Public relations is all about developing relationships, creating exposure, establishing authority, and creating links. Guest posting, also known as guest blogging, is no different. The concept is quite simple, you need to write a blog article according to the requirements of the blogger and get you get a backlink in return.
This article will discuss:
- What is a guest post and why use it?
- Creating a guest posting strategy for your startup
- Guest posting costs and ROI – stats and case studies
- Guest posting for backlink building
- How to write a guest post outreach email
What is a guest post and why use it?
As mentioned before, guest posting is contributing to a person’s blog in order to build relationships, exposure, authority, and links. It is a great way to establish a relationship with the blogger that plans to host your post, it may also help you gain more audience for additional exposure, and you are also able to establish authority within your audience and theirs. Ultimately bloggers are interested in publishing high-quality content from their blogs so that they can attract new readers as well as retain their current ones. It makes guest posting a win-win situation for both website owners and bloggers because they both want to rank higher in search engines and attract more readers.
There have been speculations about the longevity of this inbound marketing strategy, but guest posting is still one of the best ways to get an audience and drive traffic to your site. Through guest posting and getting to know people you might even indirectly end up increasing your social media influence. Think of guest posting as a way to pitch to an already community and if you are going to add value to their reading experience, they will go over to you blog to check out your other content. SEO is another important benefit when it comes to guest posting.
An important thing to remember is that when you post on another person’s site, the thing that you need to be adamant about is their inclusion of a link to your own blog. Whether it is embedded in the text or included in the author bio, generating these links is the main goal of guest blogging.
Creating a guest post strategy for your startups
The first thing you need to do is find a blog that will host you. The best way to do that is through a Google search by typing in your industry’s blog list and see what turns up. From there you can try an advanced search by putting “write for us” or “blogging” into the search engine. It is important that you have created high-quality work because when you are looking for blogs to post onto, you need to ride the fine line between the need for quality with the likelihood that the blog will accept you.
Once you have found the blogs you want to write for, you just need to start sending email pitches to each one. You need to have some familiarity with the site that you are pitching to; understand their writing style, who their audience is, and the topics that they have already covered. You will have a greater chance of success if the blogger has some idea of who you are.
Make each of them personal and interesting and you will have more luck. Like any time you are trying to send in an application, it is a numbers game and it is ok to get rejections because you will find someone eventually. Your email should be short and to the point and sum up your post in a paragraph or less.
When you start writing the actual blog post, it is obvious that you need to choose something that you are qualified to right. That does not mean that you are an expert on the topic, but you do have some prior knowledge of it and you just need to add a bit of research to make a good blog post.
Some other ways that you can effectively implement guesting posting to get the proper benefits include:
- Trying guest posting services
- Targeting websites with a high domain authority
- Creating high-quality content
- Considering websites that publish your competitor’s guest posts
- Tracking your results
- Spending some time in the comment section
Trying guest posting services
As a startup, there are many things that you need to think about and guest posting may not be the biggest priority at the time. That is why guest posting services were created, they handle those things for you so that you don’t have to go through finding relevant blogs, submitting proposals, or creating content when you need to focus on other things. All you have to do is pay and make sure that everything is going smoothly. You definitely need to find a service that is reliable because poor-quality links can negatively impact your website because of the penalties that search engines may impose.
Targeting websites with a high domain authority
It is definitely more effective to choose websites that already have a high domain authority because they already have a decent amount of followers that read their blogs. They already have an established brand on their niche and if you do manage to post content that links to your site, the readers from that blog would most likely be able to discover your site.
Creating high-quality content
Content is one of the most important things about successful guest posting. Most websites have pretty high standards when it comes to the content they choose to post on their blogs. They already have quite a good reputation and they definitely want to maintain what they have established. When it comes to writing, you need to think of something exciting and unique and try and write something that can give you long-term benefits. Something to remember is that redundant topics have a very high chance of getting rejected.
Consider websites the publish your competitor’s guest posts
Figure out who your competitors are and if they are using guest posting strategies, you should research where they are posting their content. You have a high chance of getting your content published because they have already accepted content from your competitors.
Track your results
Once your guest post goes live, that is just the start. It is important to gather data after the posting and track the results after your content is published. You need to figure out how much and what kind of traffic was brought into your site. You should also keep track of social shares and conversation and this information can help you determine what websites you can work with again in the future.
