Publish 10 Guest Posts
Now how do we get from 100 to 1,000, that looks a little bit different. So step eight is we need to publish 10 guest posts. What is a guest post? It is writing an article for somebody else's website and publishing it. So why does guest posting work? This is, by the way, the number one strategy that I used to grow my blog, and is the number one thing that I see people doing to get accelerated growth. We talked about Ben Hardy earlier, and how he kind of owned Medium.com, he's the number one author on Medium.com. We're gonna be hearing his story, more of his story later today, and he did it through this, guest posting. And if I had to start all over, I'd get a website with an about page, one blog post on there, and I'd get an email list, and start guest posting to grow that email list. So why does it matter? First of all, guest posting sends you qualified traffic. I can go buy traffic on Facebook, that works, it costs money. Shaunta shared how that works for her in a way that she was kin...
d of getting the ads to pay for themselves. But guest posting is free, and so, I write an article on somebody else's website, and I have to link back to my website, that's important, and when they link back to your website, that's going to send traffic. So if 1,000 people read your article on Chris' site and 100 people click that link to find out more about you, you're getting 100 new visitors that day to your website. So you're getting traffic, and if you do this over and over and over again, it can create a lot of traffic. And so there's some short term benefit to, I write a guest post, people click the link, and they come back, so that's kind of benefit number one. Benefit number two is SEO, Search Engine Optimization. What search engine's want to see with your blog and website, is they wanna see that it is authoritative, meaning that it's not like the billions of other websites out there that are just bad. And so one of the ways that they measure authority on a website is how many other websites are linking to it, especially authoritative websites. So when I started my blog, I blogged on it every single day for a year, and then in addition to that, I wrote about 100 guest posts. And the first 10,000 subscribers I got were from those 100 guest posts. And so what happens is, short term you get a lot of traffic. Long term, you'll start ranking higher in search engines. And so I started writing about things that I was learning as a writer, like how to write a book, and lots of people were linking to my website through guest posts that I'd written, and eventually people just started linking to it because it was a good resource. But early on it was just through guest posts, and so now, if you Google terms like how to write a book, my post on that is number one on Google. That's not 'cause I'm an SEO genius, it's 'cause I just wrote a lot of articles on other people's websites, and linked back to my website. So there's a long term benefit, this takes about six months for you to really start seeing regular, evergreen organic traffic to your website. So it's a long term strategy, but the short term is, I'm gonna write something for Caroline's blog and some of her readers are gonna become my readers, and if I do that enough times, I'm gonna get from 100 to 250 to 500 to 1,000. The third reason you wanna guest post is brand recognition. If I write an article for MichaelHyatt.com, certainly it's great to have those hundreds of thousands of readers read my stuff and now know who I am, but there's also the benefit to being associated with somebody like that. And now I can take that guest post and I can leverage it into other guest posting opportunities. I can go to a Huffington Post or an Entrepreneur Magazine or whatever industry you're in, where you're trying to kind of get to the next level and get in front of a larger audience. And so, getting your name and work in front of other people bringing attention to it, that's gonna be important. People are gonna start recognizing your name, they're gonna start going, who is this person that I start seeing everywhere? And if you cluster the guest posts, 10 in a month or two, and you're writing for a very specific audience, what's cool about that is you're gonna pick up a bunch of readers from those different channels, but there are a number of readers that are paying attention to all those channels. And I heard this again and again when I was guest posting, I would write for a bunch of similar websites, and people would go, man I'm seeing you everywhere. Well I wasn't everywhere, I was in like the three blogs that they happened to read, but that kind of clustering creates a sense of brand recognition that if you just read one article from some writer, it may not stick with you. If you start seeing some person's name everywhere, you wanna check it out right? Okay, so here's how to guest post like a pro. This is my process, I still use it to this day, it still works very, it's a proven process, tested. Step one, read the guidelines. If there is a page called guest posting guidelines on that writer's website, read 'em, follow it, do whatever they say. After that, study the blog. Actually read the blog. I can't tell you how many people email me, asking to guest post for me, and it's clear they've never read my blog. Like that's, you're not gonna write a guest post, that's not gonna be helpful to me, it doesn't work for anybody. Step three, contact the blogger. Hey, I love your stuff, really great. Have you ever thought about publishing an article on such and such? And you need to actually be familiar with the blog to know if they've ever published something like that. Here's a really difficult, sophisticated, takes years of practice way to know if they've ever published something about what you're gonna talk about. Google it. (class laughs) Just horses, Jeff Goins. No, he's never written about horses. Hey Jeff, have you ever though about writing an article about horses? You know, and it's that simple. Just don't be lazy. Next step, write the post. Write it. If in the guidelines they say, send me the idea, don't send me the whole post, then you know don't send the the whole post. But