Did you know that 60% of marketers report that content marketing such as guest blogging generates leads?
Whether you are just starting out, or an already established professional, guest blogging can do so much for your business!
Ready to learn?
What is Guest Blogging?
Guest blogging is basically when a business collaborates with a blogger/website to create great promotional content. These collaborations are commonly formed through a process called blogger outreach.
Most of the time, leveraging a relationship with a blogger or another website can help you get more brand awareness; however, the primary purpose is to get a backlink to your website.
However, blogger outreach or guest blogging is not just about sending an influencer an email saying, “Here’s my link!” First and foremost, it’s about creating quality content that’s truly valuable.
Here’s how to do that:
1. Find the Right Influencers for Your Posts
You’ll want to reach out to people within your space, but who aren’t competing with you directly.
Here are some great ways to find the right influencers:
- Check out influencers already aware of your brand
- Look at who your target audience is
- Follow industry podcasts and other blogs
- Monitor relevant hashtags
- Use a third-party influencer management platform
How to create catchy, effective subject lines for link outreach —https://t.co/nEopDZltfm via @ichbinGisele
— Brian Dean (@Backlinko) June 4, 2018
Different types of influencers
- Micro-influencers — Those who have a smaller but still highly engaged following (less than 100k followers on average)
- Macro-influencers — Those who have a large following with at least some engagement (100k-500k)
- Mega-influencers — Those that have high follower numbers and high engagement rates (500k-1 million+)
When it comes to budget and influencer impact, micro-influencers might be the better option if your brand is relatively unknown.
While a macro-influencer might be harder to pitch, they also have a better chance of increasing your outreach should you win them over.
Mega-influencers are extremely difficult to pitch. In most cases, you’re already a macro-influencer who has built a relationship with them. While it isn’t impossible to land a mega-influencer, you may find more success starting with smaller influencers.
Start with Pre-Outreach
What is guest blogging on other sites? Once you have a list of bloggers who allow high-quality guest posting, and blog owners you want to reach out to, the next step involves warming them up to your presence before you write a guest article or become a guest author. It’s important to explore their great content and express interest in their website before reaching out.
Pre-outreach includes things like:
- Commenting on a blog post or guest blog post
- Following them on social media
- Sharing or retweeting fresh content they’ve posted
- Tagging them in your social posts
- Replying to updates and shared content
- Targeting them with brand awareness campaigns
This makes your “cold” emails slightly warmer, which also gives your guest blogging strategy a better shot at succeeding and feels less spammy to website owners.
Start by visiting the blog of an influencer from your list and choose a post that relates the most to content you’ve written in the past (or are planning to write).
Let’s say you had Neil Patel as an influencer on your list. Go to his blog and choose a post.
Read the post and leave a comment on something you found interesting about it.
Do your best to leave a genuine, insightful comment. Even larger influencers are more likely to respond to comments that have some substance to them.
If you plan on reaching out to the influencer for guest blogging in the future, use the comments section as a way to really grab their attention first.
You can always reference it in an email later as “proof” that you’re trying to build a relationship rather than just out to get referral traffic or a link for your own site.
Once you’re done commenting, share the post and tag the author (in this example, Neil).
You may not get a comment back, and the influencer may not interact with your shared post. That’s okay.
This isn’t meant to be your biggest point of contact. It’s called pre-outreach for a reason.
The point is simply to start engaging with their content, so they have an idea that you exist and so that they know you’re not out to use them for followers or link building.
Let’s use Ahrefs as an example here. Ahrefs states that they don’t usually accept guest articles anywhere on their website. They also don’t encourage submissions with a “write for us” page. However, if someone were to reach out and pitch to them a great article, they will publish it.
It’s about relationship building, not just promotion.
How to Find Email Addresses
Sometimes the email address of an influencer isn’t always displayed publicly. In that case, there are a couple of tools that make it easier to find.
Hunter is a tool that pulls the name and email addresses of everyone associated with a website.
It turns this information into a nice list that you can then use to search for the specific name and email of the person you’re looking for:
You can install it as a Chrome extension to build your list as you browse. Handy right?
There is an additional tool called Clearbit Connect that integrates with your Gmail account.
Clearbit lets you look up a company from within your inbox. It then creates a list of people you can reach out to for guest blogging with their name, email, title, website, social media links, and other information:
The handy button in the top right helps you to easily send your message by creating a new email draft.
Both Hunter and Clearbit Connect offer a nice amount of free data. The paid versions offer guest posting opportunities to look up and email more people than the limit on the free version (which is pretty high).
