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5 Jaw Dropping Tips for Guest Posting Success

by Matt Geer
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This is a guest post from Matt at PlugThingsIn.com.

There are a lot of tips and tricks floating around the web for how to guest post the right way. These tips include things like making sure you use the site owner’s name in the salutation and that you should never use a template email.

Yawn… right!?!

I have some better tips for you. You see, I was a contractor for a company that built links for large commercial companies using nothing but guest posts. We had to build a lot of links, and we also had to use very specific anchors, so there was a lot of strategy and creativity required to get the job done.

Here are a couple of the unique tips that I picked up along the way. 

1. Negotiate Paid Posts

If you do guest posting in volume, you are going to come across blogs that will want to charge you for publishing your post. This is extremely common in the mommy blog, work at home mom and coupon niches.

We didn’t have a budget for buying sponsored guest post spots. If you don’t either, you need to find a creative way around it.

What I suggest you do is respond with an email saying something along these lines:

 

I’m sorry, but I don’t have a budget for sponsored guest posts. However, my writing does go for about $.10/word, or about $90 to $120 per post. You’d be getting it free, not to mention all the traffic that it will generate for as long as you keep it up.

Is there any way you’d consider waiving the sponsored post fee?

 

This works very well, especially if their rate for the sponsored post is less than the value of the article. You’ll want to use it sparingly though, because you can waste a lot of time going back and forth with the owner, only to never end up being able to post on their site.

2. Offer a Video or PDF Guide

Something that I’ve been experimenting with is offering a video or PDF guide instead of a generic text guest post. For one thing, it’s a different way for people to see your message, not to mention that each person learns in a different way. So there’s a lot of perceived value there.

Blog owners see that too. Just by mentioning that you’re willing to provide a video, they see that you’re willing to take the time to craft something specific for their site. But don’t just stop at videos. I’ve also offered PDF guides that the blog could offer their email list, and I’ve even offered to help build out a new (small) section of their site.

Just keep in mind that while you want to offer a lot of value, what you stand to gain from doing the work (the link and traffic) should be relative to what you pitch them.

One thing worth noting – many blog owners prefer short videos compared to longer ones. So don’t bother pitching a video if you can’t keep it to less than 5 minutes or so. If you can, be sure to mention that in your email.

3. Target Sites in Different Markets

A lot of guest posting advice that you hear is to find sites in your niche to guest post for. That’s ok, but you will have a lower response rate because there are people that view competition as a bad thing. This is especially true in competitive markets — good luck posting on your competitor’s site for free.

The advice you don’t hear is to guest post in different niches. For example, if your site is in the gambling niche, why not guest post on sites in the health or traveling niche? All you need to do is angle your content to fit. For example:

  • 5 Things Online Poker Players Can Do To Stay Fit
  • 10 Casinos You Must Visit Once in Your Lifetime

See what I did there? You can do this for almost any niche, too. Don’t limit yourself to only your niche for guest posts. That’s what your competition is doing. By stepping outside the box, you’re getting links that they don’t have.

4. Create & Use Templates

Common guest posting advice tells you to avoid using email templates because they’re not unique or personal enough.

That’s bad advice.

The reason why you’re told not to use templates is because most people don’t take the time to craft a good template. But you can create a template that is unique and personal — I do, and it works just fine for me.

All you need to do to come across as unique and personal is to show familiarity with their site. I accomplish this by mentioning that I’ve read some of the posts on the site, and that I have a good idea for a guest post. Then I pitch what I feel is a solid and fitting post for their site. So long as the post is different than what is on the blog already (and is a good idea overall), you should have no problems.

The rest of my template includes an intro, brief explanation of how I’ll send the post and a closing. It’s about 4 paragraphs long. That’s it.

Simple.

5. Turn Guest Posting Into a System

If you are trying to (manually) build links with guest posts, in the long run it’s going to make much more sense to turn it into a system. Then train someone to use that system.

What I recommend doing is focusing on the part that you’re good at — whether it’s finding sites to pitch, or writing the guest posts. It can take a long time to do either task, so you’ll be more efficient and will build links faster by training someone to help you out. It’ll be the only way to truly scale your link building efforts, other than creating link-worthy content for your own site, of course.

Bonus Tip – How to Deal With Specific Anchors

My bonus tip for you is on how to deal with specific anchor text. As you can probably imagine, having anchor text such as…

  • awesome mermaid costumes for girls
  • internet service in New York
  • Clear Wireless 90210
  • 2012 sea monkey reviews

…. isn’t the easiest thing to insert in an article. So what can you do?

One trick that I used when it came to dealing with location specific anchor text is to pitch articles on geo-targeting for webmasters. You can then use the anchor text (internet service in New York) as an example of how geo-targeting works. It doesn’t look spammy this way either.

Another trick is to pitch a DIY tutorial. Using the anchor text, awesome mermaid costumes for girls, you could easily insert that into a sentence like:

 

If you’re looking for awesome mermaid costumes for girls, don’t buy it, make it yourself!

 

Something like that, at least. The idea is to get creative. Since I build links for myself, I can make the anchor text as easy or hard to work with as I want. But just keep in mind that if you build links for clients, that they might request that you use specific anchor text. With a little bit of brainstorming, that shouldn’t be a problem for you at all.