I typically pitch the blogger on the idea and if they're interested in it, then I'll actually write it and then send it to them. And then they'll either say hey this is great, no this isn't good, or they won't respond to you. If they don't respond to you, you follow up. You say, hey did you get this? I wait about a week, and then if they don't respond, I wait another week, I wait a total of about three weeks, and by the second follow up, the third contact, they don't respond, I move on and I say, hey I'm gonna take this elsewhere. If you're interested let me know, otherwise if I don't hear back from you I'll just assume it doesn't work for you. If they publish it, your next step is to engage and promote. Worst thing you can do is get a guest post published and then they get a bunch of comments and you don't respond to the comments, you go dark. You don't share that thing on Facebook or Twitter, that's not a very good sign of engagement and appreciation and gratitude, so engage in that thing, promote it, make it a big deal for that blogger and their community. Even if you get one comment, even if you get one share, make it a really big deal. Lastly, repeat. One guest post is not going to necessarily change your writing career. 10 will start to create some momentum for you. 100 will change your life if you do it well and in the right channels, and starting small and getting bigger and bigger. So how do we find these blogs? Again, super sophisticated, takes years of practice, way to do it, we start with Google. You just search for blogs on whatever you write about. People tell me Jeff, you don't understand, I write about knitting dog sweaters for blind children, and nobody else does that. And then I'm like alright, let's open up Google. Sweater knitting for blind children. 147,000 results. (class laughs) Let's start here okay? So Google them. That's one way to do is just to Google blogs that are in your niche or industry. You don't have to be familiar with them to become familiar with them. So you find a blog, you study it, you read a few posts, you study their archives, maybe spend 30 to 60 minutes of research and then you email them. Another way to find blogs that you can guest post for is to ask other bloggers. This is probably my number one way to find places that I can guest post for, or to find interviews for podcasts. I had a friend recently do a Facebook Live for Entrepreneur Magazine, and I said, hey how did you do this? And they're like, well I know so and so, and such and such, and I was like, would you introduce me to that person, and they said sure. And when I started guest posting for sites, I remember actually seeing friends of mine publish articles on websites that I thought I could never publish an article on, and I would just ask them, what'd you do? And they're like, well I just contacted this person, I did this, and it worked, and I was like, okay, I'll try that. Or I'd ask for an introduction. And so, ask other bloggers who are having success here, what they're doing, who they know, how they're doing it, and then very nicely ask for an introduction and often they'll say yes. Lastly you can ask your readers. Even if you just have 25 of them, and what you wanna ask them is what are you reading now? What blog do you read right now? What blogs do you think I should be contributing to? What podcasts do you listen to? Where are you consuming content and how can I connect with them? You just want links, that's all you want, 'cause if you've got a link, you can go check out the guidelines, you can read the blog, you can study and contact the blogger. And so those are three ways to find blogs, Google them, ask other bloggers, then ask other readers. So let's talk, let's take some questions now. Let's talk a little bit about what we've talked about so far, getting your first 100 subscribers, creating your manifesto we talked a little bit about that, and now guest posting to try to get more traffic so that you can convert that traffic into subscribers. Any questions come to mind?
Yes I have one. Okay, so I have written a manifesto, and I don't think it's working, so I think I need to rewrite my manifesto. I've got some ideas, given what's happened in the last year or so. (laughs) Anyway, the reason why I don't think it's working, I followed, I literally had yours open as I was designing mine, so you know structurally I followed what you said. But I don't think, it hasn't propelled me forward, and I can tell you what the title is, and I think probably it's because of the title.
Okay, what's the title?
It's I am an Interculturalist.
Okay, oh no, excuse me, it's The Interculturalist Manifesto actually, and I think the problem with it is, quite frankly is, I used a word that a lot of people are probably going, like what? It's explained, so I feel I have to rework it. So I'm just wondering, have you seen this happen before and is it just a matter of doing some more work?
Yeah, this is something that I hear a lot. My lead magnet isn't working, lead magnet, manifesto, I kind of use those interchangeably, I need to rewrite it. And if it's not working we have one of a few problems. One, we're not getting enough traffic. So if we look at your website, and we go, do you know what your traffic looks like on a weekly or monthly basis?
That's okay, so let's say it's like 100 people a week and you go, I'm getting 10 subscribers a week and it's not propelling me forward, it'll take a long time to get to 1,000 subscribers. Well that's a 10% conversion rate, so it's actually working pretty well. If you're getting more than a 1% conversion rate, you're doing pretty well. You know, two, 3% conversion rate is pretty good, five to 10 is great. And so, if you've got a healthy conversion rate, then you just need more people, so I would say guest post right? Go find ways to point traffic to your website and you will get more subscribers. That would be the first thing we'd wanna look at. If you're getting a decent amount of traffic and your conversion rate is really low, then the next thing you would wanna do is you would not wanna rewrite your manifesto, 'cause nobody knows the inside of your manifesto is bad until they've read it, right?