Before you send any emails though, let’s be sure you tailor your actual message to yield the result you’re looking for.
Send a Personalized Outreach Email
Now that you’ve spent some time engaging with potential bloggers, it’s time to send your email.
There are a couple of things you want to keep in mind at this stage.
First, understand that the higher the blogger’s level is, the more outreach emails they probably get. Influencers are busy. Your emails will need to stand out from the crowd.
Second, personalization is the best way to warm up a cold lead and set yourself apart.
Of course, your lead shouldn’t be that cold, considering you’ve been warming them up with other forms of engagement.
But you will have to spend some time personalizing your outreach emails.
The key to personalization is to be specific. Use their name. Tell them why you’re contacting them. Show them how you’ve interacted with them in the past and why your content matters.
There’s no “perfect outreach template” that will land the guest post: you have to personalize it to them and their niche.
Some sites get so many pitches for guest posts that they even have pitch guidelines posted on their site, make sure you follow them in that case.
Try something like this screenshot, but make it even more personalized while still keeping it brief:
These touches of personalization go a long way to building a relationship with a cold lead.
- The subject line makes your intentions clear right away and shows you respect their time.
- Showing you’re familiar with their work, they know you’re an audience member and not just a random person trying to get a link.
- They are more likely to answer when you compliment them because it would be a bit rude not to.
- Coming up with a couple of headlines gives them a feel for the angle of your piece.
- Acknowledging that they might not want to share your content shows that you’re humble and sincere and that you respect their authority.
Even if you haven’t been interacting with an influencer for years, you should still make an effort to personalize.
Another note: You don’t *just* have to rely on cold emails. Depending on the person, you could try friending them on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn and send your message there.
When someone can see your social profile, it makes you even more “real” rather than a random person in their inbox.
Especially if your email and follow-ups to it go unanswered.
It doesn’t hurt to ask, the worst that could happen is an unopened message or a simple no.
Follow-Up Your Cold Outreach Emails
You don’t want to stop after the first outreach email regarding guest blogging, even if it’s successful.
That’s not to say you want to pester influencers. Again, many bloggers are inundated with outreach emails, so there are never any guarantees.
But you should still send a follow-up email (or two) to double-check that they received your first message.
Close.io has some suggestions for the timing of your follow-ups:
- Send your initial follow-up after one day (of no reply)
- Send your second follow-up two days after that
- Send your third follow-up four-five days after that
While your initial emails should be as personalized as possible, your follow-up emails can get away with being templated:
Here’s an example of a guest post topic that we thought was good enough for our site. It was well-thought-out and relevant, so it was a no-brainer for us to post it!
If the blogger replies to you, there are a few things you want to do to help foster the relationship.
First, thank them for their response and help.
Showing appreciation is a great way to kick off a potentially long-term relationship, and, at the very least, is a good way to show that you’re not just in it for a transaction.
Next, try to take your relationship to the next level.
This might mean asking them to review content on your blog, or if they have any advice for you. Just keep your requests short, and be mindful of their time.
The most successful outreach emails are often the shortest ones.
Finally, ask them if there’s anything you can help them with. It’s possible they might not want anything from you in return (or they might want to get paid for their outreach).
But you should still ask, even if they don’t outright say they want something.
Blogger outreach or guest blogging is often a two-way street between you and the influencer, so don’t expect something for nothing.
If you’ve put in all of your efforts and you still haven’t received a reply after a week’s time, it’s probably best to move on for now.
You can always re-engage someone at a later time or with a different proposition.
Track Your Outreach Campaigns
Whether you’re sending outreach emails to a handful of influencers or hundreds for your marketing strategy, you will need a way to keep track of your efforts.
There are so many different tools for all types of SEO efforts. These tools help with anything from SERP ranking to The HOTH’s guest post service and Google Analytics for organic traffic metrics.
Alternatively, BuzzSumo is also one of the most widely recognized analytics tools that you can use to find influencers on different social media platforms. It can also be used as a blogger outreach tool to help you reach out and find the right type of content to create for guest blogging.
You want to make sure that you’re meeting your goals (getting your content shared) and seeing the results you want (increased traffic, conversions, etc.).
The only way to know if you’re succeeding is to track and measure.
For starters, make sure you’re tracking your outreach efforts in the initial spreadsheet you created when doing influencer research.
Note that you’ve contacted them, how many emails you sent, and examples of the emails (if necessary)
Pitchbox is a great outreach software that helps automate the process from finding influencers to sending emails and tracking your outreach campaign.
