Guest Blogging vs Outreach: What’s Better for Your Backlinking Strategy?

Guest Blogging vs Outreach: Backlink Strategy - Sachs Marketing Group

Both guest blogging and blogger/influencer outreach help to increase exposure for your business. These tactics can help you go beyond search engine optimization and social media to help you reach a broader audience, taking advantage of audiences others have already built. Both, however, rely on developing relationships with other bloggers in your industry, which take time to cultivate properly for the best possible result.

Learn the difference between the two methods, and how you can use them both to expand your marketing backlinking strategy.


What is Guest Blogging?

Guest blogging refers to submitting a blog post that is featured on another blog besides your own. Many blogs accept guest posts to help fill their calendars so they don’t have to produce new content all of the time. It helps you get access to a new audience since the publication will promote your content to their readers.

When it comes to guest blogging, you must first know the goals you’re trying to accomplish. Guest blogging helps you to:

  • Get traffic back to your website
  • Build backlinks to your website
  • Position yourself as a credible authority in your industry

If the goal is just a backlink, certain blogs may not work out. However, if you are just posting for exposure, and the back line just happens to be a bonus then go for it.

You can find plenty of guest blogging opportunities online. as you research, look for sites that are relevant to your industry or niche. Not just any blog will do however. Take note only of blogs that:

  • Have content focused on your industry or niche with an audience that is interested in your industry
  • Clearly has an engaged audience – you can see this by looking at the number of times post has been shared on social media or commented on
  • Have an active blog owner – meaning they are promoting themselves on social media and are responsive to their readers.

A Google search is a wonderful place to start looking for guest posting opportunities. Use search queries like the ones below to help you zero in on blogs that accept guest posts in your niche.

  • keyword “submit a guest post”
  • keyword “guest post”
  • keyword “guest post by”
  • keyword “accepting guest posts”
  • keyword “guest post guidelines”

Using these phrases will help you find the guidelines pages, submission pages, or guest posts from other writers.

If you know of any popular guest bloggers in your industry, you can use Google to search for their names along with the phrase guest post by. This will show you all of the sites that the guest blogger it will produce sites they have posted on, so you have a good idea of places you should start too.

If you are looking for backlinks more than anything else, conduct a backlinking strategy analysis of some of your competitors. Chances are, you’ll find some of them have links coming from guest posts. Using a tool like Ahrefs, SEM Rush, or Open Site Explorer, you can look at the back link to see what blogs, if any, they have written for.

If you don’t have access to tools like that, Google once again can come to the rescue “guest post” (where is your competitor’s website) which should reveal sites that a competitor has written for.

To make it a little easier for you, here are a handful of places you can connect with people looking for guest posts:

  • MyBlogGuestThis is a free platform that lets bloggers sign up, either to provide blog posts, or because they are looking for content for their own blog. The forum allows you to place specific requests in categories. There’s also the ability to ask for help with social promotion on published posts. With premium accounts, priced at either $30 for basic or $70/month for advanced, you can submit articles to the gallery for other bloggers to use on their sites, submit guest posts directly to blogs, submit infographics to the gallery, track published article status, and more features.
  • PostJointWith PostJoint, you don’t have to search through galleries of posts. Advertisers submit the content they want published. The database matches with the best audiences from their database of blogs, and sends offers to the bloggers. Then, the advertiser chooses the offers they want to accept. Metrics are shown to assist in the decision making process, and bloggers see excerpts of related posts so there isn’t a duplicate content issue. Bloggers registered with PostJoint are screened for quality with moderators, to improve response and satisfaction rates.
  • Blogger LinkUpThis is a free service connecting bloggers who are looking for content with businesses and marketers who are looking to place content for links. As a business, you can submit your offer for a guest post, product review, or contest announcement. Bloggers can also request guest posts and interview sources. Emails go out to members every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you see a request you can fulfill, or if a blogger is interested in your request, you can contact each other directly with information included in the email. Though there’s not much information on the website itself, it’s a free service, so if you’re strapped for cash, this is a great way to get started.

Once you’ve built some traction on your own blog, you can open it up to accepting guest posts, too, to help give back to the community. You’re in charge of how often you accept them and publish them, and to what standards you’ll require, so why not?


What is Outreach?

Outreach, also known as influencer outreach, or blogger outreach, helps build quality backlinks. It also exposes your business to a broader audience. Instead of you writing posts to be featured on other websites, you connect with the bloggers and ask them to write about you/cover your business in a unique way – not in an advertorial manner – on their blog or other publication they write for.

