I quite literally built A Daring Adventure (my private practice) on the back of blogging.
And possibly the number one part of that strategy was guest blogging.
In this post I’m going to share with you the process of building a guest posting strategy and why, if you are to succeed with online marketing, it should a critical part of your marketing approach.
It’s a long post and is really only aimed at Life Coaches and any other coaches for that matter, who are super serious about being successful.
The Ultimate Coaches Guide To Guest Blogging
There are in the region of 200 different factors that Google takes into account with it’s algorithm and decides where to rank a website or individual pages on a website.
A relevant domain is important, as is excellent content, but the one indicator that can trump everything else is high quality, high quantity inbound links.
So let’s dive into the world of guest posting and why it can help you generate traffic, subscribers and ultimately, Life Coaching clients.
There’s a reason why Wikipedia is right at the top of so many search results and that’s because it has literally millions of inbound links.
Think about it. Every time another website links to you they are effectively saying to Google:
‘I trust this site. In fact, it’s adding so much value I’m happy to point my visitors toward it’
Without sites linking to each other there would be no World Wide Web, hyperlinks are what make everything possible and as such Google (and every major search engine) take links very seriously.
However, not all links are equal and some can even be harmful.
If you have a porn site, a casino or any domain using nefarious tactics linking to you, then you will almost certainly get penalized.
Similarly, if for some bizarre reason you get Victoria’s Secret linking to you then Google may not penalize you, but it’s not going to give that link the same weight as if you get the New York Times linking to you from an article on Life Coaching.
The latter would demonstrate real authority and relevance and Google likes both, whereas the former is totally irrelevant and somewhat weird.
Guest blogging on quality websites is arguably the best way to build high-quality links, but that is not the only benefit because it can be the gift that keeps on giving.
I have gained literally scores of clients from guest posts, both directly from people who have read the post and indirectly from people who clicked through, signed-up for my newsletter and then hired me at a later date.
I still have posts from as far back as 2008 that send me web traffic, subscribers and clients. As such, this is not just a short-term strategy, but a long-term one too.
There are a number of reasons why a well-thought-out guest posting strategy can help your practice and here are the biggest wins including what we have already touched on:
- It can help you gain hundreds and in some cases thousands, of new subscribers
- The inbound links will improve your visibility in the SERPS (search engine ranking pages)
- It improves your domain authority (more on that shortly)
- It raises your profile as an expert in your field
- It allows you to talk directly to an entirely different audience
Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA)
Before we dive into the benefits and how you get a post published, let’s just take a look at how you know whether a site has some of the mysterious authority I have spoken of.
After all, you don’t want to pour your heart and soul into writing a guest post for a blog that nobody reads and Google ignores.
In days gone by you could look at something called the Google Page Rank (GPR) but Google hasn’t updated this since 2013 (at least not for public consumption – it’s constantly updated inside Google), so we need another method.
Fortunately, there are paid tools like Ahrefs, SEMRush and Moz.
And even more fortunately, Moz has a free Chrome extension that can help you.
Moz ascribes a Domain Authority (DA) to every website it’s aware of. It then goes even further by assigning a Page Authority (PA) to every page on that site.
The DA of any site is the rank that Moz ascribes to the entire domain from 1 to 100, with 100 being the best.
With Coach the Life Coach we have a DA:24, but with A Daring Adventure I have a DA:44.
The reason why A Daring Adventure ranks so much higher, is that the domain has many more inbound links, indexed pages, and has been around a lot longer and thus has more authority.
A DA (Domain Authority) as a Life Coach of over 25 is pretty good.
30 to 45 is great.
45 and over and you’re hitting it out of the park and I may well want to hire you!
Whereas the DA looks at the entire site, the PA just looks at individual pages.
You can see from the screenshot below that the home page for A Daring Adventure has a PA:52, but the DA is 44.
This is because the home page gets way more traffic than the average blog post or some of my internal pages and Moz works out an average score across the domain.
I would strongly advise you go and download the Moz toolbar and set up a free account because it can be a mine of useful information.
The Benefits Of A Guest Posting Strategy
Let’s now take a closer look at the massive benefits of having a guest posting strategy.
Even though I have lumped these into three very broad categories there will always be some overlap.
Just because you’re blogging to expand your list doesn’t mean the link you acquire still doesn’t have a lot of value in and of itself.
Similarly, even if you get a great inbound link it doesn’t remove the chance you may get a client directly from the post too.
Guest Posting For Coaching Clients
A few years ago, I sat looking at my Google Analytics a few days after I’d had a guest post published on a popular blog.
I had had a measly forty-five click-throughs and I was a tad dejected.
Then I stopped and took stock.
Sure I’d only had a relatively small amount of traffic, but, and this is a huge but, two people had hired me, and I’d netted $2,000 for the couple of hour’s work the post had taken me.