Influencer Outreach Tips
Another way to increase your chances of landing a mega influencer is playing the numbers game by intentionally keeping a list of 100 “dream” influencers in mind.
Influencer outreach can provide some amazing guest blogging opportunities for your brand. However, it needs to be done carefully and with a lot of thought. It’s important to choose the right people to approach and the best way to do it.
In reality, only 50% of bloggers actually perform outreach for guest posts to only 10 or fewer contacts per month. While only 7% pitch to more than 100 or more blogs per month. That leaves huge gaps for opportunities in guest blogging.
Here are a few tips to get you started with the process:
- Identify your goals
- Find the right blogger
- Build relationships
- Share your strategy during outreach
- Keep an eye on your metrics
The idea is that by intentionally marketing to these 100 mega influencers over time, you increase your odds of landing at least a few, if not more. Even if only one or two people on your dream 100 list go on to promote you, it still has huge potential to impact your business.
So maybe you don’t know 100 people you’d love to do this with. Maybe you know at least a couple? Start with those and build your list up.
Then ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the avatar of their audience?
- Where else does this audience tend to hang out online?
- What do they read and watch?
- Are they on Facebook or Instagram?
When you actually know a bit about the person you’re reaching out to, you can craft a much more sincere message to them. More importantly, you can create content their audience would like to see that also promotes you as a contributor.
What is guest blogging and how do you start the outreach process? Create a spreadsheet that includes the name of the bloggers you’re trying to reach, their blogs, and their social profiles.
You can also divide them up based on things like social authority, domain authority and any other factors you think might matter, like their level (micro, macro, mega). Try our free domain authority tool to research the best sites for outreach.
To populate your list, you can either use tools like Moz’s FollowerWonk to identify potential social media influencers based on things like keywords in their bios or follower count.
Consider starting with influencers that you already follow, since the next steps involve some engagement tactics on your end.
Benefits to Blogger Outreach
Most people initiate blogger outreach with the purpose of gaining links, but that’s just one of the benefits.
Depending on the space your business is in, there’s potential to start a new partnership that benefits you both.
Here are some additional ways to take advantage of your outreach efforts besides gaining links:
Partnerships or joint ventures
How nice would it be if you could gain access to someone else’s audience for yourself? Co-marketing is a real benefit of developing a relationship through outreach.
This works when each party has proportional benefits. It’s not a good pitch to say you want to start a joint marketing effort with another business if you’re the one who’s getting most of the reward.
Your chances of getting a partnership with someone through cold email outreach are slim unless they are already aware of you and trust you
Once you’ve been talking for a bit and understand each other’s businesses and audience, you can propose how a partnership could benefit everyone– including the customer.
Try a pitch along the lines of:
Just make sure it’s a well-thought-out and genuine idea.
For example, you might propose a smaller collaboration like a podcast appearance, and use that as a starting point to build up to a joint project that would take more commitment from each other.
Buying their business or selling yours
Businesses are bought and sold every day for a variety of reasons.
This is not necessarily something you can just cold pitch to someone, as people generally tend to be very careful about buying or selling a business.
Some people might jump at the chance to sell their business or buy yours. But many people are very risk-averse or attached to their companies for a variety of reasons.
Instead, start a conversation with them and make your intent clear that you’re interested in buying their business, or selling yours to them.
Explain your intentions and the possible benefits to them, and end by asking if they’d like to talk more about it.
It will take some back and forth unless they are excited to buy/sell already.
It’s doable, but it’s up to you to do the propositioning and make sure that business conditions and personal feelings are where they need to be to make this happen.
Clients and jobs
Can you really get a client or a job through cold outreach?
People are busy. If you can take the time to analyze their business or their website and send some suggestions for improvement *that you could do,* This is an incredibly attractive email for a business owner to get.
If you’re contacting them in regards to a job posting, think about what duties would be entailed in that position. Paint a picture for them of what you could do if they offered it to you.
If you’re trying to get a gig or a client rather than a job position, use a similar pitch describing
your experience and some ideas for things you could implement on their behalf:
Issues On Your Site
Include a couple of relevant examples of successful initiatives you’ve done. Link to them if possible.
See how outreach can lead to more than just links? It’s really about building relationships that are able to open a variety of different doors.
Now that you can officially answer the question “what is guest blogging?”, you’re ready to start building out your strategy.
If you want to leave the hard stuff to the professionals, book a call with one of our experts today!
Sign up for free and check out our free SEO tools and resources!