All online businesses know that guest blog placements can be instrumental in getting backlinks and increasing your own site authority. Actually securing these posts, however, can be a daunting task. Where to begin? With some creative thinking, it’s easy to engage non-competing vendors in your vertical. All it really takes is a good process and an investment of some time.
1. Think like the customer
The best way to understand your position in a vertical market is to understand your customer’s mindset. What else are they in the market for? Where else are they looking? Don’t think of specific sites yet, focus on identifying problems your customer is looking to solve and categories of answers they are considering. This is the most effective way of beginning to identify people who are situated in your market or are adjacent to your own work.
For example, as a business providing invitations and other stationery for weddings and events, we have to think like a bride or event planner. Where are they looking? Engagement rings, gowns, venues, caterers, honeymoon destinations and a whole host of related areas are attracting their attention. An invitation company in Australia may not immediately seem to have a lot in common with a small jewelry company in the United States, but when you think like a customer the crossover is clear.
2. Find compatible sites
Once you have identified some key areas to pursue, work on creating a list of potential sites to contact. Online tools like Buzzstream, SEMRush and Ahrefs will support this process, allowing you to narrow down your options and manage your outreach. Sites should be topically relevant and authoritative within your niche without being your direct competition for clients or customers.
Mining begins with searching for the non competing verticals in your space. In our example, we were looking to boost our authority tree for engagement invitations on our brand, yet leverage other sites in our vertical that had complementary authority. For us, it was engagement ring websites who aren’t competing with us and share the knowledge space. Using the Buzzstream Chrome addon you can quickly go for a niche e.g. searching ‘engagement rings’ and mine the contact information for the top 100. From there, sort out the quality sites and do a bulk personalised reachout.
3. Know how you add value
Before you pitch, you should have a well-crafted plan for how you are going to add value to influencers in your niche. If you can’t articulate this in your own mind, you are not going to be able to communicate it clearly to anyone else, and that will render your pitch ineffective. You’re offering content for their site, great. That’s a good start. What else are you offering? Expertise? Experience? Insider knowledge? Are you going to promote the guest post and send your readers their way? Are you offering an affiliate link or discount? Be clear about what you bring to the table.
4. Craft a great email
Once you know how you are going to add value, it’s time to craft a pitch email that will communicate this to your contact. Use the subject line and opening of the email to grab attention and put the focus on two things: what exactly you are asking of them, and what they get out of the deal. You don’t want them to get to the end of the email unsure about either of these things (if they even make it through the email!) or they are likely to trash the email rather than put in extra energy to decoding what you meant. Keep it brief but show everything you need to in order to secure their interest and make yourself clear.
5. Personalise the pitch
Always double check the basics, of course – make sure you’ve included the correct name, website and other details throughout the email – but don’t stop there! Find examples of content you like on their blog and make it clear to them that you have actually taken the time to look through their details. Suggest a couple of topics you might write about for them and provide examples of previous posts you have written that reflect the style and content of the site you are pitching to. This shows you have done your research and that the email is coming from a real person who is capable of offering high quality content rather than a spam bot or a dodgy low-tier ‘agency’.
From there it’s just a matter of creating high quality content for the guest posts you do secure. The better the content you produce, the easier it will be to secure guest blog posts in future. Don’t scrimp on the quality of guest posts: not only do they give you great examples to use on your next pitch, they also represent your brand around the internet and contribute to Google’s ranking of your site