Before we get into the step by step I just want to take a few minutes to set up WHY, I think this resource is so, so important. And why I think Guest Blogging should be a core part of every female entrepreneur’s marketing strategy.
I have analysed hundreds of websites in the Female Entrepreneur space over the last 6 months and I’ve noticed a trend, very few female entrepreneurs are focusing on Search Engine Traffic.
Um why not!
Is it because it’s too complicated, too competitive, not sexy enough?!
Is it because Social Media is more fun? Well, yeah I can understand why it’s more fun to get lost on Pinterest and Instagram, than a keyword research tool!
But, Search Engine traffic should not be ignored in a Marketing Strategy and I think it’s super important that we don’t just let all of the big guns monopolize the internet - don’t you?!!
Because that’s what is happening.
This isn’t just important because the internet should be here for everyone. It’s important in terms of making revenue, your bottom line. Time and time again studies show that Search Engine Traffic converts better than Social Media Traffic (see diagram below).
I’m not saying Pinterest & Instagram aren’t useful channels. I’ve seen a couple of pins from key accounts on pinterest send hundreds of leads to my client’s website, so I have seen it work.
However, I don’t think that we should focus on those at the expense of search. If there are people searching for your product or service (which there are) then you need to be ranking on the Search Engine for them to buy it.
Just check out these ecommerce conversion rates
And look at the gap between StumbleUpon & Google.
In case it is hard to translate this into real world value let’s put this into figures, if you have 20,000 traffic per month it’s the difference between 4 sales or 320 sales.
If you are selling a package for $79, it’s the difference between making $316 or making $25,280 per month.
Hopefully by now I have convinced you that SEO is worth a look in! And if you think it might benefit your business then I want to help you as best I can. I’m not going to say I know every single thing there is to know about SEO - it's a HUGE topic and involves multiple, multiple skills including an Analytical & Creative talents.
However, I have been working in SEO now for over 6 years for a range of brands and businesses in Finance, Travel, Beauty, Fashion, Healthcare, Wellness, Business & B2B so I do know a thing or two which I can pass on to you. So grab a cup of tea and settle in!
Why Does Search Engine Traffic Convert Better?
This is the first question to ask - why the difference? Well, it’s all to do with the visitors state. When a person visits your website from a Social Media channel they are in browsing mode. Think about when us girls go shopping. Think back to the last time you went shopping with a group of friends when you didn't have anything particular you wanted to buy, you were just going to try on outfits and have a chat and some fun. How much did you spend?
The chances are, unless you happened to come across something you instantly fell in love with, you didn't spend very much.
Now think about when you go specifically to buy something you’ve wanted for ages. You know you want a Jacket for the winter season, and you need a new pair of jeans. You go by yourself this time because you know where you are going and what you need. How much would you usually spend on this trip?
When customers visit from a Search Engine they are either researching something specific, or wanting to buy something.
I don’t know about you but I would much rather spend time on attracting 100 people who want to buy something from me, than 100 people who are just there for a browse. If that's not of interest to you then no problem, but this probably isn't the right place for you. If it is, then great lets carry on.
If you are on the fence & still aren’t convinced about Content Marketing, here is another 10 Benefits of Content Marketing for you to get into.
Right! Let's get to it.
9 Steps To Launching A Niche Guest Blogging Campaign In The Female Entrepreneur Space
What is a Niche Guest Blogging Campaign?
Using guest posts on other websites to drive traffic & leads back to your website. I want to be clear before we begin. Guest Posting isn’t the only way to execute a Content Marketing Strategy or to grow your Search Engine traffic, however it’s the easiest way to get going!
Building The Base
What is the most important bit to get right when you are making a cake? THE BASE! Without the base the entire thing just crumbles down into a big pile of tasty goop.
When it comes to my outreach base I use tools to make sure I am setting it up right. Without a solid base the campaign doesn’t get results, and without results there are no happy customers. So, this is super important to get right!
At this stage it also good to identify what kind of person/personality type you are. If you are a creative, then it might be good to ask someone who is detailed and analytical to check over your base before you move forward.
Step 1: Choose Your Keywords
Keywords are the words that customers are going to type into Google or another Search Engine to find your product or service.
