Why Your Guest Posts Don’t Drive Traffic To Your Blog (and What To Do About It)
- Tom Southern
You’re excited to start your online business, and you’ve heard from experts that guest posting is the best way to build your blog. You followed the experts’ advice and combed the internet to come up with a list of blogs that are a good fit with your own blog’s niche.
You worked hard to pitch these blogs, and when your pitch was accepted, you were ecstatic. You wrote great content for the blog owner and waited impatiently for publication day.
And when publication day did arrive, you couldn’t stop checking your subscriber stats to see how many new readers you’d gotten for your blog.
But . . . . your excitement didn’t last.
The flood of readers you expected after your guest post was published never came.
Sure, a few people left comments. A few more tweeted or shared a link to your guest post. But your traffic stats didn’t lie. Your hard work and increase in traffic, readers, subscribers and income just never materialised.
What’s Gone Wrong?
Could it be that guest posting actually sucks? That it’s just another tired old traffic tip that has passed its sell-by date?
No. Guest posting is still the best strategy for growing your blog. It’s not easy. But then, nothing easy works, does it?
Could it be that you just picked the wrong time to guest post?
No. Apart from New Year’s Eve and Thanksgiving there’s never really a wrong time to guest post.
Could it be that your list of target blogs to guest post on is wrong?
Maybe, but probably not. After all, your research is solid: you know these blogs are writing to the sames kinds of readers you’d like to have on your email list.
The truth is, if your guest posting hasn’t generated the results you expected or wanted, it’s because you didn’t do the most important thing you need to do as a guest poster.
You didn’t promote your guest post.
Sure, you tweeted and shared a few links to your guest post.
But it’s not enough.
It’s not enough to get accepted, published and sit back and enjoy your spot in the limelight that guest posting for other blogs gives you.
You need to promote your guest post too. And, I mean PROMOTE it.
It’s not enough to sit back after your guest post goes live thinking that all the host blog’s readers and its reputation will do all the promotion for you. It’s not enough to tweet or share a few links (and pop by to respond to comments).
What The Pros Do That You Don’t (and Why Their Guest Posts Get More Traffic Than Yours)
Remember those experts we talked about earlier? The ones who told you that guest posting is the best way to build your list? They weren’t wrong, but what they may not have told you is that they do this one thing that 80% of guest posters don’t do:
They create a plan for promoting the hell out of their guest posts.
To get the most mileage out of your guest post (no matter which blog you’re publishing on), you need to have a promotion plan of your own. And you need to follow this plan. And keep on following it days, weeks, or months after the post has been published. If you’ve created timeless pillar content, you might even be promoting it years later!
You see, getting your guest posts accepted and published is only a small part of what makes your guest posts successful.
Your guest post’s biggest value is in the connections you make as you’re promoting it.
Now, you may be thinking: “I have promoted my guest posts and I don’t just tweet a few links.” That’s great – it means you’re one step ahead of the 80% of guest bloggers who never promote at all.
But, you still aren’t seeing the flood of new subscribers that you dreamed of, which means that you are probably making one – or more – of these 5 big promotion mistakes.
5 BIG Mistakes to Avoid When Promoting Your Guest Post
Before I get into some simple and highly effective ways to promote your guest post that will pay dividends for you (and the blogs your write for), I want to stop for a minute and talk about the 5 ways that most people try to promote their guest posts. Like many online marketing tactics, it often helps to see what you shouldn’t do, before we get into what you should do.
BIG Mistake #1: “In It to Win It” Mentality
Yes, you want traffic. Yes, you want readers. And yes, you want to sell as much of your product as you can. Working with other people to help you do this is great. But it’s a two-way process, with a heavy dollop of giving back. If the people reading your guest post feel as though your only interest in them is how much money you can make off them, your guest post will never attract the kind of long-term subscribers you’re looking for.
BIG Mistake #2: Being Spammy
Nobody wants to be seen as spammy. Nobody wants to get spam. So, promote your guest post with care and authenticity. Realize that, although *you* think everyone in the world should read your post, not everyone else sees it that way. Choose who you contact to promote your blog and having something meaningful to offer them in return.
BIG Mistake #3: Forgetting to Connect with Influencers
In the excitement of sharing your guest post links on social media, you may have forgotten that 90% of promotion is building relationships connecting and engaging.
Most people spend too much time on social media tweeting and sharing links, thinking that this is what promoting their guest posts is all about. In between they may email an influencer in their niche.
In truth, 90% of your promotion should be focused on building and engaging with a network of influencers who will promote your guest posts to their massive and loyal audience.
When they tweet links to your content they’re making a recommendation to their audience that they should check out your content.
