The Ultimate Guide to Guest Posting with Bloggers

Julia Ogden 4 years ago

When implemented correctly engaging the blogging community is a powerful approach as brands can leverage a compelling voice, listened to by consumers, industries and marketplaces alike. By using these successful voices, businesses can complement their existing content plans and in turn promote their products to thousands of eyeballs. Working with bloggers can be very fruitful for your brand by utilising a guest posting approach. Once a business creates a successful relationship and begins to engage with bloggers they will open up a whole new channel of potential customers.

Why use guest posting in a marketing strategy?

  1. By switching off of a 'key link signal' (thought to be anchor text) this means that naturalised links from content win BIG. Relevancy of link has been turned up a notch and that means guest posts are more powerful.
  2. People like sharing great content. You don't have to reinvent the wheel, as this guest post over at Distilled explains, instead create something with a new spin or great detail or experience shared within it. If it's good enough the key blogs will lap it up. And that means links from great sites.
  3. We know AuthorRank is coming. And that alone should be enough of a reason to write more, quality content. Google wants to promote content and pages based of WHO wrote it, not where it is written and therefore time now spent earning reputation for your writing on a subject could win you lots of traffic and business in the future.
  4. Content really is king. The changes we are seeing now are not cyclical or 'another fad' the likes of which we have seen so often as the Search Engines grow up and get smarter. This is the end game and all other forms of media prove this. A period of technology development is always replaced, ultimately, by the need for brilliant content. Without it print, radio and TV would be worthless. And the net is no different.
  5. Guest posting humanises the web - and that's a great thing. In order to get your post placed you need to talk to a human being with similar interests and knowledge. Human interaction and sharing around specialist subjects is the foundation of all media.
  6. What's better than writing, well, about the thing you love? Guest posting rewards you for doing that.
  7. It will help you learn on so many levels. Not only from the research you may do as part of creating the content but also in terms of better understanding your industry. The process forces you to find out who REALLY are the influencers in your space and that can, in turn, give you a better understanding of your own business and its place in the market.
  8. Guest posts get deep links. While links to homepage are great and help build domain authority deep links can really power your strategy to the next level and links back to your site from a relevant piece of content to a specific category or even product/service page means you promote the pages that convert. And that's worth much more to you.
  9. In placing guest content you win on two levels: First, you get that important link and secondly, you leverage their audience and reach to improve your brand visibility. Chances are they'll tweet and share it socially too, which should help you grow your own social audience and become less reliant solely on Google for your traffic and business. And diversity is key to sustaining a long term business as anyone hit by Penguin will tell you.

Who is the target audience?

In order for blogger engagement to really be a success, it is important for the brands who wants to guest post to be able to identify the relevant bloggers their target audience will be reading and influenced by.

This just shows how important it is for brands to understand their customers, ensuring the right people are seeing their content and name. That process begins with Persona profiling and while this post hasn’t been written to explain how to do that in detail it is important that we make clear the importance of an ‘audience first’ and insight led approach.

To pull together clear personas for your campaign you start with the data. This is something we have written about previously here in this ebook and in depth as part of a fuller campaign approach.

Once your persona profile is down, its time to start thinking about the types of bloggers who would be best to ‘represent’ your brand and whose readers are potential new customers and what tools you need to use to find them.

Quality and relevance

In the past the only ‘industry’ to have spent any time and effort on the blogosphere was the SEO fraternity and the only way that value was measured was via domain ‘authority’, utilising the likes of Moz ‘s DA, and Majestic’s Trust Flow and Citation Flow figures to rate the value of the site.

In layman terms, the higher the Trust Flow/DA figure the more a site is trusted by Google and therefore more likely to produce SEO juice for a brand.

What is the minimum authority I should accept for a link?

Majestic metrics are set by internal influences - but as a rule of thumb a TF/CF of 15/15 is pretty good gauge, this will prevent the use of any damaging sites/blogs being used. You can see some of the great links and the metrics we can achieve here, here and here.

There is a lot more that can now be done to measure the ‘quality’ of any blog you may wish to consider working with, however.

For instance, Majestic can be used to gauge the relevancy of a site to your brand and/or audience you are trying to target. This shows where a sites trust flow is coming from and if it is actually trustworthy. You are looking for a site with relevancy that matches up to the niche of your brand.

It is also really important to ensure your content is relevant to the site it’s being placed on otherwise the whole process is a waste of both time and money.

But digital marketers are no longer looking to bloggers simply as part of their organic search play. Instead the value lies as much in leveraging audience than it does in ‘link equity’.

Google is also changing, reflecting this switch to user-focused metrics and our own Roadmap tool (which tracks a myriad of ranking factors to see how they grow or diminish in importance over time) tells us clearly that there is an increasing correlation between the length of time people stay on a site (reading content) and how well the site ranks for that keyword group. And that is where great quality content and user experience comes in.

Traffic

Brands obviously also need to pay attention to a site’s social signals and overall engagement and to do this we increasingly rely on Hitwise, a tool measuring user behaviour across desktop, tablet and smartphone devices, providing data on trends in consumer and search behaviour, visitor profiling and measuring a sites influence.

Hitwise essentially creates a score based on measuring the traffic visiting a particular site and the amount of time visitors spend on said site, obviously the higher the score the more effect this will have on your brands ranking.

