If You Are Like:
“Ok, guest blogging – really? Isn’t that so 2013, and isn’t Link Building an outdated ranking technique”, you’d better revise your understanding of online marketing.
Guest Blogging of the past is long gone – that’s true. However, as the famous saying goes: “King is dead, long live the king!” as soon as Google put Guest Blogging in the grave, the Guest Blogging resurrected in new shape and form.
What Changed in Guest Blogging?
- Blog owners are much more reluctant to acknowledge unfamiliar contributing authors
- Content quality and length requirements have grown
- Proces automation will nip your campaign in the bid
- Webmasters are less inclined to refer to the source of the information they quote (whether by simply mentioning or linking the given author’s personal site)
- Bloggers’ “spam sense” is getting more rigid and demanding. They often reject valid content suggestions, scoff outreach attempts and strange real authors for fear that those could be spammers.
Is Guest Blogging A Viable Solution These Days?
If you are familiar with Link building, then you know about guest blogging and their sudden demise. Chances are you’ve seen how online marketing focus has shifted towards building relationships, establishing authority and belonging to a relevant to your industry community. This is achieved via various methods, but they all begin with SMART PERSONALIZED OUTREACH.
- Personalized Outreach will make your message stand out of the automated pile of daily inbox spam.
- Personalized Outreach helps to build trust, authority and shortens the distance between people.
- Personalized Outreach will help you create a bond with blog owners.
But Don’t Get Me Wrong, Personalized Outreach Does Not Mean:
- Personalizing your greeting, i.e. using the name of the blog owner in your email
- Listing 3-4 recent posts published on the blog to simulate engaged readership
- Pitching a post topic matching the given blog industry
Those steps are simply not enough. There is so much more you can and you should do to ensure the success of your outreach and guest posting campaign. Limiting your personalization efforts to the 3 steps above is so 2013, if you ask me!
The following guide will help you sound more [natural | human | truly interested] in the particular blog and will double your chances to get approved for a contributing author.
How To Deep Personalize Your Email Outreach For Guest Blogging
1. Read the Contributor Guidelines of the blog
Why bother reading those when you still are unsure if your application will be accepted or rejected? Well, this step matters a lot. By having skimmed through the blog guidelines, you’ll be able to conclude whether you should invest time in “fighting” for placement on the blog at all. You’ll also obtain some essential intel like:
- If the blog owner welcomes guest authors at all – or if it is an invite-only community blog. There are bloggers who are so fed up with irrelevant and automated guest posting requests that they reject every guest posting candidate in order to safeguard the quality of their blog. – talking about how the lack of personalized outreach has triggered some serious trust issues in webmasters;
- If guest authors are charged a publishing fee – knowing if a given guest blogging opportunity is paid will save you time for outreach, especially if the requested payment does not fit your budget or online marketing policy as a whole;
- If the blog follows a monthly calendar with a list of topics to be covered – if the blogger has drafted a blog calendar, you just need to volunteer for a specific topic and convince him that you are the best writer to cover it. Good news is you won’t have to come up with custom topic suggestions for this blog;
- If they have a long waiting line – a blog with a huge lag in reviewing and posting of guest articles might simply not fit your marketing plan. However, keep in mind that usually the blogs that attract huge audience and enjoy regular readership are often the ones to have the most cumbersome approval process. Yet again they are the most valuable prospects out there, so don’t be too quick to reject them.
- What bloggers hate and look for – guest blogging requires much patience and composure. In order not to become a target of a blogger’s insults and anger you need to take time and read their specific requirements and show respect for their work.
Where to find this info: usually the Contributor Guidelines are posted on a page in the About Us section. However, sometimes they could also be found on a stand-alone page called Write about Us, Become a Contributor or another variation of those, usually linked in the footer of the website.
On another occasion, you will have to get to the Contact Us page where from the list of different contact persons you can get the email of the blog editor and pitch him your idea. Sending your message to the right person, often means that you are halfway through your guest blogging adventure.
2. Learn about their family – get personal
Making a personalized outreach is all about getting personal with the given blogger. What better and more personal topic than one’s family. Knowing if the blogger is a single parent, if he has a newly born or teen twins, if he has a playful Shih Tzu or a lazy Siamese cat, will help you discover what interests you to share and could give you a clue of how you could shorten the distance with the blogger based on that.
