If you are running guest post campaigns to gather links and build visibility then I am sure you’ll agree that outreach equates to around 90% of the challenge.
The problem is that the outreach stage requires someone without a vested interest in the success of your campaign agreeing to help you do your job. That’s a tough sell but it is a sale that can be made.
At Skyrocket SEO we very much treat outreach as if it were a sales or biz dev process.
This post has 4 ½ guest post outreach tips which will help you to…
- Create strong ‘sales’ funnels
- Create persuasive pitch emails
- Nurture your leads
- Constantly improve your campaigns
#1 – All leads are not equal
Guest posting, contrary to popular belief, isn’t really a numbers game.
A 100% response rate just isn’t going to happen, so arguably yes you will need to reach out to X number of prospects in order to allow for the natural attrition of opportunities.
However, in much the same way as a sales funnel, not all the leads entering the funnel are equal.
You can ram the funnel full of deadwood and then hope and pray that something good comes out the other end (acting the busy fool in the mean time) or you can concentrate on getting the right kinds of guest post leads into the top of the funnel, nurturing them with a good pitch and spending a bit more time on each to A) Generate a better response rate with less ‘busyness’ and B) Gather higher quality links as they’ll pay more attention to a strong proposal over a weak generic form letter.
#2- The paradox of choice
The psychologist Barry Schwartz proposes that contrary to what would seem like common logic, more choice isn’t necessarily better. He demonstrates how offering people more choices, creates paralysis rather than action. This applies equally in guest posting.
We’ve tried offering prospective host bloggers a choice of one topic, two topics, three topics and even four. We’ve also varied this by including an open ended option along the lines of “we’ll write on a topic of your choice if you prefer…“.
We have found that offering just two topics consistently outperforms the other variations.
One topic means that if they hate it, there’s no ground for manoeuvre.
Offer three of four topics and we find that it creates fewer responses OR too many questions and a longer fulfillment time as bloggers and website owners receive your request, digest, muse upon the different topics and try to reach a decision usually by asking you a few more questions about each to help them decide.
An open ended option can make your request seem like hard work – they’ve got to do part of your job and come up with something for you to write about. The in-built human attribute of laziness makes an open-ended request the surefire way to get them to hit delete and move on to the next email.
Giving people two options is a powerful technique for two reasons:
- If they don’t like one there is always the other to choose from – without giving them brain ache deciding which one to let you write. You could even try deploying the power of contrast if you feel like taking things to the next level.
- More importantly it gives you the opportunity to include the phrase “Which do you prefer?”. This means you’ve moved on from asking IF they will accept a guest post to asking them WHICH ONE they’ll be taking. It is a classic sales technique, puts the power seemingly in their hands but either outcome and you win. Granted it doesn’t always work but it will likely generate a much higher success rate if you’re pitching the right kinds of content.
#3 – Actually follow people up
There’s a reason successful sales teams have CRM solutions, it allows for effective lead and sales funnel management which in simple terms translates as more leads turning into sales.
In the case of guest posts, it’s about turning more of those blog and website leads sitting on your spreadsheet into actual guest post opportunities.
If you’ve put in the legwork finding really good sites, conjured up some great content ideas to pitch them, then do yourself the courtesy of following up with them. How many times you do so is entirely your choice, we’ll usually try 2-3 times before taking the hint.
One email and no response doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not interested, they could well be busy. Following up with them means you’re visible in an inbox that might be pretty full.
I feel it is also important to keep the pedal to the metal until the post is actually live – your guest posting campaign will fail if you’re getting stuff written and it’s getting lost in the inbox of the blogger or not top of their priority list. A polite but relentless eagerness to be published will ensure you are the next guest post that goes live.
#4 – Be open to experimentation
When it comes to guest post outreach. Adaptive behaviour is crucial.
Remember the sales mantra from Glengarry Glen Ross? “ABC – Always Be Closing”…
- Subject line
- Opening line
- Body test
- Font type
- Font size
- Time of day you send email
- Different signatures
- Different personas
Even if you’re not using the same email each and every time you reach out to host sites (hint – you shouldn’t be), you can develop a framework and learn from successes in other markets
#4 ½ – Make people curious
This is arguably a tip in its own right but the reason I wanted to make it a ½ is because it highlights a methodology you can apply to guest post outreach.
You’ve probably seen at least 10 other blog posts offering tips for the best ways to do guest post outreach. Maybe you chose to read this one because you’re a regular reader (thanks very much!) or maybe you clicked through because you are looking to consume as much guest post content as possible right now (guest posting is a justifiably hot topic right now). However, I suspect there will be some people reading this who clicked through just to see what the ‘half a tip’ would be.
AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action
Make your subject line intriguing enough to open (Attention), make your blog post ideas intriguing enough that they’re curious (Interest) and excited enough (Desire) to let you run with it (Action).
An email inbox is a busy place, a blogger might see hundreds of standard guest post requests every week, and this will only increase as more latch on to the power of guest posting for links and brand awareness…what’s your plan for getting seen?
If you have any questions, I’d be delighted to answer them in the comments section below. Also we provide a guest posting service which offers a scalable way to gather high-quality links.