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How Guest Posting Propelled One Site From 0 to 100,000 Customers

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This interview is with Leo Widrich, co-founder of BufferApp, which is a social media tool that allows you to space out your social media status updates. Widrich used a strong guest blogging strategy to acquire over 100,000 customers for BufferApp.

Let’s find out how he did it in this interview.

Eric Siu: Approximately how many users have you acquired through guest blogging?

leo-widrich-bufferappLeo Widrich: Solely through guest blogging we've acquired around 100,000 users within the first 9 months of running Buffer. Here is more on this number, a bit before we hit the 100,000.

It's been something that was very gradual though. Within the space of around 9 months, I wrote around 150 guest posts. Of course the early ones barely drove any traffic and only very gradually did things improve, I think that's very important to understand. It will take a while until you can find the right frequency of posting.

ES: How much more traffic has guest blogging brought you?

LW: As there were a lot of channels involved I can most likely only give an aggregate overview. A lot of the times, we also ignored traffic and focused a lot more on signups.

We have built an internal analytics dashboard that would show us how many signups we are getting every day and where they are coming from. In terms of "how much more", my answer would be "everything". There was nothing else we did, literally. Just guest blogging.

ES: How do you find the right sites to guest blog on?

LW: Very early on, the sites we used were MyBlogGuest and BloggerLinkUp. They are two amazing services that help you to find guest blogging opportunities.

Later on, we just went for emailing the bigger sites directly, finding the contributions editor and then dropping them a note. This I found works very well after you already have some experience. Here is an actual email pitch that I have used to get guest posts written up:

Hi guys,
As a guy just starting out with a few basic webdesign lessons, I found onextrapixel extremely helpful, so just a quick thank you on that note.
I wanted to ask if you are interested in a guestpost that I have drafted, which I titled "10 Tools To Make The Most of Twitter". It covers a few of the latest Twitter Tools, which help me a lot to stay productive.
I hope you can let me know if you think the post could be interesting for you.
For reference of my writing style, I published recently on:Six Revisions SocialMediaExaminer Inspiredm
Best,
Leo

I hope this pitch is useful for your readers!

ES: You said that you write 1-2 posts a day. How do you keep coming up with topics to write about?

LW: I believe the key is not to get overwhelmed. If you haven't been blogging before and you want to jump to 1-2 posts a day, you are setting yourself up for failure right away.

For me the key was to start step by step. Have 1 post a week, then 2 a week, 3 a week, 4 a week and so forth, until you can write 2-3 posts a day. This takes a while.

For coming up with topics, I have one simple strategy when you start out: copy the hell out of others. If you are writing about cars, look which sites have the best posts about cars that get the most traffic and copy them. Of course I don't mean to steal their content, but to copy the structure, see how they are writing posts, how they promote them and so forth.

There is also another set of tricks I've revealed in this post. (It's a guest post of course.)

ES: Guest blogging brings relationships and relationships are tougher to track. Can you name some relationships you've developed through guest blogging and some benefits you've gained through those relationships?

LW: Of course, that's the one thing I keep coming back to. Relationships are hard to track, but are actually the most valuable things that you gain from guest posting. At the end of the day, if you do a lot of guest posting you simply make a lot of friends.

I've got great friends over at Treehouse, Social Media Examiner, SocialMouths, and other great sites to name a few examples. That's how it works, you provide someone with free content, that's a great favor if you think about, so it's a great opportunity to make friends with these awesome people.

ES: How long does it take you to write one post?

LW: Right now, after having written probably close to 800 posts, it takes me around 1-2 hours for a post. At the start it could take me a few days. So it all depends on how much you have practiced writing!

ES: How do you measure your guest blogging efforts?

LW: First thing first, I have written a post about exactly this which you can read here.

The tricky bit here is that measuring is difficult. What really happens is that you develop some amazing relationships with so many bloggers, which is just invaluable in the long run, but hard to measure at the start.

We do track traffic for starters of course. Normally, we said: can this post get us at least 100 visitorsl? If yes, that means two paying users (we have a 2 percent conversion rate) and we have a LTV of $220/user. One article takes around 1-2 hours, so we get around $450 per post. That sounded like a good calculation and has worked very well for us.

ES: How do you scale guest blogging?

LW: I have written another post on exactly how I'm scaling my blogging.

ES: How much have you spent on guest blogging?

LW: All of my time! Frankly, when content marketing was our full focus, that's all I did. Two to four articles every day, nothing else. Sitting down, hammering out great content, getting it featured as guest posts, doing the same in the morning again.

ES: Thanks Leo!

Key Takeaways

  • It’s all about focus. Find one traffic channel that works and scale it up.
  • There’s no need to reinvent the wheel with your posts. Check out posts that already do well and pull out key elements that you think made that post successful.
  • Sending out personalized outreaches and delivering great content leads to great relationships that go a lot further than a simple link request.
  • Showing some examples of your past guest posts helps establish credibility.
  • Measure. Measure. Measure.

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