What Guest Blogging and Blogger Outreach Are Actually About

Young man reaches out to person behind camera. Behind him snow covered mountains loom large.

Nowadays “content marketing” is a must-have for everybody who has an online presence. Why? Google’s business model is to monetize third party content. So what?

You need to “just create great content and they will come”.

Who are they? Google bots who want something to eat on your site. No content? Just packaging? That means lower rankings in the remaining organic Google search results.

Yet content alone does not suffice. Content still needs inbound links that prove its authority. On the Web link is president!

Some of the most common content marketing techniques are guest blogging and blogger outreach.

Essentially sometimes they are treated as the same thing: content marketers reach out to bloggers to guest blog for them.

Low Quality Content Marketing And Mass Mailings

Even though my blogs are barely known these days as I don’t publish much anymore I get low quality outreach messages almost every day.

Sadly such mass mailings are misguided and the people behind them don’t get what guest blogging and blogger outreach are really about. What is it?

This is post explains hot to practice guest blogging and blogger outreach properly instead.

It’s not just a definition or explanation. My point is also to exemplify what the right way to use those techniques is.

It’s tempting for people who are new to content marketing to abuse old techniques like guest blogging and blogger outreach.

Many self-proclaimed “SEO experts” and average website owners are late to this renamed “great content” and “content is king” bandwagon.

Low level SEO practitioners frantically attempt to use the techniques as a substitute for spammy link building techniques.

Things like link exchanges or paid links do not work anymore or are too risky for legit websites to try so they look for the next best thing that doe snot require a lot of effort. They are looking for short-cuts instead of gaining or attracting links.

This is of course a fallacy and I do not recommend to consider such a “strategy”. I encourage guest blogging for different reasons though.

Google vs Guest Blogging and Blogger Outreach Myths

I don’t care that much about Google anymore, at least for this blog here, but I care about my time. I get plenty of spammy guest blogging blogger outreach messages that do not deserve even the name.

Guest blogging and blogger outreach tends to become the new “dofollow blog commenting” and “search engine submission”. Thus

I will explain what guest blogging and blogger outreach are really about. It’s not about links!

Right now most people are doing it wrong. Also Google spokespeople have repeatedly stated that guest blogging is not a good way of link building.

Google officially discourages treating guest blogging as a mere link building technique! In their “link schemes” list you have to keep clear they mention:

“Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links.”

Does guest blogging and blogger outreach makes sense at all then? Let me start with a few myths:

“blogger outreach = guest blogging”

I read many posts which imply that all blogger outreach is done with the purpose of guest blogging. This is nonsense.

Blogger outreach is the art of contacting bloggers while guest blogging is just one reason among dozens if not hundreds to approach bloggers.

Let me list a few typical reasons – that are rarely mentioned in advice posts – to practice blogger outreach:

  • interviewing a blogger or a group of bloggers
  • inviting a blogger to an event like a fair or conference
  • sending a blogger a product to test and/or review
  • asking a blogger for permission to cite her/him as a testimonial
  • asking for permission to use some of the blogger’s work

“guest blogging is solely about building links”

Many SEOs apparently assume that guest blogging is a drop in and disappear tactic to get a few quick links. The contrary the case.

I am still connected with some of the people who did a guest here back in 2007 during the heydays of SEO 2.0!

Some of my guest bloggers are on my best friends or engagers list on Twitter. Guest blogging is about

  • getting traffic to your site by way of the recommendation from a blogger who already has an audience
  • establishing a connection and trust in you as a good writer
  • forging a long standing relationship with a blogger of mutual support in the future
  • returning to the blog you contacted periodically as part of the community
  • mutual aid and support on social media that allow link sharing like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn

“blogger outreach is about quantity not quality”

I already see plenty of junior SEOs to automating and outsourcing outreach efforts. Many bloggers are already pretty annoyed with the sheer number of often anonymous boilerplate messages from random people they never have heard of.

No wonder, postings like “how to get 200 outreach leads for 10$” brag about cheap ways to create massive lists of email addresses.

Such people often write to me too without even knowing the name of my blog they often claim to have read and liked.

They have apparently just scraped or bought my mail address somewhere. In contrast correct blogger outreach is about

  • personal one-to-one communication with particular bloggers
  • approaching a few bloggers with a similar but personalized message at the same time
  • continuity before contacting a blogger, you ideally read the blog, comment there, share posts by the blogger so that you contribute and thus get noticed before you send a mail
  • specific approaches, you do not have an “email list” you contact each time with a new press release, that’s not outreach
  • willingness to build a long-term relationship instead of a “one link stand”

How NOT to Reach Out to Bloggers

An impersonal and automated or outsourced mass mailing will end up in my spam folder and I am pretty tolerant as I do blogger outreach myself so I am prepared to get such messages:

You have a great blog!
I would like to suggest a guest post “Tips about SEO copywriting”
Let me know what you think about such topic.
Regards, Brian”

What do I think? “Tips are for waiters and automated mails like this are worthless.”

I will just ignore many standard pitches instead of moving them to my spam folder but most people will act immediately, especially those outside of the SEO industry. In contrast

people I reach out to in many cases at least respond, even if they want to say “no”.

From then on you can go on and try to stay connected. I also like simply to contact bloggers just to ask them a question.

It’s easy to see that most people just treat as a means to an end and try to trick you into linking to them for cheap.

Treat Bloggers Online like People in Real Life

I’m no expert when it comes to most disciplines so I’m humble enough to ask without wanting something else than the reply.

Genuine engagement without neediness is a good start. One day you can contact such a person again and remind her or him that you mailed already.

I’ve published a post that shows you a real life example of successful blogging outreach and template you can use with small changes of course depending on who you write to.

You can simplify the outreach process and save time by automating repetitive tasks. Using templates is fine as long as you truly personalize the message. It’s not just about adding a name. It’s clearly also not about the SEO programmer mindset of sending hundreds of almost identical messages.

Nobody can write a personal mail to hundreds of blogger in a short period of time without messing it up.

Bloggers are truly intelligent web-savvy people, they notice whether you are genuine or just a part-time bot. Thus please stop perverting guest blogging and blogger outreach.

At least visit the blog you want to be part of. Read a few posts. Think about which topics they already cover you could elaborate on.

I also reach out to bloggers for clients.

I write outreach messages to 10 bloggers instead of a 100 and I get a 50% response rate instead of like 2% or less.

When 5 out of 10 respond you have 5 guest posts in the beast case instead of 2 and and you haven’t ostracized 98 of bloggers who have blocked you in their mail accounts.

Do you need help with blogger outreach and guest blogging? Contact me!