Guest blogging is the shit.
If guest blogging were a drug, I would have OD'd back in 2012.
If guest posting were a bar, somebody would have to scrape me off the sidewalk the next morning for getting hammered.
If guest posting were a brothel, well...you probably get the point by now.
I am a huge proponent of guest blogging. It is my primary weapon of choice as a digital marketer.
Need proof? A quick search of my name on Google would reveal articles I have written for different publication sites.
The sites featured above are enough author pages in a screenshot. Nonetheless, there are more sites to write for that I have barely scratched the surface! (Learn 18 rookie mistakes you can make blogging)
That is precisely the beauty of guest blogging – there are so many sites to write for that it is impossible to run out of them.
This means more opportunities to expose your content to different readers and attract them to your site, aside from other benefits. (See how to find your niche for blogging)
If you are not doing guest blogging as part of your marketing strategy, then you are in for a treat as I go in depth with this tactic as a way to increase traffic, widen your audience, and increase your search rankings.
Moreover, even if you are doing guest blogging, this post will help you develop the tactic into a full-fledged strategy to help you create a sustainable and high-quality link profile that is cut above your competitor!
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 blog traffic secrets click here or the image below)
What You Will Learn:
- The concept of "tiered link building."
- The process of creating a strategic guest blogging campaign using the concept above
Sounds exciting? It sure is! Let’s get the show on the road!
The Framework To Use For Strategic Guest Blogging
Guest blogging in itself is an excellent tactic for achieving the benefits mentioned above.
However, it works best when used along with a framework to make your tactic more scalable in a strategic sense.
The framework I am talking about is tiered link building.
This refers to building different tier sites that link to your money sites. (See 8 simple ways to improve your niche site in 15 minutes or less)
For example, tier 1 sites link to your money site, tier 2 sites link to your tier 1 sites, tier 3 sites links to your tier 2 sites, and so on.
Below is a diagram of how tiered link building works.
The reason for having different tiers is to strengthen the authority of the top tier sites. By having this (follow) linking flow in your tier sites, you boost the link juice that flows to your money site.
As a result, your money site will see a boost in search rankings for your keyword!
Here are the ideal types of sites for each tier:
- Tier 1 – Blogs and sites with high DA (private blog networks, web 2.0 properties)
- Tier 2 – Blogs and sites with low DA (web 2.0 properties, article submission)
- Tier 3 – Low-quality links (social bookmarking sites, SPAM)
Yes, I know what you are thinking...
THIS IS BLACK HAT!
In essence, tiered link building lets you generate an unnatural link profile using different web properties.
What makes it even worse is that most of the content generated from these sites are spun articles using a tool like The Best Spinner. This type of articles normally offers little to no value (see content marketing lies and myths) due to its redundant information from the source.
Combining both factors in your link building strategy is a recipe for SEO disaster!
Once Google tracks the footprint of your tiered link building, you can expect your site to drop from search results, if not penalized for a long time.
Thankfully, we are not going to use the exact template detailed above.
Instead, we are going to tweak the framework to include the use of guest blogging and remove any trace of black hat SEO tactics.
One way of doing this is to remove spammy and low-quality sites from the tiers and replace them with sites where to publish your guest posts.
We will also make use of social media promotion on all tiers to amplify the content reach to your audience.
Below is the revised diagram of the tiered link building framework that we will use for our guest blogging campaign.
Here is the breakdown of the revised strategy:
- Tier 1 contains sites with at least 60 DA (or Domain Authority)
- Tier 2 contains sites with at least 40 DA
- Tier 3 contains sites with at least 20 DA
- Once you have posted on all sites, share them using different online channels (social media, social bookmarking, content syndication, etc.) as part of your content promotions strategy
As mentioned, the difference of the revised strategy to the original one is the removal of low-quality sites like article directory and online bookmarking sites.
More importantly, you will have to write on all the sites to make this work. No article was spinning or cheap outsourcing BS.
Since your name will appear on each post, you need to write the articles yourself.
Not to mention, you need to ensure that the content is of high quality and offers loads of values to site readers.
Now that the plan has been set, below are things that need to be done to set the wheels to motion:
The Step-by-Step Process Of Strategic Guest Blogging
Identify the page on your site that you want to increase traffic and search ranking. It has to be high-quality and authoritative.
If you do not have a page, then it is best that you create on.
You can start by referring to the Skyscraper Technique by Brian Dean from Backlinko to help you create a piece of content that is cut from the rest.
Once you have the page ready, break down the topic into smaller ones.
The subtopics you will have come up with will serve as your guest posts.
Here’s an example: for my post about content marketing tools, I could simply create an entirely new article for all its subheadings!
From the looks of it, there are already 16 possible topics we can write from this post alone!