BIG Mistake #4: Not Knowing Who Will Promote Your Post, and Why
Whenever you write a guest you should have a clear plan for who you want to promote your guest post, and why they would want to do so.
In other words, which influential blogger on your particular topic would love to send people to your guest post? You should have this in mind as you’re writing the post, not after. Remember to think about influential bloggers in your network with whom you’ve cultivated relationships: would their readers benefit from the guest post you’re writing?
Then you need to think about “why” you want them to promote your guest post. It’s not enough to just respond with “Because I want them to promote my post.” Of course you do. But it’s a trap to think simply about what you can get out of connecting.
To stand out from all the other people contacting influential bloggers for promotional content, you’ll have more success if you can provide a specific reason for that influencer to feature you. It could be because their recent post on the topic raised a lot of questions that your post will solve. Or it could be because your area of expertise in this topic is deeper than theirs, and they’re happy to share the best resources with their audience. The exact reason will differ for each influencer, which is why many people often ignore this process.
BIG Mistake #5: Forgetting About Pre-Publication & After-Publication Promotion
To get the most out of any promotion you do, you need to start before your guest post goes live. And you need to keep on promoting it after the publication date. You’ve worked hard to create an awesome post for your host blog. Why not treat as pillar content? In other words, why not be sure that the post continues to work for you (as well as your host) in terms of generating traffic and readers, and spreading the word about you (for both of you).
Most blogs that accept your guest posts will give you a publication date. This is usually a few weeks to a month after you receive notification that your guest post has been accepted. For bigger blogs, it can sometimes be a few months. Use this time from notification to publication to start putting your promotion plan into play.
After your post has been published, don’t run off to the next guest posting opportunity and forget all about this post. Keep promoting your guest posts. There will always be influencers and other people who will be interested in the topic of your guest post. Your job is to keep track of them so that you can let them know about it and they can promote it to their audience for them.
7 Tiers To Powerfully Promote Your Guest Posts
Now you know what mistakes to avoid when promoting your guest posts, you can concentrate on developing a simple and highly effective plan for powerfully promoting them the way smart bloggers do! Each of these tiers will work by itself, but I recommend you do as many as possible to get the most mileage out of each guest post.
Tier #1: Influencer Promotion
Who did you name or talk about in your post? Email them, or send them a tweet to tell them about about it. Everyone likes to be recognized for their expertise, so this is a natural place to start promoting your guest post.
The first place to start is by thanking the owner of your host blog. Show your gratitude. “Knocked out to have this guest appearance on [insert name of host blog].” is a good start.
Thank the blog editor too if your host blog has one. Because he or she has been your first point of contact and have helped and advised and edited your guest post for you.
Then, think about who you mentioned in your guest post. Email or tweet them and let them know you mentioned them. Add a line or two about why you mentioned them and ask them for a link or comment, like this:
If you’re connecting via email instead of social media, take a look at this example from an email I sent Jon Morrow of BoostBlogTraffic.com and a former Associate Editor of Copyblogger.com:
[Subject line]: Because you’re a Stephen King fan …
Thought you might like to check out this SlideShare.net presentation I’ve created. It’s my first one. It’s about what Stephen King can teach bloggers about creating compelling content.
Oh, and I tribute you and your post about him as one of my inspirations behind this presentation. Stephen King being the other 🙂
Here’s the link: http://www.slideshare.net/TomMSouthern/stephen-king-slide-share-presentation-25891303
If you like it, please tweet it.
Have a great weekend.
Simple, polite, friendly and to the point. He’s busy and so is every influential blogger. He’s also generous like a lot of influential bloggers are. Jon emailed me back with this response: How could I resist?
Your last set of influencers to contact are bloggers who’ve written about the same topic. Send them a quick email or a tweet (it’s a good idea to follow them on Twitter too and keep up contact with them) to let them know about your guest post. Don’t forget to include a link, and any specific promotion actions you think would best suite their readers.
If you choose to send them an email, say something like this:
Hi [blogger’s name],
You wrote a great post on your blog a few [days/weeks/months] ago called [insert blog post title] and I loved it and tweeted it out to all my followers. [if they responded add this next line] You wrote a great response to my comment/tweet [delete whichever one does NOT apply] too. Cheers!
I’ve just written this guest post for [name of your guest post host blog] which I think and your readers will like. Here’s a link so you can check it out:
If you do like it and you think your readers will too, please tweet them the link. And if you’ve got an extra moment, I’d love you to leave a comment too.
If you don’t know of anyone who’s written about your topic, do a quick search on Google for blog posts that (especially) influential bloggers have written, or have published as guest posts on their blogs.
You might not get many responses from this last group. Perhaps you won’t get any responses. But the payback when you do is worth the effort!