To me, that was a good result.
Not only that, but I’d still got the benefit of a blog with a high DA linking back to me and helping me in the SERPs.
With blogging for clients, you have to target websites where your ideal client hang-out and where you can offer relevant, (that word keeps coming back again and again, doesn’t it?), content that adds value.
Guest Posting For Newsletter Subscribers
If you are guest posting largely to build your list then there is one absolutely critical element – the bio.
For the most part, you will be guest posting to help build your subscriber list because your subscribers are the people most likely to buy from you and hire you.
To make this work, your bio is the single most important part, because if you get this wrong, then a lot of your hard work is wasted.
Make your bio short and punchy (50 -75 words should easily be enough) and have a call to action.
Here are two bios I ran on my blog to show you what I mean:
And my apologies for doing a lousy job of not identifying the first author!
Look how many links there are in his bio – there are 5.
Anybody reading that would have no clue what he wanted them to do.
Now let’s take a look at one I ran from Rob Kornblum last year that totally nails it.
With Rob’s example, there is no doubt what he wants you to do. Yes, they both offer something for free, but Rob’s is so much clearer.
Just like you need a solid single call to action on your website home page, the same goes for a guest post bio.
Have one call to action that is highly targeted and people are exponentially more likely to click through.
Also, you really need a landing page for the sign-up.
Normally a landing page doesn’t have the navigation a normal page would have.
This isn’t because you’re trying to mess people around, but you want to keep people focussed on what you want them to do and navigation can have them wandering around all over the place and forgetting why they even clicked through in the first place.
Guest Posting For Search Engine Visibility
This is where you aim for the high DA sites that usually publish daily, and sometimes multiple times per day.
There are a number of self-development sites with high DA’s that exist largely on guest posts that will provide you with a very high-quality link.
However, a quick word of warning.
There are a minority of sites that add the “nofollow’ attribute to the link. I know in the past that Pick The Brain which is a pretty big site with good authority undertook this practice.
What it means when the “nofollow” attribute is added is that it tells Google to all intents and purposes, ignore the link. Thus it has virtually no value for SEO purposes.
There are occasions when you want links to be “nofollow” The vast majority of blogs employ them for the comments to ensure that they aren’t inadvertently damaging themselves by linking to low-value or spammy sites.
However, when you are guest posting you are working hard to get that “dofollow’ link and I personally would never submit a post to a site that didn’t offer that.
Hyperlinks are by nature “dofollow” so for a site to make them “nofollow’ means they are trying to keep all the Google Juice to themselves and they know that most people won’t realize.
To check for sure, go to a guest post on the site you are considering and hover your mouse over the page away from any images and text.
Then click on ‘View Page Source’
Now click on Edit in your browser menu and then on Find.
Type in ‘follow’ into the search box, then you can scroll down the page to the bio and see what type of links they are giving.
There shouldn’t be any “nofollow” after the link.
Here is the source code from the post I ran from Rob that I mentioned above that includes the link back to his site. You can see there is no attribute attached to his link.
And here is the first comment under his post where you can see the “nofollow’ attribute.
You can see his link is just a straightforward URL. Whereas below is where the comments start and that link automatically becomes a “nofollow” in WordPress.
I know this may all seem a bit overwhelming, but it starts to make sense if you stick with it!
Before I stopped taking guest posts at the end of 2016, I was I getting sent approximately 100 guest post offerings per year and I was turning down about 85% for a wide variety of reasons.
Here are some of the most common ones that can trip you up:
Submitting A Post For Publication
The Post Sucks
This is the biggest and most obvious reason I turned articles down.
If you’re unsure of your writing, ask for feedback from people who will be honest.
Don’t submit anything sub-standard because you probably won’t get a second chance.
The Post Isn’t Relevant
Google loves relevancy and it’s an important element of it’s algorithm. It’s the oxygen that it breathes and if you are posting irrelevant content it will punish you or refuse to help you accordingly.
As I said, I don’t take guest posts anymore, but I still get a lot of requests from people who haven’t bothered to read my guidelines pointing that out.
Only this morning I got sent a pitch for A Daring Adventure with a title, ‘A step by Step guide to editing Instagram photos like a pro’
I have zero idea why somebody would think I’d run a post with a title like that even if I took guest posts.
You’re a Life Coach, so write content that is related to coaching, self-development or whatever area you specialize in.
Then look for sites where that type of content will be welcomed. Don’t send it to some random site just because it has a high DA, because they won’t publish it.
People who have high traffic levels know that irrelevant content can hurt them, (that’s why they have high levels of traffic because they know what they’re doing) and they will knock it back.
Note: I use a lot of humour in my writing, but there are certain sites where my humour is less welcome, so what do I do?
I leave it out. Simple, eh?
Getting Defensive With Feedback
I was sent a guest post from a new blogger one time, which made some cool and interesting points.
