The topic of guest posting best practices has been blogged about ad-nauseum, but judging from the number of less-than-savory pitches I get in my inbox on a weekly basis, it’s one that should continue to be talked about.
The ‘link building’ tactics of today are much different than they were before the Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, but sadly the old methodology of “quantity” is still forefront on many SEOs’ minds.
Simply put- guest blogging, like what we do at GBP (http://www.guestblogposter.com/) is mainly about building relationships, and less about the link. Sure, it’s always good to get a link or two within the post, which serves to drive traffic, and ultimately increase rankings. But the real secret sauce behind your guest posting efforts is this: it should be part of your overall link building strategy, and not the savior your rankings so desperately need.
The minute you break free from the mentality that guest blogging is about quantity, and refocus your efforts to turning it into a high quality portion of your overall link building strategy, your blogger outreach will be much more fruitful.
How to successfully pitch a blog owner
Step 1 – Find good targets
- Use advanced search queries.
- Run searches on blog directories like Technorati, Blogarama, BlogHer, etc.
- Participate in communities like My Blog Guest, BloggersMeet.org, etc.
Not only are you finding decent blogs to cultivate relationships with, you’re also likely to find ideas for content. You can identify problems people are searching for and write about them for your target blog, or you can pitch a fresh angle on an existing topic.
Step 2 – Research the target blog
- Gather metrics from OpenSiteExplorer.com.
- View subscription rate in Google Reader.
- Identify social follower counts.
You can organize this data in a spreadsheet, and then sort the specific numbers to view the most beneficial sites to pitch.
Step 3 – Participate on the blog
- Add your thoughts/opinions/feedback in the comments section.
- Retweet, like, share and +1 the content.
You’re going to have a much easier time pitching your guest post when they know you by name. The most valuable guest blogging opportunities will arise from a combination of time, effort and dedication, and these relationships are where beneficial, two-way partnerships take place.
Step 4 – Craft a personalized email pitch
- Address the contact by name.
- Point out specific reasons why your post would benefit their readers.
- Use proper spelling, grammar and etiquette.
I can’t stress this enough: why would someone be willing to publish your ‘high quality’ post, when your email looks like something out of mail merge software from the 90s, and is littered with grammatical errors? Be genuine, direct and personal in your email, and you will significantly lower the chances of your pitch being tossed in the recycle bin.
You should also give examples of other guest posts you have written, as this will help solidify your position that you only offer great content, and you can back it up with proof. In reality, though, not every single pitch will be approved. There are always extenuating circumstances that come into play, and a rejection should be handled with grace and courtesy.
To summarize, if you place as much effort and hard work into your outreach email as you do your guest blog post, your great content is much more likely to be published.
What are your tips for successful blogger outreach? Share them in the comments!
About the author: Kevin Phelps has been active in the content marketing world for six years, and now runs GuestBlogPoster.com.