David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

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The 5 rules of blogger outreach

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Want to get the attention of a blogger? Here are five rules, along with a little insight into my own reactions to the non-stop spam I get from people like you.

Almost every day, somebody emails me offering to write a free post for this blog. Sometimes they offer a list of titles. Sometimes they tell me to name the topic, and they’ll write something for me. Sometimes they are not even in my niche. They obviously don’t read my blog.

And that is the first rule of blogger outreach. Know your target audience. Read the blog.

If people were to read this blog, they would understand that I don’t publish same-old, same-old drivel. I publish opinionated analysis of the state of online marketing. That’s right, my opinions; this post is a fine example of how I write for my own blog. I occasionally do publish a guest post, but it is certainly not from a stranger taking a pot shot and hoping that something sticks. Stay tuned and I’ll tell you the two ways to become a guest blogger here.

The second rule is to be very, very respectful.

Whether you come begging or pushing a wheelbarrow full of gold, you are seeking a favor from the blogger. You are hoping to be published, to get exposure, to build a link, to build traffic, or to get Austin Moon’s attention by posting something on my blog. Well, maybe not get Austin Moon’s attention on my blog – that’s would be someone else’s niche.

If you send me a spammy form email, that doesn’t show respect. That doesn’t say, “Wow, your blog is so wonderful, I just gotta get something going with you.” That shows that how very little you care about my blog. And I am happy to reciprocate… [DELETE]

I have been on both sides of the blogger outreach relationship. There are times when I don’t have time to build a relationship on behalf of a client. And there are times when the client doesn’t offer me what I would have needed for the next rule. But taking time to explore the blog and showing deep respect has helped me at least get an audience in some places. But most often I have needed to employ the third rule.

Blogger outreach done wrong

The third rule is to come with a wheelbarrow full of gold.

Now, I’m not saying that gold will guarantee you get a guest post on my blog. But it will guarantee that I won’t just hit [DELETE] right away. I do accept sponsored posts, and I am happy to announce that they are sponsored. But don’t ask me for a NoFollow link because you have weak knees. I don’t do NoFollow, and here is why.

Which brings us to the fourth rule. The blogger sets the terms as far as what he or she is willing to say, how to say it, how to format the post, etc.

It is OK to ask for specific anchor text. It is OK to specify that you will pay only for a favorable review. It is OK to set the conditions under which you will pay money. But ultimately, it is the blogger’s call, and you either hand over the money or take it somewhere else. Any blogger worth his salt will want the post to conform to his regular formatting specs. Seriously, if you absolutely need a post formatted to your own specifications, why not just put it on your own blog?

And if by some chance you get a blogger willing to accept your guest post for free or for only a token payment, you have no business specifying anything. Sorry, but they’ve already done you a huge favor just opening your spam…er….I mean your email.

Rule number 5 is this: Who cares if you think your product is amazing? If the blogger doesn’t like it or does not want to be associated with it, too bad. It’s her blog. Move on.

There are some things I won’t write about, even for $10,000 in gold (as I mentioned earlier). Hmm. Actually, hold on. That’s a whopping lot of gold. Nobody has ever (sadly) offered me that much. Let me get back to you on that.

Want to break the rules?

OK, let’s suppose you want to break the rules above and just spam as many bloggers as you can and see what sticks. After all, it’s less work and you can even delegate it to an offshore virtual assistant working for you on slave wages. Surely if you send out thousands of spam emails, a few will say, “Sure, why not? I need more content on my blog.”

Some of those emails will stick. Congratulations. You’ll get nothing but [DELETE] from A-list bloggers, but you will catch the attention of some ZZ-list bloggers.

Here’s why:

  • A-list bloggers love to blog. They don’t need more content. ZZ-list bloggers need your crap. Did I just say “crap” on my blog? Oops.
  • A-list bloggers value quality over quantity. Your email condemns you. ZZ-list bloggers can’t recognize the difference between good and bad quality.
  • A-list bloggers are inundated with guest blogging requests. ZZ-list bloggers are not.

Is gold really necessary?

Now the question you’ve been dying to ask: Can you still get a guest post on my blog without a wheelbarrow full of gold.

And the answer is: No. But somebody else can.

