Guest Blogging Case Study: 5 Big Lessons From Writing 43 Guest Posts In 3 Months
(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.
- To generate opt-ins for my personal Marketing Messenger Weekly Newsletter?
- To build links, authority and traffic for a new online marketplace that I was about to launch?
- To build relationships with awesome bloggers (and people) around the world?
None of the above.
(All though the campaign did end up achieving each of those outcomes).
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:
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:
Which John admirably accepted:
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:
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:
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:
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)?
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):
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
I immediately knew the type of post that I wanted to create:
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:
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!