Online Marketing tutorials and tips.
This article was provided by MOZ.
Garrett French — founder of Citation Labs and all around link building expert — takes you on a comprehensive walkthrough of guest posting on sites supported by sales. Why is this a good strategy? How do your posts benefit these websites? How do you start and what websites do you reach out to? Watch to find out!
Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!
Hello, folks. My name is Garrett French, and I’m a link builder. I run Citation Labs. We have 120 employees, and we build lots of links. Today I am here to reintroduce to you the tactic of guest posting.
All right. Very specifically, though, guest posting with a target of publishers — this largest portion here of the publisher pyramid — who are supported by sales, whose main reason of publishing is to sell things.
So let’s dig in. We are talking about earned placements. The publishers have to approve this content. There’s an editorial gatekeeper. Again, yes/no? Do we want to publish? Do we not?
Is it up to our standards? We’re talking about real websites with real audiences. We’re talking about flexible format. So you can think beyond an article. You can think into an FAQ, for example, or a glossary or something along those lines. Again, very much we want to emphasize the publishers that we’re talking about here get their revenue from sales.
They’re publishing so that they can get new clients or to sell products or services. We’re not talking about PBNs. We’re not talking about sponsored placements. We’re not talking about any circumstance where you have to pay money in order to get in front of somebody’s audience. Lastly, I want to point out we’re not necessarily talking about op-ed circumstances here.
This isn’t a branded expertise play. This isn’t your chance to show how much you know. Now you’re going to be able to show your expertise, but you’re going to be second fiddle. You’ve got to put the publisher themselves and their interest in sales first. That’s what you’re doing here, and that’s why you’re approaching this group, and again it’s why they publish. That’s the publisher benefit that you’re going to be emphasizing when you approach this group.
Why guest posts?
Now, why guest posts? Well, guys, there’s an enormous amount of visibility and reach here. Look at the pyramid. Now, this is representative of most industries generally, where we’ve got 95% of the publishers are publishing to get sales, 4% that are mission based and are supported by taxes, tuition, donations, subscriptions, etc.
Then we’ve got the 1% ad supported. There are so many publishers out there trying to sell in your vertical, in your clients’ verticals, in your target vertical if you’re in-house, and there’s a lot of disaggregated reach there. There’s a lot newsletters out there, a lot of social media followings out there, folks, that you could be working to get in front of.
You have a lot more topic and context control when you’re publishing on these types of websites, when you’re seeking publishing on these sites. Again, if you’re looking at the tax, tuition, donation, and subscription supported swath here, the 4%, you can sometimes have topics where you can discuss sales or mention a sales page.
But more frequently you’ve got to really focus on the publisher’s mission, why are they publishing. They’re on a mission, and so they’re supported by something besides sales. Then lastly, of course, if we’re talking about digital PR or any kind of mainstream media focus or PR effort, they want content that’s going to drive page views.
That’s how they’re supported. There’s still some mission, of course, in there. But anyhow, you’re much less able, at that point, to link into your sales pages. So again, what we’re talking about here or one of the benefits here rather links to sales pages, which of course is going to improve the rankings of your sales pages.
How to guest post
Now why is that easier in this context, in the context of helping someone else sell? Well, let’s dig in and talk through the how, and you’ll see also what makes that possible.
So primarily we’re talking about finding publishers with whom you have top-of-funnel overlap, where some of your top-of-funnel topics, the pains that your prospective clients have and the pains their prospective clients have are similar, interrelated.
Perhaps we’re talking about audience overlap. Perhaps we’re talking about industry overlap. Even location overlap. There’s some kind of overlap here, and you’re speaking into that place when you’re thinking of topics for a given publisher. Another way to think about it is the members of that market it’s what we think of as a solution stack.
So in the SEO space, we all have our favorite tool stack, the tools everybody uses, Moz for example. Well, if you’re selling into that, if you’re an agency like Citation Labs, it might make sense to work and try to get some visibility on a SaaS tool in the SEO space.
“Unbundling” the stack
Let’s work here a little bit longer though, stick on this one a little bit longer and think about unbundling the stack in different verticals, because this is really at the heart of the process and the approach. Let’s think about you’re a realtor.
So within your stack or your industry and certainly within your location, there are going to be some roofers too, and a handful of these folks are going to have blogs. Not all of them, but a handful will. So you’re going to approach a roofer with a topic such as 10 reasons to fix your roof before you put your home up for sale.
