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Blog Success: Guarantee That Your Next Post Will Lead to New Clients

Note: This post was part of the “Marketing That Works” Ideas Contest, showcasing 20 of the most innovative marketing ideas from the blogosphere’s up and coming marketers. We’ve since picked a winner – check out this post for the details! 🙂

successGuest blogging is undoubtedly one of the most talked about content marketing tactics around – the reason is that it is such an effective method for blog success, whether it be building brand awareness, driving traffic and increasing search engine visibility.

I found also (much to some people’s surprise) that it is a really effective way to attract paying clients.

You just need to go about it the right way.

Most approach guest blogging as follows; You run an SEO consulting firm – you want to get into guest blogging…where do you start? SEOmoz, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land will probably feature in your response. Sure, it makes sense, you’re an SEO business, these are SEO blogs.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with aiming to guest blog on these types of sites – you’ll gain industry credibility, build awareness, generate peer recognition, a relevant link and I must say the odd client or two.

However, what if your primary guest blogging goal was getting new paying clients through your door – well, this requires a slightly different approach…

Do as the bears do, and go fishing where the fish are.

The bigger-picture concept is identifying blogs to guest post on that you *know* (rather than guess) your prospective clients read. I will be the first to admit that this is a simple technique, but it is powerful – it has been instrumental in building the Skyrocket client base.

This technique is about generating maximum return on investment from each guest post you write. (Remember if your goal is brand awareness or peer recognition then this particular guest blogging methodology probably isn’t for you.)

Before we get started, this technique presupposes two things;

  1. You have your own house in order – your website needs to reflect your brand and aid conversion rather than hinder it – even the most warmed up prospect will get cold feet if they click through from a superb guest post, arrive at your site and it’s crap. Invest in a good design, make sure it is usable and make sure you have a regularly updated blog or alternatively some killer resources for people to read through.
  2. You can write – it is an important skill in online business, so if you can’t create a compelling blog post then seek help from someone who can or just read something like Copyblogger.

Let’s get started on the path to blog success…

First, identify the industry which you are looking at targeting. Identify 5-20 prospective clients within the chosen market – create a list of their website URLs.

For example; I might be looking to target the web design market offering an SEO solution that helps them market their services.

Prospective clients on my list would include any web design firm that is mid-sized or large and has the budget to invest in SEO.

Then head over to (the link search engine from SEOmoz) and plug in each URL individually. OSE is free for 5 searches per day I believe, or unlimited if you are an SEOmoz PRO member.

Filter for ‘no-follow’ using the tab beneath the search box, to bring up a list of links to that client’s website –this list will predominantly consist of comments on blogs.

You can now start creating a list of potential blogs to guest post on, try to look for patterns where more than one of your prospects has commented on a particular blog. This increases the likelihood of making sales – think Pareto’s Law; 80% of your sales will come from 20% of guest posts. Attempt to zero in on the 20% before writing for the other 80% by looking for blogs that are common to your prospective client.

For example, I may note that my prospective clients read and comment on blogs like Web Designer Depot, Web Design Ledger, speckyboy and Smashing Magazine. I might see however that the all 10 of my prospective clients comment frequently on Web Designer Depot, this becomes my first port of call.

Comments – do they really mean anything?

If they are commenting then there is a good chance that they trust and value the content being produced there. This technique provides a great way to leverage that existing trust and reader relationship and use it to your advantage.

Tailor your content

Most will tailor their content to the blog, this technique though encourages drilling down further and offers the opportunity to tailor the content to the individual in order to maximise the chances of getting their attention and converting them.

Actually invest time in the comment thread, look at what your target client is talking about. It will be a rich source of blog post inspiration. Even if you don’t attract that particular client, the questions, fears and curiosities they have are likely to be echoed across similar individuals in their industry so your words will likely resonate with quite a few prospective clients.

Another word on content

The guest blog success equation as I see it is; 30% topic choice, 10% blog selection and 60% content. This might seem like an odd way to assign importance of the different factors but I have seen plenty of people fail miserably to gain traction when they guest blog on big name websites simply because the topic wasn’t a good fit.

Granted, to a certain extent, getting a post on “Superstar Ninja Blogger Y’s-front-page-of-Digg” blog is going to guarantee you a certain amount of attention but the aim here is attraction – more specifically attraction of clients with open wallets.

The content you produce must resonate with your target client; I find the best way to do this is by offering a glimpse inside what you actually do – offering transparency, showing results and providing hard evidence where possible.  This serves to remind clients that you do this on a daily basis (so they A) Know you’re an expert and B) Can pay you to do it for them if they wish) – this helps to give your guest post a subtle commercial edge without being overtly self-promotional.

Obviously, no methodology or technique guarantees blog success, or that you are going to get new clients from your next guest post. However, I can say with confidence, this technique has worked very well for me and I encourage you to try it for yourself.

About James Agate

James Agate is the founder of Skyrocket SEO, a small UK based content-led SEO agency. We strive to help clients by turning great content into search engine and business success. James writes frequently on the topics of SEO, guest blogging and inbound marketing and believes offering value (even if you're not always directly getting paid) will pay off in the long term.

41 thoughts on “Blog Success: Guarantee That Your Next Post Will Lead to New Clients

  1. This is a great post because it speaks to the very important topic of writing to your audience. If you normally blog about SEO and your guest blogging on a photography blog you have to tailor the content to photographers… Blog for Attorneys then Lawyer stuff… etc.