If you want to find influencers, there are a number of free and paid tools you can use to search for bloggers in any industry or niche.

  • BuzzSumoThe free version allows for a limited number of searches every day. With it, you can see the most poplar content on a website over the past day, week, six months, or year. You can also see the most popular authors on a website, letting you see who the influencers are.
  • KeyholeThis is a hashtag tracking tool to help you find content and influencers related to the hashtag. It’s great for tracking events. This is a freemium tool you can use to a limited extent without paying.
  • Little BirdThis tool helps you find influencers that have been validated by peers. You can find them for a variety of topics, and new topics emerge from time to time. You can also use it for content marketing, sales research across multiple social media platforms, and competitive intelligence.

If you’d rather have help facilitating the connections, here are places that can connect you with influencers for outreach purposes.

  • GroupHighThis is a dashboard for larger brands who want to work an outreach campaign into their marketing strategy. With it, there are millions of blogs indexed, which are searchable by keyword, niche, location, and number of followers. It’s possible to see if the blog accepts sponsored posts, guest posts, ad networks, or supports video, and more. After you’ve compiled a list of blogs to target, the service will provide information about them, such as SEO metrics, social media profiles, contact form locations, and the author’s names so you can reach out and connect. The pricing information is not listed, and you must request a demo of the service. Other sites reviewing the service say pricing is $3,000 a year, making it an expensive investment for many small businesses.
  • BlogDash: This company refers to themselves as a blogger outreach dashboard. There are more than 200,000 bloggers on the network. You can find the ones you want to work with with a number of metrics, including: keyword, category, gender, and klout score, as well as several other demographics. The service allows you to interact with bloggers by sharing their tweets and blog posts, and pitching them to cover your product or service. Businesses can start with a free account to connect with bloggers, but you are limited to 30 bloggers per search. The paid plan costs $199/month, but gives you unlimited searches, and access to the entire network of bloggers when you search.

You can also use social media to find and build relationships with influencers, though this will take a bit of time. Outreach is definitely the long-game.


Choosing the Best Option for Your Backlinking Strategy

Guest blogging is best for when you want to establish yourself as a credible resource and help drive traffic back to your own blog. It can help with backlinks, too, but ultimately, it helps grow your audience.

Outreach is best for when you want to get other people talking about your company, without any mentions of you as the writer. When you guest blog, your name is used, so it helps boost authority, credibility, and trust.

There’s nothing that says you must choose one or the other, because analytics data makes it easy to see where the traffic comes from. You’ll be able to see which guest blogs are giving you the best results, and which influencers are sending the most traffic your way. Then, you can decide whether you want to invest in more campaigns with new blogs or influencers – and how you want to adjust those investments to make an even bigger impact.


Tips for Success

When you reach out to a blogger, whether you’re aiming for a guest post or outreach, don’t assume that just because they are participating in these networks, they will accept your request. To increase the likelihood they’ll accept, it’s best to connect with the blogger beforehand and build a rapport with them. Comment on their blog posts. Connect and interact with them on social media. Share their posts. Get on their radar.

If you can’t do that, at least take the time to personalize your request, showing that you care enough to go beyond the ever-so-annoying “Dear Webmaster,” especially when their name is clearly visible on the website.

Make sure your guest post fits the blog. If it doesn’t you’re just wasting time – it won’t get posted, and if by some chance it does, the people who read it likely won’t be interested in what you have to say, defeating the purpose. You wasted the time to craft the post, and it would be better suited on a different publication that attracts a better targeted audience.

Before you submit the post, make sure the topic you’ve selected hasn’t already been covered. If it’s been talked about before, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be declined, but you should at least make sure you have a different angle or new information. If it’s too similar to a post already on the blog, find a different publisher, or adjust the post a bit.

Take the time to read the guest posting/outreach guidelines. You’ll get a much better response if you’ve followed the rules. If you don’t, then you’re likely going to be ignored, or worse, blacklisted from ever getting posted. Each blogger will have their own requirements based on their preferences and style guide. Follow it, because it not only makes things easier for the blogger, but it shows you’re paying attention.


Why Not Put Both to Work?

There’s nothing that says you can’t use both tactics as part of your digital marketing strategy. If you’re not much of a writer, there are plenty of qualified freelancers out there you can connect with to help you produce the content you need.

Have you done guest blogging or outreach before? Which do you find the most effective? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

Photo credit: iStock

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