So it would not make sense to go rewrite it, it would make sense to retitle it. To go, oh I'm gonna call it something different, and it may be that the idea itself is not resonating, it's not connecting with people and you have to rewrite the whole thing. Or it could just be you that the title is confusing people. So then the second solution would be, I'm gonna just change the title of this thing. The third problem would be this idea is just not resonating. And it could be, for you Caroline, it could be maybe people don't care right now, their initial felt need is not how to be more of an interculturalist, it's how do I have conversations with people who are not like me? Or how to, and it could just be called that, you know. How to Host Dinner Parties for People From Other Cultures. It could be very practical like that. But that would be sort of the third scenario, where you've got a good title, you've got good traffic, conversion rate is not working, and the message itself is not resonating and you can't change the title because it's just, it's a bad idea, and it's not resonating with people. When I wrote The Writer's Manifesto, I mean everybody knows what a writer is, and I probably could've had a better title than that, but it worked because writers understand what manifestos are I think for the most part and it worked. So yeah, I think that's a good question. The other thing to be aware of is if you've got your sign up form for your email list buried at the bottom of your page, that's a problem. So if you're not getting a good conversion rate, first thing I would do is make that thing obvious. On my home page there's like three different places to join my email list, and it's almost annoying, but when it's not almost annoying, people miss it. Nobody's searching on your website for where can I sign up for an email list typically, but if an offer is presented to them, and you go, hey you're gonna get this free thing, then they go, okay why not, I'll give this person a shot. Any other questions?
We have some questions coming in online. So Alicia posted this one, a few people have similar questions, but just to be clear, does each guest post need to be a different piece, or can you sort of shop around that same idea to a couple different blogs to try to get your first guest post?
It depends on the blog. You can take one idea and shop it around to multiple places, but once one decides to publish it, you would wanna clarify with them, hey is it okay if I publish this elsewhere, and I would say the norm is no. For the most part it's exclusive. You're giving them exclusive rights to publish it. Now occasionally, somebody, a blog or an online magazine, or something will come to me and they'll say, hey can we republish this? And I'll say sure, just link back to the original, that's as far as I understand fine, doesn't mess with search engines anymore and it's a totally legit thing to do. But yeah, I would write 10 original pieces for 10 different blogs who have audiences larger than yours and one non negotiable for a guest post is that they're linking back to your website. If you don't do that, it's almost worthless. You want that link juice, and you get that a number of times and really good things happen.
Now here's a question from Melissa Ann who says, "What about if you don't have "enough material to guest post? "Isn't it more important to gather quality "information first?" And I know you said having one post on your own blog, is that okay, or should you have more there in case that person you're pitching to wants to go read more of your work?
One post on your blog, an about page, and then start guest posting.
Yeah, and I mean look, we're doing a lot here right? So we start with the blog, we've got an about page, we've got one new article a week, and while we're doing that, we're also starting to write guest posts, okay? So yeah, this week you have one article, and you may pitch a guest post somewhere. Next week you'll have two, week after that you'll have three, so we're getting momentum here. So you're not always just gonna have one article on your blog, it's just where we start, and we can kind of grow a body of work, and as we do that we can continue to reach out to other blogs and websites and try to make contributions to them. And yeah, I wouldn't stall. I wouldn't wait until you feel ready, 'cause you're not gonna be ready. You're gonna do one, and I would just start with your friends. So when you make a list of these 10 blogs that you wanna guest post for, think of three that you go, oh I know this person, I know that person, and if you go, I don't know anybody I could guest post for, look around. You've got 100 plus readers, you've got 20 something, you've got 20 something, but there's five people on your list who wanna read what she's doing, and this is how you do it. You do it three or four times with people like that, that's how I got my first whatever, 50 subscribers, and then from there you think of, who's kind of the next level up, now that I have a little bit of experience, a little bit more confidence, now I could go to them and I could pitch them, you know the way that I told you how to do that. If you do this, even if they don't know you, there's nothing bad with this, they'll say yes or they'll say no. And if you do it with 10 people, and you do it right, a lot of them will say yes. One of my students did this, and she's like, I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna go hardcore, and she made a list of 10 people that she wanted to blog for, mostly celebrities. It was kind of an audacious list, and nine of them said yes, and one of them was Cameron Diaz, the actress, another one was Carrie Anne Moss who played Trinity in The Matrix, and they all said, yeah, you can guest post on my blog. And she got 3,000 subscribers from doing this, and she told me about this, she goes, I emailed 10 people, nine of them said yes and one person said no. I said, who was the idiot that said no? And she said, well you were. (laughs) I was like wait, I'm sorry, I'll say yes now. (laughs) Yeah, it really does work. You just have to be willing to do the work and so I'd make a list of 10 bloggers ranging from people that I know will probably say yes to people that I'd really, that'd be a really cool thing but not ridiculous, and then a few ridiculous ones. A big stretch goal. And pitch those 10 people, and see how many respond right? And then if you get three or four to respond and say yes, then you write those articles, then you make another list of 10 people and you pitch 'em again. And you do it until you get 10 quality guest posts published.