    Guest blogging is so powerful if done right… see “The Freddy Krueger of Blogging”


    Ryan H.

    • It’s true Ryan, it really is a great way to target (as I said in my comment below)

      I’d also like to add that some of the world’s most powerful industry-changing (and profit-creating) moves, is when a brand breaks out of it’s target audiences and approaches a different vertical.

      Example: When Jay-Z, hip-hop mogul, *headlines* England’s Glastonbury Rock Festival. (I adore this :D).

  2. James, this is awesome man. I’ve heard tons of stuff about Guest-Blogging from Jon Morrow, Johnny B. Truant, Danny Iny and more, but a measured, methodical way to guide yourself towards appropriate targets/locations is awesome.

    This is very valuable to me, thanks so much for sharing. You rock, man 🙂

    • Hi Jason,

      Thanks so much – I was really aiming for a clear methodical guest blogging strategy that people can use so I am glad you said that.

      If you have any questions or ways to improve the strategy then I am all ears.


      • Well you nailed it, superstar 🙂

        Suggestions? I’d add…

        Check Your Passion:
        I prefer to comment on a target blog first. The way I look at it, if nothing on the blog compels me to comment, enter the discussion, or introduce myself, I am likely not passionate enough about the blog to deliver a Quality Guest Post.

  3. This is a very good, very detailed step-by-step post. A lot of people will benefit from this, I’m sure. I like how you explain your process on looking for places to write guest posts for.

  4. Some very nice insights in this post James. I particularly liked the parts about how to find similar prospective clients commenting on the same site. Very nice and actionable. Great job!

  5. Nice, James! This is great. Was actually ransacking my brain recently about guest posting and the methodology behind it – plus I’m preparing to do some guest blogging soon – so I couldn’t have read your post at a better time. 🙂 My brain always leans more toward the creative rather than the technical, so I can always use solid, clear-cut methods like these as food for thought (love your “30% topic choice, 10% blog selection and 60% content” formula).

    I’ll definitely keep this in mind and expound on what I’ve already been brainstorming as I start guest posting. Thanks, James!

  6. The waters of guest blogging can get very muddied when writing for a nonspecific blog. I’m still trying to outline exactly how to do this. Still in the phase of looking for sites to write for. Thanks for the references.

    • Thanks very much – I try to reverse engineer things all the time…I guess it comes from being involved with SEO, we are forever visualising the end result and working backwards to devise a smarter strategy.

      I really appreciate your feedback 🙂

  7. Great thoughts about guest blogging. Guest blogging is one of the great idea in promoting your business and branding your name as well. Comments are really important because by their comments you would know if they trust you or not. Well anyway, thanks for this great thoughts!

  8. Holy smokes, James. That idea of using Open Site Explorer has got some serious genius in it. Not only do you find blogs potential clients read, but blogs they are actually involved in and taking action with. I love everything about that idea.

  9. This is a strategy I feel really strongly about and for me this is “the year of the guest blog”. I like your unique approach, identifying potential clients and following them to their favourite blogs. Nice work.

    I also thoroughly approve of your insight into the wealth of information you can find in blog comments. Rather than just leaving your own comment and bailing it’s worth spending time analysing what people are talking about. More often than not they reveal their frustrations and aspirations, which is the perfect market research, and there is always the inspiration for your own blog posts.

    As Jason might say, ryze up!

    • Couldn’t agree more Belinda, I’m in the year of the guest post too (and it works!)

      Discovering revealing frustrations and aspirations is one big advantage of comments, I’m spending a lot more time reading them and trying to contribute meaningfully to relevant discussions. It’s a great way to get to know your target market and understand their needs (and how you can solve them).

      If you leave thoughtful comments it hopefully also shows your audience that you have some value to offer and perhaps even are somewhat of an expert in your field. Ha ha!!

  10. Great post James. I like your point and how to tips on actually identifying where you’re market’s congregrating and what they’re actually reading. We’re all guilty of making assumptions – or as bloggers assuming we should guest post on the big name blogs – when, in fact, our potential fee paying clients and customers might be somewhere else completely.

    Thanks for the how to tips, will be putting those into practice as I build my guest posting target list.

    You’ve created some great comments and conversations here too, so double points for you!

  11. James,

    Great article! I love your advice on ways to identify where your clients hang out! I’d add one more piece to your guest blog success formula is a well-written and attractive call-to-action to suck them over to your blog. What do you think?

    • Absolutely – getting attention and social traction is easy(ish) the difficult bit is transforming all that attention into attraction and then converting that into clients…attractive calls to action are essential.

      I would also say making sure your website is looking sharp with some good blog posts for people to read once they come across – these things are essential.

      Thanks for your advice Tom. Much appreciated

  12. Hi James,

    This was a very nice post. It’s a great strategic approach to a tactic that so many people talk about. I hope it resonates well with people.


  13. I have read this before as part of another marketing course. This has to be one of the best pieces of advice I can give a client who is starting online marketing efforts. It seems that everyone who starts trying to guest post is focusing online in their niche. Real estate agents focus on real estate blogs, fitness experts focus on fitness blogs. While this is good, this is far from enough.

    To be successful in marketing online, you need to understand what else your market cares about. Then it is just a matter of how do you tie yourself into that blog. In the offline world, magazines do this all the time. Think of a blog as your own personal magazine.

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