Guest posting is a technique that inherently involves outreach. Or does it? Can you successfully use guest post marketing without using outreach? There are two ways you can go about it.
Why No Outreach?
Outreach is arguably the hardest part of guest posting. Creating content? You do that all day! Your blog has high quality content on it, and so does your website in landing pages, store entries, and other pages. Creating high quality content isn’t easy, but it’s not the hardest part of guest posting.
No, outreach involves doing research on sites you can target. It involves crafting high quality pitches and making sure to send them to the right people in the right places. It’s a lot of work, a lot of time, and a relatively low return on investment given the scale of operations you need to succeed.
If you could cut all of that out, well, I won’t tell you that you’ll be able to double your guest posts or something. The fact is, without outreach, your success with guest posting will generally be a bit lower. The top tier sites don’t go out looking for people to write for them, at least not often, and without outreach, many of them will never even find you.
What non-outreach guest posting does is gives you a supplemental route to more guest posts. Every guest post you can get without outreach is a post, a citation, and a link you didn’t have to fight to get. Consider these strategies to be supplemental, not replacements, and you have the right idea.
Guest Posting Without Outreach: The Purchase Strategy
The first strategy is the one you’re probably most familiar with, and it’s the one that comes with the most problems. You can replace outreach with outsourcing.
A quick summary of the strategy is just “buy your guest posts”. There are plenty of services out there, from The Hoth to OutreachMama, any of which can get you guest posts on a wide variety of domains.
Now, there are always a few problems with this kind of strategy. First and foremost among them is the issue of quality. If you read the two reviews I linked above, you can see two different types of companies. One of them provides “guest posts” that more often than not end up on either really low quality sites no one has ever heard of, or sites that are just straight-up PBNs. The other provides legitimate guest posts, doing all of the outreach for you, though it takes time and tends to be more expensive.
Buying your guest posts can be a legitimate strategy. I have nothing against it, to be honest. If you’re paying for legitimate outreach and legitimate outsourcing, that is. If you’re going to be paying for some shady links on no-name domains, well, then you just have to deal with low quality links and potential Google search penalties in the future.
I highly recommend that you take your time researching any company that’s going to provide guest posts for you. Remember that every company has some detractors who will leave negative reviews full of lies no matter what the company does, and will have plenty of reviews going on about their positive qualities regardless of whether or not they exist. It can be tricky to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.
The other issue with paying for outreach is, well, the expense. The cheaper the company is, the lower quality their offerings are likely to be. You end up having to pay quite a bit of money to save you the time and effort.
Sure, that money is worthwhile sometimes. Some companies provide very high quality outreach, have connections within a variety of top-level sites, and can get you great links. On the other hand, many of them overcharge just as a matter of course. If you have the budget to handle it, great! Go for it. If you don’t have the money to spare, there are much better ways to spend it.
Of course, paying for guest posts is hardly a strategy. With that in mind, I’m going to skip to the next one.
Guest Posting Without Outreach: The Passive Strategy
The second of three non-outreach guest posting strategies is what I like to call the passive strategy. This strategy has two components: attracting attention and making yourself available.
The first part of this strategy is attracting attention to yourself. Since you’re not going out and contacting others, you need those others to find you. That means, primarily, creating extremely high quality content. You want every single piece of content you create to be great. I’m talking 5,000-word ultimate guides and tutorials. I’m talking about infographics with original research, compelling graphic design, and uniqueness that leads to them being reposted over and over. I’m talking about deep original research and case studies that are cited again and again.
In some ways, this is almost more effort than traditional outreach-based guest posting. Since you need to put so much more effort into every single post you make and every page on your site, simply crafting a few emails would be a break.
The point of this is two-fold. The first is simply to showcase yourself as an industry thought leader and producer of extremely high quality content. You want people who stop in to immediately recognize that you’re one of the best in your field, regardless of the brand name attached to your content.
The other point is to get people coming in from every angle. Since you’re not performing outreach, you need to make your content share itself. The more you have go viral, the better the chance you have of someone with decision-making power seeing it. Since you’re not reaching out to editors, you want other people sending those editors links saying “check this out.” You want those editors finding your content organically.