“VA Business In Manchester” for example.
There are two types of keywords to think about;
Short tail keywords are more general & tend to have a higher search volume and are more competitive.
Long Tail keywords are very targeted, they tend to have a lower search volume and be less competitive.
“Business Podcast For Solopreneurs”
Internal Linking Pages (product / service / campaign / blog post)
You need to decide which internal pages you want to link to from your Guest Post. This is determined by the keywords you choose for your campaign. Google's goal is to match the search term someone types into the search bar with the most relevant and useful result. You have the best chance of ranking your page, if you have the most relevant and useful content for this keyword.
So the subject of your linking page needs to match the keywords you are targeting. Now, here is where it does get a little bit complicated because you also need to think about the intent of the user as well.
I don't want to go into depth on that here because this subject goes deep. But you can find more here. I suggest spending a little bit of time on this subject because understanding it will help you to work out if your content has a chance of ranking.
In every Guest Post Post I also always suggest linking to your homepage with your brand term. i.e.
“Ginger Marketing” > Linking To: http://www.gingermarketinghq.com/
This is for several reasons I won't go into them all now.
One of them is that if you link to an internal page it is very likely that page is going to move. Either you decide to update the url, you change your service entirely or your campaign ends.
Even if you redirect the url to your new page you have still lost some of the value the link will pass in doing so.
So, your homepage is the most stable place on your website, build authority to it!
Only linking to your homepage with your brand name means you will very likely find it hard to rank for some of your keywords.
So make sure you mix it up!
And remember, SEO is not a Science it is an Art. Don’t be afraid to test things out. Set a strategy, execute the strategy and track the results, see what happened & iterate.
Anchor Text Tip:
Avoid publishing 10 guest posts, linking to the same pages with the same anchor text, this could be seen as a signal by Google that you are trying to game the system. So again - MIX IT UP!!
Step 2: Metrics Of Success
The final ingredient of your solid base is to choose your Metrics Of Success. A metric is something you can track which shows whether the campaign was successful or not.
Ideally you want to track a metric which is tied into your sales however, setting this up and running requires some advanced analytics which we won’t go into now. If you’d be interesting in learning about this then let me know and I can write a tutorial for you.
Metrics Of Success:
If I had to pick the most important metric to track from this list it would be traffic & email subscribes. For most small businesses these are the two things that will make a difference to the bottom line of your business, assuming you can convert the traffic.
It is a good indicator to know if your outreach efforts have brought you in more traffic either from people clicking from the guest posts to your page, or from Google because you have increased your ranking positions.
Always look for both Search Engine Traffic & Referral Traffic in your Analytics report. You should see an increase in both.
Step 3: Identify A List Of Websites To Pitch To
The easiest way to launch a targeted outreach campaign is to focus on one specific group of people / niche at a time. At this stage, to help you pick your niche you need to ask the question;
What is the action I want the reader to take on this content?
Example Action; I want them to click onto my branding for beginners webinar
So, now you know who you want to find. You want to find people interested in learning about branding. Since this is for beginners you are probably looking for early stage business owners so a good niche might be business coaches who specialise in helping early stage solopreneurs.
Why solopreneurs? Because solopreneurs who are just starting out tend to be the ones interested in branding. m! One of the first team members a lot of people hire now is graphic designers so if they have a team, likely they don’t want to listen to your webinar! They will just ask their team.
But what type of business coach? Each business coach is going to attract a different audience depending on their personality & interests.
There are soulful, heart based & spiritual business coaches, there are power house business coaches, there are introverted business coaches, there are business coaches for busy mums, or those that focus on students and young entrepreneurs.
It’s important to get to this level of niching because you want to write for websites that have an audience of your ideal clients.
If you are not sure about the market you are going to be pitching to then this bit will take some time. Researching will help you.
Researching A Niche
Google the topic and go onto the websites you are looking at.
(be specific here about how they start to follow people)
Check out their twitter and facebook feeds, read their content. You could keep at this stage for 7 or 8 days, going in and reading posts and content for 30 minutes a day. By the end of the week you will have a much clearer picture & will be able to select your niche more accurately.