Guest posts you read on my blog are usually the result of me reading something somewhere, usually on a friend’s blog, and saying to myself, “Hey, I’d like them to write about that on my blog, too.” In fact, that’s how most of my guest posts begin. I don’t get too many offers of gold, but I do sometimes want people to write about something specific. If you’ve seen the movie Inception, you now know how to get me to publish your guest post without a wheelbarrow of gold.

That’s just me. On some other blogs there are forms to fill in to guest post. On other blogs, you might get a chance if you have been engaging with the blogger on social media for a while.   On still other blogs, you simply can’t – not all blogs accept guest posts.

You might be wondering why the gold is necessary. I mean, if you do all the work writing… yeah, right! Let’s assume that you write an amazing post that I don’t have to rework for quality (Very few people write that well, but let’s suppose we dispense with that portion of the work just for argument’s sake).

I still have to format the post and create an image.

I still have to proofread it, no matter how good you say you are.

And I spend at least two hours promoting every post.

Even if I don’t write the post, even if I don’t have to rework it, I still spend about three hours in publishing and promotion. That’s a lot of work you are asking me to do, all for the thrill of giving you a link, some traffic or whatever else you are looking for.

If you are asking for a product review, that takes even more work. It means I have to actually use your product, which is a small amount of extra work if your product is edible, but much more work if it’s a software suite.

Are there bloggers who really will be thrilled to give you that link and that traffic? Sure, if your target audience is ZZ-list bloggers, keep on spamming, and you will get exactly what you deserve. But if you want to get the attention of quality bloggers on quality blogs, ones that actually get traffic and social shares, you need to step up your game with a strong display of quality and an ongoing relationship with the blogger. Or gold.






 


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SEO Tips for Affiliates

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Guest post by John Lamerton… 

Affiliate marketing refers to internet based marketing, where a business offers rewards for others directing traffic to their website. This may take a number of different forms, including the omnipresent advertising banner, text links and, in the case of less scrupulous advertisers, spam and adware. The vast majority of affiliate marketing is legitimate and can be extremely lucrative.

Affiliate marketing can also be very successful for the merchants themselves. Indeed the industry is increasingly taking the place of conventional online and offline marketing. Greatly improving a brand`s visibility, offering a reasonable and stable price for marketing, affiliate marketing is relatively easy to establish and appropriate for companies of all sizes.

Search engine optimisation – or SEO – has become a considerable industry in itself, and is the subject of much discussion. There are various techniques available which may maximise a website`s chances of appearing in search engine results, and ensure that those directed to the site are of a good quality. The golden rule is that in the world of SEO content is king. Without a considerable quantity of good quality and relevant content a website can only progress so far. In terms of the structure of this content, the most obvious place to start is in giving consideration to the titles used. Titles should contain important keywords, as they feature highest in search engine results. Use a description of the service being offered, rather than a simple name, otherwise there is a risk of losing traffic.

The body of texts should again focus on important keywords and phrases, ensuring the most likely variations of words or phrases are given hearing. Content should be relatively accessible, with no unnecessary jargon, simple ideas expressed simply, in short sentences and paragraphs. Subheadings often work well, but steer clear of lists where possible. Account for potential spelling mistakes, and use metatags – the code as `seen` by the search engine robots – to its fullest effect to better explain the content and focus of the page in question to the search engines. Also ensure that target phrases are emphasised in bold or strong tags a couple of times and that keyword density for each phrase is around 2-4%. Keep the spread of target phrases on any given page to a clear and narrow focus. Also ensure that you use the heading tags H1 and H2 and that your content is a minimum of 300 words in length – ideally between 500 and 1000 words or so per page.

Links on a website tend to improve rankings, as do links from other websites. In an ideal world these sites should themselves have good rankings with Google, so don`t be afraid to contact relevant sites in order to exchange links. Ideally offer third parties something of value in return for a link and try to link out from and gain links in from content pages rather than links pages or directories as the latter seem to be carrying less and less weight. Most importantly, ensure that your link partners are relevant for your audience and that they are linking to you using your preferred anchor text (search term).

Choose the style of affiliate marketing which is best suited, and don`t assume banner ads will work best. Banners are no longer as effective as they were, and the focus has tended to shift to content, as people increasingly search for quality writing as opposed to garish flashing banners.

Also research the options regarding Pay Per Click (PPC) and other affiliate marketing models, as their suitability varies between industries. With a little investment of time in finding the right affiliates and model for each particular case, affiliate marketing and extending into the world of content affiliates can work for many a business.

 


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