How to Build Relationships for Links (Part I: Guest Posting)

Imagine a world with no family, friends or acquaintances. A world where there is no one to provide the support and strength needed in achieving our goals, dreams and ambitions. Imagine a world with no shoulders to lean on during a stormy patch, and a company to celebrate our greatest of victories with when the storm is finally over and the beautiful sunshine descends upon the horizon. A lonely world is not an ideal world and it is often said that we all need each other to get ahead through the journey of life.

Now, that might sound like something out of a poetic verse, but it also sums up the essence and importance of building and nurturing quality relationships in the world of SEO. Making relationship building a habit within the confines of a niche, or even around the borders of complementary businesses does not only trump the idea of mere link building (which still forms a sure bet factor for ranking high in organic search results); it drives traffic to your platform and also provides the authority and credibility needed to flourish within that specified industry.

The benefits inherent in relationship building can never be over-emphasized, and explaining these benefits and importance will require another post entirely. However, there are several methods and ways of building relationships within a niche; but in the first of my series on relationship building, I will be focusing on relationship building as it relates to guest posting and scoring quality backlinks to your platform; which in addition to great content are the most paramount to be considered before proceeding with any relationship building activity. Proceeding without these can only be likened to fetching water in a basket, as your relationship building efforts will only amount to naught.

Guest Posting: Build Relationships, Not Links.

The posting of content on blogs and other platforms is beneficial not only for the purpose of link building; it also helps the promotion of your content, gives you a wider reach to your target audience, increases traffic to your platform, in addition to providing authority and credibility at the same time. However, it is 2015 and every SEO understands how important, but difficult it is to bag a guest post on a quality platform with a backlink. Many bloggers and webmasters are particularly wary of guest posters as a result of Google’s remarkable and efficient regulation of the web-sphere. Even when they finally accept the submission of a guest post for consideration, it comes with a strict guideline that makes the Laws of Moses suddenly seem easier to adhere to.  However, guest posting is still possible and still achieves its valuable purpose when done right with a tinge of hard work and smart relationship building strategies.

The following are personally tested, proven and effective steps that could also guide your relationship building efforts towards guest posting and eventual link building:



Familiarity Breeds Positive Results

It might have happened in some distant place and time in the past, but I have never heard or come across a lady who accepted a marriage proposal from someone she met for first time and then ended up living happily ever after. It takes two people in a relationship who must have known each other; understanding the intricacies of why their partnership should be taken a notch further. The same somewhat applies to prospecting for a guest post as people erroneously send a pitch immediately from the surface, leaving behind the hard work of manually digging deep into the platform to understand its relevance, guidelines, content, posting a relevant comment, joining the community or even subscribing to its newsletter. Getting acquainted with the platform is also important in determining the metrics that qualifies the blog or platform for the standards you have set for yourself or members of your team. Even though there are very efficient tools which make this task a lot easier, such as Link Research Tools (LRT), I still always recommend involving the manual hard work to achieve the best and optimal result in the end.

Forget That ‘Great’ Pitch, Send an Ideal One Instead

I have come across a ton of articles, comments and contributions about sending that ‘great’ pitch which would make bloggers come ‘kneeling’ at your feet to plead for your ‘golden’ guest post. However, even though many might disagree with me on this; in my own opinion, there is no such thing as a ‘great’ pitch. This is because what works just fine for ‘Blogger Angelina’ might not work to the same effect with ‘Blogger Brad.’ Instead, what you should focus your efforts on is sending an ideal and unique pitch, tailored to cater individually for each blog and platform. This is another area where the importance of getting acquainted with each blog comes to play. Did you find any similarity between yourself and the blogger on the “about me” page? Did you find that interesting article which inspired you enough to post a comment? Did you enjoy other articles but still feel something is missing which you could contribute or you have an entirely different idea which you feel would resonate within that virtual community? These are some of the factors that make an ideal pitch and that ideal pitch is not a long epistle, but a very unique message that directly tickles the fancy of the blogger.

No Reply, No Problem; Use a Follow-Up

Many times, you most probably will not receive an instant reply to your pitch when undertaking an outreach campaign as bloggers of quality platforms are usually busy; this in addition to receiving tons of ‘half-baked’ pitches daily which they just toss into the trash bin. The follow-up differentiates you from those spam-pitching guest post request to several bloggers and just do not care whether it is replied or not. I usually recommend the use of BuzzStream in organizing the entire campaign in such a way that you and your team members can be kept abreast of every step of your workflow and campaign. In this instance, you can set the number of days you want to be reminded to send a follow-up should you not receive a reply from that blogger you have sent a message to.

