The Secret of Successful Blogger Outreach

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.

Successful-blogger-outreachThe ‘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.

Increase Facebook Reach & Exposure With 3 Simple Tips

Increase Facebook Reach

If you’re using Facebook as your social media channel, you will be aware of your fan exposure from your analytics. When you post a status or update you’ll be lucky if 20% of your audience gets to view your post on their home feed (Top Stories). How great would it be to increase Facebook reach?

Facebook use an algorithm to determine the top posts each fan will see. This algorithm is known as ‘Edgerank’. We don’t need to go into much detail but the basics are this; the more regularly engaged your audience is the more likely your updates will show in your fan’s top stories.

By ‘engaged’ I mean, are you posting things that get people commenting, liking and sharing? If your post gets liked or shared it will be visible to that person’s friends who are engaged with the liker. That sounds complicated so I made this diagram to explain it better. I’m not a graphic designer so don’t laugh!

Increase-facebook-reach

So as you can see it is vital that you get as many people in layer 1 to see your post.

There are two ways to achieve this, first one is pay to promote it. You can chose the amount of people you want to promote your post to. But if you’re a small business this is probably going to be way out of your budget. It can cost upwards of $500 for a full 5,000 fan members to see your promoted post… A little bit expensive if you ask me!

The second and much smarter way is to get people engaged with your fan page or brand. Depending on your product you can achieve this in a number of ways;

1. Produce compelling content that people want to share. Monitor your social media efforts and observe the types of content that gets liked. It can be informative (mind blowing) or funny, it doesn’t matter as long as it fits with your audience and brand.

2. Competitions are great for increasing your members base but can also be used to engage your audience if done correctly. Facebook has some seriously strict guidelines on running competitions, so beware. Any competition asking people to like, comment or share can incur the wraith of Facebook. Your page could be shut down with little or no chance of reinstatement. Saying that a lot of brands still do these types of comps. You have been warned! You are able to have people like your page before entry, check in to a place or connect to your platform integration if you have one. You can also require an entrant to upload a photo or video in order to enter. I suggest you consider this option seriously. You will need to use a third party application to facilitate this option. Before you decide to run a competition be sure to read the full terms and conditions here https://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php

3. Actively seek out engagements. You can do this manually by going to members pages and commenting or liking their posts or photos, ask questions in order to get a response. Social networking isn’t about blasting your message, it’s a two way conversation.

Conversation is key to increase Facebook reach

If somebody comments on your page in anyway, positively or not you should always respond. Use a capital letter for the fans name so they will get an alert telling them about the mention. Try and respond using your brand voice. Are you fun, witty or serious? Just be consistent with your voice. If possible close your response with a question even something as simple as “what do you think?” or “would you agree?”

Be innovative in your approach to engagement. Remember to get through to layer 2 (diagram above) you need to be communicating regularly with layer 1. Actively encouraging people to express their opinions with a simple call to action can be an easy way to increase Facebook reach and Edgerank.

Marketing a Nightclub

How to market a nightclub using the internet

Marketing-a-nightclubMarketing a nightclub or venue can be difficult if you don’t plan correctly. You may have had a situation before the recession where you had punters queuing and begging at the door, in most clubs that has changed. The game is different now, you need to constantly be evolving to keep your customers interested.

Up until recently it was standard practice to get “promoters” on board, you would give them some perks; a few free passes for their friends, VIP if you had it and pay them (badly) for any people they got into the venue. You probably printed posters and had your reps put them up in local colleges (if that was your target market) or printed fliers and had them distributed around your city. Continue reading

How buyer personas can help you create content for your blog

What is a buyer persona?

Angus Jenkinson developed buyer personas in the mid-1990′s . Personas are important for your business or blog to help keep keywords and promotion tactics relevant. A persona is basically a fictional person you would expect to visit your site or buy your product. You should create persona profiles to help you categorize ideal and not so ideal customers.

Creating a buyer persona

For example “David Nerd” might represent a 24-year-old guy who is single and lives at home. He has worked in odd jobs such as comic stores, movie rentals and cinemas. He is currently out of work and on social benefits.

He spends a great deal of time online 6+ hours per day, owns a laptop, smart phone and an iPad. He spends time on popular geek culture websites, connects with friends and watches his TV shows online. Facebook and Pinterest are his social media channels of choice. Leaving them signed in permanently on his smart phone.

Google is the only search engine he uses. He rarely clicks on ads. He subscribes to his favorite blogs by RSS but never leaves comments. He uses Reddit for most of his social and tech news. His content preferences include games, technology, music and electronics. David is always on the look out for new ways to keep him entertained on his long days with little to do.

From the persona above we can empathize with David. We can make some predictions about the types of content that would resonate with him. We can make decisions about what David will likely consume and share. By knowing what matters to the persona we can create more relevant content for your target market.

Buyer-personas

Collecting data for your buyer persona

The persona will help you with your keyword research, editorial schedule, social networking and promotion. In order to start creating your personas you will need to collect data. You will probably already be doing this through your Facebook fan page and Google analytics.You can also see what social sites your traffic is originating from.

Use Quantcast and Alexa for your demographics. You should also see the busiest times for your site which you can capitalize on by scheduling tweets and new posts to increase your reach. You could also create a short 2 or 3 question survey to help capture more data. Consider coupling this with a competition to get a better response rate.

Once you start collecting data about your visitors you should start to identify common traits and patterns. Behaviors such as sharing, referrals and repeat visits might be your “ideal” customer personas. You will also have customer personas that you don’t want, I call them “trolls”. You can have several different personas between the two extremes.

Now that you have your buyer personas use them to help you align your content to your consumers. By understanding their pain points you can create posts that they will find interesting and will likely share. You should be readjusting your profiles over time, constantly updating them and making them more accurate.

