We all know that guest posts grow blogs.
But not many people realize that tactical guest posting grows careers.
Most bloggers I see pump out these articles while reciting the mantra “quantity over quality”; there’s no real strategy and there are no real long-term benefits.
In this post I am going to show you the seven crucial tactics for writing a radically successful guest post.
Done right, these strategies will get you more email subscribers, coveted Google ranking positions, and a big head-start on your content marketing goals.
Who am I to teach you about guest blogging?
It seems like the decent thing would be to start this article by flashing my “guest blogging badge.”
At least that way you’ll understand why I’m wearing these high-glare aviators.
For me, the proof was in the pudding, and the pudding was the sale of an 8-month-old blog for almost $20,000 while I was still in University.
Actually, I sold the blog after a year had passed, but I had mostly stopped working on it at the eight-month mark.
That baby was built on tactical guest posts. So were the other blogs I’ve sold for similar price tags, and I’m doing the same with Blog Tyrant.
It’s now almost a decade later, and despite being a mediocre writer I still have success with these strategies.
Hopefully they’ll give you some extra juice for your next guest appearance. With that, I give you the 7 tactical elements of a radically successful guest post
1. A guest post should funnel people to an outcome, not a home page
Every time you do a guest post, you’re given a little space in the post for a biography, with a link (as well as a few in-post links) that can direct readers back to your blog.
The mistake that most newbies make is they don’t give any thought to where they are sending those new readers.
Click away and you’re likely to end up on a home page or some nicely done but relatively unrelated post (usually with a good amount of tweets or comments).
What you need to do is funnel people toward a specific outcome.
Let’s say your goal is to get as many email subscribers as possible. A successful funnel would entail:
- Creating a niche-specific free giveaway. You’d create an eBook that is centered around a very specific topic in your niche that will appeal to a well-defined group.
- Creating a landing page or ad for that eBook. The next step is to add that eBook to your blog and give it away as a free incentive for joining your list, using a service like Aweber. If you don’t know how to do this I made a video.
- Guest posting on closely related topics. Here’s the sexy part. You now go out and guest post on topics that are closely related to your free giveaway. Link back to your landing page/advert if you can, but even if you don’t you will be funneling and pre-selling people on the idea of your eBook.
Sending people back to random posts or a home page is just a waste of time.
Just like filling up your car with petrol, you need to put fuel in the gas tank, not pour it all over the engine. Use a content funnel to direct the flow of traffic toward your desired outcome or target.
It doesn’t matter what it is — a free eBook, product, etc. — as long as you are intentionally directing people there.
Don’t assume they’ll find it for themselves.
2. A guest post should mention big bloggers in your niche
Simply put, one of the fastest ways to grow a new blog is to mention other sites with big audiences in your guest post appearances.
This strategy, while obvious to some, has many benefits.
First, it associates you with those experts.
Second, if you drop a handy email or Tweet before the guest post goes live, you can harness the sheer awesomeness of their contact lists. Most of the time they will at least tweet out your guest post and thus associate themselves with your content. This is also a nice bit of promotion that your “host blog” will appreciate.
And third, it opens a door with those bloggers. When you send them a guest post, they’ll have an idea of who you are, and will be that much more open to taking a look at what you send them.
This type of professional networking is extremely helpful if you want to place guest posts on good blogs. I think of it as giving before receiving.
3. A guest post should be followed up by sister posts
One of the coolest things I ever learned about guest posting was that you can leverage the fame of your guest post to create buzz for your own blog.
I actually learned it in reverse, and a good example is when I did a post about the best About Us pages, and mentioned Copyblogger.
Brian Clark kindly Tweeted my post, which helped me land a big chunk of traffic and some super fast indexing at the top of Google for the key phrase “best About Us pages.”
Since that time Brian has been active on other posts I’ve done. For example, he stopped by here to leave a comment.
Not only does this make me feel all warm inside because Old Man Clark is one of my heroes and has a cool goatee, it also has some pretty obvious and ongoing benefits.
Mention big bloggers in your guest posts, then give them a reason to tweet or promote follow-up posts you do. Don’t just reach out once — create follow-up content that continues that relationship.
Think of it as the second date.
4. A guest post should be aimed at 10 years of results, not 10 hours
Sonia Simone once said that,
The rewards of guest posting are cumulative…. you build more momentum the more you post.
I used to write a guest post and eagerly await the flow of traffic and increase in subscribers that occurs after being published.
I’d to spend the whole day looking at stats and monitoring the progress of the article on all the social networking sites.
But I soon realized the error of my ways. A guest post needs to be a 10-year strategy.
While still important, I now place a lot less importance on the initial flow of traffic and tweets.
For starters, I am more interested in how the guest post matures. So now I ask myself these questions in order to judge the success of a guest post:
- Does it rank well on Google< for a keyword phrase that is going to continually benefit my own site and goals?
- Does it boost my reputation and credibility in the niche?
- Did it make me any new contacts in the industry?
- Did it create a discussion on the post or somewhere else?
If you want to write guest posts that produce results for years to come, you need to do some solid keyword research as well as creating an exhaustive post that covers issues — to the point of becoming a timeless resource.
Jonathan Morrow does this extremely well here on Copyblogger. He writes resource-rich, original content that will rank well and get people interested in his upcoming releases.
5. Each guest post should be part of an anchor text strategy
Anchor text is the text you use when you link to a post.
Just above you’ll see that “Jonathan Morrow” is the anchor text for that link to his articles here on Copyblogger.
We all know that relevant backlinks help us to rank better on Google, but the anchor text of those backlinks also plays a big role in what exact keywords we rank for.
When you do a guest post, you should have already done keyword research and know specifically what phrases you want to rank for, based on how much traffic they bring and how competitive they are. Remember, you want your guest post to be bringing you love from Google for the next ten years.
Once that post is live, you can then link back to it in the future using the desired anchor text. This will help you elevate your own post on someone else’s website so that it matures well.
Just remember that SEO copywriting has to work for humans first, search engine robots second. Mix it up sometimes, and only link to your article if it is relevant and useful for real-life human beings.
6. Each comment should be answered or used as material
One of the really important things to do when you guest post is stick around and answer every single question that you get in the comments.
It’s in the comments section that long term relationships are built with the readers that you are reaching on the new blog.
It’s in the comments section that you enhance your branding as an expert or fellow traveler or mentor.
I have never tested it, but I would guess that at least half of the loyal readers I get from guest posts left comments that I answered on the day of publication.
If a comment or question is really good, you can take the idea and use it as the germ of a post on your own blog. Announce it in the comments section and see how many people drop on over to see what you’ve done with it.
7. Guest posts should be aimed mostly at beginners
It might seem a little counter-intuitive, but most of the readers who interact with content, subscribe to your list, and eventually buy your products, are newbies.
Think about the entrance paths for finding posts. Most of the time people either Google a question because they don’t know the answer, or click a referral link on Facebook/Twitter/Blog because it’s something they are unfamiliar with.
A lot of any blog’s readers are new to that blog’s topic. And that tends to be where new readers come from — newbies looking for a grounding in the topic.
After a while, the intermediate group often trails off and focuses on their own projects, as opposed to sticking around to learn more skills.
The more successful guest posts are the ones that focus on topics that are well digested by beginners, especially if you are aiming at getting that post indexed well on Google.
Try to write list posts and articles with an instructional tone, full of resources and links.
What guest posting strategies work for you?
I’d really like to hear about what guest posting strategies have worked or not worked for you.
Have you tried anything above with great success?
Please leave a comment and let me know. All ideas are welcome — especially the half-baked ones …