Examples of titles are:
- Idea Generating Tools to Supercharge Your Content Marketing
- Why Content Curation and Content Marketing Go Hand in Hand (mention the tools from the original post)
- Content Marketing Gets You Down? Here are Productivity Apps to Keep You Up!
These are just basic examples you can refer to. Of course, you can always tweak the title to your liking or use a tool like CoSchedule Headline Analyzer to improve the title.
The topics you will come up from here will comprise your TIER 1 articles.
Come up with many articles as you can. It is best to have lots of articles so blog owners where you plan to write for will have at least more than one to choose from.
Let's say we have settled into just one post for your tier 1 (for now), here is what your link flow will look like.
From the image above, the tier 1 site will link back to your money site.
Therefore, when writing a guest post for your Tier 1 site, make sure to find a way to link back to your money site from the content.
You can add more sites as you wish. However, for this example, we will limit it to just one site to simplify the process.
Now, it is time to develop guest post topics to your tier 2 sites. For the sake of this example, we will look for two sites that will link back to the Tier 1 site.
With that in mind, you need to come up with at least two article ideas for the tier 2 sites.
Since you will be linking back to your guest post about idea generation tools for content marketing, you may want to discuss the tools for your tier 2 guest posts.
Looking back at the list of tools mentioned on your money site, here are examples of article topics that you can develop:
- How to Create Quality Content with the Help of Quora (discuss how this Q&A site can help you generate and organize ideas for your upcoming content)
- The Buzz with BuzzSumo: How to Find Content Ideas Using this Tool (talk about how this tool can help you find viral content that you can build on with the content you are developing at the moment)
- Enroll to MyBlogU and Get a Crash Course in Content Marketing (explain the benefits of using MyBlogU as part of their content marketing strategy)
The tools mentioned in the title are featured in the money site post and are relevant to the post you wrote for your Tier 1 site. This makes linking back to the site much easier.
Here is the updated version of the link flow to your money site with 2 tier sites in your strategy.
We will limit the example of your strategic guest blogging to just two tiers. You can expand the number of tiers you use in your strategy. Again, we are simplifying the process to make this easier to understand for everybody.
Now that you have the titles for the article, it is time to identify the sites where you will pitch the guest posts.
For this, you need to install the MozBar extension from Chrome (or Mozilla).
Once installed, go to Google and use this search query:
Replace [keyword] with your topic of interest or niche. For the example we have developed above, we can search for:
The last command in the search query will filter the results to pages with the phrase ”write-for-us” in its URL. This connotes that the site accepts guest posts.
Before searching, make sure that Google will return 100 results per page to maximum the number of sites that you will see.
If not, click on the cog icon on the search results page, choose Search Setting, and change the results per page from 10 to 100.
If done correctly, here is what the results should look like:
Now, if you have activated your MozBar, you will see the DA of each site in the result.
Now that you have the file, you need to double-check all the links in the list. There could be some results that have changed their policy and didn't accept guest posts anymore.
There also might be non-blogging sites that slipped through the cracks. You want to focus guest blogging on sites related to your niche, nothing more.
Once you have filtered out the results, you can compile your list using a third-party app.
For cash-strapped marketers, I suggest Streak to manage and funnel the sites down your guest blogging pipeline. The tool integrates well with Gmail, which should be an advantage to you if you use the email platform.
If you have a budget for this campaign, you can purchase a subscription from Buzzstream or Ninja Outreach. Both tools let you send out emails to the site owners much easier and define your relationship stages as you forward your conversation.
Once you have uploaded the list of sites where you plan on guest blogging, you need to assign which sites go to which tier in your campaign.
If you recall, we have assigned sites with at least 60 DA for tier 1, at least 40 for tier 2, and at least 20 for tier 3.
Since we have developed an example that only goes two tiers deep, we will only find sites with more than or equal to 40 DA.
Looking at the list, here are the sites that meet the requirements:
Find sites from the list that you can include as part of your tier 1 sites. Just make sure that there is an excellent chance for your chosen sites to accept the guest post you will pitch to them.
For this example, let us take Marketing Profs as the site where we will pitch our tier 1 guest post.
For the tier 2 posts, we will take Spice Up Your Blog and Online Income Teacher.
It is really up to you on the types of sites to choose for your tiers. Just to remind you, the image above is just an example on how you can approach your strategic guest blogging.
Note: While DA is a relatively good indicator of a site's quality, you may also want to consider referring to its social influence as well.
I am referring to the number of followers and fans it has on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. Also, take into account the level of engagement they have with their supporters.
While it is not entirely proven yet that social signals have a direct effect on search rankings, it is nonetheless an excellent way to get more people to see your guest post.
This is especially true if the site shares all their content to the hundreds and thousands of followers on social media!
Now that you have identified the sites, it is time to build a relationship with the site owners.
Pitching up a guest post is like cold calling. Moreover, you know how annoying cold calling is for some people.