Do you use buyer personas to help you create content?

Marketing Funeral Services – Good, Bad or Wrong?

Content Marketing Funeral Services

Marketing funeral services can be a difficult task, therefor, you need to approach it with compassion and respect. By putting the customers concerns and objectives high on your list of priorities, you should be off to a good start.

Marketing funeral servicesIrrespective of your business objectives and the type of content you ultimately decide to produce, your primary goal should always be to help the customer. Your content should help them through this difficult time in their lives, it should not be a sales pitch, I cannot stress how important that is.

All communications should be both human and considerate of the customer’s feelings. Take time to understand the customer’s current emotional state. Forget the jargon, speak to them with true emotion and empathy.

Your content should solve a problem for them. It should be a shoulder to lean on in their time of need. The content you create should open a channel of communication between the customer and your business.

Like all great forms of content it should be shareable. I know what your thinking; “who will want to share sad content?” I will come back to this later. Continue reading

LSI For SEO

Latent Semantic Indexing for Search Engine Optimization

LSI-for-SEOWhat is LSI?

LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. When we talk about LSI for SEO we are referring to search engines understanding the context of the content. If you are writing a post about golf clubs the search engines would expect to find other related words such as irons, woods, backspin, and angle.

According to Wikipedia, LSI is the “ability to correlate semantically related terms that are latent in a collection of text”

LSI uses the mathematical concept of transitivity. If word A is related to word B, and word B is related to word C then word A is related to word C.

This may seem a little complicated but the important concept to understand is every topic will have theme words. Theme words according to Dr Andy Williams, are the niche vocabulary that an expert in the associated niche will use.

How does LSI effect keywords?

In the past if we wanted to rank for a certain keyword or phrase we would use the keywords in the title, H1, subheadings and sprinkled throughout the body or our content. However this is not the case anymore. Google is using LSI to determine the best search results. This effects our keyword usage. It is now important for us to include related terms to the main keyword. This will make our content sound like it has been written by an expert. Just to reiterate NO keyword stuffing!

Free LSI Tools

http://lsikeywords.com/ is a free tool that analyzes the top 10 SERP to give you the related terms for any search result. You can use this tool to do your latent semantic analysis. It will allow you find those “theme” words so your article sounds like it was written by an expert. It will give you the corresponding 1, 2 and 3 word phrases that appear most frequently in the top SERP’s.

You can also use Google’s Keyword Tool, this will give you all the related terms for any given keyword search.

Another way is to do a search in Google and it will show you related terms at the bottom of the page.

How does LSI effect SEO?

If you are writing quality content then you probably won’t have to worry to much about Latent Semantic Indexing. You will already sound like an expert in your niche. You will be including synonyms of the keywords, using theme words and you won’t be stuffing your text.

However if you are not an expert it will become slightly more difficult. You will need to analyze the top ranking pages using the LSIkeyword (or another paid tool like Web Content Studio). Sprinkle the niche theme words (single words that are highly related to the niche) through out your article. You will also need to include some theme phrases in the text (two and three word phrases discovered during your analysis). Don’t use any unnecessary theme words or phrases, you need to remember you are writing for humans first not search engines. Forget about keyword density for your theme words, use phrases that make it sound natural.

The Panda and Penguin updates have changed the game for SEO. It has become much, much harder to rank for keyword phrases. LSI has become increasingly important for SEO’s. The sooner people start realizing this the better! But if people still continue to ignore LSI it will just mean easier rankings for the rest of us!

What is your understanding of LSI for SEO? Comment below and share your views.

99 Free Backlinks For Your Website

99-free-backlinks

Credit: Böhringer Friedrich

99 Free Backlinks!

After I went through my list and deleted the broken links I was left with the magic number of 99!

If you have read my earlier post you should now understand how to increase blog traffic. What I want to give you now is an easy to follow process of how to gain those much sought after links.

There are two types of links you can get from another website. Normal links or do follow links. Follow links tell the search engine spiders to pass the juice or page rank to your page and links with the property rel=nofollow. These nofollow links tell the spiders not to pass PR to your site. Most social network sites such use the nofollow attribute. Continue reading

Do you understand how to increase blog traffic? – Google Analytics

google-analytics-no-visitors

Google Analytics

You’ve started a blog, published a few posts and now your looking at your Google Analytics. It can be disheartening to see your website is receiving no traffic. All that time and effort is resulting in no visitors. But all’s not lost, with this explanation you can start to see traffic pouring into your site. Most of these techniques are a form of Online Marketing Continue reading

Instagram Web Profiles Launches Today!

Instagram Web Profiles

Today Instagram announced they will be rolling out web profiles in the next few days! This is a big move for Instagram. They will be trying to take some of the traffic away from the popular Pinterest social sharing site.

The web profile gives you a large header image that can show selected photos at random. The images rotate so you can select your favorite photos to showcase! You also have a profile image. Below your header image you get a thumbnail view of your uploaded images. Which load on scroll much like the album view in Facebook. Continue reading

Inside Content Marketing The Beginning

Inside Content Marketing

This is where my Inside Content Marketing journey begins. Only I can’t start typing. I’ve been staring at this dashboard for two weeks. Typing a line or two then deleting it. A constant cycle of doubt. Everything I have read on content marketing says that your content must not only be great but unique as well, and that is proving harder than I thought.

Content-marketing-relationships

Click To Enlarge

What is “Inside Content Marketing”?

My Idea for Inside Content Marketing is to provide a free source of relevant information to help small businesses and bloggers succeed online. I want to explore different aspects of inbound marketing and show you, easy to follow guides that will increase your website or blog traffic.

The image visualizes some of the relationships I want to explore. The important thing to take from this is all aspects of your online marketing efforts are linked. Continue reading