We’ve all been there, you’ve done all the preparation, you’ve used all of the great SEO tools available to pull a fantastic list of outreach options, you’ve checked their PR, DA and Alexa rank and you’ve pulled all of their contact details. yet when you send out your emails you get little or no response. It’s pretty frustrating and when you’re working to a tight schedule there is no room for wasted time. At Zazzle we use these 22 simple tips to ensure that we get a fast, and worthwhile responses from everyone we contact.
1. Contact people who are asking for guest posts!
This seems like a fairly obvious statement to make, if someone is asking for guest posts it’s more likely that they will accept yours, but how do you find these people??
My Blog Guest – My Blog Guest allows guest bloggers to search for blogs requesting guest posts by genre AND location. NB. Sometimes the adverts are quite old so the site owner may not necessarily still be accepting posts. (FREE)
Response Source – A little bit hit and miss, but Response Source is worth a try. It’s designed for journalists who send out emails to members with details of what they are looking for – quite often all they want is information/padding for articles that will appear in paper publications but occasionally there is a hidden online gem. (Each genre that you sign up to has a different yearly cost, but these costs are quite low)
Blogger Link Up – This is a brilliant service that lets you sit back and do NOTHING! Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday you will receive an email with an extensive list of sites looking for guest posts, along with their contact details. (Absolutely FREE)
Guestr – this is another site dedicated to bringing sites and guest bloggers together. Site owners post details of guest posts they need and guest bloggers can contact them directly. (Free to join but you must be a member to pitch posts)
2. Use social media to make sure your email isn’t lost in spam.
Take a second to imagine just how many emails bloggers receive per day – how are you going to make yours stand out amongst a sea of spam? Tell them you’ve sent it! Drop a blogger a quick tweet letting them know you’ve sent an email to ensure they are looking out for it. This works just as well if a blogger doesn’t appear to have a contact email address on their site.
3. READ the blog you are emailing!!
This is just common sense and common courtesy, think about it, you’ve got a blog and someone asks to post on it, but it’s quite clear they know nothing about, you, your blog, or the topics you discuss – would you let them post?
Take a look at their latest posts and mention them in your outreach email.
4. Keep it simple
At Link Love 2012 Mike King, badass MC and thoroughly knowledgeable SEO, took us through one of his guest posting case studies. He proved that that although longer emails have a better close rate, shorter emails have a better response rate. With this in mind, send out short, to-the-point emails as initial contact, you can always follow up with a more extensive email when you get a response.
5. Personalise your email
Say HI! Don’t just launch into ‘do you accept guest posts?’ – this is a person you are dealing with, treat them like one!!
When writing your email mention something personal to that person’s blog/site, this follows on from actually reading the blog.
Mention their name and the name of the blog so they feel the email is specific to them and not just a template sent to thousands of blogs.
6. Explain the value to them
Let site owners know what’s in it for them – you’ll be providing their site with great content and links to relevant sites are incredibly valuable when trying to add credibility to your site.
7. Use their name
Okay, so this follows on from personalising your emails but I cannot stress how important it is that you use someone’s name when contacting them. If you’re struggling to find the name of a site owner, use Rapportive or Rapleaf to pull a contact name.
8. Find out where competitors place their links
Work out who your client’s main competitors are and use the software offered by Cognitive SEO to view their inbound link profiles. This will show you where their blog links are coming from. Export this list to CSV and work through it to find legitimate links – if a site has taken a guest post for a competitor it’s highly likely that they will take one for you too.
9. Schedule your emails
When sending outreach emails take into consideration the time zone of the site you are contacting. For example, if you are emailing a site in Florida, try sending it out at around 2pm, as it will then land in their inbox first thing in the morning – this is when most people are likely to respond.
Scheduling also works for the type of site you are emailing too. As I recently found out, when emailing crafting blogs it’s probably better to send out emails in the evenings or at weekends as these types of blogs are generally run as a hobby aside from day jobs.
10. Give the reader article choices
It’s their blog so they should have the right to choose what appears on it – when you offer a selection of choices it’s more likely that something will catch their eye and be accepted than if you force feed them just one article or ide
11. Be direct
Tell the blogger exactly what you want – they haven’t got time for you to tip toe around and neither have you. Outreach campaigns usually have a deadline and if your emails are of the fluffy variety the process will only take longer.
12. Tell the blogger how you found them
This worked really well for me recently. I regularly read the Etsy Blog and noticed that a very family orientated gentleman had recently written a piece for them. I contacted him on behalf of a child friendly site and told him I loved his posts for Etsy. I received a swift response, which included a brief chat about Etsy, as well as his recent move, information I found out by reading his blog. He said he was more inclined to respond to me as I had found him through a mutual interest and the fact that I clearly read his blog.
13. Make yourself available for follow up
Outreach isn’t a hit and run attack – it requires follow up! If someone accepts one of your titles drop them a quick email back saying thank you and letting them know when they will receive the article.
14. Search for blogs that host similar content
Pop your article title ideas into the search bar and hit enter to see sites that have similar posts live. If sites have similar posts then it’s clear that your articles will be of interest to them, and are therefore more likely to be published.
15. Don’t write the content until the title has been accepted
Why would anyone take a pre-written piece that wasn’t created with their specific audience in mind? If your content is pre-written it can feel like you are merely farming it out to anyone that will accept it.
16. Check your grammar
If you can’t spell in your email, you can’t spell in your guest post – enough said.
17. Patience is a virtue.
It’s highly likely that it will take a while (and a few emails) for you to get a response – don’t put bloggers off by being over zealous in your follow up strategy. Wait at least 3 days before sending a follow up email.
18. Provide examples of where you have posted previously
Prove your worth – have you previously had guest posts published in the same genre? Then shout about them!
19. If you insist on writing long emails
Make sure it’s to the point and use your lengthy prose to show some serious enthusiasm to the blog/genre.
20. Make it easy
No one is going to take your guest post if it’s a chore. If a blog usually features posts with images, provide them. If a blog has guest post guidelines, follow them!
21. Offer original content
No site or blog owner in their right mind will accept spun or regurgitated content. Your articles need to be original, and don’t even think about cheating – they will check!
22. Build relationships with bloggers
Site owners get 100+ emails every day – why should they publish your article over someone else’s? If you work regularly with a client in a specific genre why not get to know the top bloggers of that genre? Comment on their posts, chat to them on Twitter – if you make yourself known when you offer a guest post it won’t be coming from a stranger, but an enthusiast.
These tips aren’t rocket science but I can guarantee that by using them you’ll see a much better response to your outreach.
Happy Guest Posting!