However, the author had got one fundamental part of the post technically wrong. As I liked the article in principle, I e-mailed him and explained, trying to help him out.
What did he do?
He argued with me and told me I was wrong, that’s what. I promptly deleted his e-mails and moved on.
If you are offering information as facts, you’d better make sure you’re right, and if the owner is kind enough to offer feedback, then thank them.
A Lack of Research
You should not be writing a post and then sending it off with your fingers crossed.
I have only ever had three guest post offerings rejected and I have probably submitted in excess of 100.
Is that because I’m an awesome writer?
Not at all. I’m an ok writer and a fairly good storyteller, but there are hundreds of bloggers better than me.
The thing I do well, is I take the time to do my research, especially on blogs where I don’t know the owner.
I never kick off an e-mail by saying “Hi!” because I find out what the person’s name is before I contact them and show them that, I’m not just hitting site after site hoping somebody will take my post.
I never submit a pitch if they want a finished post, and vice versa. My guest post requirements clearly stated I didn’t want pitches, yet at least half the people contacting me sent me one.
A pitch is just a rough outline of what the post will be about and I didn’t like them because I always felt like taking a pitch was almost a tacit agreement to take the finished post.
I also read a few guest posts the site already published so I can get a sense of what they are looking for. As well as, which ones did well for comments and social media shares.
I may spend thirty to sixty minutes (or even longer on really big sites) researching, but for a link that may well be worth $500 or more to me, that’s worth it.
And yes, there are links that are worth that and a lot more, so pay attention!
Note: Many sites don’t include their guest post requirements in the navigation, but on any site taking lots of guest writers, there will almost certainly be a page with them on.
Simply go to your search bar and type in site:domain name ‘guest post requirements’ and you will probably find them.
By typing site: and then the domain of the site you’re checking, without the www. or https etc., you are telling Google to only search that site.
It’s not difficult for anybody to find my requirements and realize I don’t take guest posts.
Show some respect for the blog owner and make sure your post isn’t littered with typos and grammatical errors.
I do tend to make some errors on my own site, but I’m a lot more careful when I’m submitting to another blog.
Read, edit, and then read and edit again.
Then give it to a friend to read to make sure they understand the point or points you’re trying to make. If they don’t, rewrite it, don’t send it on a wing and a prayer.
I turned down good posts because they would have taken me longer to edit them than it would have to have just written a post myself.
Sending Duplicate Content
Whereas the negative SEO connotations are not what they used to be, it still isn’t good practice to send previously published material to another blog.
The more savvy ones will check by grabbing a couple of paragraphs of text and throwing it into Google, and if it has already been used, Google will find it.
Too Many Links
Keep links to a minimum as every link is an opportunity for a reader to leave the site, never to return.
The host doesn’t want that.
They want people to read the post in its entirety and they also often want to insert their own internal links.
Your post really only needs one link and we’ll look at what that should be shortly.
Note: There is an exception to adding links to the post and this elevates you to expert level.
You look for other relevant posts on the host’s site that you can link to.
Internal links are very useful for SEO purposes and doing that really demonstrates you have taken your time and done your research.
I have had blog owners take a month to get back to me before saying yes, whereas, I have had others respond within an hour.
You have no way of knowing what they are going through, and whereas I nearly always responded within 72 hours and often sooner, some blogs get inundated and simply cannot respond so quickly.
How To Submit A Post
As already mentioned, most sites will have guest posting guidelines so take the time to search for them.
Just by doing that one thing and then sticking to the requirements, you separate yourself from most bloggers.
When sending in your post, use the person’s name, introduce yourself briefly (no more than a line or so) and then tell them how you think your post will benefit their readers.
Remember, their first consideration is to their readers, not to you, so make sure that benefit is obvious.
Be friendly without being sycophantic. There’s nothing worse than somebody gushing about how your site is the greatest and they have been a long time fan.
Be honest. Tell them what you like about their site and which posts you’ve enjoyed by all means (as long as it’s reasonably brief) but don’t make stuff up.
You don’t need to do this, but I always tell them that they are ok to edit accordingly and I’m happy to rewrite parts if they would prefer.
Your Post Has Published, Now What?
This is no different to if it were a blog you had posted to your own site.
You promote the crap out of it like your life depends on it!
Respond to every comment respectfully (other than obvious spam), share it with your usual audience on social media and make the owner delighted he or she helped you out.
And make no mistake, they are helping you out.
Of course, it’s not a one-way street and I, for one, have been very grateful when excellent guest posts have dropped into my inbox when I’m really busy.
Then again, you need them more than they need you if they have a popular site.
This has been a long post and good for you for sticking with it to the end, you’re obviously serious about growing your coaching business.
I feel sure it will have thrown up some questions, so please ask away in the comments and I’d be very grateful for any Social Media shares.