How to Use the Guest Blogging Strategy Template [Step-by-Step]
Updated on October 28th, 2016
If you’re looking to seriously enhance your web marketing strategy and build a following, you’ll want to consider guest blogging.
Guest blogging is more than just a traffic-building strategy; it’s about authority, credibility, leads and clout with your customers.
You are positioning yourself alongside experts in your industry and commanding the attention of your target audience on websites they already know, like and trust. It helps you “skip the queue” in the minds of your ideal prospects.
Guest blogging can be daunting though, the thought of writing more, especially when it can be a chore to come up with your own content.
But the ROI has been proven time and again (you can read two case studies here).
And we’re not the only ones preaching about it.
Guest blogging is a wonderful and mutually beneficial relationship between writer and publication. It’s great for the writer, of course, who might be looking to get their name out there as a thought leader and industry expert while also helping grow their own readership.
At the same time, it’s great for the folks at media outlets. It’s a good look for them to publish a diversity of voices and opinions on their site – not to mention more articles means more indexed pages, which can be a boost for a site’s SEO.
But you’ll want to ensure that you’re submitting articles to the right kinds of publications – not only because you want results, but because you’ll want to make sure you’re establishing the right kind of authority online.
And there is plenty of opportunity out there for guest blogging, with only 6% of bloggers publishing the majority of their original content as guest posts.
If you’d like to improve or refine your online reputation, guest blogging is a great way to do this. You instantly gain access to a brand new audience. Plus, blogging on other sites confirms the loyalty of your current followers towards you.
So where should you start? How do you know if the publications and websites you’re submitting to will benefit you, after all of your hard work?
Our Guest Blogging Strategy Template shows you how to target, assess, reach out, request and submit your guest blog post to credible websites. The rest of this article will go through step-by-step how to use the template.
This template has been downloaded tens of thousands of times as a part of our 33 Web Marketing Templates – if you don’t have a copy you can download one below.
Table of Contents
Understanding the Guest Blogging Strategy Template
Let’s start with the Legend in this template. There are a few terms that are mentioned (under “Terms”), and the legend explains how to find information on each of the items listed out (under “Explanation”).
As you’re tracking information on the websites you’d like to write for, you’ll use a few of the tools listed below:
For instance, to figure out what sort of “authority” a certain website has, you can enter the address in the Open Site Explorer tool, and find out how high that website ranks.
A site like Hubspot, for instance, has a very high authority ranking. This means that the site is likely to rank in Google’s search results, based on Moz’s algorithms for a domain’s popularity.
A higher domain authority means your guest post will get seen by more people, if it’s published on that site.
You should research a site’s traffic rank too (how many people visit a website over a specific period of time) and find out how many blog subscribers they have – these numbers will give you an idea of just how much potential there is for your post to be seen by a wider audience. To do so you can check out Alexa and Feedly.
Once you’ve started reaching out to these sites, you’ll want to track when and how you do that, along with any response from them – which you can do using this template. Also, you can use the Blogger Outreach Template as a good starting point for your emails.
And finally, to ensure that you’re submitting articles that are relevant – both for your own authority-building and for the sites that you write for – you’ll want to do a bit of keyword research with a tool like KeywordTool.io. This free tool will list the most relevant keyword suggestions to use in your writing – so that you connect with your audience better by using the actual phrases people use to discover information and products in search engines.
Keyword research is essential in your guest blogging strategy because if you nail it, and then optimise your post for SEO, then you will rank that guest blog in search results. This delivers you traffic on auto-pilot in the future.
Discovering Relevant Guest Blogging Opportunities
So let’s take a look at how to find those people and sites in your niche that fit these criteria. You’re going to be spending valuable time writing these blogs – so you’ll want to find the best places to do that.
Start by writing down the sites that come to mind first. If you’ve been working in a specific industry, you probably already have an idea of some of the bigger names in those circles.
Then head to Google – search for your target keywords on the topics that you’re going to focus on.
For example, maybe you’re writing about fitness and motivation – a good keyword phrase might be something like “motivation for working out”.
From there, make a list of the blogs that show up on the first couple of pages (you can usually ignore the paid ads at the top, if there are any).
Work through all of your keywords and phrases, and record any of the sites that are relevant to your writing topics. You’ll probably start to find that the same sites will consistently show up at the top of searches.
Also make note of the authors who frequently show up in your searches – these are the heavy hitters in your niche: the influencers. Find out where they’re writing, follow them on social media, and try to build a relationship with them.
Tracking Your Guest Blogging Strategy
So you have an understanding of who you want to write for, what you’d like to write about, and whether or not that website is worth your time and energy. Time to start tracking your results!
In the first column, you’ll type the name of the publication. Then you’ll get to work looking up the numbers on the website, using the tools mentioned above (and defined in the Legend). The Numbers section of the spreadsheet will give you an idea of what kind of audience you’ll potentially reach, if you’re published on the website.
The next section over – People & Outreach – tracks contact information for the publication that you’re targeting. You’ll want to reach out to an individual, if possible – and if you’ve already built a relationship with that contact, even better!
The next section is where we’ll track the actual content on the website you’re targeting. The section – Content & SEO – is where you want to make sure that what you’re writing about is relevant to both your audience and theirs. You are also trying to optimise your post for SEO and conversions by creating a unique landing page on your website for new readers, using appropriate keywords and including a link in your Author Bio.
The final section of the template is where you’ll note how you’re actually submitting the article – who wrote it, any deadline that you need to meet, when it was written and submitted, and when the article goes “live” (when it’s published).
By tracking all of this information in one place, you’ll be able to determine the kind of growth and ROI that your guest blogging strategy is getting for your business.
After You Submit
So let’s say your article is published and shared on social media. What’s next?
This is where you’ll want to focus on building new relationships.
From Jeff Goins:
Perhaps the best part of guest posting is that it allows you to enter an already-established community, and share your message. It allows you to connect with new people, which can ultimately benefit you, if you do it right. If you’re adding value to the discussion, you’re going to see that convert over time to more readers, fans, and followers.
Be sure to respond to any comments that you might get on your post, and follow how the article integrates with your social media strategy.
From there, you’ll want to determine how to leverage your guest blogging strategy so that you’re able to convert those new readers into customers, and eventually track the success of the whole campaign.
Think about tracking these metrics:
- Amount of referral traffic from the guest site
- Bounce rate on the landing page you send readers to
- Conversion rate for your call-to-action (most likely joining an email list or a free trial opt-in)
- Engagement with future emails, such as click through and open rates
- Interaction with content on your site, such as comments or social shares
- Of the traffic you received from this guest post, exactly how many people became customers?
What about you? Have you developed a guest blogging strategy? What kind of results have you seen from your efforts?
Content Marketing Sales Funnel
Your content marketing sales funnel is all about getting people to know, like and trust you by nurturing them with the right information at the right time.