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Guest Blogging Case Study: 5 Big Lessons From Writing 43 Guest Posts In 3 Months

Guest Blogging Case Study: 5 Lessons Learned From 43 Guest Blog Posts And 12324 Social Shares

I’m strange.

(I actually prefer the word weird but I guess they have similar meanings).

Strange people do strange things…

Which is probably why I attempted (and failed, I managed just 43) to write 50 high-quality guest posts in 3 months.

But why?

None of the above.

(All though the campaign did end up achieving each of those outcomes).

NO.

I did it JUST so I could share my 5 profound lessons with my good friend Adam and his awesome audience here at Blogging Wizard.

The goal of this post is to inspire and educate you towards your own guest blogging campaign that will build traffic, links and awesome relationships.

Let’s get started…

5 Big Lessons From Writing 43 Guest Posts In 3 MonthsClick To Tweet

1. Always be… networking

Now I don’t like being negative.

But if you are just coming up in the blogging game, it is likely that your writing skills are not going to be as sharp as they could, this is fine, you just need practice before landing that big post on the HubSpot of your niche.

This is why you need to start small and build relationships with bloggers through Triberr, LinkedIn and Facebook Groups around your niche that could potentially become your blog host.

You can also reach out to anyone within your network that has a blog, that you think may be happy to host one of your posts.

I once sent John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing an email offering a free trial of a service I was marketing at the time:

Free Trial Of A Service

He responded though we didn’t end up moving forward with the service for reasons beyond the scope of this post.

However, this did mean that I had an email chain to continue in case I wanted to speak with him again, maybe even to propose a guest blog post:

Propose A Guest Post

Which John admirably accepted:

Accept Guest Post

That ultimately led to this guest post (624 Shares). This was my first post on a blog of this calibre which ultimately opened further doors for guest blogging opportunities later in the campaign.

If you do not have any bloggers within your network, I would use LinkedIn to request introductions to any potential blog hosts through your existing network.

I would also start to develop relationships with key bloggers in your niche through adding value…

Adding value through commenting on their blog posts, retweeting their tweets, sharing their content and requesting a connection on LinkedIn. All bloggers notice this and will be FAR more receptive to any attempts made to collaborate once they see that you are engaged in their community.

You can also use the strategies outlined in this awesome post to build relationships with potential blog hosts without just sending them an email: a strategy that is getting less and less effective with the proliferation of guest blogging.

Lesson #1: Build up your writing skills by posting on smaller blogs and blogs within your network before reaching out to other bloggers.

2. Do your research

OK, it’s time to head out into the wild world of guest blogging and do some outreach on your targeted blogs, but before you do…

You MUST do your research.

Do not just recycle a template for your outreach, instead use a framework for building an email that includes personalisation to ensure that the blogger is aware that you are not just sending bulk emails.

It was only when I learnt this lesson that my posts really started to gain traction with the audiences of my target blogs.

Take this post (6.4k Shares) on Thrilling Heroics for example:

Thrilling Heroics Example

I had been following Cody and his blog for a while and was well aware of the influencers that he also followed.

Thus, when I was considering a topic to propose to him, I made sure I included those influencers in the “expert roundup” post that I thought his audience would enjoy.

Check out his response:

Expert Roundup Response

In another example, I spent time researching about how I could potentially write a post for Forbes and found a current writer on Twitter that looked cool, so dropped him a Tweet:

Dropping A Tweet

I didn’t manage to get approval to write the post myself, but was heavily featured in this article (912 Shares) that Kavi produced from my “BIG idea”.

All because, I had done my research.

Lesson #2: Research your potential blog host before reaching out to drastically increase the probability of acceptance.

3. Know who you are writing for

Your blog is not a charity, your blog is a business and you should be rewarded for the value you produce.

Thus, with every guest post you publish, you need to be aware of the potential return on your time investment.

It’s time to make a promise…

A promise that you will only write content for blogs that have a readership that aligns with your ideal audience.

Unlike I did with this post.

The marketplace that I was marketing as part of this guest blogging campaign connects Entrepreneurs and Virtual Assistants, and we were targeting the Entrepreneur side with useful content so that they would potentially come over to our platform when they were looking for a Virtual Assistant.

