Should guest blogging be part of your online marketing strategy?
The answer is a resounding yes.
Why does guest blogging matter?
Because guest blogging is a high-impact offsite SEO strategy that can help you get ahead of competitors trying to reach the same audiences. Too often, digital marketers focus on tactics to optimize a website. What they fail to give enough attention to are the offsite tactics that help boost your search engine rankings.
We will never be privy to Google’s next algorithm update. But here at Hinge, we have seen great success in pitching educational, high quality articles to relevant blogs and other digital publications in our niches. This process is known as “blogger outreach.”
What is blogger outreach?
Blogger outreach is an offsite SEO tactic to build relations with online media by offering valuable, educational content their audiences need. It combines digital media relations and linkbuilding in a single campaign. You do this by pitching ideas or full-fledged articles to online media outlets to build awareness of your expertise while forging relationships with bloggers and editors, many of whom are influencers in the blogosphere, industries, or niches. Another important outcome of guest blogging is the opportunity to secure firm brand mentions and backlinks to your website.
What are the keys to running a successful blogger outreach campaign? Where do you begin?
9 steps to successful blogger outreach
Here are nine steps to reaching your guest blogging objectives:
1. Identify your goals.
Be clear at the outset about what you want to happen in the end. Gaining backlinks alone is not a good goal. Many online pubs with high domain authority won’t let you include backlinks to external sites.
Nevertheless, you want to pitch your ideas or articles to these sites for other goals. Here are a few. One, you want to expand your reach, and these publications happen to serve your audience.
Two, you want to build your authority, and being featured in recognized publications gives you third-party credibility in the eyes not only of your buyers but also hard-to-find talent you want to recruit, other media you want to forge stronger ties with, and the search engines.
Three, guest blogs are a great way to promote, say, a larger research-driven piece like a report, a book, or even an event. An educational guest blog that highlights the results of a research report can spur demand for the report itself.
Four, you can increase the chances of being ranked for a keyword through an external publication with a higher domain authority than your firm website.
2. Craft a strategy.
A blogger outreach campaign without a clear strategy is doomed to fail. With thousands of blogs in any given industry, your strategy will help you identify which blogs to target. Start by researching which publications target your buyers. Their readers will likely be interested in your expertise and ideas. They might belong to a single industry or even several industries. If they belong to several, start with the industry you know best. Next, develop a list of target online publications.
Your list will serve as the foundation for your outreach.
3. Cull your list.
Why not go ahead and reach out to the list as is? Because you achieve more placements by taking a targeted approach. You can reduce the initial list to the essentials by taking a hard look at each publication’s niche, domain authority, Alexa ranking, and audience. Keep in mind that the larger their audience reach, the harder it is to get placed. This will allow you to focus your energies–not to mention time–on the right blogs
4. Find out what content gaps you can fill.
You need to read the blogs on your list to find out what content you can provide that they don’t already have. More often than not, other guest authors have covered your topics. But what these pubs might be missing is your unique point of view, data, or big idea.
Once you identify those content gaps, take an honest look at what you can add to the conversation. Will your insights provide something unexpected, contrarian, based on research, or that bridges different subject areas in novel ways?
Or, will it simply add to the noise? If you pitch something they already have–or, worse, something they would never cover–they’ll assume you’re mass emailing a single pitch.
5. Write tailored pitches
This is another way of saying: “don’t use ChatGPT to write your pitches.” Bloggers and editors can easily spot them. They’re conversational in tone, yes, but lack distinction. Put yourself in the shoes of a blogger at the receiving end of a deluge of conversational pitches with strikingly similar tones and approaches. Now imagine receiving a unique pitch that knows just what you’re missing–and what your readers need. Craft the pitch that shows you’ve done your homework and proves you’re a good writer.
6. Address FOMO and FOMU
Know the difference between the fear of missing out (FOMO) and the fear of messing up (FOMU)–and make sure your pitch reflects both. Bloggers and editors will want to feature original and new ideas or approaches. But these same ideas need to factor in the higher stakes in the B2B world, where mistakes are costly. Pitches will need to meet editors’ or bloggers’ desire to offer insights both new and practical.
7. Promote your published work.
You’ve spent hours pitching and writing your guest blog. Now it’s time to showcase your media coverage and insights to your network. In the B2B world, LinkedIn is your best bet.
There are two benefits to sharing your work on platforms like LinkedIn. First, your network will appreciate you’re a recognized authority. Second, contacts are more likely to read the article since it’s coming from a known publication or blog. Third, contacts might share it with their network, expanding your audience reach. Finally, all these translate to more traffic to the blogger’s site and even yours. The more actively you and your network promote the article, the greater the likelihood the blogger will lend you their audience in the future.
8. Track results.
Keeping track of both your outreach efforts and the results of each guest blog post placement is the only way to know if your strategy is effective. Have you targeted the right blogs? Which blog posts are driving traffic, conversions and social shares? Tracking results will let you know when it’s time to change tack.
9. Follow up.
Blogger outreach campaigns take time. If you reach out to your list once a week, expect at least four or five weeks before getting a blogger’s response. Reaching out each week, staying abreast of what bloggers put out, following up with new angles, and making requested edits to articles will spell the difference between failed and successful blogger outreach campaign.
A Final Thought
Blogger outreach is the cornerstone of an effective online marketing strategy. A consistent, thoughtful outreach campaign with a clear approach will grow your online visibility, grow brand mentions and backlinks to your website, and show proof to search engines like Google that you have the expertise, authority, and trustworthiness to earn a higher ranking. Just as important, other visible experts will be motivated to speak and collaborate with you. A disciplined blogger outreach strategy will ensure you’re not randomly casting your posts into the wide online ocean, but getting your message to the audiences that matter.
How Hinge Can Help
Content marketing is at the heart of Hinge’s flagship Visible Firm℠ program. It is the leading marketing program for delivering greater visibility, growth, and profits. This customized program will identify the most practical offline and online marketing tools your firm will need to gain new clients and reach new heights.
- For more tips on including blogging into your content marketing plan, download the Content Marketing Guide for Professional Services.
- Explore the Hinge Research Institute to learn more about the different ways you can use research as content to drive a more effective and efficient content marketing strategy.