Guest post by James Agate of Skyrocket SEO.
Guest posting on other blogs: you likely know about it as a traffic-building technique, you might have done it and you probably didn’t get the results you were hoping for.
Why? Because it’s easy to approach guest posting from the wrong angle.
I’ll start by saying I was recently ready to pack in writing guest posts…
Earlier this year I wrote for a couple of industry blogs in quick succession. Huge amounts of effort went into the posts. I put out completely new material like tutorials and the results of SEO experiments I’d been running.
These weren’t small time blogs either. One had 40,000 visitors a month and the other had an audience that shared my guest post hundreds of times across Twitter and Facebook.
But little came out of it. For all my hard-work and valuable time I got a couple of backlinks and a trickle of new visitors. To say I was disheartened is an understatement.
But as I always do when anything in my business fails, I dissect the failure.
Just where was I going wrong?
I quickly realized I was chasing the metrics. I was looking for how many visitors a blog gets, how many subscribers it has, how many people follow the blog on Twitter or like it on Facebook. Not only that but I was delivering content that was engaging for the audience but they just shared it and carried on with their day.
I didn’t give the readers a reason to clickthrough to my website and seek more help from me. I wasn’t building relationships; I was just providing content for free.
I decided to look at guest posting from another angle. What if I applied a direct marketing mindset to guest posting?
Thanks to my formal marketing education, I’ve always been pretty familiar with traditional marketing models and strategies so the STP (Segmentation – Targeting – Positioning) model immediately came to mind.
What if I were to identify the types of clients I am ultimately looking to reach and research which blogs they read? What if I then delivered content that would engage them and provide real value, but at the same time leave them wanting more and prime them to be interested in becoming customers of mine?
The 3 Keys to Effective Guest Posting
1. Segment your market – segmentation is so important in any online marketing activity because while your product or service might appeal to a lot of different people, targeting everyone is to target nobody at all.
For this particular exercise, you need to identify all the different clusters of potential clients or customers that exist in your market and then determine which segment you are going to target with this guest post.
This step is very much your call to make, depending upon your current business objectives and which segment you find either most attractive financially or most enjoyable professionally.
2. Target your segment – knowing the audience you are aiming for makes it infinitely easier to research the kinds of blogs they spend time reading and therefore trust as well as the problems they want help solving.
This step is really divided into three sub-steps because you need to A) Understand the market and find the tribe leaders B) Select and engage the tribe leaders and C) Get to know the content that the audience craves.
Investing time at this stage will pay dividends because if you know you are going put a lot of effort and time into crafting a superb guest post, you want to be sure it is going to end up at the right home.
There is no real substitute to immersing yourself in the marketplace and getting to know the players and potential blogs that might accept your work. Metrics like blog subscribers, twitter followers etc. can be useful, but you should actually spend time scouting out the blog to see the types of readers it has.
A blog with 1,000 highly engaged readers that have an active interest in your business is far more valuable than a blog that offers nothing more than sheer volume.
Engaging with the bloggers is relatively straightforward if you make the effort to get to know them before delivering your guest post pitch. Getting to know them means they’ll be more receptive to your pitch anyway but it also means you know more about their business, their readers and their area of expertise.
That means you can craft a guest post pitch that really pushes their buttons making your offer almost irresistible. Try creating content that is relevant but falls just outside of the bloggers area of expertise to create a win-win-win situation.
Getting to know the problems that the readers in the market face will set you up for a win because it ensures they view you as the savior who’s arrived to solve their burning issues rather than the outsider who’s “not from these parts”.
3. Position your guest post – now you have very clear foundations upon which you can build your guest post.
You know your segment and the types of problems they have and you know the blog and the type of content they usually deliver.
Now you need to fire up your keyboard and get creating. Make sure you:
- Solve the problem for the reader
- Plug the expertise/content gap for the blogger or offer something that they don’t – really try to hit a home run a produce something different
- Give the reader a reason to come to you for more
What you write is up to you, but I always make sure I stick to the above three ground rules.
What proof do I have that this approach works? Well I recently won 4 new clients who each agreed to initial SEO consulting for their web businesses as well as sizable monthly retainer fees – all from one guest post that generated just 9 retweets!
Imagine what a post like this can do on a bigger but still well targeted blog like Think Traffic? Help me find out by clicking the retweet button at the bottom of this post, then head over to my site and let me teach you about effective SEO next
Remember, submitting the guest post should never be the end of your involvement. Take ownership of the comments section and keep a close eye on Twitter and Facebook to see who is sharing it.
If you spot a blogger who you would also like to guest post for sharing your work, then use this as the conversation starter and approach them with a guest post pitch while they are a hot prospect… even big names will be more receptive.
Have any stories of guest posts gone wrong? I’d love to hear them (along with your tips for effective guest posting) in the comments!