So, that’s all that I have for you. Have you heard these tips before? Do you have any of your own tips to share? Tell me about them in the comments.

 Note from Jon: Because of a conversation on Google+, I had to add this badge to the post. I have no idea why I decided to do this.

 

This post was written by...

Matt Geer – who has written 1 posts on Point Blank SEO.

Matt Geer is the co-owner and primary writer for Plug Things In. He's a freelance writer and marketer by day, focusing on the gambling, tech and financial niches. By night he is a husband, backyard mechanic and video game enthusiast.

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35 Comments
  1. philip says:

    these are great and legitimate tips.

    Thanks very much!

    I don’t think another blog could reveal these tips but yours. Especially number one!!!

  2. Carson Ward says:

    Hilarious, Jon.

    Really, though, I like the non-standard tips. These would be awesome in combination with a good inbound strategy :)

  3. Great article from Matt. Thanks for posting it Jon. I too agree that templates are not the “bane” or big no-no for guest-post pitching. Templates used right can make for a smoother interaction and as Matt said, been familiar with their site is important – mentioning a few of their articles, and perhaps one you commented it on too.

    Thanks

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Exactly – I think templates get a bad rep because so many of the ones that have been created have been pure crap.

    • Matt says:

      Yeah, anything that you can do to show that you’re not just another SEO guy trying to use other people’s sites to build links. People don’t like to feel used, and they still want to provide a good experience to their users.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  4. #1 is (was) my secret weapon. Works really well if the targets are semi-savvy. Most recognize the value of having a truly quality piece on their property.

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Good to know; actually never thought of doing this :)

      • Matt says:

        It can definitely be worth the effort depending on the site you want to guest post on.

        Something I just thought of, but never tried, was possibly using other sites that you negotiated to guest post on free on as social proof for other bloggers.

        “This guy let me guest post free once I told him I wrote for $.10/word, and he charged $xxx per post.”

        This isn’t written well, but just an example of what you could try. Wonder how well it’d work?

        • Showing publishers previous guest posts from other sites where you got a great deal of social shares and comments on works really well at convincing them to let you post for free too. Especially if the post has PageRank and you can sell them on the idea that you link to your content on their site.

  5. Oliver Mason says:

    Number one is an awesome tip (looks like the commenters are all in agreement here) – thanks for sharing, Matt.

  6. Dan says:

    Nice article. I wish he listed some examples of good guest posts on “out-of-niche” sites, that would make the whole piece 100% shareable.

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Thanks for the tip Dan, I’ll pass it along to Matt!

    • Matt says:

      Hi Dan,

      What exactly do you mean by examples of good guest posts on “out-of-niche” sites? I think a posted a couple of examples of what you could do in #3.

      Let me know what you’re looking for and I’ll see if I can come up with some examples for you. Thanks for stopping by to comment!

  7. Really like the idea behind targeting sites in different markets or niches. Not long ago, me and my brother ended up publishing a post related to this concept also known as horizontal guest posting but I guess only a few seems to understand this. People are obsessed with niche blogs these days and what I don’t understand is, for example, why an online bill pay service provider targets only finance blogs. Are people having a tech or health or home improvement related site and their readers won’t find this service useful? Guest Posting was supposed to be a way of experiential marketing and people have just made it another link building. We need to step out of the niche and think of all the areas where we can gain some awareness for our brand and services rather than sitting and finding blogs to guest post on in our niche.

    • Matt says:

      I agree — so many people do stick to their own niches. It works, but I think it’s much harder to do for the reasons I mentioned above. Plus, as you mentioned, readers in other niches are sure to find that stuff helpful (assuming you aren’t trying to guest post in some random niche).

      Thanks for taking the time out to comment!

      • I have to totally disagree with you Matt, on the idea of getting links on sites that are not relevant. In fact, Google has very recently come out and said that they are looking into filtering out guest blogging links. And its been speculated by some top guest blogging experts (James Agate) that they are looking to filter out links from irrelevant sites.

        So no longer is it viable to get a post on an unrelated blog as long as the content is relevant to the site its on and ties in the anchor text and site being linked to in a creative way. I used to be a huge proponent of this until I heard the recent speculation and warnings from Google.

        I do understand though that one has to go slightly outside of your niche in order to do guest blogging in volume for one client. But the example of a poker link from a fitness site is one I would not recommend. You have to think about where your potential audience might be at and look for sites in those niches. These are guest posts that can lead to traffic and sales, not just a link for SEO juice. So a guest post on a sports site for a gambling client might be a good one since many people who gamble are into sports.

        Its tough to quantify what works and doesn’t work here but overall I would not advocate going too far outside of your niche.

        • I don’t think that is what these folks mean. I hear what you are saying and understand and even agree it has some merit. I think some ‘topic bridging’ guest posting in a niche is OK and all depends on how you spin it. If you are plumber, you can blog on any home improvement site, even ‘green’ sites or ‘solar power’ or ‘design’ sites. Even a ‘mommy blog’ could be good place to get a guest post on…. could be post about “how to help Mom’s make good plumbing decisions”…. maybe not the best idea, but you get the idea.

