The Ultimate Guest Posting Workflow

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Note from Gotch: This is the first article written on Gotch SEO that isn’t by me. I made an exception because Ryan Stewart actually provides actionable insights. No SEO “theory” non-sense. Just what works. With that being said, I’m excited for you guys to read this article by Ryan Stewart on how to scale guest posting (in a white hat way). Enjoy!

scale guest posting

If you’re familiar with the SEO world you know all about Matt Cutt’s announcement condemning guest blogging as a spammy practice.

This, quite literally, threw the SEO world into an uproar. Forums, blogs and social communities were on fire with debates about his words.

Personally, I don’t have time to read blogs or forums – I’m too busy trying to grow my business and feed my family.

I live and die by data and my data [still] shows guest blogging as the most powerful and scalable link building tactic on the planet.

The truth is, guest posting is a monstrous pain in the ass. I mean, who has the time to track down opportunities, write the articles, submit the articles, edit the articles, and go back and forth with editors?

I don’t – I’m guessing you don’t either.

So how do I guest post [at scale] if I don’t have the time?

I created a system.

This system allows me to guest post at scale, on the world’s top blogs, without lifting a finger.

Let me walk you through it.

Part 1: LINK PROSPECTING

Guest posting begins, obviously, by finding blogs that allow guest posts. But obviously I don’t have the time, nor the required sanity, to explore every nook and cranny of the Internet to find guest posting opportunities.

So I outsourced it.

I hired two individuals to scour the Internet, using search engines, for guest posting opportunities related to that particular client. Using phrases like “write for us”, plus a specified keyword, they hunt down hundreds of niche specific guest posting opportunities.

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For example, let’s say that I was doing SEO work for an e-commerce client. I tell my link prospectors to find guest posting opportunities somehow related to e-commerce. Through their furious Googling, they stumble upon Shopify, which happens to have a blog. They try to determine whether Shopify accepts guest posts.

If they do accept blog posts, the link prospector notes the website in my handy-dandy, all-in-one spreadsheet.

Google has made everything so much easier for me in terms of managing a team. It’s how I keep everybody on the same page, with this particular Google spreadsheet being at the center.

Image 2-min

“Tag” – This is a number we assign to each opportunity based on 2 things:

  • The quality of the inbound link a guest post on this site would provide. I don’t care about DA, Trust Flow or those other made up metrics, I care about traffic. If a link drives traffic, it drives rankings. For that reason, I use SEM Rush to look at traffic potential.
  • The amount of required time to actually get a guest post live on the site. Higher quality sites are going to require a lot more time to get a guest post live. More time means more money, which I expense to the client.
    • Higher numbers in the “Tag” column represent more work and more cost in terms of the posts.

“Site URL” – the root URL of the website we’re pitching.
“Guidelines URL” – the site’s guest posting guidelines.
“Contact” – website editor or bloggers contact email address.

Part 2: REACHING OUT

Once the links are listed in the spreadsheet, my contact manager reaches out to the site to see if they’re currently accepting posts.

All outreach is done via Gmail, for a number of reasons:

  • The ability to use “Canned Responses” (Gmails version of an email template).
  • Ease of use for team member’s of all skill levels to figure out.
  • The ability to sync a Google+ account with an email, thus pushing through a picture in the email. This adds credibility and trust when reaching out.
  • Easy syncing with Google Drive, our only project management tool.
  • Gmail has a little known feature to share logins to an account without passing over the password. This allows freelancers from around the world to access 1 account without going through annoying login pains and password errors.
  • Emails sent from TLD extensions (i.e. ryan@webris.org) get hit with spam filters much more than emails from Gmail extensions. Thus, increasing your chances to land with the right contact.

Image 3-min

Even though the site may say they accept guest posts, it’s best to reach out to the editor first. If you don’t, you may end up wasting time and money writing a post that, in the end, may not work out for the site.

Image 4-min

My contact manager uses the “Status” column and the row color to keep each opportunity up to date.

  • Red rows are sites being ignored for whatever reason (too much work, not a fit, etc.).
  • Gray rows represent sites that have declined having a guest post pitched to them.
  • Green rows are posts that are actually live on sites.

She also uses a second tab on the spreadsheet to gather all the “working content” in one place, including live articles, scheduled articles, and drafts that still need to be written. The total cost is recorded as well so that I can accurately expense my clients for the cost of the posts.

Image 5-min

Part 3: WRITING CONTENT

Once a site indicates that they’re willing to accept a blog post, I need to actually get that post written. To do this, I use a team of freelancers who ghost write posts under my name. To keep everything running smoothly, I use a Google document.

Image 6

In the document, I create outlines for articles that need to be written. My freelancers can then go into the document, place their name next to an article, and begin writing.

