If you sell a product or service, you’re probably used to potential clients asking about your background. This is understandable. Having a sense of your experience is one of the ways that clients can establish your credibility.
Potential clients want to know that you are an expert. If you can show you’re an expert in your field, it’s easier to convince people to buy what you’re selling. But how exactly do you generate authority in your niche? This article will look at how you can use strategic guest posting to secure backlinks to your site and build your credentials as an expert.
Since I started working online, I have put a lot of time and energy into guest posting. My goal was to increase the site’s traffic, Domain Authority (DA), and increase brand awareness.
Here’s an example of a guest post I wrote for Sumo:
Using guest posts has been a successful strategy for increasing website traffic. My ability to land guest posts helped me raise my profile and secured me a promotion at the company.
The ability to land guest posts has directly benefited my career.
Yet, if I were a freelancer or a consultant, this same approach would have more direct financial benefits; you can use guest posts to help secure clients. Regardless of your professional goal, the framework is the same. Let me show you how to use guest posts to generate credibility as an expert and grow your website.
Guest Posting to Generate Authority and Sell
Every good marketing campaign starts with a plan. The same is true for guest posting to raise your credibility. Indiscriminately publishing as many guest posts as possible won’t cut it. Instead, guest posting strategically will help get you noticed. There are six stages to this process.
1. Picking a Topic
When trying to establish your credibility as an expert, you need to define what associations you want people to make about you. If you wanted to become an expert in eCommerce, you might write about eCommerce plugins. The same principles hold for CRO, paid ads, or any other field of expertise.
Your guest post topics need to be aligned with the product or service you’re selling. When I started out trying to sell my services, I needed to establish my credibility in the digital marketing sphere. So I used guest posting to create guides to online marketing strategies. I can now use these as proof of my expertise, leveraging them to secure clients.
You can see how I use this proof on the homepage of my site. I also reference the guest posts and guides in other content.
Before you start pitching or writing, come up with a list of potential topics. Write down as many as you can think of. When you pitch to editors, you should suggest 3-5 relevant subject ideas for your guest post.
Use a tool like Keywords Everywhere to come up with a list of relevant keywords to target. You can then come up with headline ideas based on keywords related to your niche.
2. Choosing Target Websites
You need to be strategic in what you write about and the sites you target. Just as your topics align with the product or service you’re offering, the website you choose should cater to these niches as well. Remember, your goal is to prove your authority to your potential clients.
You probably already know the authoritative sites in your niche. However, unless you have already established your credentials, you’re unlikely to get published on these sites. You first need to establish some credibility.
To identify suitable sites, you can target, analyze the backlink profile of one of the most popular sites in your niche. With a tool like Ahref, you can export all of the websites that link to the authority site.
Then create some categories. For example, here is how I’d break down the list:
- Tier 3: Websites with a Domain Rating of 50-59, with up to 10,000 visitors a month.
- Tier 2: Websites with a Domain Rating of 60-79 with 10,000-50,000 visitors a month
- Tier 1: Websites with a Domain Rating of 80+ and 50,000+ visitors a month
Your goal is to get between 5-10 guest posts published on tier three sites. When you’ve accomplished this, you get a promotion. You can then target tier two sites, and so on.
This strategic approach to guest posting will allow you to establish your reputation as an expert in your field organically. You start in the lower leagues, where it’s easier to land guest posts and leverage your experience to land more opportunities as you gain experience.
I’ll show you how to land those guest post opportunities in the next section.
3. Looking for Website Gatekeepers
At this stage, you should have a list of topic ideas and a list of potential websites to pitch. The next step is to get in touch with the right person at those sites.
The challenge here is to get a hold of the person who has the authority to make decisions about guest posting. Try to avoid sending your pitch through a generic “Contact Us” form or firstname.lastname@example.org email address. It will most likely be deleted or ignored if you do.