Imagine yourself in the shoes of blog owners accepting guest posts.
Which guest post request would you entertain first: from an active blog reader and subscriber or a random hoo-ha?
I do not know about you, but I'll take my blog reader any day!
Which brings me to this point: you need to earn the trust of the blog owner first before pitching a guest post proposal.
You can do this by reading the posts on the blog and leaving insightful comments to each of the posts that you found interesting at the very least.
Keep doing this for the next few days or weeks.
This allows you to leave a footprint of blog comments that are proof of your engagement with the writers and readers of the site.
More importantly, don’t half-ass it!
I cannot emphasize this enough: make insightful comments that add value to the discussion.
A “Great post! Keep rocking!” phrase is useless and should never be entered as a comment with a fully functioning brain.
An excellent comment:
- Picks apart the article and presents new ideas that can be added in the post
- Presents counterarguments or affirming statements about points mentioned in the article
- Replies to other comments made by readers to help move the discussion forward
Comments are an opportunity for you to make an impression to readers and the blog owner. Take this example (and a personal favorite of mine) from Pam Neely:
Even without context, you will see that the comment above is not just a cookie-cutter comment to give praise to the post. More importantly, her comment ends with a questions, which help encourage more comments from readers and blogger.
Aside from blog comments, you can also share their posts on social media and tag the blog owner.
Share posts that you feel will add insight and knowledge to your audience, not because you just want to show to the blog owner that you are sharing their posts.
Blog commenting and social sharing are the very foundation of blogger outreach, something that I discussed in depth in my post about link “earning.”
Once you have done these things, you can proceed with sending an email pitch to the blog owner.
Assuming that you did the things detailed above, you can write your email pitch in this manner:
Subject: Thanks for a great blog (and Guest Post Inside!)
Big fan of your blog! Been an avid reader for [x] number of weeks and I've commented on some of the excellent posts you've published.
I particularly like the post about [mention post that you genuinely liked and commented on the site].
That said, the posts in your blog have inspired me to write a post that I want to submit to your site.
[Explain your guest post in 2-3 sentences and why it is a great fit to their blog.]
Let me know what you think of the post.
Thanks and keep up the great work!
Edit the bracketed text to fit your message.
The idea here is to give praise of their blog and mention that you have been an avid reader (which you are, if the comments you've made on the posts would attest).
This introduction should make them more receptive to your guest post.
However, with all the things you have done, there is still a chance that the blog owner would reject your guest post.
It is the nature of the beast. Best that you accept this fact if it does happen and move on to another site to comment on and send a guest post.
Once you have locked in your guest blogging gigs with your chosen sites, you can proceed with writing them.
Instead of giving you a blow-by-blow account on how to write your posts, I will point you to James Johnson’s excellent post in writing a good blog post.
Writing this type of guest post is more of a challenge than anything else, as James posits:
“So, what are you going to do?
“Churn out another run of the mill blog post?
“Or are you going to create something of quality. One that stands up against any or all competition, and makes your mark on your niche.” –James Johnson.
By taking up the challenge, you, too, can deliver compelling content that prioritizes the needs of your readers for insight and information about your topic.
Because of this very reason, you will also have a greater chance of getting your post published by the blog owner!
Submit the written posts to the blog owners and wait for them to be published. This might take a while (depending on the site’s publishing schedule), but it should be just a matter of time now.
I mentioned that you may apply a content promotions strategy once the posts have been published to drive more traffic and get social signals for each post.
With that in mind, I suggest that you read up Nichehacks's very own Jawad Khan about the different strategies to choose from when promoting your content.
The post covers not only the different methods and channels where to promote your posts but also how to optimize your content to maximize their sharing potential.
"The thing to consider while choosing a content promotion strategy, is the return on your time and effort. Shortlist the techniques that give the highest return in the shortest time and with the least effort. To make these techniques work, you need to develop a marketing routine in which you regularly indulge yourself in different promotional activities." - Jawad Khan.
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 blog traffic secrets click here or the image below)
Having this kind of strategy to govern your guest blogging tactic is a great way to leverage your ability to create high-quality content and link back to your money sites.
As mentioned earlier, this type of link building strategy is as organic as it can get because you earned those backlinks.
The fact that blog owners will allow you to write for them and (possibly) link back to your resources pages is something that you worked hard for and not just handed to you on a silver platter!
Also, the example is a simplified version of the tiered guest blogging you want to use for your money sites.
You can add as many sites in your tiers and develop more tiers if you're feeling lucky!
Therefore, instead of just firing away with your guest blogging tactic, you need to identify the page in your site you want to optimize for and the sites where you want to write and link back to your page.
This way, you can build a link profile of high-quality content from authoritative sites that will force search spiders to come crawling for your page!
Are you using a strategy like the following? Do you see why it can be effective? Tell us below...