Back in the day, when blogging was the only game in town, you could rely on a handful of faithful readers to help spread the word about your blog. Over time, you would slowly accumulate a following and eventually reach the status of a popular blogger. Sadly, that model would never work today.
There are just way too many people with blogs.
The new model flips the old model on its head…you now have to go straight to the celebrity bloggers, get their attention and then have them endorse you.
Look at Arianna Huffington. She didn’t start out at the bottom and claw her way to the top like Dooce did. She was a multi-millionaire, who was married to a senator.
She had serious connections…and she leveraged those connections.
You might not be a multi-millionaire married to a senator, but you can still cultivate connections with powerful people and get yourself 1,000 new subscribers in less than 60 days.
Let me show you how!
You have to attract endorsed traffic
You’ll notice that although the traffic from these sites will tend to be high…your bounce rates will also be high.
And when it comes to page views and time on-site, they will be low.
In other words, this isn’t very qualified traffic. To get a serious bump of qualified traffic, you have to get endorsed traffic.
What do I mean by that? Endorsed traffic is one of these three things:
- A-list bloggers linking to your site from their blogs.
- A-list social media players sharing your content on the social web.
- You posting content on A-list players’ blogs.
Although all three points listed above will create scenarios in which somebody with a lot of credibility and authority will give you props, it’s that last one I really want to focus on in this post. It’s because it will deliver huge chunks of targeted traffic to your site with the right strategy.
How to get the attention of an A-list blogger
Popular bloggers are very busy people…creating content, collaborating on a joint project with another blogger or speaking…but one thing that they are never too busy to do is read comments.
They might not answer every single one, but they will read a lot of them. Can you guess what they are looking for? They are looking for thoughtful and deep comments that make it clear you get what they are writing about.
If you can write several paragraphs that teach the blogger and his readers something new, then you can steal the show. If you’re really good, you can get the A-list blogger to ask himself, “Now, why didn’t I think about that?”
One practice I like to teach people is to use their URLs in their names when they leave comments. For example, I would type “Neil Patel @QuickSprout.com.”
So, what do you put in the box that asks for your URL? Never put your home page URL. Instead, link to an internal page on your site that is relevant to the conversation. That way, you improve the user experience when users click through to your site.
How to email an A-list blogger about guest posting
No matter how many stellar comments you leave on a blog, you will probably never get a personal invitation to write for that blogger. You’ll probably get a lot of encouraging replies, but not a personal email.
So, what do you do? Now that you have the blogger’s attention through your comments, you email her. What you write needs to be simple and clear:
Dear A-list blogger,
Thank you very much for the high-quality content that you publish every day. It’s really been a benefit to my life and my blog.
I was wondering if you would be okay if I wrote a guest post for you. In the last six months, I’ve written for X, Y and Z blogs.
Here’s a link to my blog.
This email gets a few things done.
First, it thanks her upfront for what she does. It validates her hard work on her blog. Even though that’s a simple statement…trust me, it means a lot to these bloggers. They wouldn’t be blogging for the public if they didn’t want that kind of recognition.
So, give it to them.
Second, you make your request clear. You don’t go into the seven points why she should let you write for them. You get to the point right away.
Third, you provide proof that you have the chops to get the job done by mentioning other blogs you’ve written for. Now, if this is your very first guest blogging pitch, then you’ll have to rely on your own blog.
Fourth, you end the email quickly.
If the blogger comes back and says no (don’t worry, I’ve been rejected plenty of times), then cross this blogger off your list and move on.
If she says yes, then you’ve succeeded!
Of course, you can email the blogger for reasons other than asking to guest-post. One time I emailed a very popular blogger to ask why it seemed like his Twitter numbers dropped drastically. He emailed back to explain, and we had a short exchange before I casually brought up the topic of writing a guest post for him. Another time, during an email exchange, a blogger clicked on the link to my blog in my email signature and invited me to write.
How to write a guest post for an A-list blogger
Once you get the chance to write a post for an A-list blogger, you have to make sure you write the best post you’ve ever written. This is your chance to shine in front of 50,000 or more people…and I want to show you how to make the most of it.
Here’s what you need to think about:
- Killer headlines: Spend an enormous amount of time trying to create a killer headline. Look at hundreds of examples to see what is popular and use the “4 U”s formula of headlines: Unique, Urgent, Ultra-Specific and Useful. Show the blogger that you really care about attracting a lot of attention to his blog.
- Advanced blog posts: Don’t go light on your guest post…back it up with some really solid research and details. Make sure you write an article that makes people want to bookmark it because it is so full of good information. Think of some of Dan Zerralla’s Social Science posts or those over at KISSmetrics.
- Conversation: Write in a style that is friendly and engaging, but also write in a style that will resonate with the blogger’s audience.
- Authority: Prove that you know what you are talking about and why your readers should listen to you. Have you led a huge company? Have you been behind some brilliant scientific research? Have you experienced something mind blowing? Tell them!
- Links: Do your homework on the A-list blogger’s site and find a bunch of pages you can link to in your article. This will show him that you’ve done a thorough job of trying to create the best content. And don’t forget to link out to other bloggers in your guest post. They will appreciate you trying to build credibility and connections.
Also, create a byline that will drive traffic to the right page. Stanford Smith from Pushing Social has a great 3-sentence-long formula that answers these three questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you do and for whom?
- What’s the call to action?
Here’s what mine could look like:
I’m Neil Patel, co-founder of KISSmetrics and blogger at QuickSprout. I teach business owners the secrets Big Brands use to generate online traffic, leads and profits. Pick up my free course “Double Your Traffic in 30-Days” today, and I’ll give you a free bonus worth $300.
Create a personalized landing page
This is absolutely crucial for your success. When you create your byline for that guest post…never send your readers to your home page.
Instead, send them to a landing page you created just for them. For example, if you write an article for Open Forum, create a landing page giving away your free resource. The headline should read something like “Thank You, Open Forum Readers!” If you write one for Mashable, write a headline that says “Welcome, Mashable Readers!”
I’ve seen registrations jump over 10% with personalized landing pages like that.
Put this strategy into overdrive
Now, as you probably realize, you’re not going to get 1,000 subscribers from one guest post. My guess is you’ll have to publish anywhere from five to ten posts to get that result.
That’s the real secret to making this guest-posting strategy work.
I explained this fast and furious guest-posting strategy in a Problogger piece I wrote a number of months ago. In short, it’s this: settle down, get as many guest post commitments as you can and then write like crazy!
The World’s Strongest Librarian used this approach when he wrote 42 blog posts in a seven-week period. It is a lot of work, but you’ll get great results from it.
On the other hand, you can also get one commitment from an A-list blogger, send him an article and then follow up immediately a few days later with another article…and then another one…and so on.
Or you could try to get a job with that A-list blogger as a regular contributor or even associate editor. That way you’ll get a lot more exposure and great constructive feedback from that blogger as you give her more and more content.
The secret formula to getting 1,000 subscribers in 60 days or less is to put the guest-posting strategy into overdrive and publish several articles on A-list blogs…and to send that endorsed traffic to a personalized landing page.
That personalized landing page is a critical piece…so, don’t skip it. It’s truly the best way to maximize all of your hard work!
What other tips can you share to help new bloggers get 1,000 subscribers in 60 days or less?