Today’s Guest Post comes from one of our favorite BuzzStream customers, Adrienne Erin. Adrienne is a writer and outreach specialist at WebpageFX. Outside of work, she loves travel, practicing her French, and baking cookies.
Guest blogging has become the cornerstone of link building. Love it or hate it, chances are that if you need to build links for your own site or a client’s, you’re going to need to get in the guest blogging game. And once you jump into it, if you’re at all competitive like I am, you’ll want to do all you can to get better and better at it.
How do you get better at guest blogging? Well, improving the quality of your writing and the quality of your connections are both great, but they’re not always the most measurable of traits or easy to judge when you’re getting better. I’m a fan of numbers. And response rate is a number you can really sink your teeth into.
If you’re stuck in a rut of firing off email after email offering to guest blog and getting few positive responses, perhaps it’s time to reexamine your approach. Here are six simple tips to help you increase your guest blogging response rate. Go on, feed your competitive side. You know you want to.
Response Rate vs. Positive Response Rate
Too many people send off emails soliciting guest blog spots willy nilly without tracking which blogs they’ve approached before or what the answer was. It’s much smarter – and much more efficient – to track our response rate. Start a spreadsheet in Excel or Google Docs with the name of the blog you’ve approached, the date you sent the email, the response and any other notes you need to keep on top of things. If you’re using templates, BuzzStream can also track your response rate for you.
If you’re keeping track for yourself using a spreadsheet, when you receive a response to your query, record the answer you get – yes or no – in the line for that contact. After sending a few emails, you can determine your response rate. Divide the total number of responses by the total number of queries you’ve sent out. For example, if you’ve sent out ten queries and get four replies, your response rate is 40 percent. As your response rate trends up or down, you can see when your approach is working and when it’s not. If you’re working with a team, you can track everyone’s response rate to inspire some friendly competition.
Positive response rate, determined by dividing only your positive responses by the total number of emails, is perhaps an even more telling statistic. This number will be lower than your response rate (unless no one ever tells you no!), so don’t be discouraged when you see it.
In my opinion, both types of response rate are very important to track and measure. After all, in the world of email inundation and countless distractions, it’s far easier to just ignore or delete an email than to take the time to respond. A negative response isn’t always a terrible thing. Perhaps your idea just isn’t there yet, or the blogger has a full editorial calendar at the moment. Something about your message still compelled a response, and that “no” you just got might really mean “not right now.”
1. Work Your Way Up the Ladder
If you’d never run for office before, would you start your political career with a run for president? No. You’d run for a few local offices, then the state level and so on. The world of guest blogging is similar, with perhaps the biggest exception being if you already run a popular blog. Don’t start by querying big names like Smashing Magazine or Search Engine Land if you have never guest posted before. With nothing to show for the quality of your writing, the answer will most likely be silence.
Instead, start with smaller, but well-respected, blogs where you have a better chance of being accepted. Work your way up to bigger blogs, and be sure to continue blogging high-quality content on your own site to prove you have the chops to handle a more important assignment.