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.
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 who plans to host your post. Additionally, a guest post can help you gain a bigger audience for additional exposure, and establish authority within both your audience and theirs. Ultimately, bloggers are interested in publishing high-quality content on their blogs so that they can attract new readers in addition to retaining their current ones. This 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.
While there have been speculations about the longevity of this inbound marketing strategy, guest posting is still one of the best ways to drive traffic to your site and grow your audience. Through guest posting, you might even increase your social media influence indirectly. Think of guest posting as a way to pitch to an established community. If you add value to this community’s reading experience, they will go over to your blog to check out your other content.
An important thing to remember is that when you post on another person’s site, you need to include 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 startups
The first thing you need to do is find a blog that will host you. The best way to do that is by running a Google search by typing in common topics in your industry seeing what turns up. It is important that you have created high-quality work because when you are looking for blogs to post to. If you already have social proof that you are a credible authority in the industry, then other blogs will be excited to partner with you and share your content.
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.
When you start writing the actual blog post, you need to choose something that you are qualified to write about. That does not necessarily mean that you have to be an expert on the topic, but you need some prior knowledge on the topic, at the very least.
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 who read their blogs. They already have an established brand in their niche, so if you 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
Quality content is the foundation of 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 it. 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
To 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 in the comments section
Rather than moving on to your next target website and forgetting about the content which you’ve already published, you should check into previous guest posts from time to time to see if any readers made comments or asked questions. Take the time to respond to the comments. With time, this 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 one of the most common metrics used to evaluate success. Guest posting as a technique 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
- This category 3: Backlinks
- Category 4: Awareness and Trust
- Category 5: Relationships
While this depends on the guest post, the initial investment may not be very high. The important thing that you do need to invest in is the time to find guest post opportunities. The time investment will vary from post to post because sometimes you will have to do your own research. At other times, people might just send you offers in your email, or you might meet someone at a conference who offers you a chance to write for them. An important thing to remember is that the more you write for one site, the further 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, ROI 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 speaking, if you were to contribute regularly to a high-authority website, people will pay quite a bit of money to get their link included in your posts. You can therefore bring 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 don’t result in an immediate traffic boost. In fact, this strategy requires a lot of patience. If you are measuring your website traffic the first week after posting, 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. You should 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, when it comes to relationships, ROI is inconsistent and relatively impossible to predict.
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. Since the whole point is to build authority and build your readership, any backlinks you receive are just incidental. If you approach guest blogging with backlinks as your main goal, 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 in 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.
Guest Blogging Campaign
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.
Email Addresses And Building Relationships
Once you have created your list, you can start approaching guest post targets by finding their email addresses and building relationships. You can use the services of a PR agency like Pressfarm to find media outlets to email. With a curated media list from our account executive, you can connect with the best journalists in your niche. Additionally, both our Launch and Campaign packages include engaging guest posts from expert writers.
Beyond just creating quality guest posts for you, we can also distribute these to media outlets with high domain authority. With Pressfarm, you can generate the publicity your brand deserves and boost your online visibility with quality content.
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 the blog you’re targeting. When you send your target blogs an idea that has worked in the past. They are 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 your idea to blogs and media outlets about your idea and see if they will pick it up. Cold email pitching is a very common way to go about doing this. Once your idea is approved, you can start creating the content by focusing on readability, including custom images, and getting contextual backlinks.
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:
THIS LINK #1 LINK #2 LINK #3
What do you think? Should I write it up and send you a draft?
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Thanks & Regards, [Your Name]
#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.
Hello, [name] Greetings.
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:
[Link #1] [Link #2]
Do you mind if I send you the draft to publish on your blog?
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thanks and Regards, [Your Name]
#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:
[Topic 1] [Topic 2] [Topic 3]
Looking forward to hearing from you with one of the topics above and I’d be sending you the draft as soon as possible.
Regards, [Your Name]
As you can see, while it may seem complicated, guest posting is actually quite straightforward. With the tips above, you can build a guest posting strategy that will grow your audience and build your authority as a brand.