As a SaaS company, content marketing and SEO should be central to your marketing strategy. If your site does not appear on the first page of Google search results for your chosen keywords, you’ll be missing out on valuable traffic from prospective customers.
Building backlinks from high authority sites is one of the best ways to boost your SEO and improve your search results ranking. Aside from providing you with a venue to establish thought leadership in your niche, writing guest posts for relevant sites is a great way to build links, improve your search ranking, and attract more traffic.
I have written guest posts on behalf of my SaaS company for dozens of sites. Scaling your guest posting strategy is not as complicated as it seems. Today, I will show you my secrets for building a guest posting strategy that scales.
Find out where your SaaS business stands
Before you start guest posting, you need to understand your baseline and set a target number of posts to achieve. If you do too few, you won’t grow your SEO profile in the way you want.
Start by making a list of keywords you want to rank for, then use Google to find the top-ranking sites for those keywords. Browse through their content and decide whether yours is on the same level in terms of quality. If it’s not, you might need to give your content strategy a makeover.
If you’re happy with your content, the next step is to find related keywords you could also target. The Keywords Everywhere and Google Keyword Planner are two useful tools that can help you:
These suggestions will be useful later on, when you start pitching specific content ideas.
Next, use the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer tool to find the number of referring domains your site will need to get into the top ten Google search results for your chosen keywords. Here’s where to find it:
As you can see, my chosen keyword in this example is “super hard” to rank for. I’d need around 247 backlinks to get into those coveted top 10 spots. If the number you get seems daunting or impossible, try a different keyword.
Next, it’s time to start looking for target websites.
Search for target sites for your guest posts
When you do link building, you must be strategic about where you publish guest posts. I follow these four guidelines when searching for target sites:
- The site must be relevant to your niche.
- The site must see heavy traffic. I set the lower limit at 3,000 visitors per month.
- The site must have a Trust Flow of 15 or higher. The Trust Flow metric is based on the premise that trustworthy sites tend to link to other trustworthy sites. An authoritative site’s TF score will “flow” into your site and increase your own TF score as well.
- The site must have a Domain Authority (DR) score of 50 or higher. A good DR score is an indication that the site is generally accepted as an authority in its niche.
If your target sites meet all four criteria, you might find that you need to write fewer guest posts to make your website rank. One or two backlinks from high-quality sites tend to boost your search ranking more than a higher number of backlinks from low-quality sites.
To find these sites, choose a high-ranking site in your niche and input its URL into Ahrefs Backlink Checker. You’ll find an exportable list of referring domains:
Export that list, weed out all the sites that don’t pass the guidelines above, and take out those that you know don’t accept guest posts (e.g, Wikipedia and Facebook). You should end up with a few hundred sites to target. If not, repeat the process.
Send outreach emails to people in charge of website content
If you’re running a SaaS startup or new to content marketing, you probably don’t know the owners of any of your target sites. Therefore, you’ll need to do cold outreach to land those guest posting opportunities.
If your target site does not have its editor’s name listed, go to the company’s LinkedIn page. You’ll be able to filter the list of people working there according to their position and find the right person. Look for titles like “Content Manager” or “Editor”:
If your target editor does not have their email address listed on their profile, use an email lookup tool like FindEmails or Voila Norbert to find and verify their contact information.
Once you’ve found the relevant details, it’s time to write your outreach email. We’ll look at how to do that in the next section.
Write a clear, enticing subject line
Content managers and site owners receive hundreds of emails every day. Therefore, if you want to attract their attention, you need to use an enticing subject line. Here’s how to do it:
- Personalize your subject line by using the editor’s name and/or website domain.
- Keep them short and straightforward.
- Boost your email open rates by up to 56% by using emojis.
Keep experimenting until you find a subject line that does the job. Don’t be afraid to run A/B tests and monitor your open rates to see what works.
Engage your prospects with great email templates
Your email should be polite and professional. Skip the flattery and the fluff, and get straight to the point.
Treat your outreach emails like business proposals – which is what they are. Here’s an outreach email outline that works:
- Open with a friendly greeting using their name.
- Introduce yourself and the website or company you represent.
- Ask if they are currently looking for guest posts.
- Make your offer (high-quality content that adds value to the target site).
- Thank them for their time or sign off.