Tier #2: Email Promotion
If you’ve got an email list, then you absolutely send an email (or two!) telling your subscribers about your guest post and including a link to it. Ask them to leave a comment and tweet or share a link to it too.
Don’t be shy. If they’re on your list, it’s because they’re interested in what you write about. Whether it’s on your blog or someone else’s won’t matter to them, as long as you’re writing stuff that they’re interested in. Appearing as a guest poster will give them social proof that you know your stuff too.
It doesn’t matter if your list has 20 members, 200 or 20,000. Promote your guest post to them and ask them to promote it too by sharing that link.
Tier #3: Social Media Promotion
Before you start posting links all over your social media sites, take a minute to write down everywhere on social media you’d like to share your guest post.
Do you belong to one or more Facebook groups? Tell them about your guest post and include a link. Ask other members for their support in sharing this link with their other groups, Facebook friends, fans, etc.
You want to do the same for your LinkedIn groups. Don’t go overboard though. You don’t want to become known as a spammer and thrown out of your group. Use a little discretion, such as:
Just got a guest post go live on [name of host blog] – Yaayyy! Would love your feedback. Let me know what you think. Thanks.
[include link to guest post].
Don’t forget Google +. And Twitter.
You can probably guess that Twitter is my favourite social media platform. I love it. But you might love Facebook. Or Google+. Or LinkedIn. Whichever one you love, use it to good effect in promoting your guest post.
Using TweetDeck to Promote on Twitter
One thing I love about Twitter is TweetDeck. It’s a free and really useful tool because it lets you schedule tweets (and retweets) and lets you add columns for the different types of people you want to follow on Twitter, like so:
This is vital for keeping up-to-date with what influential bloggers are tweeting about (and are therefore interested in). This will help you build up connections which in turn, will let you ask them to tweet links to your guest post and hopefully get one or two promotionsas a result. Here’s how that worked for me:
Each influential blogger with their huge Twitter following and influence means that if one or more of them tweet a link to your guest post, they can send a lot of readers to your guest post.
I recommend that you use Twitter. If you’ve not signed up yet, sign up today. And sign up to TweetDeck too and start adding columns for those influential bloggers you want to get to know.
Tier #4: Peers and Newbies Promotion
It’s not just influential bloggers who can promote your guest post. Your blogger peers, friends, accountability or mastermind buddies and even newbies can do wonders to promote your guest post. You can reach out to them directly by email or social media. Be explicit that you’re really excited about your guest posting opportunity, and ask them to share the link with their own audiences.
And don’t forget your fellow students! If you’ve invested in a training programme such as Danny’s Audience Business Masterclass or Write Like Freddy then you can share your guest post with them and ask them for a tweet or share too. Again, discretion is key.
Don’t expect that because they’re fellow students that they will all fall over themselves to promote your guest post. Show them all you’re a good egg too and share their guest posts (and posts) as often as you can.
Tier #5: Other Guest Posters On Your Host Blog
Chances are good that you’re not the first guest poster to post on your host blog. This is great news, because it means that all of your host blog’s previous guest posters are potential promoters for your guest post.
Search your host blog for guest posts that cover a similar topic to yours. Email the writers and let them know about your guest post. In your email to them you can say something like this:
Hi [fellow guest poster’s name],
You wrote a great post for FM a few [days/weeks/months] ago and I loved it and tweeted it out to all my followers. [If they responded to a comment you left add this line] You wrote a great response to my comment too. Cheers!
I’ve just written this guest post for FM which I think you and your readers will like. Here’s a link so you can check it out:
If you do like it and you think your readers will too, please tweet the link to them. And if you’ve got an extra moment, I’d love you to leave a comment too.
Almost no one does this in order to promote their posts, so even if you only find a handful of guest bloggers with posts similar to yours, they’ll probably be chuffed that you reached out, and happy to promote your post.
Tier #6: Influencers in Other Niches (Not Necessarily Related to Yours)
Many guest posters fall into the habit of promoting their guest post within their own niche. But the odds are good that other niches, some of which aren’t directly related to yours, would also benefit from your post! You’ll want to do a bit of research to find these niches, and then locate the influencers in each niche.
First, start with your guest post topic? Draw a circle like the one below and write your topic title in the middle. For example:
Now, think about at least ten niches that relate to your topic. Here are just a few examples:
You might have to take a bit of time to think of how your niche might relate to others. But it’s worth the time you spend coming up with these 10 niches. Later on you can increase your related niches count.
Once you’ve got up to 10 related niches, it’s time to think about who the influential bloggers are in each of them.
You might find drawing circles like those above and inter-linking them helps you. Or you might find creating a table in Excel or similar programme helps you.