Spend some time on the comment section
Rather than moving on to your next target website, you should check in from time to time to see if any readers made comments or asked questions. Take the time to respond to the comments and as a result, it will add to your authority as the creator of the post. You can also establish yourself as the go-to person for readers to gain more insight.
Guest posting costs and ROI
When it comes to startups and companies, ROI (Return of Investment) is something that is frequently measured. Guest posting is a technique that can be hard to quantify, but there are five ways that you can get value from guest posts. You have to balance the benefits you get with the invest you put in, hence ROI.
- Initial Investment
- Potential Returns
- Category 1: Money
- Category 2: Traffic
- Category 3: Backlinks
- Category 4: Awareness and Trust
- Category 5: Relationships
It really depends on the guest post but the initial investment may not be very high. The important thing that you do need to invest in is time finding guest post opportunities. The time investment will vary from post to post because sometimes you will have to do your own research, people might just send you offers in your email, or you might meet someone at a conference that offers you a chance to write for them. An important thing to remember is that the more you write for one site, the greater you can stretch the investment.
You also need to understand the initial monetary investment. When you begin you might be paying for guest blogging tools, getting access to lists of sites that accept guest posts, etc. You might also be paying a writer to write your guest posts for you and in that case you will have a defined monetary cost per guest post that doesn’t change. These factors can be tricky to compare for your ROI, but it something that definitely needs to be measured.
As mentioned previously, ROIs can be split up into five major categories; money, traffic, backlinks, awareness/trust, and relationships.
Money: Money is almost exclusionary from the other sources of value because you can definitely make money guest posting. It would either be because the host site pays for it or because someone else pays you to include their link in your guest post. Hypothetically, if you were to contribute regularly to a high-authority website, people will tend to pay quite a bit of money to get their link included in your posts. You can take in a lot of money if you can include it organically and in a valuable way.
However, if you do add their link, you may be using your link slot on someone else and may not be able to promote yourself. The assumption is that the money you receive is your compensation rather than your link or traffic. It is quite easy to measure ROI because you just need to compare the cost of the post with the money you get from it.
Traffic: Guest posts are not the greatest for traffic, but it is also all about patience. If you are only considering the first week after positing, then yes, the traffic will not be the best. For example, if a post only gets you 50 hits in a week, that is not a lot. But, if you get 50 hits a week for a couple of years, that is quite a bit of traffic.
You need to make a decision. If you were to write a great piece of content, do you want it on your site or on a guest post? If it does well and it is a guest post, you do get a lot of visibility and secondhand value on a site that is not yours. It is definitely worthwhile if your site didn’t get the chance to rank on its own. The ultimate goal of guest blogging is to write for as many sites as possible that are larger than your own, but are not your direct competition.
Backlinks: Backlinks are extremely valuable in marketing and also pay attention to sites that have a good backlink profile because it means that there are different links from a wide range of sources. One thing to note is that a lot of high-quality and high-traffic websites do not accept unsolicited guest posts and some will either disallow links or nofollow them. If you are counting on links as your primary goal for guest posting, you might get disappointed. Consider links as a bonus when they do happen and focus on the other sources of value for your investment.
Awareness and trust: As an author, it is important to build trust among your readers, but they are very hard to measure because there is no way to track it. That is why when sites contribute to big name blogs, they put the logos of the blogs in their landing page. It establishes legitimacy and social proof, it is a way to tell your readers that even though your site might be small, you are legitimate.
Relationships: Guest posting allows you to build relationships with editors and site owners and once you have made a connection and proved that you know what you are talking about, you get firsthand value from that relationship. At the end of the day, guest posting can lead to great opportunities.
The only thing is that ROIs when it comes to relationships are relatively impossible to predict and inconsistent. You can only measure them to weigh against your initial investment when they happen.
Guest posting for backlink building
The first rule of guest posting for backlinks: DO NOT USE GUEST POSTING FOR BACKLINKS.
Successful guest blogging has never been backlink focused. The whole point is to build authority and earn the readership and any backlinks you receive is just incidental. If you approach guest blogging with that mindset, there is a possibility that you might target low-quality sites or compromise on content quality.
Make sure that you have a viable brand. Your sites, your design, authority signals, content, domain, and focus will definitely impact whether your guest posts get accepted. Most high-quality blogs and editors will not want to link to sites that are filled with low-quality content, no matter how great the guest post is. Your brand should include:
- Clean, modern design and logo
- Social signals; Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Facebook
- Trust signals such as mentions in authority publications, testimonials, etc.
