This is a guest post by Nick and Dariece, the couple behind Goats On The Road, a website designed to show others how to turn their travels into a lifestyle. Masters at making money abroad, they’ve been on the road since 2008 and have explored some of the least visited places on Earth.
We’ve all heard of the guest post and its inherent benefits and dangers, but there is a way to exponentially increase the positive affects of a guest post on your blog’s traffic. First introduced by Adam Costa of Travel Blogger Academy, this tactic single-handedly resulted in a 35% increase in traffic at Goats On The Road. After Adam Costa gave me the idea, I gave it a try, and after the amazing success I had with the strategy, I dubbed it the Guest Post Bomb and decided to start to spreading the word.
The Pitches, Strikes and Home Runs
When you’re pitching articles to new bloggers, make sure you know what kind of articles they’re looking for. You’ll have much better success if you’re an honest fan of the blogger that you’re pitching to. Explain to them why you want to write for them, why you’re perfect for them and why you like their blog. Don’t just pretend you’re a reader. If you don’t even know who the people are that your reaching out to, then why should they take the time to get to know you? You’ll limit your strike-outs and have more home runs if you connect with blogs that you already follow.
Don’t follow 20 – 40 bloggers? Better get reading! Never pitch a blogger without reading at least 5 of their most popular articles.
Photo By Saparaud via WikiMedia Commons
As with every SEO and blog traffic tactic, there are pros and cons to this approach. This is a relatively new idea and you always have to be mindful when you’re testing new waters. Pointing out the pros and cons will help ensure that you’re maximizing the positive effect on your blog in the long-term, while avoiding any mistakes that could harm you down the road.
+ Driving MAD traffic to your travel blog:
I know, it sounds like a lot of hype, but in my personal experience this is the single best strategy for driving huge, retain-able traffic to your travel blog. This approach is a large part of the reason that Goats On The Road has the traffic it does today, and I know that if you employ this method to your blog, you’ll have similar results.
+ Getting multiple links back to your domain to boost your authority (D.A):
Make sure that you’re linking each and every guest post back to your travel blog and not just from the dark abyss of the author’s bio! You should have one or two links in the main body of every article (depending on how many the website owner will allow) that leads back to your best blog posts. Don’t just link back to your home page. Deep links to your best posts are much more valuable.
Note: Never guest blog just to get increased PageRank and SEO results. You’re main focus should always be to write great content and have readers naturally click to your site.
+ Connecting with loads of great bloggers:
All great bloggers have made the right connections at the right times. By reaching out to so many bloggers in your niche, you’ll be forging new online friendships that could prove invaluable over time.
+ Having your name seen by hundreds, thousands or millions of new readers:
The exposure that you can harness from a GPB is only limited by your hustle, and your success in pitching big name blogs. All of those great bloggers that you’re posting for have their own loyal fans and this is your opportunity to show them that you are worth following too. Every guest post you write should be long, in-depth and captivating. This is going to increase your chances of retaining some of the traffic that will be coming your way.
+ Depending on where you write, you may be getting paid for some articles:
There are plenty of websites that will pay you for your work and many bloggers make money from freelance writing. If you can make a few hundred or a few thousand dollars while you’re doing your GPB, great, but make sure that you’re not choosing websites just because they pay. You want to be writing for top websites in your niche, not top-paying sites that don’t match your blog.
For paid freelance gigs, travel bloggers can check out this list.
+ You’re CREATING A BUZZ:
This is the #1 reason that the Guest Post Bomb so powerful. We all know the importance of social proof. Think about it, when someone is searching around their favorite travel blog, foXnoMad.com, and they see your brand there because you guest posted for Anil, then the same day they head to their favorite blog help site, TravelBlogAdvice.com, and see you there again, they’ll start to think “hey, this guy’s a pretty big deal”.
That is what is going to make people remember you. They’ll start to see you all over the place and they’ll feel like they have no choice but to follow you! How had they never heard of you before?
– Matt Cutts warned that Google doesn’t like guest posts:
It’s true. Google is cracking down on spammy, link scheme-style guest posts on irrelevant sites. But that doesn’t mean that all guest posts are bad. Make sure that you’re posting original, high-quality guest posts on relevant sites and you’ll be fine. Also, as stated above, write for bloggers who you know and enjoy following.
“There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging.”
-Matt Cutts in this blog Post
– You run the risk of looking spammy:
To avoid looking like a spammer, don’t over optimize your anchor texts. Never write 40 guest posts and link them all back to your site with the exact same anchors like: “Top Holidays” or “Best Travel Blog”. If you do, you’re asking for trouble.
The key is to have a healthy link profile, with plenty of branded, soft anchors and long tail keywords, which will ensure that your site looks more natural in the eyes of the Google Gods. For every keyword anchor you have, you should also build a branded anchor (ie: “Your Brand” or “YourBrand.com”).