It might seem like a lot of work but remember the cake, we are still on the base. Without getting this bit right you will just be randomly emailing a bunch of people and verging on spamming them. Effort here, means the difference between outreach & spam. And it makes the difference between happy replies and pee’d off people who never want you to speak to them again (not to scare you!!).
Just Keep a list of websites in a word doc!
Join Some facebook groups
Search For Your Target List
Once you know who you are targeting you need to find your targets. I personally use software for this, Ninja Outreach. There is also Buzzstream as well however I prefer Ninja Outreach because I find the filter options really awesome (more on that in the stats section), and they give you monthly traffic which is important.
However, Ninja Outreach is more expensive starting at $49 a month instead of $24 per month for Buzz Stream.
If you don’t want to pay for a tool then you can use good ol' Google and you can use a tool called Open Site Explorer. Nothing wrong with this method, this is what I’ve used for the last 6 years, until I got the software.
However, it does take triple the amount of time to build a good list and manage your contacts without one of the outreach tools, so I do advise getting them if you want to use Guest Posting as an ongoing marketing tactic for your business.
Searching On Google
Example Search Terms
Solopreneur Business Coaches
List of Solopreneur Business Coaches
Business Coach for Solopreneurs
Business Coach for Mums
List of Business coaches for mums
Business coach for work at home mums
List of business coaches for work at home mums
Chrome add on which helps you understand the metrics of the site's you are looking at:
Be careful using this if you are in an office building with lots of people or at least an IT department. We triggered some kind of firewall shut down when we used it at MoneySuperMarket. #funtimes #notreally
What does the Moz Bar Do?
It tells you the level of the website you are looking at. More about this in the metrics section. But, without it you are just looking at a bunch of website links with no idea how good they are or not.
Searching Ninja / Buzzstream
Enter the same search terms into the search section of these tools. A list of websites will appear with the stat’s next to them.
Using Open Site Explorer
With this tool you take a slightly different approach. With this you can really quickly identify the websites that have already covered what you have created.
In this case we have created a webinar for branding for beginners.
You can quickly create a list by looking at other websites which have linked before to topics about branding.
Search in Google
The trick here is to find a key player in this market. You are looking for someone who is a thought leader on branding. When you find them, enter their website into Open Site Explorer.
And it will give you a list of all of the people that are linking to this website.
Now, there are a ton of metrics and there is a lot of depth in this tool. But, for now, the only metric I want you to worry about is DA = Domain Authority. This is an indicator of how well the site ranks in Google.
Not all websites are created equal. If you are going to put your energy & resource into creating content you need to make sure that the websites you approach are worth your energy. This might sound blunt but we want the best for you!!
As a guide, look for Domain Authorities between 28-50.
+2000 per month
Check Open Site Explorer
If you are using Ninja Outreach or Buzzstream make sure you go through and ensure the correct email is saved to the contact.
If you are doing it manually then go onto the website
Or us an email scraper tool:
Step 4: Making Friends
Once you have your list of potential targets you need to start engaging with them & getting to know them. Guest Posting is about making long term connections with other website owners for a mutually beneficial relationship. Hopefully you’re going to become partners and colleagues, maybe one day friends!
Take your list of targets and follow them. I use twitter for this because you can create a private list. I have lists for;
Social Media Experts
And I continuously add to these lists as I execute my campaigns. Every week I go in and engage with the people here. Quality is better than quantity. It can be easy to think of this as a “tactic” and then go into it with a sales kind of attitude. But you don’t want to do that. You want to go in at a human level and just try to have a chat.
If you don’t manage your Social Media then ask your social media person to do it, or hire someone for $50-$100 per month to do it for you. Believe me, the cost & time is absolutely worth it.
Effective Ways To Engage With Targets On Twitter
Replying to a tweet with a question
Replying to a tweet and adding value
Replying to a tweet with a personal account
If you want to be even cooler, follow them on Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest as well. Repin & Like posts that you connect with. Not only does this strengthen familiarity between you but you will also get closer to understanding your targets & the things they post about. Heck - you might even learn something as well!!