Where to find this info: if you can’t find it in the About Us section keep an eye open when you skim through the various posts on the blog. Finding such gems is often hard but the intel could do miracles for you when you try to bond with the blogger.
If you are up for some extra due diligence you can check blogger’s social media profiles (in their Twitter description or Facebook images you can get a glimpse of that part of their life).
3. Skim through their latest posts
Knowing the topics they’ve covered lately is essential when brainstorming for ideas or post topics to pitch.
Such research will also reveal if the blogger has trusted a contributing author lately and what type of posts he’s looking for when delegating his content creation process to guest bloggers. Look at the word count, the text formatting, the rich media used, the tone of voice, even the sources referred to in the post.
When pitching your blog post idea, you could refer to a recent guest post on the blogger’s site and express your interest in it. This way you’d discretely flatter them for taking the decision to accept a contributing author and you’d encourage them to keep up with this successful practice (i.e. this trick will increase your chance get approved for a contributing author).
Where to find this info: in the blog of the site or in its RSS feed.
4. Use search operators to find related topics on their site
If you already have come up with a good blog post idea to pitch, check if it hasn’t already been covered by the given blogger. If the blog has already published an article on a similar topic, but you still wish to write on the subject, explain how your post will stand out from the existing one, what points you’ll add, what angle you’d look at the issue, which surveys and whitepapers you’ll base you opinion on.
Where to find this info: use the following search query in Google:
site:bloggerswebsite.com and a keyword-defining-your-selected-title.
5. Find the best category for your post
This will help you elaborate on your pitching process. If you do the thinking for the blogger by telling him what content he needs, where he could publish it and why his audience will benefit from your post, you leave little space for arguments and questions. Plus you’ll show authentic engagement and familiarity with the given blog.
6. Know their audience
You’d need to adapt your writing to the tone of voice that the blog adheres to both out of respect to the blogger’s work and to learn to speak the language of his audience. You have to convince the blogger that your post is a good fit for the community, or your outreach is doomed to failure.
Where to find this info: look up the comments left after the blog posts.
7. Save them time and do the work for them
Some bloggers want to write about a bunch of stuff but never get the chance to cover them all. You can help them out. Try to create a win-win situation, this will give you an upper hand in the “negotiation”/outreach process.
Look for the weak spots of the blog content-wise. Yes, this is a tricky one for it requires more detailed research and you don’t need to apply this strategy to each prospect you stumble upon. However, in case that you find it difficult to brainstorm for suitable topics for a blog you wish to be associated with this strategy could come in quite handy.
Where to find this info: sometimes bloggers give away this info to you readily after you’ve exchanged a couple of emails, sometimes you have to find it yourself.
Remember that blogger-writer relationship does not have to be a “one-night stand” thing. There is much to gain from a long-term relationship with a blogger, especially if you have done your prospecting properly and if you have selected a really valuable blog with regular readership and significant on-site (commenting) and off-site (sharing and quoting) involvement by its audience.
Sometimes becoming a regular contributor to several respected blogs has more perks that posting once on a large volume of websites. But in order to become a regular you need to invest in REGULAR PERSONALIZED BLOGGER OUTREACH.
8. Tell them how you found them
If you’ve used a special platform (like MyBlogU) or a content newsletter (like HARO) to find the blogger, just let them know. This will help the blogger trace back your submission (and won’t make you look like a weird bot stalker). Sharing this info will knock down some walls given that you both use the same tool/platform and are part of the same community. Consider this step as an ice breaker for your outreach letter.
And above all:
Try to be creative with your blog post titles: surprise and trigger the curiosity of the given blogger. Often he will be much better informed on the topic you are pitching him, but if you offer an ingenious twist to the overexploited topic available on the net, packed with extensive research and detailed coverage he’ll appreciate your input almost 90% of the time.
To sum it all up, here’s my recommended formula for a SUCCESSFUL PERSONALIZED EMAIL OUTREACH:
- Get to know the blogger before you send him your outreach email;
- Show him that you appreciate and read his work;
- Respect his expertise and pitch him an out-of-the-box topic relevant to his taste and audience.