Now, this solves a roofer problem, doesn’t it? It’s reasons to purchase roofing services. Also it gives you an opportunity to talk about your expertise as a realtor and what impact roof condition may have on the sale of a home.
Let’s go into this one here, commercial ovens, let’s say those brick ovens for pizza. We’re looking at somebody in the flour space. Maybe they’ve got some organic flour. Well, you’re going to write them a guide on why you need to use organic flour in your pizza dough for your pizza restaurant, the difference that organic flour can make on the outcome of the quality of the dough, of the crust.
You’re going to speak to temperature impact on organic versus not organic, if there is. There might not be, but let’s just for the sake of this assume there is. Then you’re also going to have a great chance to link to your commercial pizza ovens.
If you’re on a site that sells flour into the restaurant space, well, it really makes sense for you to have some visibility there. Let’s say you sell cell phones and you’re thinking about the fitness or health space. So you can pitch something.
You find a physical therapist. You’ve got 10 apps that augment your physical therapy. This can work just as well for let’s say a yoga studio or a CrossFit gym. Apps that augment your exercise, your physical fitness regimen. Again, you’re putting them first, because you’re talking about augmenting services or work that’s already going on, which is kind of assuming that someone would be their customer, would choose to go to this physical therapist, or would choose to attend yoga classes at this particular studio.
So this is what we’re talking about when we think about or talk about unbundling this stack. You see as we come up with topics that we would pitch, we’re putting the publisher first. Always putting the publisher first and recognizing the reason that they publish.
Hone your pitch
This is the biggest piece, guys. Why do they publish? They publish because they want to sell services and products. So you’re thinking about topics and formats that are going to support that and that overlap with what you’re selling and how you’re functioning. Let’s see. Here’s another good tip. Try and get calls to action for your publisher into the title.
So we could revise this one. Ten reasons to fix roof before sale of home. No, 10 reasons to call a roofer before you put your home up for sale, or 10 reasons to call a roofer now if you’re going to put your home up for sale in April.
So again, you’re really looking at honing your pitch for the intended purpose of this publisher group. You’re thinking beyond the article. We talked about it a little bit, mentioned this earlier. You’re thinking about FAQs. You’re thinking about glossaries.
Explore different formats
What other formats could be strong, potential formats? An infographic, a small, little infographic. Any of these could be explained or supported through the use of graphics. Again, this is the type of document or pitch that could be really effective, because the publisher is going to see immediately how it could benefit their sales, the reason why they publish.
You’re an SEO, right? You’re going to lean into keyword research on your pitch. Hey, it looks like you’re not ranking for some of these terms in your area. Again, there needs to be overlap for these terms and with what you’re trying to sell it or with what your topic needs to be.
But if you’ve got some basis behind your pitch, some keyword research to support your topic and why it’s going to benefit the publisher, you’re miles ahead of anybody else who is pitching them.
Then you could even offer some promotion. You’re going to link to it from another placement if you get another one. You’re going to put it up on Twitter to your following. You’re going to mention it on Facebook, etc. Maybe even buy some ads for it.
Now one of the key pieces here, it’s kind of hidden down here at the bottom. You’re going to make sure that when you’re linking to your pages on your site, you’re doing it in the context of a fact-based citation. Ideally you’ve got something on your sales page, we call it a citable element, that’s fact-based, ideally your own data that supports a purchase decision ultimately.
For example, if you know that your ovens do best with organic flour at 412 degrees instead of 418 and you’ve got the data to support that, well, that’s a great place and reason to link back to your oven page that would have that data point mentioned on it.
You’re best served by linking in a justifiable manner, and that’s specifically when we’re talking about data and we’re talking about some kind of citation that needs to be linked, where the link is absolutely mandatory, a quote for example.
So again, this model or this approach has to be supported by citable elements living on your sales pages or whatever page you’re linking to, if you choose to go this route and not necessarily do sales pages.
Whoo, I think that’s about it, folks.
Probably lots of questions. But that’s our approach to guest posting on sales-supported publishers. Give it a shot and let me know how it goes. Love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org — happy to answer any questions.
Thank you, folks.
Please let me have your re-action below in the feedback section in the feedback section.
Let us know what topics we should cover for you in future.