A good business strives to diversify their traffic sources not to become dependent on a single one of them. One of the most successful tactics to build relevant traffic is still guest blogging, if you do it right.
Guest blogging can be directly converted into traffic for your own site. What’s more, it can be converted into high traffic, which is the real distinction you should be making. It isn’t the passive results you might be expecting from throwing a link into your byline and hoping for the best. You can work towards improving your traffic conversion by 60% or more.
Remember one of the most popular articles on guest blogging detailing how it helped Buffer founder to actually propel the site to success?
While I can’t promise that your own results are going to be that good (we can remain optimistic, though), a few simple tips can help your own conversion and so ultimately your traffic.
Build Relationships Before Pitching, Not After
Your first step towards gaining traffic from a guest post is going to be getting the chance to publish the post in the first place. Which means catching the attention of the blogger, and coming out on top of all of the other pitchers vying for their attention.
This is an even bigger problem when you are trying to get onto a well known or heavy traffic site. Building a relationship before you pitch something is crucial. The truth is, nothing happens unless you are well-connected in the niche.
Don’t build relationships for links though (this will always be obvious), build them for you brand exposure.
Start out by contacting other blogs and influencers. Again, don’t approach them about the guest blogging, as most are going to flat out ignore you. Instead, focus on commenting on their social networking pages (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc).
Every blogger at this point is on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other myriad of social sites. Become a frequent commenter, retweeter and influencer. Make sure what you share is high quality and engaging. Start up a discussion and wriggle your way into the door.
Leave comments on the blog itself, talking about the content and starting a dialogue. Let them know you are a writer or blog owner, as well. Discuss the industry and become a name they recognize, and perhaps even one they enjoy hearing from.
Use your sales generation process to find publishers among your past leads to further develop relationships with them. SalesMate can be a great help here: You can use their Sales Pipeline Feature to track leads and distinguish those that can result in more opportunities, beyond a direct sale, including guest posting, influencer marketing and more:
For those who are conference-goers, mention upcoming events you might both be attending. Or if they are local, suggest a professional meetup to discuss the industry, business and both your blogs. A Skype call can always be substituted for this, as it is still a sort of face-to-face meeting.
Over time, you will begin to see cues that they might be open to publishing your work. A big one is if they retweet you, link to your previously published posts elsewhere, or begin conversing with you regularly. Once you have become well acquainted, and you are seeing those signals, you can pitch your post with much greater chance of being accepted.
Know Who You Want To Pitch To
I considered putting this first, but the truth is you won’t always know until after you have started relationship building if you are targeting the correct blogger.
You should be keeping an eye out both before and after that process to make sure you actually want to pitch to someone. In the beginning, start looking at blogs that frequently publish guest posts, are within an industry you know well, and that you have an idea that matches their needs.
Once you begin the relationship building part, keep asking yourself if they seem likely to publish, if what they ask for is something you can deliver on, the amount of traffic posts tend to get, how they promote those posts on social media, and how they promote their guest bloggers themselves.
You want to improve visibility as much as possible, not just to the post but to your site. If they aren’t meeting your criteria, put the pitch on the back burner and focus on someone else.
Use all kinds of different ways to know more about the blogger you are pitching:
- Run their sites through a Whois tool to see when they registered the domain
- Use this tool to find more sites they may own
- Find their competitors using SimilarWeb or a similar website
- Read their bios on social media networks
- Search their name on Google and Twitter, etc.
Keep Your Campaign Organized
Blogging is hard to organize: You have too many people to follow up with and too many commitments to keep up with. It’s always a nightmare to try and keep everything in mind.
I always encourage a business to get things simple, yet organized:
- It may be a good idea to use a separate email inbox for your guest blogging campaign. You’ll be able to easily find emails there and you won’t be lost. Something as simple and free as AOL mail will do (I usually stay away from Gmail for privacy concerns)
- Use email follow-up reminders. FollowupThen
works with any email provider. Simply include [any time]@followupthen.com in the “cc”, “ccc” or “to” fields of your email when sending a pitch (In each case the follow-up email will be sent on the specified day depending on what you put in the [any time] part of your email):
- BCC: You will receive a follow-up regarding the email, but we won’t bug the original recipient.
- TO: Send an email to your future self.
- CC: Schedule a reminder for you and the recipient.
- Use a business dashboard to keep things together. I use Cyfe to keep my TO-DO lists, my integrate my spreadsheets, email inbox and many more within one page for easier management. It also makes it easy to share the dashboard with my employees or managers.
Take Advantage Of Allowed Links
Bloggers tend to be super squeamish about including links in their posts which is understandable, because link building has gotten a really bad rep in the last couple of years.
But remember that you have been building a relationship. If you have a related post on your site that works with what you are writing for your article submission, don’t be afraid to ask the blogger if you can include it in the text. You should also aim to include links to their other posts on their site. This shows that you are paying attention to and finding value in their content.
Reminder: Always keep the content original. And I don’t just mean changing a few sentences here and there. I mean completely unique. Use tools like Plagiarism Check to make sure your content is 100% original.
Changing Your Strategy
If all else fails – which it might, depending on the obscurity or competition of your niche – it might be time to change your strategy. For example, start by building up an impressive blogging portfolio which is always a plus when you are sending guest post pitches.
Here are some outside-of-the-box ideas for you:
- Use a website crawler to find which sites a blog is linking to, determine which of those links are broken and help the blogger fix those links. That’s always a great relationship starter
- Monitor who is linking to your site and build the relationship on that basis. It’s always a great tactic to promote your promoters. Colorlib lists some helpful WordPress plugins for that
- Here are some awesome search queries giving you lots of inspiration!
- @Pakwired has some traffic and link building tips that work in the startup industry
This is probably something you should be doing anyway, in conjunction with everything else. So if it genuinely seems like guest blogging has become a hopeless endeavor, start spending more time with a new marketing tactic. After all, if it isn’t working, it just isn’t working.
These tips are guaranteed to bring you at least some positive results. Don’t just settle for a forgotten blog post with limit traffic. Get the most out of everything you write, no matter where you post it.