CNA Finance Personal Finance MVP Award!The CNA Finance PF MVP award is going to be a mostly audience choice award. However, I decided that I would personally pick who gets the first one. When I got to thinking about who to give the award to, great bloggers like DC, Will, Laurie, Grayson, Jeremy, and more came to mind. However, I could only give the award to one of them; as I'll never be choosing another winner again. So although all of them deserve it, I had to choose. The blogger I chose is incredibly new, yet has already created a community, put his personality into his blog, and shared some amazing out of the box ideas. That blogger is Will Lipovsky of First Quarter Finance. After all, I've never met anyone else that could convince me that procrastination, to an extent, is a good thing. So, congratulations Will and thanks for all the great reading you've provided me and the PF community! The nominations for next week are at the bottom of this post. Please place your vote in the comments!
Guest Post Mania - It's Time For Today's LessonWhen I first started blogging, I did it for all the wrong reasons. I was blogging for profits, not community. I was doing things to fool the search engines because I wanted more traffic. Most of those things revolved around links. One of the biggest controversies in the online marketing world today is the effectiveness of guest posting, and for that matter how ethical it really is. Personally, I believe with all my might that guest posting can be a great thing. However, like most other great ways to build a community around your blog, there is a good way and a bad way to do it.
How SEOs Are Telling Us We Should Do Guest PostsIn the mind of the average SEO (search engine optimizer), guest posting is simply a strategy to get links. Ultimately, those links should help you rank higher in search engines. With that said, I've read quite a few SEO articles that say guest posting should go like this...
- Create A Template - Guest posting starts with outreach. So, to get the most out of guest posting, you create a template that offers a guest post in a very general way. This template should make the blog owner think you have a real interest in their blog, while allowing you to send out tons more outreach emails...because they're not personalized.
- Create A List - Keeping in mind SEO factors like PageRank, MozRank and more, you should create a list of websites that have much better stats than yours. The list should include names, email address, domain names, SEO factors, and more.
- Send Out As Many Outreach Emails As You Can - Now, start sending outreach emails. Simply open your email client, copy and paste email addresses, templates, and names into your emails, and hit the send button. Make sure to do it as much as you can.
- Write - When you get responses, start writing as much as you can a day, the topic isn't a huge concern, neither is the length or quality...just write, write, write. Oh yea, and make sure you insert a link with the right anchor text to the right page.
- Repeat the process.
My Beef With This Kind Of Guest PostingBefore I get into my beef with this strategy, I want to let you know that I fell victim to the articles telling us to do this. I spent hours on this strategy only to get penalized in the end. Now, here's the beef I've got with the mass guest post strategy in bullet points!
- The Email Template - First off, over time I learned that sending template emails, especially before you know the blogger, can kill your chances of ever having a fulfilling relationship with the bloggers you send them to. In this industry, and any other industry I can think of, people appreciate genuine personalized messages. Every thing else either gets trashed or marked as spam in most cases.
- Mass Emails - Over time, I learned that there's another name for this...it's called SPAM any time you send mass template emails to people who didn't ask for them you are spamming them. This can give you the spammer name among the community...if you're doing this STOP BEFORE YOU RUIN YOUR NAME!
- Post Writing - To keep up with this strategy, you've got to write quite a bit. So much in fact that it would be absolutely impossible to come up with a unique topic every time, impossible to add value to every post you write, and in my eyes more importantly, writing posts in a rush makes it impossible to bring value to the audience that's reading the post. The audience you should care about, even if they're not your own.
- Links - A big part to this is building the right links with the right anchor text to the right pages, and blah, blah, blah, blah. Doing this creates an unnatural looking link profile, I know because I've been penalized for it!
What A Good Guest Post Strategy Consists OfNo matter how much I hate the SEO idea of guest posting; when it comes to community building, I can't argue the effectiveness. And, I'm not opposed to it in any way. With that said, here's what I view as a quality guest post strategy... Step #1: Figure Out Where You Want To Post - Don't worry about SEO stats. Instead, think about how much you enjoy the blog. Are there comments? Has that blog owner created a community around his or her brand? If so, that's one that you want on your list. It doesn't have to be a long list, 10 or 15 blogs should do just fine. Step #2: Visit The Blogs Regularly - Every day or two, make sure to go read a post or two on the blogs on your list. When you're done reading, take the time to comment and share the posts socially. This is for a couple of reasons...
- Understand What The Audience Is Looking For - Each quality blog builds it's own unique community, it's own audience. That audience responds well to the type of posts on that blog, which in most cases will be different than the type of content you write. So, by reading the blog, you get a feel for what the audience wants to see, and how you should plan your guest post.
- Let The Blog Owner Know You Exist - If you create a relationship with the blog owner in comments, they are far more likely to accept a guest post from you than if you don't. As a matter of fact, if you don't comment regularly here, I won't let you guest post on CNA! Like most other bloggers that own quality blogs, I need to get to know you, and your views before I let you take a stab at entertaining my audience. Comments allow the blogger to get to know you.
As I'm sure you've noticed, I've really enjoyed reading your blog and being part of the community in the comments. I really like how you (compliment them on something they do that's unique). Anyway, I know you're busy so I'll make this quick... I was digging through your blog and noticed that you didn't have any posts about (the topic you plan to write about). I'd like to write a guest post for you on the topic. I assure you that I will take time to make sure it's a quality, unique post that fits in with the style of your blog. Would you be open to something like that? Kindest regards, Your blogging friend!Trust me, when I get emails like that instead of the template outreach emails, I know the person took their time and is willing to produce quality. Step #5: Write A Quality Article - This is not one of those articles you should be writing at 12:30 half buzzed after a few martinis! No, you want to take your time to research the topic and write quality. Make sure you link to 2 or 3 quality resources like CNN Money or Forbes or even another authority blog. When it comes to linking to yourself, pay absolutely no mind to SEO. Instead of worrying about SEO, write the post first. Then find natural anchor text in the post and link to a quality resource that's relevant to that anchor. I'm not talking about linking to an affiliate product review either; nope, link to a quality resource! Step #6: Repeat the process.