1 Simple Guest Articles Strategy for Driving Traffic

Tutorial Part 1

Tutorial Part 2

In today’s tutorial, I’ll share the only content marketing strategy that I use across all of my businesses – using guest article posts to generate more traffic to my websites and form useful professional relationships with other websites and publications.

Wouldn’t it be great if, month after month and year after year, your website became more authoritative and attracted more traffic without any additional work? This well-oiled engine is the golden ideal, and this guest article strategy is the baseline to help achieve that realization. It’s a strategy that I’ve implemented with other CLVboost clients, and it’s also the one that I used to help launch my first eCommerce Business, which is now reaching $250K in revenue a month (for more profitable launch tips, read this case study).

I’ve used the guest article strategy to get on websites like TechCrunch, the Boston Business Journal, and many others. It’s a strategy that’s applicable in any niche and with any company, and one that over time drives new streams of traffic to your website and permits your website to rank higher on Google for search terms relevant to your business.

Securing Your Arrangement

Securing your arrangement is getting yourself into a position where you can contribute guess content to a site on a regular basis, and not just by luck or through one random email.

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Before you reach out to a particular website or publication, you should ask yourself two questions:

  1. What is the mutual benefit (for yourself and the publisher)?
  2. How do I provide long-term value for the publisher?

Since I sell self-defense or self-protection videos, I want to find websites with a large relevant audience. When researching these sites, I also want to look for authority (generally a page rank of 5+) and traffic. If a site doesn’t have these two aspects, then the work hasn’t been done on their end and you probably shouldn’t be writing there in the first place.

Think of related categories as well. For example, self-reliance topics are  also a good category, as the self-reliance audience tends to be interested in self-defense/protection. I might also seek out other larger websites oriented around martial arts or self-defense training sites.

My approach, or the initial reach-out email, always covers the following basics:

  • Who I am – Name, some professional background and achievements (brief), and social proof i.e. why are you uniquely qualified to write on their site? If you’ve written for other related publications, mention one to three other sites.
  • Why I like the site’s or publication’s material – Don’t forget to tell them why you like their material (make sure you actually dig it!) Let them know what you want to contribute and why it matters.
  • Recency – Why ought this be published now? Often content is of more interest to editors if aligns with news or current events. You might also time it around something like the seasons. For example, I might pitch a piece about leveraging a technique to grab someone’s cloth to execute a judo throw, something that might be more relevant in the winter time when people are wearing thick jackets as opposed to tank tops and flip flops.
  • Specific benefit to their audience – It’s always great if you can actually reference an article the publication has published that is similar (NOT identical), something along the lines of, “I noticed this article (title and link) did well with social shares, and I think this related story will do well with your audience”. Taking the time to do so shows you’re paying attention to what the site is about, you’re looking at what’s working, and doing the work to craft a thoughtful pitch. This move will generally put your ahead of the pack and is much more likely to get the nod to send over an article draft.
  • Close – The close is casual, a “low barrier to entry”. I usually go with something similar to, “I figured this article would be a great fit, is it alright if I send you along a draft?”
  • Persist – If I’m unable to reach or get a reply from my contact, I’ll reach out again in about one week. Still no reply? Pitch something slightly different in about a month if you still don’t hear. I had to work 3 months to get into the Boston Business Journal, where as other publications were willing to publish my first content after the first email; you’ll likely have a similar experience with various publications.

Of the above list, recency and specific benefits are two of the most important and also those that tend to be overlooked by most people sending pitches.

The overall objective with this approach is not to contribute just one article; rather, it’s to get a regular succession of writing with a column. If an article does well, you can quickly follow up with another article (in two or three weeks), and after the second or third article approach your contact about writing a regular column (normally, you’ll do the writing for free and for the purposes of earned traffic). At this point, the editor is may start to feel like you’re the real deal and will be happy to work with you.

Whether you write weekly or monthly will depend on how much time you (or your writer) have to write, and also the rhythm of most other columns on the website. I write a monthly column on MarketingLand, and monthly is the normal pace for the site.

Also, if you constantly have to send Word docs to people, it’s always a bit of an annoyance to an editor; the goal is to request and get a writer’s log-in to the site’s blog so that you can publish drafts on a routine basis.

Mutual Benefit from Content Marketing Strategy

Ultimately, you want to make your self and the publication happy over time by working together. The following guidelines can help lay the foundation for building mutually beneficial relationships:

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Content Strategy

Start by asking what your content strategy is for any given site. You want to merge your value proposition to the interest and value proposition of any given publication. If I teach self-defense/protection, and I’m writing on a site about self-reliance, then the content I write wouldn’t be technical, specific Jiu Jitsu techniques, since it’s likely not of interest to most of the audience.

Instead, I might write educational content about fundamental basic tips for handling one’s self, simple techniques in everyday situations. I’m taking my own value proposition (self-defense techniques) and applying these to the site’s audience (general self reliance, not trained martial artists).

Going into the writing with this mindset allows you to continually produce content useful to you (for traffic) and for the publication. Always ask yourself if a particular article idea is a good match for both of you (and read this copyblogger article for some additional useful tips on posting great guest blogs).

Linking

When you write an article, you want to have at least two links to other sources. One can be your own website, but you want to link out to at least one other reputable site. For one, you’re not the only expert and there’s most likely other great content being published by others in the space. Two, only linking to your site could trigger red flags with both the publishers and Google.

Furthermore, all links should add value to the article. You might not have time to flesh out an idea fully in your article, but if you mention that idea you can link to another sight to provide readers with more information. For example, I might mention the importance of subject line in a MarketingLand article, but subjects lines are not the main idea of the piece; instead, I link out to another company that covers this topic well.

You can also link out to articles that you’ve written on other sites as opposed to linking  to your own site all the time. Doing so builds credibility for you and also drives traffic to those sites you’ve written for in the past (or for which you are currently writing).

Providing Lasting Value

You want to go into the writing with the goal of building a lasting relationship with the publication. Make it a goal within the first month of regular writing to reach out to your editor at least once and brainstorm with him or her. Explain that you’ve been thinking of three topics for the coming month as themes for an article; get their opinion on the topic and ask which would be most helpful to the publication.

Let them provide some direction and be a part of the team. This reach out shows you’re thinking about their audience and value the editor’s input as a professional. You might consider making this a routine every three months or so, depending on the nature of the publication.

As always, hope this tutorial was helpful. Feel free to leave your feedback in the comments, and tune in next week for another marketing strategy rundown.

-Daniel Faggella
CLVboost Founder

 

About The Author

Daniel Faggella

I grow businesses with marketing automation, email marketing, and conversion-rate optimization. I've spoken on business and emerging technologies internationally and at some of America's finest schools (Yale, Stanford, Cornell, etc...). My marketing strategies have been featured in the Boston Business Journal, MarketingProfs, Direct Marketing News, and much more. CLVboost is where I share marketing strategies, TechEmergence.com is my major pursuit.