Guest posting is one of the most popular ways to improve search engine rankings. However, anyone who’s ever attempted guest posting knows that it’s not an easy process. One obvious challenge is consistently creating new and engaging content.
But that’s nothing compared to landing decent guest posts.
The trouble is, guest posting on high authority sites brings the most value. The time you spend writing content doesn’t change. The return for that time investment does. This means that guest post slots on the highest authority sites are incredibly competitive.
Today, we’ll look at one way to gain a competitive advantage using networking.
Networking is pretty much the best source of new business opportunities. Almost 50% of freelancers and entrepreneurs use networking to find new opportunities. Throughout this article, we’ll look at ways to leverage networking to land guest post opportunities.
But first, some background.
Why Networking Matters
Pitching for guest posts is tricky. The reason for this is that you’re mostly reaching out to someone you don’t know and asking them for a favor. The worst guest post pitches don’t offer anything in return.
But say you’ve got a killer value proposition. A proportion of content managers will still be skeptical. At the most authoritative sites, they can afford to be picky.
This is where networking comes in.
You can easily make your value proposition more credible using your network. If you have a mutual friend or acquaintance, you can reference this in your pitch. However, this shouldn’t simply be name dropping. Rather, aim for something like:
“John Doe recommended that I get in touch with this query.”
Part of the challenge of landing guest posts is convincing editors that you’re not just some cowboy. Using your existing network is an easy way to display that you’re a professional who keeps the same company they do.
Getting Your Foot in the Door
Alternatively, you can use a little bit of networking to get on an editor’s radar before making your pitch. Essentially, the goal here is to bring the editor into your network before trying to score a guest post.
There are many ways to do this. Often, the best is to reach out to them with thoughts on some of their content. You can do this through Twitter, LinkedIn, or in the comment section of a post.
It helps to start with a little bit of flattery. Then your goal is to add value by providing some additional insight on the topic, or an angle that the writer hadn’t considered. Once your comment is approved, you’ll have something to refer to in your pitch.
Creating New Opportunities
Directly connecting with editors through acquaintances is the most obvious way to use your network to score opportunities. I recommend a systematic approach. LinkedIn can come in handy in this regard.
Start by searching for job roles like blog manager, content editor, CMO, and so on. Then open the filter menu, and under connections, select 2nd.
Now, you have a list of targets with common acquaintances. The final step is to ask for an introduction. Once you’ve connected with an editor, you can make your pitch.
I recommend that you keep things simple. Below is an outreach template I know is effective.
I’m friends with NAME, who is a mutual acquaintance on LinkedIn. I’m interested in writing a guest post for WEBSITE. Are you accepting content at the moment, and what would be the best way to pitch my ideas. Just to give you a bit of context, I’ve written for sites like SITE A, SITE B, and SITE C in the past and feel confident I can hit your editorial guidelines.
Look forward to hearing back from you.
The template is simple, direct, and to the point. The editor will either ignore your message, which happens occasionally or let you know their current guest post policy.
Identify Guest Posting Targets
There are alternatives to LinkedIn. The most common way to find guest posting opportunities is searching for keywords related to your niche, along with strings like “guest post” or “content submission”. Alternatively, you can use existing lists of sites that meet these search criteria.
This is an okay approach since you know you’re targeting sites that accept guest content. However, you’re limiting yourself to sites that advertise that they’ll accept guest posts. The trouble is, you’re targeting the same sites as everyone else.
The alternative is a kind of anti-networking. That is, you’ll leverage your bigger competitors to find sites that accept guest posts, but don’t shout about it. That way, the competition for guest post slots isn’t as steep.
Leverage your Competitors to Find Hidden Opportunities
Most bloggers use the same headshot and bio on every article. Start by picking a big hitter in your niche. Perform a reverse image search on their headshot. You’ll then see every site that they’ve scored a guest post.
This allows you to use your network to take the legwork out of finding killer guest post targets that most people in your niche don’t know about. To get the best results, start by doing this with your most authoritative competitor.
Preparing to Pitch Guest Post Ideas
Once you’ve got a few hundred sites that you’d like to target, it’s almost time to reach out. However, there are still a few more bits of prep to do. The first thing is to come up with effective ideas for each of your target sites.
Next, you need to decide how you’re going to reach out.
Find the Right Contact
You have a bunch of options for reaching out to target sites. You can reach out to their [email protected] address. It should also be pretty obvious that you shouldn’t do this, though. If not, the bottom line is that reaching out to blog editors personally is much more effective.
You might choose to do this using LinkedIn, which is a method I discussed earlier. If they ignore your inquiry, your best bet is to use an email ID service to find their email address. You can then send off your guest post pitch. I’d use something similar to the LinkedIn message example from earlier.
After You’ve Secured a Guest Post
Let’s fast forward a week or two to when you’ve written your guest post. This is a critical stage if you want to land guest posts consistently. Many people neglect to work on their networking skills after they’ve got what they want.
This defeats the whole purpose. It’s also just bad manners.
The key thing is to continue growing your network. In theory, if you do this correctly, each new guest post should be easier to land, as you’ll have an even bigger army of helpful contacts behind you.
Let’s take a look at how to do this.
Share Final Post
Hopefully, this should be obvious to most of you. The key to successful guest posting opportunities is mutual benefit. You get a backlink; they get a high-quality piece of content to share with their audience.
You can sweeten the deal by sharing this with your audience too. This is in your interest, as the better your post performs, the more willing they’ll be to help you out in the future, especially when it comes to scoring introductions and referrals.
We’ve already talked about getting on someone’s radar. Once you’re there, you need to stay on their radar. As such, it’s vital to maintain contact, especially if you’re going to try and leverage your relationship down the line.
This doesn’t mean sending people flowers on their birthdays. Rather, send a couple of DMs now and then. A natural way to do this is by sharing your thoughts on their new pieces of content.
Make your Networking Relationships a Two Way Street
So far, we’ve talked about how you can use your network to gain guest post opportunities. However, if you ask favors of people but never return them, you’ll soon find your goodwill runs out.
As such, it’s vital to pay it forward. Try your best to perform the same kinds of favors for others in your network. That way, when you come across a contact who will be useful for scoring a guest post, you’ll be in the good books.
The Importance of Networking: How to Consistently Land Guest Posts
Let’s recap. The hardest part about scoring high authority guest posts is reaching out to people you don’t know, and asking them for a favor. Networking can help with this in two crucial ways.
- By adding credibility to your value proposition, &
- By helping to initiate a relationship with your target site.
In practical terms, you have a bunch of different options for going about this. For instance, you can refer to mutual acquaintances as part of your outreach. You can also try and build mutually beneficial relationships from scratch before you even make a pitch.
The most important thing is recognizing that networking is never about simply extracting value for yourself. Rather, it’s about building relationships that benefit both parties in the long term.
Author Bio: Owen Baker is a content marketer for Voila Norbert, an online email verification tool. He has spent most of the last decade working online for a range of marketing companies. When he’s not busy writing, you can find him in the kitchen mastering new dishes.