If I need to assign a particular article to a particular writer, I can tag them using the comment feature in the document. This sends a direct email to their inbox notifying them you’ve assigned them content.

Image 6-min

Like I said, I f@cking love Google Drive.

Once the writer finishes the article, they share it with me. I give it a once over, polish it up, and then send it off to the blog in question.

Once it actually goes live on the blog, my outreach manager notes it in the appropriate place on the spreadsheet.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

A PERFECT SOLUTION

As you can see, I’ve got this down to a science. It took me a while to hammer out this process and up until now, I’ve never shared it publicly.

Using Google Drive, Docs and Sheets works better than any of the team organizational software (Basecamp, etc.) I’ve ever used. It lets me crank out a large number of guest blog posts without destroying my sanity or my personal life.

It also enables me to create a high number of backlinks for my clients, which kicks their SEO rankings up.

More importantly, it’s allowed my agency to thrive in a time when others crumbled. I’m able to provide world class organizations true white hat link building solutions, while others are still focused on buying crap links that drive no results.

by: Ryan Stewart

Thanks for reading guys – please leave your comments or questions in the comment section because it will help others.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your outreach system.

    I am using similar strategy + some extras:
    1. I am using Asana where I can easily manage everything and everybody.
    2. Also I have spreadsheet in Google doc where I store all different subjects and email outreach texts with stats for each how many people open email and how many replied.
    VAs updating stats to determine winner outreach subjects and email text.
    3. Yesware plugin for Gmail – Great for testing.

    Regrads,
    Yaro

    1. Yaro,

      Thanks for the comment! I have never heard of Asana, but I’ll definitely have to check it out. Thank you for the other awesome suggestions. Do you find step 2 to be time-consuming? Buzzstream calculates the effectiveness of subject lines, etc. But if you’re trying to stay lean, then I understand why you would take the manual route

  2. Great article. Loved it. Hiring people, and dividing the tasks makes it look easy. But wanted to know about the safest anchor distribution, we have to take care of that as well as a SEO consultant. Not really sure if we should use our website URL as an achor text – so much effort to get a backlink for a URL? When should we use our main keywords?

    1. Hi Sundu,

      That’s a good question. If you’re in a micro niche, then you need to broaden the scope. For example, if you have a website about “post-it notes” it’s going to be hard to find opportunities specific to “post-it notes”. However, you can broaden your scope to office or business blogs.

  3. Guest posting is still thriving! Great pro insights. Gotch are you still using PBNs links with your guest posting + other white hat strategies? I’ve been building PBNs a lot recently but am wondering how smart that is for big brands.

      1. Awesome article, thanks for sharing Ryan and Nathan!

        Just a heads up, the link in the comment above is not working anymore. It takes me to a chinese site.

  4. Great article Nathan,

    In the document for writing content, the outlines are for articles that need to be re-written?

    I’ve been thinking about re-written or ghost written from other articles to expedite the entire process. is this correct?

    Do you have examples of your “Guest Post” email pitch

    Marcelo

  5. Awesome post, Ryan!

    We also use Google drive to keep track of link building process. But now, I’m a bit paranoid about letting google to track our link building process by using their own product.

    Is dropbox a good alternative to Gdrive?

    What are your thoughts on it, Ryan and Nathan?

    And Nathan, the link (http://gotchalinks.com/guest-posting-service/) seems down.

    Regards,
    Hafis

  6. Thanks Ryan. Pretty much the strategy I use as well. I’ve been watching the way you do it in some of the other posts and copied this strategy. Guest posting is still a tonne of work though. Especially if you don’t have access to freelancers who can do some of the grunt work.

  7. Hi Nathan, thanks for bringing Ryan for this great article. And thanks to Ryan for this beauty of a content, it really does reduce the guest posting thing to a simple science. Thanks for the article again 🙂

    PS: Nathan, you might wanna remove the gotchalinks link in your PS. I links to some weird & spammy looking site.

  8. Hi Nathan,

    Great article, as always!

    I think it’s hard to argue against the power a guest posting, I’ve seen people ranking from everything from payday loans to weight loss, purely on guest posts. This is obviously why Google fires out a warning shot every now and then.

    However as long as links equal ranking I can’t see how this technique will ever stop working.

    I mean places like BigGuestPosting.com have a 50k website database accepting guests posts, if this isn’t a sign of how popular and undiminishing this SEO technique is then I don’t know what is.

    People want to sell guest posts (links) and people want to buy guests posts (links).

    And it’s very easy to see why.

    One of the few constants in SEO for the last 10 years 😉

    But you know what they say…

    ”if you can’t beat them…join them as part of a diverse backlink profile”.

    Good up the good work,
    Jamie

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