We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s not what you know but who you know.” And there’s probably no truer statement out there.
Connections matter. Knowing and having good relationships with the right people helps get you what you want and where you want to be. You might be married to your spouse because a mutual friend set you two up on your first date (that’s me). You might have landed your first job because you knew someone in the company (me again), or you may even have your current job because someone you’re in good standing with knew your boss and gave you a great personal recommendation (surprise, this is me as well).
The same is true with finding quality guest post opportunities. It’s not just about finding the sites you want your content published on. You have a pretty slim chance of landing a good guest post opportunity if you reach out to someone from the site and they’ve never heard of you. But, when you take the time to build relationships with bloggers from sites you want to write guest posts for, your chances are extremely high for receiving a yes and getting your content published.
There are many benefits to building these relationships that often deliver you quality guest post opportunities. Below are some of the main benefits:
- Developing mutually beneficial connections
- Establishing your own credibility
- Generating more awareness for your blog and brand
- Expanding your audience by introducing yourself to new audiences
- Getting more clients
- Receiving free exposure
But these relationships don’t just happen overnight. Like anything that’s worth having, building these relationships takes time, effort, patience, and usually some persistence. And in the end, you’ll be grateful you did what was necessary to make it happen.
Sound like something you’re ready to start doing? Well then, here’s how you do it.
1. Make Your Hit List
First, you have to find the bloggers and publishers in your niche you want to connect and build relationships with. As you begin your hunt, don’t just shoot for the big-name sites and bloggers. Those are great and you will want some of them, but don’t discount smaller sites either; they don’t receive hundreds of pitches a day (meaning yours is more likely to be read) and they still have relatable, valuable audiences who engage. Large numbers of followers aren’t the most important — engagement is!
Make sure to keep the list organized with all the information you’ll need for outreach. Include at least the following dividers in your list:
- Site and/or Blog Name
- Contact’s Name
- Email Address
- Preferred Method of Contact
It’s OK to add sites and publishers that are already top of mind, but it’s also a good idea to add more. Try long-tail keyword searches in and experiment with various influencer discovery tools such as Traackr and Buzzsumo to find the best partnerships for you and your brand.
Once you have your complete list, it’s time to rearrange. Put the influencers you want to build relationships with first (or want to the most) toward the top, so once you’re ready to start the next step you can start from the beginning and work your way down.
2. Get On Their Radar
Once your hit list is arranged in the order you want, look for creative ways to get on their radar.
When you’re ready for this step, it’s time to be the selfless version of yourself. Don’t ask yourself, “What can I get out of doing this?” Instead, ask yourself, “What can I give from myself that’s going to benefit them?”
This step requires thinking about these influencers before thinking about yourself. You want to show that you’re invested in their success. Here are some ways you can do that and show up on their radar:
Share and reference their content
Writers like knowing their work is appreciated and no writer is going to complain if people start sharing their content online or referencing it in their own blog posts. Be sure to mention the author when sharing their content online so they know about it, as well as mention their name and link back to the content you’re referencing.
When sharing their content with your social networks, write a short description or your opinion with it. Don’t just click the tweet button on the post and share the automated message it pulls up. That’s not going to get you on their radar.
Comment on their blog and social media posts
Don’t comment on every blog post they write; that will only annoy them and make them think you’re a spammer. Add real value with your comments. Be genuine and add insightful comments. The same is true with answering any questions they ask or links they share on social media. Choose your engagements wisely and strategically.
(Privately) point out errors such as broken links and misspellings
Alerting authors of broken or outdated links and misspellings will surely grab their attention because no serious writer wants bad links or spelling errors in their content.
They also don’t want that information called out publicly, so send them an email letting them know you really enjoyed the article, but that you noticed a small error as you were reading and wanted to let them know so they could fix it before anyone else catches it. They will be grateful you reached out to tell them.
Interview them for a post you’re writing
Writing an article you think would really benefit from expert opinions and tips? This is a fantastic time to reach out to the influencers you want to build relationships with via email or social media asking for their input. They will be flattered to know you want their expert opinion added to your content and should gladly give you a response.
Conversely, you can publish a list of the top 50 influential social media experts (or whatever topic is relevant to your niche) and reach out to those experts after you’ve written and published the post letting them know you’ve featured them. More often than not, they will share your post with their followers and recognize your name next time it comes across their inbox or feed.
3. Reach Out And Get That Guest Post Opportunity
Once you’ve spent the time compiling your list, getting on the radar of your hand-picked influencers and started to build those relationships, it’s time to move in and land that quality guest post opportunity. If you’ve done everything correctly, you should have already planted the relationship seed so you’re not coming out of left field reaching out for a guest post.
Your best bet of getting the chance to write a guest post for the sites of your choosing is contacting the right person — who you’ve already established a relationship with — using their preferred method of contact. Usually, this means by email. Follow these tips to write a successful guest post pitch:
- In the greeting, mention the contact by name.
- Don’t spell their name wrong (or anything else in your email for that matter).
- Tell them who you are.
- Mention how great their site is, how you first got hooked into reading their content, how one of their posts really benefited you, etc. Don’t be generic; give specific examples!
- Let them know about your blog and what kind of topics you cover.
- Tell them you have a few guest post ideas you think would be a perfect fit for their site. List the titles and short descriptions of each and ask if any of these appeal to them.
- Thank them for their time and consideration and say you look forward to hearing back from them and/or getting their feedback.
- Keep your email short but detailed and make it easy for the reader to scan.
Don’t forget to proofread your email. Any grammar or spelling mistake is going to put your email on the fast track into the trash folder.
If you can’t find the email address, then you will probably have to reach out via the blog’s contact form or hit them up on Twitter.
4. Keep Track Of These Relationships
The last thing you want after you’ve spent all that time and effort building these relationships and outreaching is to lose track of everything. Find the method that works best for you to keep this information organized.
Buzzstream is a great tool that helps you manage and keep track of the influencers you’ve reached out to. It can even send you reminders to follow up with certain influencers if you don’t hear back from them after a certain period of time. Whatever you do, just do something that keeps yourself and these relationships organized and up to date.
5. Stay On Their Radar
As mentioned earlier, these relationships take time to build. Don’t simply get on an influencer’s radar, write a guest post for them and then disappear into the black abyss. Stay on their radar and continue nurturing your relationship with them!
If they published your guest post, show your appreciation by personally thanking them. Keep doing all of the things listed above under “Get On Their Radar.” Take it a step further and start having regular email conversations or Google chats with them. You made the time to start this relationship, so continue making the time to grow it.
6. Don’t Get Discouraged
Lastly, don’t get disheartened if you don’t receive a reply back of if some of these relationships don’t blossom like you want them to because it will inevitably happen with this kind of outreach.
What can you do about it? Go back to your hit list and repeat the above-mentioned process. If you’re getting toward the bottom and running out of influencers to build relationships with, research and add more.
Making connections with the right kinds of influencers and taking the time to build those relationships are what’s going to help you uncover quality guest post opportunities. Make sure that you focus on the bigger picture during this process: It’s not about immediate results, but rather numerous, meaningful results – which, much like these relationships, take time to cultivate.