It means we we are no longer looking at content placements in quantity but the quality of the site and readership. For example, where as before you might have been aiming to achieve 10 placements for a campaign we now often set a Hitwise target and this can be achieved in one placement or 10. In the long run working to a Hitwise target will not only save you time but also produce effective results.

Social Engagement

Having a brand reviewed or even mentioned on a blog will help spread the word about the product and pass important information on to your target consumers. A lot of higher end brands are starting to recognise this and are putting serious plans into action.

Just recently Olympus sent a group of 6 influential bloggers from across numerous different niches from fashion to health and fitness to Greece to promote their pen generation. The pen generation is made up of social media ambassadors who work closely with Olympus to create great brand promoted content through the form of blog posts to be used on site.

These particular six bloggers chosen for this campaign have a combined Instagram following of over one million, with each of them linking to the brand on average 5/6 times each; in total that’s a lot of eyeballs and potential click through.

Using a tool like Buzzsumo will help you analyse what content performs best for any topic and can perform many different tasks. The most useful for blogger engagement is the powerful influencers search; you can search for key influences in any specific topic and location.

From this you can build and maintain prospect lists of potential brand ambassadors and engage with key influencers.

We’ve created a helpful flowchart to help with the process:

Howtofindagoodsite

Contacting bloggers

Use the following tips to ensure you get the best chance of response when you contact the bloggers you want to work with!

  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 there a few tools you can use to find these people: the best options are Blogger Link Up (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, FOR FREE!) and My Blog Guest (this allows guest bloggers to search for blogs requesting guest posts by genre and location, but sometimes the adverts are quite old). Other reputable services are Response Source or Guestr.
  2. Use social media to make sure your email isn’t lost in spam.
  3. Actually read the blog you are emailing! You don't want to accidentally ask a vegan blogger to promote leather jackets, or some other conflict in content, so be sure to do your research. Take a look at their latest posts and mention them in your outreach email.
  4. Keep it simple - we find 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 - by using more than just their name.
  6. Explain the value to them.
  7. Schedule your emails - they might be in another time zone!
  8. Give them choices - whether you are looking for a guest post, or for the blogger to create content about you, it’s their blog so they should have the right to choose what appears on it – so offer them a selection of ways you can work together, or a range of examples.
  9. Be direct
  10. Tell the blogger how you found them
  11. Make yourself available for follow up
  12. Check your grammar
  13. Patience is a virtue -  a good tip is to wait at least 3 days before sending a follow up email.
  14. 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.
  15. Build relationships with bloggers - Comment on their posts, chat to them on Twitter – if you make yourself known, they may be more inclined to work with you when you have more of a personal connection as it won’t be coming from a stranger, but an enthusiast.

These tips aren’t rocket science but you’ll see a much better response to your guest posting outreach.

Creating the content

Now we have engaged with the key influencers and created relationships with them its time to start getting creative with the content we provide for guest posting. Site owners are expecting more and more from the content provided for these posts.

You don’t even need to skim the internet to see how many different content types there are out there, and it’s important to try lots of different ideas to see what works well for your brand and/or campaign.

It’s important to define the goal you are trying to achieve with your blogger engagement before committing to the content type. It’s time for brands to get creative with their content creation, but what should they try? Here's some ways you might not have considered.

Offline events – Events hosted by brands for bloggers and journalists help to educate and promote products on a personal level. Sometimes it’s really nice to interact in person rather then constantly being blocked by a screen. Bloggers tend to write about the events they are invited to, providing great coverage and engagement with others.

Competitions and giveaways - These are extremely popular amongst bloggers, using platforms such as Rafflecoper to ensure the giveaway is fair. Providing a blogger with a product to giveaway to their readers will usually result in many shares and send potentially customers to your site.

Vlogs – Vloggers have become the top dogs in the marketing industry this year, with the likes of Tanya Burr and Zoella making some sort of appearance or headline daily. Video blogs are a great content type to try with many vloggers racking up thousands if not millions of subscribers on Youtube.

If you need more support with the basics of content creation, you can check out our blog on 101 types of digital content. This will give you some inspiration, and can help those creative juices flow when creating content for guest posts.

How to write a guest post

You are the expert on your niche - but as we mentioned before, you don't call the shots on this blog. Your blogger, or site owner will be the one to decide. so ensure the content you want to use as a guest posting is worth their time and their audience's time. Here's some quick tips to make sure your guest posting content is strong.

  • If writing an article for a technical site, read several other industry articles to pick up key phrases or buzz words commonly used in this field
  • The main aim of your article is to create natural links and awareness of the client you are promoting.  Don’t go too far off track or the article and link will become irrelevant.  The trick is to subtly promote the client or product without sounding like a press release.
  • Check any guest author guidelines your blog owner has provided to ensure your article is suitable in terms of word count, file submission type (i.e. txt file or straight onto an email) and image guidelines.
  • Just write… there is nothing more terrifying than a blank screen that refuses to fill, so even if you are really unsure you’ve found your perfect ‘voice’, start writing. Anything. Then re-read what you have written to see whether it fits.  It’s much easier to change words, than sit agonising over whether to write them.
  • An American audience for example, will sense British-ism's a mile off. So ensure you are using a style that is recognisable to the audience of the blog.
  • Use data - real statistics make real content, and having your own unique data is a huge selling point to guest posts, this site will be able to use your research as an 'exclusive'!

That is a comprehensive overview of the steps you'll need to take with any guest posting strategy. Working with bloggers can be very fruitful for your brand, get started now!

 

 

 

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