I’m sure you’ve heard the news: guest blogging is dead, because Matt Cutts said so.
Guys, what Matt Cutts said about guest blogging was so obvious it should have never made front-page news on any kind of marketing site.
He was talking about scaled-up, low-quality guest blogging. The crappy stuff.
Stuff that I actually don’t like – it’s lame and annoying.
Getting links on SEJ, Forbes, Huffington Post, and Read Write will never be crappy stuff.
That is baller stuff. Yes, even stuff that gets you ranking competitive keywords in 90 days or less.
That is what this post is all about.
I’ll leave the rest of the dumbstruck SEO-world in their stricken state, while I continue to bank on my high-authority guest blogging formula. This is guest blogging, 2014 style.
2014 Guest Blogging Rules
Before going any further, I want to lay down the ‘rules‘:
- Do not use the same author bio
- Do not use exact anchor texts in your guest post
- Only link naturally in your guest posts (you’ll need to build resource pages on your site that are easy to link to, but always try to link to your home page in addition to a resource page)
- Only link your G+ to the super high authority sites
Your First Post (Grind Phase)
Ahh, the grind. You don’t have any relationships in your niche. You don’t have any sampled work to show for, either.
You need that one trophy guest post url that you can show people when you do future outreach.
The best way of proving your belonging is to show them published work at reputable, known sites. So, first and foremost, go for a guest blog deal that is high authority but relatively easy to publish.
Start here. This is a list of over 100 higher-authority places to guest post:
Homeboy compiled lists of high authority blogs that accept guest posts in different industries.
Simply put, if the content is epic (or trendy/current), you can be bold and approach some of the heavy-hitters on that list. Use a writing service like Textbroker (level 5) or Elance and hire a writer to help you with the piece, if needed.
If you are in the marketing space – or even in the general business space – publish for these two sites:
Usually, I wouldn’t name-drop the sites like this, but both of these sites publish dozens – if not, hundreds – of posts daily so I’m not too worried about it. They’re both well-branded and well-known, and do a good job of pushing out the content to other networks on the web.
This is a post I did with Social Media Today. I never promoted the post, but it still had over 240 tweets:
Think about it…over 240 tweeted my article. There is definitely an opportunity to capitalize on those tweets, which we will discuss later on in the guide.
Ok, now you have your first post. You now have some proof and you are going to take that momentum into your outreach.
Effective Email Outreach
USE these advanced search queries:
keyword “guest post by”
keyword “guest post written by”
DO NOT USE these advanced search queries:
keyword “guest blogging”
keyword “write for us”
(or any query that is blatantly seeking out sites that have guest blogging or ‘write for us’ pages)
We do not want those links.
Save those sites for off-shore SEO companies. Most high-authority sites don’t have a “write for us”, “guest blogging” or “become a contributor” page because they know they’d get too many requests.
Once you get their contact information, pitch them with two content proposals.
Keep it concise, and make one topic obviously more appealing than the other, so subconsciously they are saying yes to one of the topic ideas given.
This is great sales psychology that was shared on Brian Dean’s Backlinko blog a few months ago, and I have found it works great.
So, using a marketing example:
I was published on SocialMediaToday last week and it did pretty well (put link here).
I’d be up for the challenge for (site name) because I think your readers will enjoy my no-nonsense style. For your audience, I was thinking these two topics:
7 Hypnotic Conversion Tactics for Your Website
How to Convert More Customers
Talk soon, Jeremy Page
- Did I make it short and concise?
- Did I toot my own horn with recent published piece?
- Did I explain why they need my content using “because”?
- Did I suggest two topics, with one more appealing than the other?
- Did I leave some real contact info to build credibility?
Write the Content Before Pitching
Sometimes, high-authority sites will want to see the content before giving a nod. That was the case for me with Read Write. I emailed them several times before finally hiring a level 5 Textbroker writer to put together a piece.
Then, I spent several hours editing the post before sending it over, adding my own touch and personality. After emailing the finished piece, one of their editors messaged me back a few days later saying it would go live in a few weeks.
This isn’t a terrible way to go, considering you will need to write the article anyways. However, your article may not get approved (or even looked at, in some cases) and then you will have to shop around your article.
