If you've been blogging for even a little while, you definitely know about the immense power that guest blogging has when it comes to increasing your blog traffic.
The thing is, most new bloggers approach this amazing strategy with what I like to call the “spray and pray” method.
What they do: find a couple of random blogs to post for, write a variety of miscellaneous articles (topics varying wildly) and then… hope for the best.
As many “tips” as there are out there for blogging and marketing, you'd think the big bloggers would give better advice than just “guest blog lots and lots”, but it generally doesn't go much deeper than that.
Today, I'd like to talk to you about using the “priming” to maximize conversions from all of that traffic you'll be getting from your future guest post endeavors.
What is Priming?
In a nutshell, priming is showcasing a “stimulus” to someone which then impacts their reaction to another (different) “stimulus”.
Sounds like goofy science, but it's a real phenomenon, and it's not hard to understand in the guest blogging context.
Say you are reading a marketing blog, and you click on a post entitled ‘Increase Your Conversions With These 5 Consumer Psychology Studies‘.
“I like this,” you say to yourself, “I would like to read more about using psychology to increase conversions and interest on my blog.”
Then, you decide to check out the author's site, and you see he has a recent post about blog psychology, outlining 7 more studies and how you can apply them to your blog.
Do you think you'd be inclined to subscribe?
I think you would.
You know why?
You were primed by the content of the guest post, and when you landed on a blog about a similar topic, you were ready to devour any information that came your way.
The above example (even the post I linked to) is the exact way I used priming on my guest post for the KISSmetrics blog to increase my own conversions on Sparring Mind.
In fact, many people in the comment section of that post mentioned how they were excited to see my blog talk about the topic, and how they were going to subscribe to my feed.
Bottom line: It was, by far, my most successful guest post to date, and brought me over 200 subscribers from a single guest post.
How You Can Utilize This
Okay, so you've probably heard enough about my experience (and I've had enough talking about it), let's get to how you can use this strategy to maximize the effectiveness of your own guest blogging endeavors.
Largely, the types of priming that are possible come in 3 separate forms:
- Prime people for your blog's unique topic (described above)
- Prime people for a freebie on your blog (opt-in required of course ;))
- Prime people for your product or service
As mentioned, you've already seen the first of these 3 types in a specific example, but I'd like to go over each one separately so you know exactly how to implement them for your own knockout guest posts.
1. Prime Readers for Your Blog Topic
Your blog likely has a very unique value, something that makes it stand out among all the other blogs in your niche, a “twist” that sets it apart.
At least it should.
For instance, Ana's Traffic Generation Cafe is certainly a “marketing” blog in that it addresses internet marketing topics.
Her “twist” is that the content is largely focused on traffic generation in particular, leading to more interested readers and to better blog posts.
What's your unique selling proposition?
When you guest blog, be sure to write about something related to it, and you can start priming readers of other blogs to be interested in your content before they even hit your page.
After readers saw my guest post on KISSmetrics, they were primed for more content marketing & conversion info that also had a little psychology tied in.
They then hit my blog homepage, which featured a recent post on that exact topic, and saw that my blog generally dealt with that topic as well.
It's no surprise that conversion rates from that post were sky high.
If you are a blogger who writes specifically about web design, and you were going to write a guest post on Problogger to build your subscribers, what then would be a wise choice?
As the priming technique has shown us, it would be to write a guest post that was on web design, but that also catered to Problogger readers.
That is, it wouldn't dive into really technical details of web design – that's not what the Problogger audience cares about.
What a good guest post would be in this instance is the one that discusses how even a regular Joe can implement good web design on their blog.
Readers on Problogger would relate to that kind of post far better, and if they were interested in learning more (priming in action), heading over to the guest blogger's site and seeing it's all about web design would make it a no-brainer: they would subscribe.
This way, you also get people who are actually interested in your topic to subscribe, and will have much less “unsubscribes” as a result.
The rabbit whole goes deeper with this technique though, and there are ways to prime your reader for content directly related to opting in to your mailing list…
2. Prime Readers for an Opt-in Freebie
This is one of the most effective methods of priming.
It works great when you combine the freebie method with your blog unique offering as mentioned above.
So what exactly do you do here?
The idea is to offer a freebie that directly relates with your guest post(s).
I use an ‘s' there because you can guest post on a similar topic (covering different) aspects over and over and have it be a great lead generator.
In fact, it's the exact method that the BlogTyrant uses in his guest posting strategy as revealed on his blog.
He offers a free e-Book after you opt-in that talks all about increasing your email conversions.
To promote this e-Book (and to prime people to subscribe to his mailing list in order to get it), he typically writes guest posts that pertain specifically to list building like he did with his Copyblogger guest post.
The key aspect to remember here is that you are giving readers of your guest post a really good taste of the topic.
The full course meal, however, comes in the form of the e-Book (or other freebie) that you've prepared, and an opt-in is the only thing required to get it.
That's how you really make readers hungry to subscribe to your list.
3. Prime Readers for Your Product or Service
I had to add this one because I know in the content marketing & traffic generation world, some of you are more interested in selling your product or affiliate marketing rather than getting more email subscribers for your blog.
To learn how to do this effectively, check out a mastermind of this process, Leo Widrich, the content manager of the incredibly awesome BufferApp.
Leo has actually posted on Traffic Generation Cafe before, including a recent post on increasing your Twitter exposure.
The difference: Leo isn't interested in building up a personal blog of his; what he wants is for you to try out the BufferApp.
In my interview with Leo, he stated that of there 70,000+ users, as much as 70% came from content marketing up until the last 2 months.
You'll find Leo all over the place, but there is always a common factor in his guest posts…
He primes people with Twitter tips, so that when they check out Buffer, they are already thinking about improving their experience on Twitter.
It seems too obvious, but this simple trick is exactly why you'll find Leo posting on some of the biggest marketing blogs in the world, discussing Twitter strategies: he wants to peak your interest before you hit Buffer app homepage.
With an already profitable business of paying customers and making huge waves in 2011, I'd say Leo and the Buffer team have their act together when it comes to guest posting.
For your business, think about how you can add value to your typical customer (the kind of person who buys your product).
You then need to focus your content marketing, specifically your guest blogging strategies, around this person, creating content that they will enjoy, so that when they hit your homepage…
It's game on.