?

Thanks!

Jonathan Macken April 21, 2012 at 6:43 pm

It may seem trivial to some, but I appreciate what you said about how checklists are really appealing to email and blog readers. I’m conditioned to use longer, flowing paragraphs from my college paper-writing days, but that’s not the kind of info propagation that works best on the internet. People want fast, and like you said – actionable – material, and they don’t want to “waste” time reading a bunch of complete sentences. The better a job you can do with that, the more subscribers you’ll get.

ralph@cantankerousoldcoots April 22, 2012 at 10:05 am

Eyeopening post. It amazes me how much work I do that isn’t productive. Thanks

Darlene May 4, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Maneesh

I’ve mentioned doing a separate landing page to my husband who’s my web programmer and SEO guy and he says not to do it because then I have an unindexed page on my site and that’s bad. How do you get around that? Have you found it to be an issue?

I’m hoping you can give me something to go tell him to convince him to make me a landing page!

thanks
Darlene

James Swanwick June 15, 2012 at 3:33 pm

What you say makes a lot of sense, Maneesh.
Questions:
1. Do you recommend giving readers something unique to them? Or can you give them something that any reader on your site can access?
2. If the answer to “1″ is giving them something unique, what other things could this free gift be?

Hafis September 19, 2012 at 6:54 am

I too believe that having a strong email subscribers will help you in the long run…

Ishan Ray November 10, 2012 at 10:45 am

This is the kind of article Corbett calls ‘epic shit’.

I just started a blog called dancingbuddha.com which will be my legacy. I will definitely use your ideas about guest posting to create awareness.

Fernando April 20, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Hi Ishan, just clicked to you Blog and found out that you haven;t yet completed your bog design. What made me want to write to you was, few weeks back I completed a blog for guy using he same genesis theme you have used to launch you new site. Also you need to change the favicon to your own unique! You may check the site I did: http://www.tadastursa.com/ and do let me know if you need to get those small areas configured. I would be happy to help you on this for free. You can contact me at FERNANDOBIZ

Ervin February 21, 2013 at 8:29 am

Hello Maneesh,

Well, this one is just beyond words – it was helpful, insightful and, above all else, extremely fun to read! We’re currently engaged in SEO on our company web page @ http://www.i-audience.com/ and I can tell you we’ll definitely utilize some (read ALL) of the techniques outlined above.

It’s also an amazingly simple yet totally unique (and, as you mentioned) overlooked technique to include Landing pages within guest blog posts…you drive traffic, measure conversions, improve customer engagement…it all comes down to your imagination :)

Again, thank you for sharing this gem and keep them coming.

All the best to all of you,
Ervin

michael February 25, 2013 at 3:08 am

Hi.

WOW, what a great informacional post.
Dear people, does guest post marketing works without build a list too?
Also write good informacional content within a link to my “presell product review site”?(affiliate or own service), does this make sales with guest post traffic?

List builduing in my eyes is double of work and the conversion rate is not higher, conversion is most at 2-5%, the same rate as when you have an good written converting “product review” pre sell page, it’s less time of work.

What do you think?

best wishes
michael

Gregory Ciotti April 10, 2012 at 7:38 pm

I’m just teasing, it was a great read!

Out of curiosity, have you split-test your landing pages with ‘name + email’ vs. ‘name only’?

I’m interested in why you want subscribers names for you style of site, there’s apparent benefits (I’ve personally noticed higher open rates), but what are your reasons for wanting the name?

Paul April 11, 2012 at 1:48 am

I Agree – I didn’t want people to misinterpret the post and disregard the social media channel as being useless because of the conversion figures.

Your brother’s stuff is nothing short of fantastic, so I’m really looking forward to seeing your site grow over the coming months and years!

Custardtank April 12, 2012 at 2:44 am

Awesome, thanks for replying Maneesh :)

Austin Wood April 14, 2012 at 12:18 pm

This is a great question — Maneesh, have you performed any split tests and noticed that asking for ‘email + name’ converts higher than just email? I like asking for a subscriber’s name because I like to send new subscribers a personal note saying thank you; I think that having their name makes this email more friendly and elicits more of a response.

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