Phew. You’ve finished writing a guest post.
You’ve done your best work. The publisher loves your quality.
You look forward to all the questions. This contribution might get you the most mentions ever.
But… after a couple of weeks… a dark shadow appears over your endeavors.
Minimal social shares. Just a question or two. No mentions.
You reread your post. Your content on the selected topic is just as good as anyone (if not better). And you’ve worked hard for promoting your work on social media.
Nothing comes to mind.
To make matters worse, your competitor, only after a single guest blog contribution, has his name plastered over half the social media feeds in your niche. He is already being considered as the go-to- expert in the field.
How did he get to skyrocket his blog’s traffic and email subscribers with guest blogging… while you still struggle to move the needle?
Is it the eye-catching images in his post? That’s important, but not enough to guarantee success.
Is it his author bio? A good author bio helps, but doesn’t get you to the top.
Did he just get lucky? With millions of blogs online and a new one popping every half second, he’d have better odds of winning a lottery.
What more is there to say?
Believe it or not, your competitor and bloggers who find success via guest blogging use a tactic that’s as old school as Nintendo.
And because it is not as exciting as the latest social video network or a new technique to increase conversions, most bloggers neglect this strategy, even though it often leads to success with guest blogging.
Until now, the details of this strategy were known to a few, but it’s time to blow it wide open.
The simple secret to guest blogging success is influencer outreach.
The idea behind influencer outreach is intriguing, and fairly simple to grasp. Instead of sharing that guest post you’ve written on social media and hoping it catches an influencer’s eye, you can reach out directly to the industry leaders with your contribution.
In fact, guest blogging may not yield results without influencer outreach. With Google swooping down on guest posting for SEO and Matt Cutts making statements like “All guest blogging attempts will be destroyed,” bloggers need to use guest blogging for visibility rather than rankings. And getting influencers to publish your blog post is the easiest way to gain visibility.
With influencer outreach, you can attain the following benefits:
- Uptick in traffic and subscribers for your blog.
- Uptick in inbound links and social shares for your blog
- More questions from readers, invites for interviews and more guest blogging opportunities.
Now the main question: how do you go about with influencer outreach? Here’s a detailed guide outlining what needs to be done:
When implementing a guest posting campaign for maximum ROI, you don’t just want to look for appropriate blogs in your niche; you seek the authority figure. The content can wait for later. First, you find influencers and create relationships with them.
It’s become fairly easy to search for influencers in recent times with the following set of free tools:
1. Google search
Blogs that show up in high rankings are likely to have a lot of authority in search engines. With keywords related to your blog, you can search for authority sites. However, you’ll need to use LSI keywords (aka long-tail keywords) instead of broad ones.
- Example of a broad keyword: tennis
- Example of a long-tail keyword: best tennis racquets
You can search for LSI keywords in Google, and also grasp additional ideas from the bottom of the search results in the section ‘searches related’ to:
Use these keywords to find promising blogs until you make a decent list of blogs (30-50) to reach out to.
Then you can filter the selected blogs based on:
- Social authority: A metric that just doesn’t rely on the total number of followers on social media, but also the influence of those followers (their engagement rate). FollowerWonk and other similar tools can be used to identify social authority of a site.
- Domain authority: A metric that shows the importance of a domain in search engines. You can easily check any site’s authority by entering its URL in Open Site Explorer.
These two metrics can be used with any free influencer search tool to discover blogs that offer the most value.
Topsy is a great tool to search for popular posts on any topic. Because it directly uses social media metrics to search queries, it is very effective at discovering posts that have received a lot of social love. These posts are often written by influencers and loved by the social community.
You can use Topsy and type in a term in the search bar. This will open a page that displays all posts related to that term. On the left, change the time restraint to all time. This will show you a page with most popular posts on the searched term.
Look for posts with a huge number of tweets next to the bubble; this is an indication of how popular that post has been.
This platform shows a curated list of blogs for different industries. To find a relevant blog, enter a desired keyword into the search field. You can use broad keywords here instead of LSI keywords. For example, you can enter just ‘sports’ into the search field.
When you search for a specific broad keyword, Alltop will suggest a number of related categories you can explore to find more prospects to reach out to.
Pick a relevant category (tennis was selected in this example) and AllTop will give you a list of blogs in that category.
Spend a few minutes on reading each blog and add the most authoritative ones in your influencer outreach target list.
LinkedIn made it easy for everyone to search for influencer posts on any topic with a way to discover content directly from search box. There’s a specific tab for ‘posts’ that displays the top posts published by influencers.
The platform also enables English-speaking users on LinkedIn to sort results. The influencers can be browsed through a list of them all, or through a channel that sorts the posts by topic. The channels cover a wide variety of information in different niche areas.
It is important to note that apart from the authors being influencers, people who interact with the post and show interest in the topic may be good prospects; highlight those who demonstrate their own knowledge in the comments section. These are also the kind of targets who will not only publish your content, but also engage with it and recommend it to others.