          As for Google penalizing guest posting sites…? Not totally sold on that yet. They may be looking to penalize low quality sites that have no editorial guidelines…..sites that accept guest posts on all sorts of topics, sites that accept guest posts from a large number of contributors, sites that have no minimum standards for quest post quality, sites that impose few if any editorial guidelines on how the guest posts should be written and formatted… but this might really be a variation of a Panda penalization thang. ;)

          I think sites that accept only a limited number of guest writers and they publish a large portion of their own content…and of course have a some-what natural backlinking profile… then even off if it’s ‘off topic’ the links will still be trusted.

          I think Google has bigger spam challenges to filter out before seriously tackling the guest posting spam…. if you can call it that. I still find it hard to see guest posting as spam. I agree for the most part, it’s ideal to ask if this guest post will generate real traffic first and the link be the secondary by-product…. but sometimes we still need that link luv from an aged, trusted site… which guest posting can sometimes provide. And as long as the post brings value to the web and site owner who accepts your guest post then, I think it’s fair game.

          I just wouldn’t go stop guest posting by finding interesting opportunities via topic bridging. It can be a great way to get some awesome links.

  8. seoteky says:

    Love this Matt! F those people who use guest posting templates that they find in Google search :) Let’s add more chunk on your post. Here’s are simple ways to maximize your effort on creating your own outreach templates.

    1. If you are using persona, your email copy should have a personal touch of a boy or a girl – whichever gender that you use in your persona.
    2. Stalk your target first; don’t just send massive emails without knowing your target.
    3. Create 5 or 10 email copies for your next outreach – push the outreach, measure which email copy gets the most reply. Now you have a copy that performs well in outreach, retool it whenever you feel like your outreach is slowing down.

    Bonus: Be a subscriber of your target blog, reply to his email or update :) Share your thoughts, offer some hand and get something sweet in return…

    Guest Posting Rocks! Carson Ward is the King of Rock! LOL

  9. Matt says:

    Yeah, those are good ideas! I don’t do as much testing as I should. So far from my experience, I think it depends on the blogs you’re aiming for, the niche, quality, etc whether it’s worth the time or not. Also, if you’re running large enough guest posting campaigns.

    I really do like the persona idea, too. When I first got started I used a woman’s persona, but I haven’t found much of a difference so far in the effectiveness of girl vs. boy persona.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  10. Alexis Trinidad says:

    Hello Jon and Matt,

    Love the 3rd tip; thinking outside the box is indeed essential if you’re running out of ideas. I do this whenever I get some topics listed; I just let my mind go loose and think of weird pitches so it could be a fail-proof offer. Never had rejections because of the eccentricity of the article. More power guys!

  11. David Crader says:

    Good tips. Out of the box. The ‘Carson Ward Approves’ at the end was hilarious. Number 3 is a good tip that you don’t hear a lot. People forget what relevancy REALLY means sometimes.

  12. Joel Widmer says:

    Every one of these points were spot on. One of the best posts on guest blogging i’ve read in awhile! Loved your points on systemizing and focusing on what your good at in it. Definitely applies to more than just guest posting! Also I really liked the reminder to focus on different, less obvious segments.

  13. These are great tips–so simple and often overlooked. Targeting sites in a different market is one I’ve had a lot of success with for my clients. And the right email template can get a high percentage of responses. Thanks for including these. I’m looking forward to seeing more from you on Point Blank SEO!

  14. Derek Jansen says:

    Top notch Matt. I’ve always found offering some form of rich content (PDFs, Videos, Infographics, etc) increases the conversion/hit rate substantially.

  15. Tyler says:

    As usual you have very great tutorials. I plan to look forward to some more. I may have missed it but have you covered pagerank yet?

  16. Brian says:

    I’d think a 4 paragraph email would turn off a few site owners, seeing that long of an email to sift through. I do personalize my template for each email, but keep it short and sweet

  17. Great Article Matt – when I read title I though it will be general guest blogging tips that every one doing — your article is really awesome and very useful

  18. Patricia Garcia says:

    Hey Matt! GREAT GREAT tips on guest posting! :)

    Now, this is something that I never see it explained anywhere: when you approach to bloggers, do you use a professional email address or a general one (Yahoo, etc).
    Does you approach sound like you work for the client you work or..?

    Thanks!

  19. Patricia Garcia says:

    I’d like to comment that, based on tip no3, when you say “if your site is in the gambling niche, why not guest post on sites in the health or traveling niche”, while your article’s title examples sound good, my client would say that those Health and Travelling sites have nothing to do with his gambling business.
    The terms displayed in those same sites have nothing to do actualy, terms like “health”, “travel”, etc.

    Any thoughts?

  20. In addition to videos and pdf, infographics are really getting popular. number 1. they are much more visually appealing and number 2. they are much straight to the point.

  21. Danny Howard says:

    Hi Matt

    Thanks for the guest posting ideas and tips. I really like #3 Target Sites in Different Markets. I never thought of creating content via different niches but is great way to still create content from a broader market.

    Looking forward to move tips from you

    Cheers mate

    Danny

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