Personally, I send the first follow-up after a week of my initial pitch. I make it bold to say that the effectiveness of the follow-up has largely been underrated and it is surprising how efficiently it works. Do not stop at the first follow-up alone, utilize the second and third too. Most times, you will get a reply with an apology for having not replied to your initial message earlier, which is a fine way of breaking the ice for that seamless future communication between you and the blogger. It is important to note that a follow-up is just a short message to nudge the blogger you have sent a pitch to, of the importance of that message and not one to make you appear as a pain in the neck. Something short to the tune of “just checking in to see if you received my message I sent earlier and hoping my contribution will ignite the desired impact among the members of your community” will work just fine in the body of the follow-up message.

Opportunity Knocks, But Once; Don’t Ruin it!

I couldn’t count the amount of times I heard the phrase ‘opportunity knocks, but once’ when I was a kid. At first, there might be some resistance to your guest contribution idea; do not be discouraged, send a reply thanking the blogger for the message and kindly inform them that you might have future ideas which you are optimistic the platform would be receptive to. This in itself is a way of building relationships. However, when you finally get that positive response giving you a go-ahead to send in your guest content; you definitely do not want to ruin the opportunity. Ensure that your article is well-researched and well-written, check over and over again for grammatical errors and mistakes, and be sure that all the guidelines of the blogger have been strictly adhered to. You might also want to check other articles on the blog for the purpose of tailoring your style towards what is obtainable there. If it is an American platform, make sure the choice of English has been adapted for an American audience and the same should apply to a British platform. Finally and importantly, you should be certain to link smartly and strategically. Keep in mind that most bloggers know of the tricks or fast-ones’ you might be willing to play on them and the fact that they treat every guest poster as a potential link-hunter. Do not ruin the first chance; there will be opportunities for more.

Reciprocate the Gesture

Well, you already got the guest post, right? Plus, you even scored that quality backlink to your own platform; what else could you possibly want or need again? Well, well… Maybe… EVERYTHING! This is one area where I see a lot of mistakes being made, which should ordinarily be built upon instead. Did you even remember to send the blogger a ‘thank you’ message for the opportunity? There is no better time to build, nurture and solidify the relationship with another blogger than when your guest contribution has been published. It is often said that one good turn deserves another, but in this case it deserves even more than just another.

Upon the publication of your guest post, it is important that you also share ‘the heck’ out of the content on your various platforms; be it your blog, website or social media profiles. Then, you should be active enough on the post to respond to every query or question being posted as comments. This does not only prove valuable and important to your audience; it also gives your guest post a face, adding further credibility to the leap of faith and trust the blogger might have taken in giving you the chance in the first place. Most importantly, when the dust settles down on the post; do send a final pitch, but this time, only to ask if the blogger would be interested in also making a guest contribution on your own platform. It might either be a positive or polite negative response, but trust it is the height of relationship building which you will be able to depend upon many times again in the future.

Finally, do not forsake that platform, make a list and stop by every once in a while to either post comments or contact the bloggers directly to mention how you found a recent post useful; you could even send short holiday wishes and greetings during the festive seasons. Then, you can be sure you will be the first to be considered in the list of reliable guest posters whenever you need to publish or promote your content again in future.

In Summary

There is no denying the fact that the Google ‘Tsunami’ is achieving a lot of positive results. The web-space has become a saner place, the final consumers and users are being treated to wonderful experiences when online and those who believe in the value and quality of their brand and offer are willing to work hard and smart enough to get their content and platform out there. It is not rocket science; building valuable relationships within your niche or industry will bear a lot of positive fruit in your link building efforts, while giving you the authority and credibility that makes you count as one of the movers and shakers of that particular niche or industry and beyond.

If you want it bad enough, then you should be able to sacrifice hard enough. The essence of building relationships is not to target that instant magic, but to focus your view on the bigger picture. It is not about immediate results either; it is about the repetition of results that will come even long after you have stopped working hard for them. Then, you can sit back, relax and watch your hard-earned relationships provide meaningful and beneficial ‘royalty’ to your platform and brand. In essence, the relationships in the world of SEO can be likened to real-life ones; because these ‘family and friends’ will enhance your efforts and transform them into victories.

Your opinions, comments and questions are most valuable; please use the comment box below. Also, do not forget to subscribe to our newsletter for the continuation of the series on relationship building and other tips that would greatly enhance your SEO efforts.

elephate_logo_symbol_RGB_COLOR full@3x

See all articles by Elephate

Did you like this article?

Why not share this article:

Subscribe to Elephate's newsletter to receive fresh SEO and Content Marketing updates and more!

Thanks! We are happy to have you on our list!

Expect some tasty news from the Elephate team soon.


more blog posts

Back to Blog list