Kred lets you find influencers, actionable insights and intelligence about your competition. It uses social sites to measure industry influencers, and gives you an influence score based on its own algorithm.
Kred also measures outreach activity, and presents this data in an easily digestible format. The outreach feature is quite useful as it gives you an insight of how frequently influencers reply, tweet, share and mention others (like you).
Influencers who often engage with others are more likely to notice you.
Get them to notice you
Getting noticed by your influencer targets is a great way to start forming a relationship before you pitch for guest contributions. It also makes you look established in the industry, even if you’ve just started blogging. Here are a few ways to land on their radar screen:
1. Leave meaningful comments
Commenting on target influencer blogs in a meaningful way is the best way to get noticed. However, generic comments such as ‘I agree with the post’ won’t get you results; you need to add value with your own perspective or a new angle on a blog post.
Follow best practices such as using a real name and avatar before commenting, understanding the point of the content, and writing a blog comment that is minimum three sentences long. Having a decent-length dialogue shows you took the time to read the post.
2. Mention & share on social media
Many influencers keep a close eye on their social shares and mentions. When you share their content and mention their blog handle using ‘@blogname’ on Google+, Twitter and other platforms on a regular basis, there is a chance they’ll take notice.
You’d also want to add your own thoughts to show you are engaging with their content. This could be as simple as mentioning ‘reading Brian Clark’s tips on copywriting before the sunset’. Add as much of your own insight as possible.
3. Offer input
Is there any way you could add to an influencer’s site? For example, is a stat outdated or an infographic needs to be updated? Offering your help to improve an existing blog post or any area of their blog can get you on their radar.
Pro tip: you can offer value by taking a different route. For example, if an influential fitness blog publishes a series of diet plans, you could offer making an excel file to help its readers keep track of all the diet plans and food diaries to help them achieve their fitness goals.
Time to reach out
You’ve finished the difficult part of creating a target list of influential bloggers; now it’s time to move in for the goal.
At this point, you’ll need a customized guest post template to integrate in the body of the outreach email, or in the contact form provided by the influencer.
Blogs owned by influencers are extremely picky about the content they publish, as it is a reflection of their brand, so a customized email template needs to be sent every time.
Pro tip: Mentioning a small outline for the topic you’re pitching to increase chances of publication acceptance. This way, the influencer will also be able to offer suggestions or modifications to the perspective/angle you’re going to take towards a topic.
Here are some custom templates to use:
Template 1: A follow-up blog post to an existing post
Subject: (blog name) contribution
Good day BLOGGER NAME,
I’ve been reading your blog for the last couple of months. I found the xxx post that you published in the xxx month really valuable.
I would like to contribute xxx topic as a follow-up to that post. I think it would add value to your blog and provide a new angle for your readers.
Let me know what you think.
Template 2: An entirely new blog post
Hey PUBLISHER NAME,
I’ve been following your site for quite a while (you may have noticed I regularly comment on your posts). Love that last week’s coverage of xxx topic.
I was checking out some of your other categories and noticed that you published a guest contribution from NAME.
It got me thinking: I’d love to add value to your blog.
Here are a few title suggestions that I think would present a fresh angle for your readers and spark engagement:
Title 1 + short outline
Title 2 + short outline
Title 3+ short outline
Here are a few posts that I’ve recently published on my blog to give you an idea of the quality I can contribute:
Looking forward to your response.
What the Pros have to say about guest blogging and influencer outreach
Take the time to research experts in your niche. Who are the prolific, consistently good writers that attract comments and invite discussion? Assemble your guest blogging “dream team” and don’t be afraid to reach out to knowledgeable professionals in your field to invite them to contribute. By the same token, don’t be surprised if they ask about your budget. You get what you pay for, and high quality, well-researched posts take time to write.
Guest blogging is still a match made in heaven in term of SEO as long as the website where your guest post is shared is of quality and the links being included in your content are of quality as well. Inbound links from quality sources will help continue to associate your website with the correct keywords, as well as help grow your authority once these links are shared across social media.
Kristi Hines on Marketing Agents
Usually, to qualify a site I look at how much traffic they get, how many shares, how many comments they get. If a site gets little shares or comments then you’re obviously not going to get anything out of it. But if you get a site with a lot of traffic and start becoming a regular contributor, then you’ll start getting traction and traffic to your site. You start to build a reputation, credibility and consistency with a new audience as a guest blogger who posts often.
You’re in the hot seat
Influencer outreach can be the winning difference to your guest blogging campaigns.
By spending a few hours of your time to research authoritative blogs and getting noticed by experts/industry leaders, you’ll be able to differentiate yourself from the plethora of bloggers who continue to make guest contribution efforts with the hope to get noticed by influencers.
Because you won’t be braving the throngs to get noticed, you’ll be heard above the noise. Businesses, individual bloggers and anyone conducting business online also have the option to utilize advanced guest blogging solutions if they are short of time and resources to get their names/brands up on the right blogs.
What’s your opinion?
Do you research influencers before pitching topics?
How has your guest blogging strategy evolved?
We’d love to hear your thoughts.