We were NOT targeting Virtual Assistants, so why did I post on The Admin Assistant (A blog for Virtual Assistants)?

Who knows…

Don’t make the same mistake.

Furthermore, when you do find a blog that has a high concentration of your potential customers, do NOT be afraid to include links back to your blog/site in the body of the post (if relevant):

Traffic Received

This image shows the traffic received to our marketplace from this blog post after just a couple of days.

The post aimed to educate people on how to outsource effectively and, therefore, it was relevant to place a link directly back to our site from the body of the post. It was also posted on Matthew Woodward’s blog that I knew would have a high percentage of our potential customers.

Lesson  #3: Only reach out to blogs that target your ideal audience to maximise the amount of readers that will add YOUR blog to their reading list.

4. Don’t be boring

Do you know how many blog posts are published per day?

No neither do I, but I do know that it is a MASSIVE number.

So in order to get the attention of your potential customer, you need to stand out.

One way to do this is to denounce conventional wisdom, as I did with this post:

Denounce Conventional Wisdom

Contrast this with the alternative headline and opening that I could have gone for:

How to grow your social media following

Are you looking to grow your social media profiles?

I am a social media consultant from London, UK and have been growing social media profiles for my clients for the past 4 years.

I can guarantee the first version (and the one that I actually choose), would receive a greater click through and engagement rate.

Here is another example from a guest post on JeffBullas.com that attracted 1.1k shares…

Everyone has read the:

“5 Steps To Grow Your Instagram Following” Post

But how many people have graduated from:

Example

Attempt to make every piece of content that you create remarkable in some form, this will build your credibility as a writer and will increase your share figures dramatically.

However, be sure to connect your remarkable headline and post introduction together seamlessly. If you do not, you will run the risk of a reader’s expectations not being fulfilled by the content of your post.

This would drastically reduce the amount of people that consume and gain value from your content (the ultimate outcome of all types of content marketing).

Lesson #4: If you feel yourself dozing off as you proof read your headline and post intro, start again.

5. Every post is a networking opportunity

And for my most profound learning from the 43 guest posts.

You need to make friends.

And the first step to making friends is to do something nice for your “friend target”.

Around 1 month into my campaign I wanted to make friends with HubSpot as I knew that their blog had a high concentration of potential customers for the marketplace, so thought I would mention them in this post:

Networking Opportunity

I then reached out to Matthew Barby (Global Head of Growth & SEO at HubSpot) to post on his personal blog and casually mentioned that I had linked to HubSpot previously, he responded with:

Reach Matthew Barby

And offered to introduce me to directly to HubSpot Blog team, my “friend target”!

So I immediately sent the proposal onto the contact he shared (also mentioning that I had already linked to HubSpot) and was accepted:

Sent Proposal

 

Which ultimately led to this post (1.4k Shares) being published on their Marketing Blog.

And it all started with doing something nice for a “friend target”.

Here is another example:

I wanted to network with some Digital Nomads, as at the time, I was travelling around the world, working from my laptop, so when I received a response from my Twitter outreach to the Virgin Entrepreneur Blog:

Virgin Entrepreneur Blog

I immediately knew the type of post that I wanted to create:

10 Lessons In Failure From 10 Digital Nomads

As well as proving to be a pretty popular (957 Shares), the post also enabled me to reach out and develop relationships with 10 digital nomads that I had been following over the previous year.

I also used “guest post networking” to influence John Lee Dumas of The Entrepreneur On Fire to promote the launch of the podcast we were releasing for the marketplace: Virtual Valley:

John Lee Dumas Promote Podcast

I had included him in a previous roundup post, which meant that I was able to use the same email chain to request this share.

Lesson #5: Every guest blog post is a networking opportunity that will yield further guest posting and partnership opportunities in the future.

And now it’s your turn…

Let me ask you this:

“Who are the influencers in your niche that you are going to connect with in the next week?”

Because when you start thinking about this, you make it possible to take your blog to an entirely new level.

And do you know the best way to go about doing so?

