The 5 Rules to Pitching a Guest Blog
When I started at buuteeq back in December of 2010, I was a successful video editor. I didn’t know a lick about SEO. Three years later, I’m now the technical marketing manager for the company, in charge of our SEO, SEM and anything else that vaguely falls under ‘technical’. It’s has been an amazing adventure to learn what I have over these few years, and to see my efforts pay off.
Part of my strategy has been guest blogging. Yes, I know, old hat, but I’m frustrated, because so many people do it wrong. You see, I manage our company’s blog, and I am inundated with requests from SEOs who want to post guest blogs. Almost all of them are so feeble that I get offended. It’s the sheer laziness of some SEOs that ruffle my feathers. Do they not think I’m a real person? Am I not worth their infinitely more valuable time that they take such little care when mailing me? Balderdash. Guest blogging is an effective SEO strategy, but only when you treat blog owners with respect, and their readers with enough respect that you actually craft something worth reading.
If you want to pitch someone your awesome guest post, follow these five rules. Or else.
Be Personable and Genuine
Internet savvy people can smell a BSer from a mile away. Have you ever gotten an email from a long lost acquaintance you don’t remember who’s stranded in Nigeria and desperately needs you to send them $500 via Western Union so that they can escape the greedy custom agents who are holding them for ransom, written in terrible English? That’s exactly what you sound like when you send someone an email that looks like this:
“Hello <insert name of blog here>, I really enjoy the rich content your blog has. I find it very actionable. I really enjoyed <insert title of latest blog post here>. By the way, I’m interested in posting an article on your blog on how awesome keyword stuffing is. Will you post it for me? Thanks!
Don’t be that guy. Just be yourself.
- Actually read some of the posts on the blog, from start to finish. This will give you a feel for the blog and the kind of content they are looking for.
- Don’t sugar-coat the reason for contacting them. We all know you want backlinks. I know it, the blog owner knows it, and the readers know it. And that’s ok. As long as you provide genuine, high quality content, no one cares.
- Greet the person by first name, if you can find it. It usually isn’t that hard. Scroll down to the ‘about’ or ‘contact’ sections of the website, or find the author profile of the primary contributor. If you don’t have the time to find out the person’s first name, why should they bother with you?
- Tell them how you found them. Explain why you think your article would be a good fit. Don’t just go straight to the pitch with your clammy hands, do some flirting first, bub.
Write Something Worth Reading
Don’t just rewrite a “10 things that have changed since Penguin” post or, “The ultimate guide to SEO”. Write something you have never written before, something that comes from personal experience. You’ll find that this will actually make your job easier. It’s easier and much more fun to write about something you’re passionate and knowledgeable about, rather than something that is vaguely related to the blog’s topic. If what you wright wouldn’t hold your own attention, don’t pitch it.
Don’t Fret Word Lengths
If you’re continuously scanning the word counter in Word, then you’re doing it wrong. The point is not to reach the 5-700 word limit for the guest post, and if that’s you’re aim, then it’s going to be a long, frustrating job writing the article. Instead, ignore the word limit, if any guidance is given, and write as much as you feel like. You’ll probably meet or exceed the word limit in no time, if you know your topic. If you can’t find enough to say that meets the word limit, then you probably shouldn’t be writing about it.
Don’t Force a Backlink
Look, this isn’t your grandpa’s SEO anymore. The hard and fast rules of guest blogging for SEO aren’t hard and fast anymore. Don’t worry about the anchor text for your backlinks. If all your anchor text looks the same, Google will sniff you out and catch you. Just include a link back to your website using you brand name, or simply the word ‘here’. True, it’s safe to have a few keyword optimized anchor text backlinks within the link profile of your domain, and true, they can help, but if you get too many in there, webmaster tools might start shouting at you. And no one wants that. Just link to your website where it makes sense in the article, or even in the author bio, and you’re good to go.
Don’t You Dare Half-Ass It
Look, I know it can be tempting to write one kick-ass article, send it off to a blog, and then just rewrite the same article with a few words changed here and there enough to pass a Copyscape scan before sending it off to a slew of other blogs. But Google is more advanced than Copyscape—they can always tell when you’re just writing for the backlink. Just sit down, write something new and do the work.
Don’t Be Lazy
If I had to sum-up this guide in one phrase it would be, ‘Don’t be lazy’. It’s within our nature to find the path of least resistance, to find the easiest way out, and to make less work for ourselves. But we have to resist this urge. Not only will we produce better content, achieve greater success, and establish a stronger reputation, but it’s good for our characters. There are few things in life worth having that are easy to get. If we train ourselves to work hard now when we don’t always have to, we won’t bat an eye when we do have to, when our careers depend on working hard, or when our family depends on it.
About the Author
Brandon is the Technical Marketing Manager at buuteeq, the digital marketing system for hotels. He manages buuteeq’s SEO, paid media channels, social outreach, and the company blog. You can connect with him on Twitter @buuteeq.