Proactive digital marketing is all about reach, relevancy, and exposure. The only way to be successful is to push beyond your brand-owned channels – like your website and individual social profiles – and to reach people on the outside. Once reached, it’s your goal to magnetize them to the brand. And while there are dozens of useful strategies for doing so, guest blogging remains one of the most effective.
When done well, guest blogging capitalizes on reach, relevancy, and exposure. The only concern is that it’s traditionally been a cumbersome and time-consuming process. In order to make it work for your business, you have to find a better way. Automating the process through certain tools, services, and partnerships could be the answer.
Guest Blogging: The What? and The Why?
Just as a refresher, guest blogging – also commonly referred to as “guest posting” – is the act of writing original content for another company’s website or blog. In return, a guest blogger can usually expect an author byline, brand mention, and/or precious backlinks.
Guest blogging makes sense for a number of reasons, including benefits like:
- Generates brand awareness from a new audience
- Provides SEO benefits through backlinks
- Drives traffic back to the website
- Strengthens professional networks
Guest blogging has been successfully leveraged as a common content marketing and SEO practice for more than a decade. But as it’s become more commonplace and less white-hat, new challenges have emerged.
The Problem With Traditional Outreach Models
The most problematic aspect of guest blogging is how hands-on it is. Every phase of the process requires you to be directly involved. This includes the outreach portion, which is arguably the most frustrating and time-consuming.
With the traditional approach, you run manual Google searches for blogs and websites that you think are relevant to your audience and/or beneficial to your brand. You find the contact information for all of the responsible bloggers and compile them into a spreadsheet. Next, you go through and send personalized emails to each blogger on this list – perhaps even pitching an idea or piece of sample content to them.
Then you wait. And wait. And wait some more…
If you’re lucky, you might get a response to 10 percent of your emails. And out of those emails, more than half of them are likely to turn you down. Your affirmative response rate is likely going to be below five percent.
Then you actually have to sit down and write a post, edit it, and send it over. At this point, you cross your fingers and hope that the blogger hasn’t forgotten and/or that they don’t ghost you. (It happens!)
That’s all for a single guest blog post!
If you want to scale your guest blogging up to a meaningful level, this framework becomes a full-time job. As a result, most brands wave the white flag and move on to some other form of marketing and promotion.
But is there a better way?
Guest blogging is clearly valuable – it’s just too time-consuming and demanding. Could streamlining some of the outreach process through strategic automation make this a more practical option for you and your business?
Helpful Ways to Automate Guest Blogger Outreach
When we talk about automation, we aren’t talking about pressing a button and letting a programmed bot take over your guest blogger outreach on your behalf. As hands-on and personal as this process is, this sort of approach would almost certainly destine you for failure. Rather we’re talking about streamlining the process through the strategic use of tools, services, partnerships, and scalable models that make engaging bloggers on a meaningful level more practical and higher returning.
Without further ado, let’s dig in and discuss some pragmatic techniques:
- Outsource to Strategic Partners
Let’s start with the best and highest-returning option: Strategic outsourcing. If you want to completely automate guest blogger outreach without compromising the integrity of your brand, you should find and hire a service to handle it for you. But it has to be the right service!
A good strategic partner is a service that has a rich network of pre-established connections. Notice the qualifying phrase. You want to work with an outsourced partner who already has the relationships and simply has to tap them. This speeds up the process and dramatically increases your chances of success.
There are only a few services out there that satisfy this requirement. SEO.co is a good white-label link building service that’s known for securing top placement for clients. Do your research and look for partnerships that feel like a good fit.
- Use MozBar to Discover Opportunities
There are three key phases of guest blogging: (1) Finding opportunities, (2) Reaching out, and (3) Writing/Publishing the post. Step one lays the foundation for steps two and three. If you don’t get this aspect right, everything else will suffer as a result. Thus the process begins with discovering realistic and valuable guest blogging opportunities.
There are a few different tools available in the marketplace, but MozBar is arguably one of the best options. It’s the industry’s most popular SEO toolbar (more than 500,000 installs) and provides instant metrics when viewing any SERP or individual website page. Some of the top features include:
- Craft custom searches by engine or location
- Get instant access to the metrics that matter most (while viewing SERPs)
- Find and highlight important keywords and differentiate link results by their type (e.g. follow, no-follow, internal, or external)
- Expose different page elements like markup and link metrics
- Immediately assess ranking probability via Domain Authority and Page Authority
In essence, the MozBar is a Chrome plugin that automatically runs in the background every time you conduct a Google search. Beneath each search result, you’ll get custom link analysis that helps you understand whether or not the website could be potentially valuable for your guest blogging and SEO efforts.
The MozBar isn’t going to tell you whether or not a certain website will accept you as a guest blogger, but it will provide insights on which leads are worth pursuing. This can save you hours of wasted time and frustration.
- Try LinkAssistant
LinkAssistant is another incredibly powerful tool. And whereas MozBar is designed with big-picture SEO in mind, this tool has been developed with guest blogging outreach and link building at the foundation. Features include:
- Refine your prospect search method by goal (guest blogging, commenting, reviews, etc.).
- Get instant access to a variety of important statistics and metrics, including Page Authority, Domain Authority, domain age, link metrics, social media metrics, etc.
- Instantly reach out to potential connections directly from the platform. It even includes email templates and built-in analytics to track emails sent, replies, and follow-up information.
- With a built-in link verification system, you can run periodic checks to ensure your links are still active and that they don’t get switched to no-follow.
Though it doesn’t completely remove you from the process, LinkAssistant does a lot of the heavy lifting by making you aware of which guest blogging opportunities are most likely to deliver a high return on investment. It’s definitely a tool worth integrating into your arsenal.
- Create Powerful Email Templates
It’s unrealistic to draft an original email every time you want to inquire about a guest blogging opportunity. The only way to efficiently send out hundreds or thousands of requests is to rely on email templates that appear to be original and unique.
As a general rule of thumb, every email template should follow a similar pattern. Begin by introducing yourself and then dish out a compliment or positive observation about their blog. Continue with a clear and succinct offer/request, followed by a few reasons why they should oblige. Tell the blogger thanks and sign off!
Here’s one example of an outreach template:
My name is Amy Foster and I’m an entrepreneur and creative – just like you!
I wanted to shoot you a quick message and let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog. It’s been one of my go-to resources for digital marketing over the past few months. Your blog post on LinkedIn messaging has been a huge help to me.
Quick question: Are you open to accepting guest blog post submissions? I’ve got a pretty good idea for an article that I think would work extremely will with your audience. I’d be happy to reciprocate if you ever wanted to post something on my blog.
Thanks for your time, Chase! I’m really looking forward to hearing back from you.
All the Best,
You obviously shouldn’t copy and paste this exact template into your own emails, but it at least gives you an idea of how to proceed.
- Quantity Outreach, Quality Follow-up
When it comes to guest blogging outreach, you have to play the numbers game. By creating powerful email templates, you can really ramp up the quantity of your outreach. (And assuming you’re using one of the aforementioned tools, you can find hundreds or thousands of potential guest blogging opportunities.)
But if quantity is important in outreach, quality is the operative word in your follow-up contact. Here’s where you dial down the automation and get directly involved. You want to engage people on a personal level and treat each guest posting prospect as the valuable opportunity that it is.
Final Thoughts and Takeaways
Guest blogging has played an integral role in digital marketing and SEO over the last decade and will continue to be important in the coming years. The key is to streamline the process through strategic automation – all without removing personalization from the process.
Hopefully this article has provided you with some keen insights on precisely how you can efficiently scale your efforts and get better results. The time you save can be applied towards focusing on other areas of your business.