You got it, guest blogging.

What are you waiting for?

Go to that blog that you always read when looking for instruction/inspiration, click on the “Contact” link and fill out that form with a proposal for an AWESOME article and let’s get this party started (But only after you have sufficient writing skills, see Lesson #1 ;))

And finally, I need a favour from you…

You know that one friend that you have that is always talking about how they plan to start guest blogging?

Use those social sharing buttons over to the left to share this post with them. Who knows the effect this could have!

About Tom Hunt

Tom is the Founder of Virtual Valley, a platform that connects Entrepreneurs and Rockstar Virtual Assistants with the mission of giving Entrepreneurs back 1 million hours of their time by 2018. Tom also sends an AWESOME weekly marketing tip to the legends that sign up here.

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  • Great post Tom! I wanted to skimmed but the way you represented the post, I could not able to do that.

    Guest post should loose its quality. Most bloggers make this mistake they don’t write quality guest post because their motive is to get backlink.

    • Tom

      Hey Umesh,

      Thanks for reading through and not just skimming 🙂

      Agreed, there is SO much more to be gained from guest blogging by actually thinking about the audience you are writing for and how your knowledge/experience can help them.

      What are you working on at the moment?

      Thanks
      Tom

  • Hey Tom,

    Thanks for sharing these lessons with us. 43 guest posts is an awesome accomplishment!

    Treating each post as a networking opportunity is so important.

    And the great thing is that you never know what opportunities might come out of these posts.

    Sure, there’s the traffic, authority, links, email subscribers etc – all the usual stuff.

    But the sites you’ve appeared on will definitely unlock other cool stuff along the way, exciting times!

    Cheers,
    Adam

    • Tom

      It’s a pleasure Adam!

      Yep, understanding how you can help people and then helping them with an AWESOME post will always somehow come back to help you 🙂

      From the amount of shares and response to the post already it is clear that you have built an awesome community here at Blogging Wizard and are helping a lot of people!

      Thanks again for the opportunity.
      Tom

      • Definitely 🙂

        Thanks Tom, you’re right – super lucky to have such a great audience and your post is going down really well!

        Sure thing!
        – Adam

  • Thank you so much Tom for this extremely timely guest post. I actually just shot an email reply to Adam when I received his notification about this post. I have written two guests posts today. One for my personal blog niche http://ecowarriorprincess.net and another for business niche http://thesocialcopywriter.com

    I haven’t actively used guest posting as a part of my strategy but this year I decided that I should, particularly for my business which I only launched last year. Anyway thank you for writing this. I am going to take some of your lessons and implement them right away 🙂

    • Tom

      Hey Jennifer,

      Just checked out your two blogs, love the design and you definitely know about writing quality content 🙂

      I’m glad your learnt from the post and look forward to seeing your progress over the next year, make sure you update us in these comments!

      Thanks
      Tom

      • Thanks so much for the kind words. It means a lot to me 🙂 I will absolutely keep you posted. It makes me more accountable too 🙂

  • You had me at, “I’m strange.”!

    Now show me the money!! Just messing around. Great post though and certainly goes to show that just yourself out there and network. It’s what it’s all about really.

    • Tom

      Haha thanks Harry!

      Yep, how many friends have you made this week? 😉

  • Hi Tom,
    Great post! Thanks for sharing all your tips with us. Building a relationship with bloggers is necessary. I have been reluctant to do that but I think now is the time to come out of my introvert cocoon and interact with influencers.
    You are right, guest posting is a great way to interact and build a relationship. Knowing who we are writing for and how they can help to fuel our aspirations is also important. Great lesson from your post at The admin Assistant.

    Thanks Tom.
    Have a great week ahead!
    -Swadhin

    • Tom

      Hey Swadhin,

      Thanks for reading two of my posts! I really appreciate it 🙂

      And yes, maybe it is time to come out of the cocoon my friend! Though still behind a computer screen lol 😉

      Let me know how you get on.
      Tom

  • Tom, great article and based on real-life feedback and learning, something which I love. Thanks for sharing useful tips on a very important subject for new and intermediate bloggers. Happy to share it with my little community, cheers.

