Blogger Outreach Part 2: Choosing Your Crop – How to Write Effective Content

So you’ve chosen the right plot that will give you enough sun – now you have to decide what to plant.

Intelligent guest posting is all about the ‘seed’. It’s no good planting premium crops in a load of rocks in the shade. Equally, don’t go over-planting in one field. Also consider crop cycles – don’t chuck all your seed in month one and think it will last you through the winter. You know yourself from reading different blogs that the tone, language, content and authority of each site is different. It’s essential you chose the right crop for the soil.

You need to aim for high quality, original content that is attractive for bloggers to post and engaging for their readership. The general rule is:
                            WRITE FOR PEOPLE FIRST, SEO SECOND

Before You Begin…
This initial work will speed up the process, add value to your blog submissions and enable multiple people to work on your campaign at the same time:

  • Research your topic, read what other people have written, and compile a document of info you could use – statistics, research, quotes, article ideas, recurring themes
  • In-house Material: Do you have any white papers, interesting in-house research, customer testimonials, nice images, short films, webinars, or archive of in-house articles/blog posts?

Waiting for the Muse?
A lot of our clients struggle with coming up with lots of article titles. As much as this is a creative process, there are ways to mechanise it to prevent your office filling up with chaise longues, ink splatters and colleagues puffing pensively on pipes in flamboyant housecoats!

1) Get Creative – The Brainstorm
– Who are your target audiences? Any deomographics you might have ignored until now?
– Why do they buy your product? What are their needs?
– What are your target keywords?

2) Get Logical – The Ideas Generator
Enter the results of your brainstorm into a table. This is the Ethical SEO Ideas Generator:

Overall
Theme
Target
Audience
Reader’s
Need
Article Titles Keywords
Theme 1: 

 

 

 

Audience 1 Save Time 5 Ways to…  
How can I…?  
Save Money How to…  
Audience 2 Save Effort 5 Tips…
Fear / anxiety The Must-Read Guide To…
10 Best…
Audience 3 Ignorance Don’t let…
Why You Need To…
Work-Life Balance [Provocative question]

3) Get Maximising
Although you must never duplicate copy and article ideas need to be original, it is possible to maximise each idea/theme by taking different perspectives on each original article you produce. Don’t treat it like re-writes; you’ll get bored and won’t give each new article the treatment it deserves. Just take an original article as a starting point and add some more flair, have a different take on the topic, embellish it according to the target blog’s style, and make sure your offspring-articles are as strong as the originals.

4) Get Organised
Remember to log each article title on a spreadsheet and save them in a file called something like ‘Available to Pitch’. Prepare further folders called: ‘Pitched’ and ‘Published’, or whatever labels work for you. The worst thing is getting confused later on and submitting an article that had already been published elsewhere.

Your Writing Must Take Into Account . . .

AUTHENTICITY“The story the audience wants to hear, delivered in a likeable human voice” – Seth Godin
  • Strong, original idea, exploring relevant themes, in language appropriate to audience, positioning your client in most effective light
  • Naturalistic delivery, natural tone, not market-y
  • Organic link placement that is not OTT
  • All your guest posting is varied and tailored for each site – doesn’t look formulaic or systematic (bad for google)
  • Don’t copy and paste text – most bloggers run content through ‘CopyScape’ – Google will penalise as well
AUTHORITY
  • Drop in statistics, cite research, quote a few relevant people
  • Provide as much value as poss to the new audience you’re interacting with
  • Break posts up with images, bullet points and headings
APPEAL TO BLOGGERS
  • Fit the blog’s style – the same headers, quotes, calls to action at the end, images, formatting etc
  • Write content that is unique and hasn’t been used elsewhere
  • Keep post relevant to content the blogger has published in the past (but not repetitive)
  • Mention former posts on that person’s blog in your article, where relevant, with a link to them
SEO VALUE
  • Aim for balance of keyword link and branded links (about 40%)
  • Keep all links natural and relevant
  • Don’t go overboard with the anchor text!
  • Always follow host guidelines
  • Make effective / creative use of bio links if no in-text links
  • Paid posts can be used to trial a new keyphrase
  • Don’t always link to homepage. Choose an internal page (preferably a piece of content) and link to that instead. Link to a page on client site offering a free report or eBook in exchange for subscribing to mailing list
INFOGRAPHICS
  • Videos, images, interactive tools etc are attractive to bloggers, engaging for readers and can provide further links back to your site (where it’s hosted)
READER ENGAGEMENT
  • Your copy should either solve a problem or entertain
  • Sometimes might have to create a problem first! Demonstrate need through research +stats, highlight issues reader might identify with
  • Address underlying objections that may have stopped people from engaging with client before eg. money, time, effort, ignorance
  • Pitch your language at the right level re: technical knowledge, political bias, cultural understanding of the blog readership
  • Make in-jokes or keep it topical with reference to current news
  • Use celebrity hook if appropriate to readership
  • Check forums / discussion boards to see what common questions are arising, and write articles to address them
BIO
  • Look around at other bios on the site and make your’s similar in terms of tone, length and links (blogs sometimes have specific guidelines)
  • Vary your bio as much as possible between sites – good for Google over-optimisation, good for people to see you aren’t doing some massive campaign, and also good for hiding your ‘Bio Trail’ from competitor
IDEAS / APPROACHES Consider:

  • Word count
  • Link policy
  • Key Themes
  • Format
  • Images / Videos
When writing an article, keep in mind one or two other sites you would like to approach in the future and link to them in your article – start building relationships

Previous Posts in this Series:
How to Grow Your Business Through Effective Guest Blogging
Blogger Outreach Part 1: Finding Places to Plant Content

Following Parts in the Series:
Blogger Outreach Part 3: Sowing The Seed – How to Get Your Content Placed
Blogger Outreach Part 4: Harvesting The Fruit – How to Maintain Your Momentum

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