Another update live from SES Chicago. Erin Everhart and Katherine Watier gave a highly entertaining and informative presentation about link building through guest blogging.
Guest Blogging Works, But You Have to do it Right
It’s a scenario that’s far too typical in the SEO world. An awesome new tactic is discovered, word gets out, and it gets done to death, resulting in it not working anymore (sorry, but it’s true).
Link building through guest blogging has definitely suffered this fate. Starting out as an incredibly effective means of generating high quality white hat links, over-use and poor implementation have resulted in bloggers cringing at inboxes full of poorly written, self-serving pitch requests, and ultimately ignoring the vast majority of would be guest posts.
However, guest blogging still works, and it works well, but it has to be done right. The key is to stop thinking about it as link building, and start thinking relationship building. Build real relationships with the real people running the sites, and the links will come.
Follow these six tips to make your guest posting more effective than you ever thought possible:
#1 Upgrade Your Research
The old way to find potential link sources was a simple Google search for the kind of blog you want a link from. While this technically still works, this is exactly what your competition is doing, and you want to stand out from the crowd.
A much better way to research sources is through social media channels, especially Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Try searching using relevant keywords with modifiers like:
#2 Don’t be Too Direct
The underlying themes to most unsuccessful guest blog pitch attempts are desperation and laziness.
Something along the lines of:
Here is some content. Give me a link.
Maybe that’s an oversimplification, but far too many guest outreach emails follow this format, and it almost never works. Remember that you are reaching out to a real person, and it’s a huge turnoff when you immediately demand something.
The first time you contact a blogger, don’t pitch to them; get to know them. Most bloggers are happy to help out people they like, but the only way to get there is to focus on the relationship before the link.
#3 Approach Through Social Media
Better yet, skip email altogether for the first contact. Instead, reach out through social channels, where you are much more likely to get a response.
Twitter is one of the best social networks for finding and connecting with bloggers, and should be your first step in reaching out. Start by following, then tweet directly to them, but don’t ask for a link on the first tweet.
#4 Personalize the pitch
Nothing will get your guest post denied quicker than sending a generic pitch. Taking the time to personalize each pitch to the person you are sending it to will greatly increase your success rate, and is well worth the five extra minutes.
What if you don’t know enough about the blogger to make it personal? Then it’s too soon to be pitching!
#5 Offer Value
The best way to get what you want is to give something back. The primary value you should be offering is excellent content, but don’t stop there.
Some other great ways you can bring value:
- Promote and share their content on your social networks.
- Bring technical issues to their attention, such as dead links or broken forms.
- Leave comments and participate in discussions.
#6 Maintain the Relationship
Oftentimes when guest bloggers manage to get a placement, they pat themselves on the back, take the link, and are never heard from again.
You’ve put the effort into getting that link, but that’s just the beginning of the potential benefits you can gain from maintaining good relations. If your content plays well, the blogger will be eager to publish more of your submissions in the future. This is particularly good advice for agencies, who can leverage these relationships with multiple clients.
The key to effective guest blogging is to stop thinking in terms of links, and start thinking in terms of relationships. Stop treating guest blogging as a numbers game, and the links will roll in.
TopRank will be live blogging all week at SES Chicago, so tune in to get the latest news, tips and commentary as it happens. I’ll also be tweeting from @eprokop1, #seschi.