    • Tom

      Hey Ahmad,

      Thanks for reading and for the share!

      It was a pleasure to write so good luck with your campaign 🙂

      Thanks
      Tom

  • Terrence Blair

    Great article Tom,
    All useful info. I’m not surprised though. Adam has away of getting good writers to publish actionabe article here at Blogging Wizard. I clicked over to the HubSpot post and remember reading it last year.

    • Thanks for the great feedback, Terrence. Glad you’ve found Tom’s post helpful!

    • Tom

      Haha, yes Adam is building an AWESOME community here, the reaction to this post has been amazing!

      And thanks for checking out the HubSpot post also, do you have any content for me? 😉

      Thanks
      Tom

  • Hi, Tom, Wow! 43 in three months. You are a writing machine. I couldn’t even write that much for my own blog. Doesn’t really matter if you didn’t make the 50. You’re awesome.

    I have started a guest blogging campaign and since my blog is sort of still a toddler it’s really hard to approach the big fishes in the sea. But I got my first guest post published already. It’s a rewarding feeling.

    I like the idea to just practice and keep writing and guest post on the little blogs first before contacting the more popular bloggers. Great post. Thanks!

    • Tom

      Haha, yeah it was a tough few months!

      Well done on the first post, you will find that the more posts you post, the easier it will be to get the big fishes.

      And once you have 1 big fish, it’s MUCH easier to get the rest, so maybe see if you have any shared connections with a big fish and get in that way?

      Good luck and let me know how it goes 🙂

      Tom

  • This is awesome!! I’ve been looking for the right “tutorial” on guest blogging, and this is pure gold 🙂 Thanks Tom, for sharing this!

    Cheers from Berlin!

    • Tom

      My pleasure Olga 🙂

      Let me know how you get on with you G’Blogging and if you have any questions!

      Thanks
      Tom

  • Great Article Tom and so timely for me! I’m actually writing my first guest blog post today which was the result of leaving a friendly comment on a business blog that has the same audience as the company I work for.

    The author reached out to me a few days after I left my comment and now we’re exchanging a blog swap for next week. As you so eloquently stated, being friendly and personal not only enriches your professional life, but provides benefits for all involved parties.

    Keep on keeping on sir.

    • Tom

      Hey Garrett,

      Awesome, link me to that guest post when it is up!

      And that is a great story, you were just adding value, then he comes back to you and now you have a new friend!

      Thanks
      Tom

  • Hey Tom

    That was an epic post. As an occasional guest poster myself, I completely agree that half the battle is making the connections. The opportunities will arise from that. Networking is so vital.

    I like your creative use of headlines. “The Dan Bilzerian School Of Instagram – Build A Following Without Guns, Girls and Cats” is a classic!

    Clement

    • Tom

      Hey Clement,

      Thanks for reading! Care to share links for some of your guest posts so I can check them out?

      And yes, I think Neil Patel said spend equal amount of time on your headline as you do your content 🙂

      Tom

  • Wow 43 guest posts in 3 months! That’s amazing. Great article Tom.

    I like that you focused on the importance of networking and building relationships. Doing your research and knowing who you are writing for is so crucial.

    And your right every post is a networking opportunity.

    I’m just getting started with blogging. I haven’t done a lot of guest post but I’m excited to do a lot more in the near future. I’m not sure if I’ll do as many as 43 in 3 months haha, but we’ll see.

    Thanks for this!

    • Tom

      Haha, thanks for your kind words Eli!

      OK I look forward to seeing you progress, make sure you send me your next guest post on Twitter (@tomhuntio) and I will share 🙂

      Thanks
      Tom

  • Hi Tom,

    Well done dude!

    For those not in the know, I am one of those 10 digital nomads you bonded with thru your virgin foray onto the Virgin blog. Guest posting works. On all levels. Because you’ll make friends and build bonds and grow networks and create value and all blog and biz growth will accelerate when you guest things up from time to time.