LinkedIn is useful at this stage. Search for the company name, and you’ll be able to see how many of their employees have a LinkedIn presence:
Search for employees with titles such as Editor, Content Manager, or Head of Content. When you’ve found them, send them a connection request. You can also use an email ID finder to get their business email addresses. All you need is the company’s domain name and the decision maker’s name.
Now you’re ready to make your pitch!
4. Pitching Guest Post Ideas
Your pitch email should be short and to the point. Explain in a few words who you are, what you are asking for, and your offering. Editors are busy people and will only respond if you can offer them something of value. What you’re offering is excellent content that can boost their topical authority.
Your introduction does not need to be formal. Create a nice email template. Be polite and respectful but friendly. If you have previously published content, link to two or three of your best pieces.
Here’s the basic anatomy of a strong cold email:
I hope you’re having a great day. My name is [YOUR NAME,] and I’m [a few words about what you do.]
I’m interested in writing a guest post for [WEBSITE NAME]. I’m an expert in [YOUR SUBJECT AREA,] and I have a few ideas that I think would be great for your site. Would you be open to considering them?
I’m an experienced writer, so I’m confident I can meet your editorial standards! You can see samples of my published work at [LINK 1] and [LINK 2.]
Thanks for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.
All the best,
Feel free to use or modify this template. I do things like add emojis in the subject line, and embed Gifs in the body of the email. These things can help make your email stand out, which can help you get a response from your inquiry.
If the person doesn’t respond, follow up politely after a week or two. If they still don’t respond, move on to the next site.
5. Writing Your Guest Post
Congratulations, your guest post idea has been accepted! Now it’s time to write.
A mistake that new guest bloggers often make is to include everything they know about their field in a single post. Don’t be tempted to do this! Instead, it would help to provide valuable, relevant, and actionable content based upon the specific idea you pitched.
Creating an outline is a sensible place to start. Outlines help you organize your thoughts and, if you’re writing long-form content, they help you stay on-topic.
Here are a few more of my top tips for writing great content:
- Write to express, not to impress. Use the fewest words and the most straightforward language possible to convey an idea accurately.
- Never plagiarize. You can take inspiration from others’ work, but you must always credit your sources and never copy them.
- Research thoroughly and back up any facts and statistics with appropriate citations.
- Incorporate images where appropriate. This might include graphs and charts, infographics, or examples to illustrate a point.
- Use a mixture of long and short sentences to keep your content readable and engaging.
- If the site you’re writing for has a style guide, read and follow it.
- Finally, run your content through a grammar checker. There are plenty of great options available.
If you turn in a poorly-written piece or under-researched article, you’ll lose that guest posting opportunity and, with it, the chance to generate authority and boost your sales. If an editor blacklists you, you will not get another chance. Producing high-quality content is essential.
6. Scaling Your Guest Posting
If you want to use guest posts to generate authority, scaling is vital. One or two guest posts won’t cut it. Therefore, follow this process many times to build up a strong portfolio of content.
You may find that you end up with so many guest posting opportunities that you do not have time for them all. At this point, you can employ ghostwriters to help you. You can use websites such as Upwork to find freelance ghostwriters. But remember: you get what you pay for! Hire the best writer you can afford, not the lowest bidder.
Reaping the Benefits of Guest Posting
To sell your product or service effectively, your prospective clients need to trust you. This means that you need to establish your credentials and leverage proof of your authority to build your client base.
As we’ve seen, guest posting is a great way to generate authority in your field. It helps elevate your status as a credible expert and builds valuable backlinks to your website. For this reason, it should have a place in any robust digital marketing strategy.
Remember my top tips to help you build your authority with guest posting:
- Ensure that your topics align directly with your product or service.
- Target relevant and high-authority websites.
- Send a polite, friendly pitch that spells out what you have to offer.
- Write engaging, high-quality content.
- Scale your guest posting efforts, hiring others to help you if necessary.
Guest posting takes a lot of time and effort. It is not a quick win strategy, but one that requires ongoing and sustained work. But if you stick with it and follow the process laid out in this article, you’ll be able to reap the benefits.