The second part of this strategy is about making yourself available for guest posts. You want it to be well known that you will produce your high quality content for any site that asks. I’m talking a page on your site dedicated to “I will write for you!” I’m talking about banners on the side of every blog post advertising the fact that you’re willing to write content – for free – for other domains, all they need to do is ask.
You need this to be as organic as possible. Asking for payment just makes you a freelance writer for hire, and that dramatically limits your possibilities. Asking for or demanding links in return will make your strategy feel more like an exploit than an organic goal. Just talk about how much you love your industry and how much you like to get your name out.
Make sure you have every possible form of contact available. Use a contact form, include an email address, even include a phone number. If someone wants to call you to offer you an opportunity, why would you turn it down?
Finally, the key to success with this strategy is, well, pulling it off. When someone offers you contact for a guest post, take them up on it. You can’t afford to be picky or to ignore opportunities, because then people will be less likely to contact you for more. You might even consider keeping a list of links to posts you’ve written for people who took you up on the offer.
You also have to make sure you answer your contacts as quickly as possible, which can be a pretty strong demand on your time. Beyond that, you need to produce your high quality content quickly. And, of course, your content needs to be high quality. If you claim to produce your top-tier content for other sites, but all they can find on those other sites is mediocre posting, you’re not going to get that reputation you’re trying to get.
This strategy has legs, but it can take a long time to ramp up, and you have to be willing to write great content for sites that don’t “deserve” it. Many sites will take you up on the offer while giving you basically nothing in return, and that’s just an occupational hazard you contend with.
Guest Posting Without Outreach: The Reversal Strategy
The third strategy is my favorite. It’s sort of a play on reciprocal link building, but it’s much more legitimate. In order to pull it off, though, you need at least two different websites, if not more. Here’s how it works.
First off, you need to set up a “write for us” page on your site. Basically, you’re going to solicit guest posts to your own site. This means you have to be willing to accept and publish guest posts, even some that might not be as high quality as you would otherwise like. There are variations to the strategy that I’ll list below that may change your standards.
This kind of page will pull in a lot of people hoping to get their site linked to, and that’s fine. Accept as many of these as you’re willing to publish.
The second step is to reach out to the people whose content you published. You want to ask them if they’re willing to publish a guest post you write on their site.
Now, this is where things look like reciprocal link building, but they aren’t. See, in reciprocal link building, you have Site 1 and they have Site 2. You publish content linking to Site 2 on your site, and they publish content linking to Site 1 on their site.
We’re throwing a third – or fourth, or fifth – site into the mix. When you write your guest post for Site 2, you link to Site 3 instead of Site 1. In other words, you publish content on one site linking to their domain, and they publish content on their site linking to a different domain.
There are a lot of possible variations to this plan. I of course tend to prefer the higher quality versions. In my preference, I only accept the top-tier pitches from at least moderate quality sites. I still ignore all of those low quality spam pitches we all get. Additionally, all of my sites are high quality themselves. My sites are also largely disconnected from one another. Other than all being in the general niche of “marketing” and all having some of the same writers, they’re distinct businesses and distinct blogs. I don’t cross-link between them, they aren’t part of a PBN, or anything like that.
A lower quality version of this technique would involve accepting more of the lower quality pitches and publishing them on a site you don’t really care about. Meanwhile, the link you have these people give to you goes to your higher quality money site. This does tend to come off a bit more like a PBN or a link wheel, though, so you want to ensure as much of a gap between the sites as possible. No shared names, no shared authors, hidden WHOIS, the whole nine yards.
This strategy can work quite well at all levels, though the higher quality your sites, the less you want to accept low quality pitches. I figure this is, again, a supplemental technique. I use it when a good guest post pitch comes in, and I don’t press the issue. I don’t demand a return post; I approach an editor a while later with “hey, I published this from you before, would you be willing to have me write a thing?” Keep it simple, keep it low volume, and it’s perfectly fine.