    As for me, I’m as boring as they come when guest posting or writing on my blog….;)

    This works so well because when I see you pop up anywhere Tom, I share the post at a minimum, or I may comment on it or help ya out in some fashion because you did me a solid by featuring me on Virgin. Truly one of my first big breaks online. And now I’m in the process of popping up on an episode of a new show on the National Geographic channel. Crazy! Friendships like yours made this all possible.

    Thanks for sharing Tom and thanks Adam too 😉

    Ryan

    • Sure thing, Ryan! Really glad Tom could share his insights with us.

      I remember reading Tom’s post on the Virgin Media blog a while back – super cool that you were featured, and well deserved!

      Awesome to hear about the National Geographic show, exciting stuff!

      – Adam

    • Tom

      Wow.

      Thanks for the kind words Ryan, I didn’t know the Virgin spot meant so much to you, it makes me feel warm inside 🙂

      And yes, I think one of the most important actions you can take in business… (or life), is to offer help to others without wanting anything (featuring you on Virgin) in return.

      As when you do, it just so happens that help comes back (you sharing all my stuff).

      Good luck and keep me posted with the National Geographic episode!
      Tom

  • Hey Tom,

    That’s amazing that you’ve done 43 guest posts in 3 months. You must have been writing everyday.

    I did 5 last year, and planned on doing more this year so this was a great motivator to get to work on it.

    I think it’s a great idea to start off with the smaller blogs if you’re just getting started. The bigger blogs are a bit intimidated and they demand more for guest posting on their blogs.

    Also it helps a lot to know who your audience is and look for blogs with a similar audience. It’ll be a win/win/win for you, the blog, the audience when it comes down to it.

    Thanks for sharing Tom! Have a good one!

    • Tom

      Hey Sherman,

      Pretty much 😉

      You seem to know what’s going on, all of those points above are solid!

      And it was a pleasure, keep me updated on your progress.
      Tom

  • Ben Pines

    Thanks for the post. Out of the full day work, how much percentage do you dedicate to networking, as opposed to writing / doing other tasks?

    • Tom

      Good question…

      In terms of ACTUAL networking, there was nothing “in person”, and I didn’t assign time into my diary to “network”.

      I did spend ALOT of time on Twitter and commenting on blogs which was both research and networking I guess, about 1 hour per day.

      SO in summary:

      1 hour on Twitter/reading/commenting

      for every:

      3 hours writing 😉

      Let me know if that helps!
      Tom

      • Ben Pines

        Sure does – thanks!

  • Great write up Tom. 43 Guest Posts in 3 Months is not possible before reading this piece of content, but possible reading this case study till the end. Thanks for sharing this great content man. Keep Going.

    • Tom

      Haha thanks!

      I didn’t seem possible at first but when you force yourself to write 1k words per day, it just seems to happen 🙂

      Thanks for reading and have an awesome day.
      Tom

  • Gabriel St-Germain

    Tom,

    Thanks for this great article. No surprise you got so many guest posting gigs!

    I’ve never actually had the opportunity to write a guest post and I’m looking forward to it. The information you talked about in this post really provided me with some good insight on how I should be networking and creating more opportunities.

    Cheers!

    • Tom

      Awesome thanks Gabriel, I look forward to reading your first guest post, ping it to me on Twitter: @tomhuntio and I will be sure to share 🙂

  • Zak

    Hahaha

    The beginning where you said: “I did it JUST so I could share my 5 profound lessons with my good friend Adam” cracked me up. It was unexpected.

    43 guest posts is an excellent achievement in 3 months. I wonder how long it took you on average to write each post from start to finish.

    Those are 5 very important lessons. There is a lot to learn here and I like how you broke it up into 5.

    Personally, I’m looking to post 125 guest posts by the end of the year so this post immediately grabbed my attention.

    Glad to read a case study from someone who’s done 43 in 3 months.

    Thanks for this.

  • I feel like I accidentally walked into the AP class when I was supposed to be in the beginners room! Not new to blogging but new to the idea of blogging with PURPOSE. over a decade of having a personal blog and now trying to reframe my blogging mind into something that will be more practical. I feel like I need to work on my skill before guest blogging, but I love what you’ve said here. Thanks for the insights, Tom!

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