Not super fun, but if it’s a great piece, it shouldn’t be hard to find a quality home.
Moral of the story?
Editors will usually say no to emails, but they usually won’t say no to an epic piece that has never been published before.
This takes hard work. But so worth it.
If you do have your content pre-written, and you know it is a home run, here is a great pitch that I stole from Tommy Walker in his post on Income Diary:
(this exact pitch landed him a top-tier post that went viral on ChrisBrogan.com)
How are you? I know you’re a busy dude, so I’ll keep this brief.
I have an article that I wanted to run by you and see if you’d be interested in accepting it as a guest post.
It’s 106 Excuses That Prevent You From Ever Being Great. Jon Morrow has said that he really liked it, and I think it would work perfect for what you write about.
Hope all is well, and hope to hear from you soon.
The ‘Screenshot Technique’ involves taking a screenshot of your best published guest post and attaching it to your email outreach.
Just a small snippet will do, like this:
Choose one that shows excessive social activity and interaction.
I know, we could just email them our published guest posts urls, but this is our way of becoming the “purple cow” of email outreach. We are distinguishing ourselves from the rest of the pitches.
This works very effectively. A picture or two will give your guest blogging reputation instant credibility.
Twitter Love Technique
Remember I talked about taking advantage of those tweets on my guest blog earlier?
This is where the Twitter Love Technique comes into play.
This is a vastly underrated concept that I haven’t heard any other marketers talk about. And truthfully, I have found some top-tier opportunities using this method.
What kinds of people would more than likely be tweeting my article? In my example (Social Media Today), it was marketing people, right?
Marketing consultants, marketing agencies, affiliate marketers, network marketers. Basically, members of the internet marketing “link-erati.”
So, do a search inside Twitter (a few days after the post goes live) for the exact title of your guest post and go through the twitter profiles of the people who tweeted it out.
Here is a search I did today for a post I published in December:
Most of the people that tweet your stuff will have websites, and if it appears their site has an active community that has authority, just reply to their tweet and say something like:
@twitterhandle hey thx for the love, glad you liked it…i’d be up for writing on [their site name] sometime, what do you think?
This works really well. You’ll get a much higher response rate than email outreach.
Think about it, they’ve already vouched for your work!
Take this post, as an example:
From this post alone, I secured deals with SEM Rush, Unbounce, Crazy Egg Marketing Blog, and Huffington Post.
Connections are formed, like this:
Heavy Lifting Technique (How to post on elite publications)
Yes, it is possible to get links from Huffington Post, Forbes, Business Insider and Mashable…
…you just have to do the heavy lifting for the writers so they’ll work with you.
Now, with this technique, you aren’t going to get credit for the article.
The goal is to get a link or brief mention to your website.
Step one: come up with a trending topic and put together a well-written, informative piece. Link back to your site in the trending story in a way that gives your content more value.
Step two: find writers on the top publications of your niche.
For example, if I was trying to find a writer on Huffington Post who specialized in real estate, I would seek out those writers in the real estate category on Huffington Post.
Then, I would seek them out elsewhere on the web until I found their Linkedin, Twitter or personal email.
Step three: reach out to the writers and let them know you have a cool story idea for them. Let them know you’ve done the research for them and send over their ‘rough draft’.
See, by you doing 80% of the work for them, they are given an opportunity that is hard to resist. This is direct advice coming from a buddy of mine who is a regular contributor on Forbes.
Yes, this is hard work. But I highly doubt there will ever come a day when these types of links will be devalued.
A natural-looking citation on a high authority blog is one of the best links you can get. A fleet of 10-15 high-authority guest posts recently got a review page ranking for a 49,000 exact-month keyword.
And even in the last month where SERP turbulence has been the highest in months, and banter on guest blogging has been at an all-time high, my rankings have only increased on sites that were heavily dosed with high authority guest blogging.
So, back to Matt Cutts.
Remember, Google pays him the big bucks to distract the SEO world. Don’t get caught up in all of that. Guest blogging still works very well as long as you are the Rolls-Royce of guest bloggers.
Keep it ‘high authority’ and you’ll stay away (and ahead) of mainstream SEO.
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