You’ve heard of guest blogging, but taking that concept a step further can result in massive traffic driven to your site in the span of a couple of weeks. This can be particularly useful if you’re running a sale or campaign at the same time as the guest blogging tour.
According to Blogging.org, “There are an estimated 31 million bloggers in the United States.”
With that kind of competition to capture the interest of readers, you’re definitely going to need a way to reach new readers. A blogging tour can be just the burst of traffic your website needs to engage new readers and keep them coming back for more. What's even better is that these tours cost nothing but your time and a little bit of thought and interaction with others to be a huge success.
Once you've decided to make the commitment to a blogging tour, here are the steps you need to set it up.
Finding Blogs to Visit
The first step is hitting Google and searching for blogs that are not competition but still have your target demographic. For example, if you sell golf supplies, you’ll want to come up with a list of blogs on the topic of golf, but not other sites that sell golf supplies.
As mentioned before, there are millions of blogs out on the Internet. You’ll also want to target the blogs that get heavy traffic and feature high quality posts. Keep in mind that Google now factors which sites link to you, and their quality, in their algorithms. You’ll also want to read our article on How Google’s Algorithm Changes Effect Guest Blogging. Probably most important is that Google is now looking at backlinks, so watch the quality of those sites linking back to you. Yes, even when you guest blog.
To figure out if a site is good to add to your list, ask these questions:
Is the site too ad heavy?
Is it updated regularly?
How does it rank in Google search engines?
Does the site have a social media presence?
Is the content high quality?
Is the site relevant in some way to your site?
Next, decide how many days you want your blogging tour to run. A week to two weeks is typical. You'll need to find one site per day for the tour. So, if you plan to guest blog six days out of seven for two weeks, you need 12 sites total. You'll likely need to contact more sites than that as not all the sites you contact will agree to a guest post. A good rule of thumb is to contact three times as many sites as you need to post on. If you wind up with more than you need, you can either extend your tour or offer a post outside of the tour.
E-mail the Owners
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential places to guest post, you’ll want to contact each of the blog owners and present your idea for a blogging tour. Be sure to explain what you’ll do to promote your time on their blog. Focus on how the situation is beneficial to both of you (they get traffic from your mailing list and you get traffic from their site visitors). Plus, the site gets a free, high quality post from you.
You’ll also want to decide ahead of time how much interaction you want. For example, do you want their site visitors to ask you questions based on your post? Or, do you plan to just keep an eye on natural comments as they occur?
Here is a sample letter you can send to potential hosts:
Dear Max Smith: [Try to find a specific name of the site owner]
My name is Lori Soard and I am in the process of lining up blogs to guest post on for my upcoming blogging tour April 1st through the 14th. For my part, I plan to send out an e-mail each day detailing which blog I will be on the following day and what the topic of discussion will be. This will bring new visitors to your site and I will also reach new readers through your regular site visitors. In addition, you will have a high-quality post go up on your site that day with no work on your part. I’ll be happy to interact with your readers and answer any questions.
I was thinking perhaps the post could be on the topic of guest blogging with an attitude to go with your 10 days of attitude seminar. I hope we can line this up. If so, I will get you on the schedule right away. Let me know if any particular day works better for you than another between April 1st and April 14th.
Thank you for your time,
Schedule the Tour
One of the most important parts of planning a blogging tour is staying organized. As you hear back from website owners, you’ll want to slot out which day you’ll visit their blog. An Excel spreadsheet works well for keeping track of this type of information, or you can use an online calendar like Yahoo Calendar or Google Calendar. If you are not the online calendar type, then a printed calendar works as well. The important thing is to make sure you write down what dates you’ve promised each website owner, so you don’t overbook and wind up having to guest blog on several sites on the same day.
Once all the slots are filled, you’ll want to send a confirmation letter to the website owners reminding them of the day you’ll be guest blogging and to find out when they want you to send in your post to them for it to go live that day.
If you plan to answer questions and comment, you’ll also want to visit that blog and make sure you are pre-registered for comments so that you save time the day of the event.
Plan an Event on your Own Site
Another thing you can do is to plan some type of event on your own site to coincide with the blog tour. For example, you might run a contest that people can enter simply by signing up for your newsletter. Other ideas include:
Offering a free guide for download
Offering a discount
Creating a more in-depth article on the topic you’re guest blogging on
The goal is to get the blog's visitors to visit your own site. Be creative and offer them some incentive.
Follow-Up with Attendees
On the site Books Biscuits and Tea, Vicky suggests commenting on others’ blogs to get them to come to you. She says:
“Make sure to go out there and visit other people. People won’t come to you unless you go to them first. Visit other people’s blogs and leave meaningful comments on their posts. My experience is that most people will visit you back. Again, it’s a win-win situation and it’s a great way to find blogger friends too.”
One way you can connect with those who attended your “blog tour” is to read their comments carefully. Some will include a link to their own blogs. Be sure to visit those blogs, read an article or two and leave a comment. Something along the lines of:
“Thanks for visiting me at ABC Golf Site when I guest posted about choosing the right golf tee. I enjoyed this article on left handed grip for golfers. There aren’t a lot of resources out there on this topic and you covered it in an interesting and informative way.”
If there is a place to add a link, be sure to go ahead and link to your own blog, but don’t be too spammy with the comment. Your goal isn’t to get that person’s visitors to your site so much as to let readers know you appreciate their own interaction on your blogging tour and you are repaying the favor. You may just gain a fan for life who will share your articles with others.
To Guest Blog or Not to Guest Blog?
The bottom line is that while Google’s algorithm changes make guest blogging for the mere sake of backlinks obsolete, a high quality backlink will probably always remain a good thing. Instead of focusing on whether or not a site is linking back to you, focus on gaining a loyal readership in your demographic base. Each new reader is a potential new customer. This type of targeted customer will almost always have a higher conversion rate than one who simply stumbles upon your site by accident. Guest blogging is a great way to build relationships with the reader/potential customer and blogging tours simply amplify that effect over a short period of time.
About Lori Soard
Lori Soard has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 1996. She has a bachelor's in English Education and a PhD in Journalism. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines, online and she's had several books published. Since 1997, she has worked as a web designer and promoter for authors and small businesses. She even worked for a short time ranking websites for a popular search engine and studying in-depth SEO tactics for a number of clients. She enjoys hearing from her readers.