Step 5: Title Creation
This is the first bit where we can start to get creative. Writing a good, effective title is one the most challenging parts of the entire campaign. It’s one of those bits that if you fail at, it dramatically reduces the effectiveness of your campaign.
The titles needs to be relevant to your audience, it needs to be interesting enough to click on and hopefully share as well. Creating good titles is a constant learning process. Always go back to your guest posts and look at what did well and what didn’t, take notes about what can be improved for next time.
Here are some thing to think about when creating your Guest Post Titles.
Why would someone click on this title?
Does it add value to the reader?
Which group of people are you speaking to? Remember, this isn’t the same as your audience on your blog. Check out a couple of the websites from your list and read a few of their blog posts, get a feel for the audience.
Your keywords need to go in your title. If you can’t get them in the exact phrasing that is fine it’s better for it to look natural.
Could a 10 year old read this and know what the post is about?
Step 6: Pitching
Now it’s time to pitch! Yep that is right, we are going to pitch without actually having any content written. Why is that? Because if you write some content no-one wants to post you’ve just wasted your time & energy!!
Often the website owner will come back with some slightly adjustment and changes and if you don’t have the content you can very easily accommodate.
Just like the title, the subject line is SUPER important. Your target is likely to receive several hundred emails per day, perhaps 50% being pitches. I use a very straight forward tactic for my subject lines which get a 7-10% response rate.
Subject Line: Guest Post Pitch:[Title Of Your Guest Post]
The success of this method does depend on your title of course! However, the advantage of this is that when the target clicks through to read your title they have already said to themselves that they are interested in the title. This means they have pre-opted in before they have even read the email making the response a lot more likely.
In the body of the email you need to get across a couple of elements quickly for the target to make a decision.
Trust: They need to trust you to make a decision.
Always include some stats for your previous posts you have done, publications you have been featured in, talks you have given & stats about your community. This person has never met you before, prove to them that you know what you are talking about. If you can link through to some evidence even better. I often link through to successful guest posts that we have done to show them clear stats about the results we can get for their website.
Value: They need to understand the value you are providing for them.
Always share what value you are providing them. That your post is going to be high quality, actionable advice 650+ words (unless they have a higher/lower word count). And that you will share it with your audience when it is live.
Commitment: They need to know how much commitment they need to make.
This is just about stating what you want. “I would like to pitch a guest post for your blog.” Very straightforward, they know where they stand.
The quickest way to send out an email to 20-30 people is to use Mail Merge. I have been using it since forever to launch Guest Post Campaigns. I used to use Excel and Word, I know have Google Drive Add Ons & Software.
Basically it means you can send out a template email very quickly to a group of people. The sophisticated versions allow you to personalise each email by adding the targets name, or the business name into the body of the email. This makes it seem as if you are only sending a couple of emails out.
For sending 20-30 emails the simplest way is to set up mail merge on Google Drive with a free Mail Merge add on.
This add on doesn’t allow you to personalise the email but it’s a good starting point for getting to understand mail merge.
The really good thing about this add on is it has tracking included! It will tell you if someone has opened or even clicked in your email. This is really good for starting to understand what is and isn’t working. And for following up. A good place to start with the follow up is to email all of those that either opened / clicked in your email because they are more likely to be interested but then just got distracted.
Always remember, people are BUSY!! Just because they didn’t get back to you it doesn’t mean they are not interested. If it’s been three days and you haven’t got a reply follow up with those who didn’t get back to you. It takes much less time to follow up than it does to go through the process of launching another campaign. Some people say follow up a third time as well, I don’t do this as I don’t want to annoy people! It’s up to you though.
So that’s how to launch a niche guest blogging campaign for female entrepreneurs!
Once you get your replies it is all about crafting the content and finding the right visuals and imagery, and that will be one of the next posts I put together. So bookmark us, subscribe or follow us so you get that goodness too!
I hope this is a valuable resource for you so you feel confident in launching your own Guest Posting campaigns. Feel free to reach out to me with questions / suggestions and feedback - it will all go into improving this to make it the number one place to come for female entrepreneurs wanting Content Marketing On Demand.
Written by Cheryl Clarke Chief Happiness Officer & Director Of Ginger Marketing