Another way that you may look spammy is if you make the mistake of writing the same post twice. Every single post has to be 100% original and never published anywhere else online (including on your own blog). Google penalizes sites that have duplicate content so make sure that every paragraph is new and unique.
Of course, if you’re spamming, you’ll look like a spammer. Never send out bulk, generic emails to numerous blogs, never publish half-ass posts anywhere you can and never guest blog solely for the purpose of increasing your PageRank.
– You’ll get rejected a lot:
Have thick skin and get ready to hear “no” thrown back at you a few times. If you’re pitching 20 – 40 bloggers in a month, there’s a good chance that some of your ideas won’t jive with their flow. That’s fine! Don’t let it deter you from asking big name bloggers in the industry. Just keep on trying and eventually you’ll get your name seen on some amazing sites.
I once pitched Max at GoNomad.com 4 different articles before he finally accepted one! While you should never heckle a blogger, sometimes you’ll need to try more than once to get an article accepted.
– It’s a ton of work:
There’s no doubt about it, it’s a lot of work writing 20 – 40 awesome blog posts, but it’s definitely worth it. If you’re worried about investing too much time into this approach, then start with just 10 guest posts published on the same day. You’ll see some serious traffic growth and after that, you’ll be ready to publish as many as you can to continue the progress. It is definitely a lot of work, but I can tell you from experience… it’s worth it!
How To Make The Most Of Your GPB
When you’re doing your Guest Post Bomb, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re maximizing your return in every possible way you can. What are your goals for the GPB? Is it simply to drive more traffic to your site, if so, you may want to reconsider your motives.
Traffic is great, but it should be your secondary aim. There are a few things that you should have in place to ensure that you’re converting drive-by readers into long-lasting fans and potential customers. Below are some tips to help you better capitalize on your GPB.
Have a product:
Whether it’s an e-book, a consultancy course or a T-shirt collection, have something that you’re new readers can purchase. Just make sure that you’re not too pushy in your approach. If they come to your site and a huge pop-up appears that says “BUY THIS!” they may just click away before reading anything.
Image By Maximilian Schönherr via WikiMedia Commons
Allow readers to subscribe:
Whether you have a product or not, you should always make it easy for new readers to subscribe to your blog. If you get an email address, then your newsletter will remind your new fans just how awesome your travel blog is!
Link back to your most valuable resource:
Have you written an extensive guide or a useful post that you want to have shared? Make sure that you link back to it from your guest posts. If people come to your site and immediately see solid, memorable content, then they’ll be more likely to stick around.
Pitch, Write, Publish and BOOM!
Now is the perfect time to start your Guest Post Bomb. Start pitching your favorite bloggers and top bloggers in the travel industry, then get ready to write a lot of WOW-worthy guest posts, have them all publish on the same day and BOOM! When your Guest Post Bomb explodes, you’ll see some huge traffic that won’t just disappear over time. After you’ve tried it, come back here, leave a comment and tell us how much traffic you earned! We’re sure that you’ll be happy that you read this post.
You can learn more about how Nick and Dariece turn their travels into a lifestyle on their site, Goats On The Road. They’re also full-time contributors at Credit Walk where they share their expertise of long-term travel. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube.
A question from a travel blogging newbie: Have you only offered new content (means not yet published on one’s blog) to the potential blog hosts? I’m just wondering how the blog host will know how the post will look like. Do you send your post as Word document, or if not, what software do you use to write posts that will be sent as an offer to a blog host?
Thanks for commenting! All the content you pitch potential bloggers should be 100% unique and never published anywhere else online.
Once the blogger has agreed to my pitch idea, I usually create the entire post in WordPress with photos and links, and then I highlight the HTML (click the “text” tab and highlight all), and I copy it to a .txt file. I then go back to the “visual” tab and highlight everything there (including photos). When I send the blogger the article for review, I paste the “visual” part of the article, with photos, to the email so he/she can read it and get an idea of what it will look like. If he/she likes the layout and doesn’t mind me hosting the images on my site, then he/she can open the .txt file and paste the text into the “text” tab in his/her WordPress and voila! The post will appear just as I had planned it.
Alternatively you can paste the visual into a Docx file and send the blogger that.
Hope this helps. Good luck pitching and posting!
Sounds like a brilliant strategy! How do you guys manage to schedule all posts on the same day? Or do you? Is that necessary for a GPB (love the name btw). I’ve written a few guest posts before and I can never seem to guess when the post is going to go live. Any tips there?
Also can you explain what a keyword anchor is? Sorry, still a newbie here 🙂
Thanks so much guys! You are an inspiration!
Great post. I read the blog carefully and enjoy more.
Wow, what an informative post! As a relatively new blogger I wasn’t too sure how the whole guest posting thing worked. At what point should I start thinking about pitching posts?