Have you been struggling to score guest posts on high authority sites? Not sure what is going wrong? Never fear, help is here! Erin Everhart is the Director of Web Marketing at 352 Media Group. She recently attended SES Chicago and was a featured speaker for the session Screw Link Building, It’s Called Relationship Building. As contributing writer for industry leaders such as Mashable, Small Business Trends, and Search Engine Land, she was able to offer valuable advice for SEOs and content strategists who are failing to succeed at guest blogging.
Optimum7 was able to catch up with Erin for a quick interview. Here’s what she had to say about this overworked and uninspired area of online marketing.
Erin Everhart Interview
1. Erin, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions today. We notice that you have been popping up everywhere on high authority sites and are impressed by the quality of your guest posts.
Stop, I’m blushing.
Can you please share with our readers what you feel is the single biggest challenge facing the Internet Marketing industry when it comes to gaining guest posts on authoritative sites?
It’s completely oversaturated. When Internet marketers find something that works (and works well), we tend to beat it to a pulp, and that’s what happened with guest posting.
2. Throughout your career, what do you feel are the 3 most important things you did to get to where you are today? Describe for our readers the path you took to becoming Director of Web Marketing at 352 Media Group?
I interned at 352 Media Group when I was a senior in college. I was a journalism major (and we all know how that industry is going), so I was looking for anything to diversify myself. Once I graduated, I had a brief stint in book publishing. I stayed in touch with my boss from 352, Peter VanRysdam, and he ended up writing a book for us. When I was ready to move on, I asked him if he’d be a reference. He said no and offered me a job instead. When I started, I was tasked with building our digital marketing department, and for a while it was just me. We started growing, bringing on more clients, and now 3 years later we have 9 fantastic marketers on the team.
So, I guess the 3 most important things I did and had were:
- Intern (and be a kick-ass intern. Stay in touch with people.)
- Good timing
- Never stop researching/learning.
3. It’s every Internet Marketers dream to contribute to sites like Mashable and Search Engine Land. When and with which authority site did you get your first guest post? How do you choose topics to write about for guest posts on these authority sites?
Hmm let’s see… I think one of my first guest posts was on Social Fresh (http://socialfresh.com/5-simple-tips-to-making-shareable-content/). With Mashable, I was able to meet the features editor Matt Silverman over coffee. With Search Engine Land, I stalked down Elisabeth Osmeloski at SMX to follow up on the emails I sent her about a post idea. So, really, if you want to get guest posts on these sites, you really have to establish the relationship first. From there, keep up the relationship by continually putting out awesome content.
As far as choosing topics, I try to stay involved in the industry as much as possible so I know what’s going on. I also ask my Twitter followers what they want to read about. I get inspiration from everything, and I’m always be thinking, “How can I make this into a topic?”
4. Many of our readers are unsure of the best way to approach a site owner for a guest post. Do you agree that building relationships is the best way to score killer guest post spots? What is your approach?
Absolutely. Tweet to them. Comment on their blog. Let them know that you actually care and that you’re not just shoving content down their throat.
5. It’s evident that sound link building is becoming increasingly important after Google’s recent Panda-Penguin algorithm updates. Do you think guest posting is an effective link-building strategy for good SEO?
Guest posting is NOT a link building strategy. It’s a tactic in your link building strategy. But yes, done correctly, it’s a great TACTIC in your overall link building STRATEGY.
6. What are the biggest mistakes guest bloggers make when pitching to top publications? What, if any, mistakes do you recall making yourself? Please share with our readers.
Not reading the content they already have up there is a big mistake I see, and it’s easy to do. When you’re pitching, it can get pretty methodic, and you take the human aspect out of it. Before you pitch them on a topic, make sure they haven’t already written about something like that recently.
7. What is the recipe for a successful guest posting pitch? Is there a distinct process you follow? Specific tools you use?
The most successful pitches are those where it sounds like you’re a person. Yes, you’re emailing them, but format it so it sounds like you’re actually talking to them. Make it conversational, and absolutely re-read what you wrote.
8. Is it possible to get a guest post on a site like Mashable or Search Engine Land without having built any pre-existing relationships with site editors and contributors?
Probably, but it’ll be pretty hard. If you’re just starting, you need to start smaller in order to build up your clout first.
9. Do you have any advice for anyone following in your footsteps? What advice can you give to those of our readers that are seeking but failing to succeed in guest posting?
The biggest reasons I see people fail at guest posting is they’re too robotic in their pitch and the content is just plain bad. Have a great pitch and write great stuff, and you will succeed.
10. What is the most important thing you’ve learned from working in the online marketing industry? Are there any questions we did not ask you that we should have asked you? If so, please share.
Everything will always change, and it’s not just about adapting to your change anymore. You have to foresee the change before it actually happens.
Follow Erin on Twitter @erinever. Got any more insights for our readers? Share them below!