- Relevant, high-quality content
- About us, contact, legal pages, etc.
In order to continue guest posting on top publications, you need to have at least one high-quality guest post published on a reputed site. You need to give editors an example of your writing style and quality. If you have not guest posted before, you should write a great post and get it published on a known site in your niche.
To start a guest blogging campaign, you need to start with a list of guest posting targets. There are multiple ways that you can find these opportunities; the Google search method, the Influencer method, the Competitor backlinks method, the Buzzsumo method.
After implementing those methods, you will have quite a list of dozens of guest blogging targets. You will have a good mix between high authority sites and low-grade blogs. From the list, you need to figure out:
- Domain-level metrics: Domain Authority/Rating, referring domains, backlinks
- Content quality: Go through a few blogs to see what kind of content they normally posts. It is advised to go for high-quality sites.
- Profile location: Does the site give guest authors a visible profile above the fold or bury the profile at the end of the article?
- Engagement: How many shares does a typical post have? A highly engaged audience is definitely a good sign.
- Content relevance: Does the site post regular content about your niche? And what is the typical engagement level for such topics?
- Guest authors: Check what kind of guest authors the site has hosted before and whether they come from authority sites or spammers.
Once you have created your list, you can start approaching guest post targets by finding email addresses and building relationships. You can use tools like Pressfarm to find media outlets to email. An important part of all PR campaigns is building relationships or at least registering your name on their radars. It is important to maintain regular communication for future and additional opportunities.
From there, you will have to come up with guest post ideas. You should build your ideas around what is already known to work on their blog and understand that your target blogs want more readers and when you send them an idea that has worked in the past, they will be more likely to give you a guest post spot. It is also important to keep the audience’s expertise level in mind and since one of your objectives is to build backlinks, you should try to pick up ideas that align with your site as well.
The general next step is to pitch to blogs and media outlets about your idea and see if they will take it. Cold email pitching is a very common way to go about doing this. Once you have an approved idea, you can start creating the content by focusing on readability, including custom images, and getting contextual backlinks.
Guest blogging purely to build backlinks is not viable, but when it is used as part of a broader marketing strategy, it can result in some very effective backlinks and even if you publish a small volume of guest posts on authority sites, you will be able to see a significant boost in your traffic and rankings.
Guest posting email templates
As mentioned before, cold email pitches can be quite an effective way to get your guest post request accepted. Here are some templates that you can take a look at to reach your goals.
#1 – Template 1
From the email, you should let them know that you aren’t just a random person looking for a guest posting opportunity, but that you are a regular reader of their blog. Build a relationship with them and possibly showcase some of your achievements and guest posts on other popular websites.
I’ve been an avid reader of [Blog Name] for some time now – and I enjoy reading your blog on a regular basis.
I’ve been researching on an idea for a blog-post about [Blog Post Title] – and then I thought that this could be a great contribution for your audience.
The summary of the post that I’m writing is…
[Bulleted List or Paragraph Summary of Your Post]
I’ve also published several successful guest posts on some big blogs like [Blog Name 1], [Blog Name 2] and [Blog Name 3] – which I have linked below:
What do you think? Should I write it up and send you a draft?
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Thanks & Regards,
#2- Template 2
Try and keep your emails short and to the point because nobody likes to read long and boring emails when they probably get hundreds and thousands every day.
I know that you probably receive a bulk of emails every day from the readers of your blog [website name]. So, I’ll keep it simple and short…
I see that you publish some really great contents about the topics like [Topic 1] and [Topic 2]. I am writing a well-researched blog post on the topic [Blog Post Title], which might be a great addition to your blog.
Here are the links of my few latest blog posts:
Do you mind if I send you the draft to publish on your blog?
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thanks and Regards,
#3 – Template 3
Sometimes if you tell bloggers that you randomly stumbled on their website while researching can work and you can also add a list of a few topics that you can write articles about.
I was researching about [Topic] this afternoon and stumbled upon your site [Website Name] – great collection of high-quality articles.
I am reaching out to you to contribute a high-quality post to your blog. Below are the topics, which I can write a well-researched post on:
Looking forward to hearing from you with one of the topics above and I’d be sending you the draft as soon as possible.