The example Excel table below gives you an idea of how you can use it to keep a record of your research into niches related to your niche and the influential bloggers in each related niche.
|My Niche||Related Niche #1||Related Niche #2||Related Niche #3||Related Niche #4|
|InfluentialBlogger #1||InfluentialBlogger #1||InfluentialBlogger #1||InfluentialBlogger #1|
|Blog name||Blog name||Blog name|
|InfluentialBlogger #2||InfluentialBlogger #2||InfluentialBlogger #2||InfluentialBlogger #2|
|Blog name||Blog name||Blog name|
|InfluentialBlogger #3||InfluentialBlogger #3||InfluentialBlogger #3|
|Blog name||Blog name||Blog name||Blog name|
Make it a priority to discover their @twittername. Then follow them on Twitter.
Here are the 2 essential ways to do this:
1. Go to their blog and look for their Twitter contact details. Usually you’ll find it included in a banner of all their social media platforms details.
2. Add a column in TweetDeck to follow them as mentioned in Tier #3: Social Media Promotion.
Now that you know who these influencers are, follow what they tweet about and what they link to. This will give you insights into what interests them, and what topics they’re most likely to promote through their social media accounts (especially Twitter!)
This is how I discovered Chris Garret is a Pink Floyd fan. After we’d shared a few tweets back and forth about this band, I emailed him about a post that used Pink Floyd as an example of marketing and asked if he would tweet out a link to the post if he liked it. He did. And he tweeted a link.
Following what influential bloggers are tweeting about on Twitter also helps you start up conversations with them. Or to tweet them a link to a fellow guest poster’s guest post. Whenever you do this be sure to include your fellow guest poster’s @twittername. This will make sure they see that you’re promoting them. The more you do this, the more you’re likely to get fellow guest posters doing the same for you.
Why Influential Bloggers In Other Niches Can Be Excellent Promoters
Now that you know how to find and connect with influencers in other niches, take another look at the circle examples I included above. Real Estate is interlinked with Parenting because parents with children want homes for their growing family, right? So, an influential blogger with a blog about parenting would be a great asset in your promotion network if you were a Real Estate Agent who had just published a guest post on a big site like Firepole Marketing.
It helps if you’ve already built up a connection with them before your guest post goes live. But even if you haven’t, you can tweet a message to an influential blogger outside your niche about your guest post if you know that it’s related to their niche.
Taking our influential parenting blogger example, let’s say that your guest post is about creating a family-friendly home office that will increase your productivity as a business blogger. You could tweet this parenting blogger and say something like:
@twittername [of influential Parenting blog] check my guest post on @FirepoleMRKTNG about creating family-friendly home offices: [include link to guest post].
@twittername [of influential Parenting blog] this might interest your readers if they want a family-friendly home office: [include link to guest post].
Of course your tweets won’t have the words in brackets taking up the 140 character spaces. And remember to leave space for retweets in your tweet for influential bloggers to add something too when they retweet. Space encourages retweets.
Tier #7: Write a Related Post on Your Own Blog
Writing a related post on your own blog is an added tool in promoting your guest post. You’ll get the best promotion power out of this tactic if your related or follow-up post is also a very strong post.
You can expand on the points covered in your guest post by including additional valuable resources or tools, steps, etc.
Make sure you include a link back to your relevant guest post on its host blog. This is essential.
This does mean you’ll need to do some extra schedule planning, especially if you want your guest post’s publication to coincide with your related post. But the publication date your host send you via email once your guest post is accepted should help you schedule both posts to coincide.
Before you start writing your related post and after you’ve been given the green light your guest post has been accepted, email your host (or his or her blog’s editor) and check that it’s okay for you to write a related post. Include in your email a brief description of what your related post will cover so it’s clear it’s not just a copy or a thinly disguised rewording of your guest post.
If you don’t have a blog yet, don’t worry. You’ll get plenty of mileage out of the 6 other tiers to promoting your guest post.
Get Out There and Promote Your Posts!
What you get out of your guest post depends entirely on the effort you put into promoting it. It’s up to you whether you get 7 comments or 107. The more promotion you do for your post, the more engagement you’ll get.
The same goes for how many people click through to your blog or your email opt-in “give-away” and join your list of subscribers.
By following this the seven tiers that I’ve laid out here, you’ll get more engagement and create a larger audience for your own blog.
If you get more comments, tweets, shares than other guest posts it because you are more active in promoting your guest post than they are. Pat yourself on the back. It’s proof you’re doing a great job!
Now, it’s time to get busy promoting your guest post. Start by following me on Twitter here and tweet me a link so I can retweet it out to my followers.
Leave a comment below to let me know how you plan to use this guest post promotion plan to drive more traffic to your own blog!