The Art of War Style: Guest Posting Stratagem

Guest Post Stratagem Synopsis_Untypical MarketingGuest posting isn’t a line segment with a definite start and end. It’s a continuous cycle of the different elements.

Even so, guest posting can’t simply be illustrated step-by-step. There’s no absolute guide to it and there’s no walk-through that can give you a surefire, approved post in any blog. However, there are corroborative facts and strategies you can apply during your blogger outreach.

Referring to the wise words of Sun Tzu once more, let us fortify our guest posting strategies!

Sun Tzu said: In war, the general receives his commands from the sovereign. Having collected an army and concentrated his forces, he must blend and harmonize the different elements thereof before pitching his camp. 

Again, is your content relevant to the website you’re pitching? Are you pitching a guest post to a website that would help your brand be understood? Keep in mind the five elements we stated in the previous post I made— relevance, content, metrics, reach, and persona.

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“Be 100% transparent. Nothing less. The consumer needs to know what you know about them,” Lindstrom stresses in his brand ethics post. Once you have gathered your troops—your ideas— it’s time to invade foreign land.

We cannot enter into alliances until we are acquainted with the designs of our neighbors. 

Spy_All rights reserved by daylaptDon’t just click the first blog you see in the Google search results page! To quote a local SEO site: “… study what your competition is doing, and use this information to your advantage.”

I scan through the blog posts of my potential neighbor. I scout for similar content that he has published already. Once I had determined that we do have a common ground, it’s time to find that contact page and send a message of inquiry to the blogger.

Afterwards, I make sure that the content I’m pitching is following the tone of the other posts. There are websites I had pitched to that mainly caters to kids, so posts including names of cartoon characters or setting my article on a lighter note is essential. For general blogs, I tend to avoid using terms that are industry-confined. Using ordinary terms is essential since the reach of the blog caters to different people; not just for professionals in a certain field.

Quoting again from one of the top brand consultants I’m following online, Martin Lindstrom: “The most obvious step is to generate attention – some people call it the 2 minutes of fame – however this has absolutely no value unless a rigorous plan has been put in place,” Indeed, you need to…

Ponder and deliberate before you make a move. 

I keep a list of my prospects before I pitch in my idea. Why? I might be biased in your opinion, but I level my ideas according to the metrics of the website. Read further for my explanation.

Whether to concentrate or to divide your troops, must be decided by circumstances. Let your rapidity be that of the wind, your compactness that of the forest. In raiding and plundering be like fire, in immovability like a mountain. 

I decide by the metrics. To be honest, I only aim for blogs with a page rank of 3 and above. Why? In my opinion, blogs with PR 3 are serious in working their way up in the Internet. They aren’t just “fodder blogs”— blogs that are full of keyword-stuffed posts. I use other metrics such as the Domain Authority courtesy of SEOMoz’s mozBar. Blogs with PR 2 are blogs I use for emergency purposes; I just use them as fodder. (harsh, right?)

Dividing my troops— I did mention these are ideas, right? —to conquer different blogs is a strategy I employ to attain web visibility.

Why web visibility? Aren’t we talking about guest posting here?

I’m talking about web visibility because I wanted to establish my persona. I’m a writer-turned-outreach head; unfortunately, I don’t have a blog so I do guest posts. I’ve written a lot of posts so far; I can use those to let them check my writing style.

Persona_All rights reserved by harald_kirrLet your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt. 

However, the downside of using your own profile as a persona is you’re easily detected by competitors. Yes, a simple Google search using advanced queries will unearth you even from the deep depths of the Internet. I’ll be candid here; to avoid detection, I’m using three personas to mask my “digital footprints”. It also helps because I can be an expert in different niches— all at once! I don’t need to start from scratch or re-establish my personal persona.

… a soldier’s spirit is keenest in the morning; by noonday it has begun to flag; and in the evening, his mind is bent only on returning to camp. A clever general, therefore, avoids an army when its spirit is keen, but attacks it when it is sluggish and inclined to return. This is the art of studying moods. 

According to experience, the probability of having my guest post ideas noticed is at the beginning of the work week. Consequently, scout and send when your target is awake. I “attack” when the bloggers are sluggish— that is, during the start of the work week whereas they are only starting to prepare their agenda for the rest of the week. I got this idea from James Agate’s post on testing his outreach theories.

Negotiate_All rights reserved by Kelly Hafermann PhotographyDo not pursue an enemy who simulates flight; do not attack soldiers whose temper is keen. Do not swallow bait offered by the enemy. When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard. Such is the art of warfare.

Two words: don’t argue. There may be prospects who would try to rip off money from you by getting your posts as “sponsored posts” or “sponsored links”. For bloggers out there— Google doesn’t want paid links, mind you.

But desperate times call for desperate measures. You might have some backup blogs, but if in case you run out— paid posts are there to rescue you. Instead of giving in just to meet the month’s quota, why not negotiate? Bargain for links; you can wage diplomacy with the other party by haggling down that unreasonable payment for posts.

Once you submit your article to the opposite side, it won’t hurt to follow-up if he hasn’t replied yet. You can set a schedule in your to-do list that you should follow-up after three days if he hasn’t replied yet. Don’t bombard the opposing party with your emails of paranoia; you can do that later on if he hasn’t replied after many weeks or so. The probability of your guest post opportunity might go down if he marks you as spam in his inbox. No one wants to receive spam, right?

Maneuvering with an army is advantageous; with an undisciplined multitude, most dangerous.

After mailing your blog prospects, it’s wise to keep your contacts organized. Keep your prospects’ details and information in an Excel or Google Spreadsheet. It’s an advantage on your part to track whom you’ve already mailed, those with pending replies, and even those who would love to get you as a regular contributor.

However, if you just keep your email conversations and never record it, chances you’ll forget to ask your prospect if he’s still interested. Your query might get lost amidst the tons of emails a webmaster or editor receives. Producing ideas for a stunning post isn’t easy; sometimes, re-pitching an idea is wiser than lingering on that one email with no reply. As your campaign gets bigger, so does your contacts list. Better be organized than regret missing those golden opportunities.

managing prospects_Guest Blog Poster

Credits to Guest Blog Poster and Untypical Marketing for the Infographic Excerpts
Flickr. All Rights Reserved to daylapt, harald_kirr, and Kelly Hafermann Photography

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