Guest posting is one of the most effective components of an online marketing strategy for multiple reasons. First, it can help introduce your business to a new audience and drive referral traffic to your website, and second, it’s a great link acquisition strategy that can greatly benefit your search engine optimization.
Many people walk on eggshells when talking about links as if they are a taboo topic, but let’s be real: they are important when it comes to SEO. In fact, they are still to this day the top signal that Google’s algorithm takes into consideration for its organic search results. Long gone are the days of accumulating mass links, though; now it’s all about quality relevant links, and guest posting can help you acquire some nice ones for your backlink profile.
The most difficult part of the entire guest posting process is receiving pitch replies. You might have amazing content ideas and be an excellent writer, but none of that matters if your targets aren’t replying to your outreach.
Here’s how to improve your response rate and almost guarantee a reply.
Be Selective with Your Targets
When you are looking for guest posting opportunities it’s important to stay hyper niche-focused. Just because a blog accepts guest posts it doesn’t mean it’s an automatic fit, nor will they have an interest in your pitch.
For example, it would be a complete waste of my time (and the blog owner’s) if I started pitching health and wellness blogs or parenting blogs. They wouldn’t be interested in content revolving around online marketing, nor would it be beneficial to me.
Staying on-topic is a must.
Avoid Automated Spammy Mass-Outreach
There are a lot of tools available that all claim to automate guest posting outreach, and while some people understand how to leverage some of its capabilities, the majority of users just fire it up right out of the box and let the spam fly.
They use the pre-loaded template, resulting in blogs being “pitched” over and over using the same ineffective approach — blogs see that same spam over and over to the point they have become immune to. You know, the pitches that look like:
I love your blog [Blog Name] and I especially loved the article [Article Title]. It was so well written.
I was wondering if you accept guest posts. I have one I would love to send you. All I would want in return is one do-follow link.
I look forward to hearing from you.”
That is cringe-worthy at best, and I can promise you that 100% of those end up in the trash after being marked as spam.
Put Some Time and Energy into a Custom Pitch
If you want to greatly increase the chance of receiving a reply you need to put some thought and research behind your pitch. The more you know about each target, the better tailored you can craft the pitch for each particular blog.
Read through some of their recent posts as well as some of their most popular content. Also, skim through their social media feeds. You want to have a good understanding of what type of content they tend to publish and what topics are most popular on their blog.
Lastly, be genuine and show some personality. Remember, if it’s a worthy target there is a very good chance that they are receiving multiple pitches every day. A little extra effort goes a long way to make you stand out from the other emails.
Provide Value Upfront Causing the Recipient to Feel Inclined to Reply
Imagine if you received a pitch and the person had a great idea for an article, had experience and knowledge to share with your audience, provided excellent writing samples and to top it off linked to one of your recent posts in an article that was just published on their blog.
Would you feel inclined to — at the very least — reply to the pitch? More than likely, right? The little value-add of linking to their content prior to even securing a guest blog opportunity goes a long way — you are almost guilting them into replying.
Get to the Point (Avoid Fluff)
You have to understand that reading a guest blog pitch takes up the recipient’s time. Keeping your pitch direct to the point and free from any useless fluff will incase the chances of receiving a reply because you are respecting their time.
Sometimes you want to approach opportunities knowing that it might be a two-step process to lock in a guest post. A simple email along the lines of:
“I linked to one of your recent articles here: [URL]. I have a great topic in mind for your blog. Do you accept guest posts? If so I would love to send you a quick paragraph explaining it.”
You are providing value to them by linking to their blog prior to even asking for anything. Your “ask” is simple and straight to the point. If they reply, you then need to create a very specific/custom response, and if you do that right, you can feel very confident about your odds of securing a guest post on that particular blog.
Take Initiative and Offer Several Topics
When you are pitching you need to be the one to offer topics, going as far as already coming up with potential article titles. If you pitch without doing this it will require more emails back and forth before you are able to get rolling.
If you don’t send topic ideas and article titles they might assume it’s a copy/paste mass-spam pitch. Remember, be direct, but also include enough information for them to make a concrete decision.
You want to make it so simple and enticing that they simply have to hit “reply” and tell you what topic/title they are interested in. From there you can write the content and send it over to be published. Take initiative — the less work they have to do (or feel they have to do) the higher your response rate will be.
As you can see, there is no top-secret formula to receiving replies to your guest post pitches. By taking the time to send well-thought-out intelligent pitches you drastically increase your response rate.
You can’t be lazy and expect to experience decent results by firing up an automated script. Any decent blog receives dozens of copy/paste spammy pitches every day. If you want to reap the benefits of guest blogging you have to be willing to put in the work while also standing out.