If you’ve published guest posts elsewhere or have impressive relevant credentials, mention those too.
If you don’t receive a response after a few days, send a polite follow-up. If you still don’t get a reply, assume the answer is no and move on.
Once you get a positive reply, you need to come up with some great topic ideas to pitch.
Build a list of guest post topics to pitch
Here’s a pro tip for you: Your ideas don’t need to be completely original. You just need a new or interesting angle. Writing about email marketing software for small businesses isn’t the same as writing about the same topic for Fortune 500 companies, for example.
A quick Google search can inspire content ideas. Use Keywords Everywhere to get related keyword suggestions, which can also give you some great ideas:
Choose a few keywords, then run a Google search for the target site and the keyword following this format:
If your target site has already covered this topic, either come up with a new angle, or move on to a different search term.
You can also use the Zest app to find inspiration for your content. Zest sends you curated content based on your interests, rated by other members of the community:
Finally, you can use BuzzSumo tool to discover the top-performing content in your niche based on social media engagements:
Doing your homework will help you create original content and find new angles for the topics you’d like to cover.Send your pitches within 48 hours of getting the initial reply from the editor – you don’t want them to think you’ve forgotten or lost interest.
If your pitches are rejected, look at the website again and aim to align your next suggestions more closely with its tone and subject matter. If you do this, you have a good chance of getting a pitch accepted. Don’t be afraid to try again!
Write authoritative, informative guest posts
Congratulations on getting your pitch approved! It’s now time to get into some serious research and writing.
How you write your guest posts is entirely up to you. However, I’ve discovered that following the guidelines below helps me create the best possible content:
- Check the website’s style guide, if there is one. If not, read other guest posts on the site to get a feel of the tone and vocabulary expected.
- Create an outline of your content before you start writing. This will keep you on topic.
- Provide actionable insights and relatable examples. Always ask yourself if you are providing value to the reader.
- Even the best writers make grammatical and spelling errors. Use Grammarly or an equivalent tool to catch them.
- Fact-check everything you write.
- Always cite your sources when you use someone else’s data or ideas.
- Limit your backlinks to one or two at most. Cramming as many backlinks as you can into your content looks spammy and will put off the editor and readers.
- Deliver your promised content on time. If you hit a snag while writing your guest post, notify the editor right away. Most will happily give you more time.
When you submit your content, include a thank-you note to the editor. Establishing a good relationship to the editor will open the doors to more opportunities. Politeness and professionalism is essential.
Scale your guest posting rapidly
Once you publish a few guest posts, you’ll find it easier to get more opportunities. You’ll also be able to land opportunities on higher profile sites, since you’ll have proof of your ability to deliver.
There will come a time when you can’t handle it all by yourself. Guest posting is a time-consuming endeavour and you have to keep running your business! At this point, you’ll want to outsource some of the work to enable you to scale your strategy.
You could hire a freelancer to assist you with keyword research, sending outreach emails, or coming up with topic ideas to pitch. You could also hire a ghostwriter to write guest posts on your behalf.
Hire the best writer you can afford, and try to build an ongoing working relationship with them. Regular writers will become familiar with the topics you cover, leading to a consistently high standard of work.
Making guest posts work for your SaaS business
The SaaS niche is highly competitive, and will only become more so. If you want to stand out in this crowded marketplace, you need a robust marketing strategy. Focusing on SEO and link building will allow your site to show up on the first page of search results, driving more traffic your way.
Guest posting is the best way to improve your backlink profile. Since it is highly scalable, you can start with just a few posts and eventually build up to multiple posts per month.
Here are my golden rules for making guest posting work as an SaaS business:
- Target only relevant, high-authority sites.
- Send enticing outreach emails.
- Pitch new angles on relevant topics.
- Write informative content with actionable insights.
- Scale your strategy by hiring freelancers and ghostwriters to help you.
Scaling your guest posting campaign takes hard work, consistent effort, and perseverance. Work smart and keep improving your strategy to adapt as the market changes. Good luck with scaling your guest posting to grow your business!
Owen Baker is a content marketer for Voila Norbert, an online email verification tool. He has spent most of the last decade working online for a range of marketing companies. When he’s not busy writing, you can find him in the kitchen mastering new dishes.