When I started my guest posting business, I thought I can provide my clients with cheap, but high-quality links and I was able to deliver that.
Well, to some extent. And it wasn't a nice experience.
I’ve come to realize that there’s a rock-paper-scissors kind of law when it comes to earning outreach links.
Times are a-changin'...bloggers are more SEO-savvy and with the increase in the number of blogger outreach services, blog owners realize that there is money to be made my selling links.
You Can’t Have Your Cake And Eat It Too: The 3 Laws
In some strange Utopia for SEOs, outreach links that are cheap, high-quality (content and metrics), and fast (turnaround time) are plenty. Unfortunately, we don’t live in paradise, so we only have this relationship:
Unfortunately, you can only pick two.
And this "law" is actually present in all types of services. Graphic designers, web development, content writing - you name it, this law applies to it.
Rule #1: Cheap Outreach Links With Fast Turnarounds Are Bad Links
Cheap blogs who can deliver live links quickly (in as little as 24 hours) are usually blogs with little to no traffic.
These are blogs who are mostly just starting out and are desperate to monetize their sites…they’ll accept any cheap offer you throw their way.
Rule #2: Cheap, But High-Quality Links Will Take Time
Mainly because you have to run a manual outreach campaign to secure free links.
How do you run a manual outreach campaign?
It’s going to take another article to explain, but the gist of it is you reach out to high-quality blogs and offer something of value - a really, really good article that’s relevant to their audience is one example. Honestly, unless you have a lot of time, it's too much of a hassle to do...
As I’ve said earlier, high-quality blogs usually know their worth – they’ve spent resources, and taken the time and effort to grow their blog to the point that you want a link there...so you better pay up!
Most of the time, high-quality blogs know their worth so they’re either going to ask for payment (on average, our experience is about $100, but we also get emails asking upwards of GBP300), or reject your offer because they do “all their content in house”.
And since you want cheap links, you’ll have to skip opportunities which leads to, you guessed it – longer turnaround times.
Manual blogger outreach campaigns take time to warm up too.
More often than not, you won't get the perfect email pitch on your first try. Internally, manual outreach starts ramping up in the 2nd month if it’s an easy niche we worked with before. It takes a few weeks to optimize the campaign that’s why there’s a slight lag time.
Unless you have a really, really, REALLY good hook – it’s going to take a while before you get your links.
Rule #3: High-quality links with quick turnaround times are not cheap.
If you want the best of both worlds, be prepared to pay.
These links can be delivered quickly maybe because your guest post provider built good-enough relationship with bloggers that your always jumps to first in line for publishing.
Budget Constraints & Some Negotiation Tips
We want to pay for high quality links, sure, but how do you make sure that you’re not overpaying?
Here are some tips:
If you don't have the budget to pay for links, but have plenty of time (and motivation) to run a manual outreach campaign yourself, we have a guide here.
1. Don't beat around the bush.
Go straight to the ask!
Blogs are so used to guest post pitches that it doesn't matter how innocent-looking your email reads, their bullshit alarm will still go off faster than you can say 550 error: high probability of spam.
Unless your website is hyper-relevant to theirs and your pitch is something that their audience will truly appreciate, stop beating around the bush and ask them directly.
Make your emails short, sweet, and straight to the point.
2. Make sure that you’re not over paying.
Bloggers are notorious for over charging for guest posts. I don't think it comes from a place of bad intentions, most of them simply overestimate their blog, pretty much like how you think your dog is the goodest boi.
Before you reach out to any blog, make sure you have a price limit in mind.
For example, say “I will not pay over $120 for anything less than DR 30, but I’m willing to pay $200 for a DR 50 link”.
3. Set the right expectations
It's near impossible to get a good link for $20.
Don’t expect to get a link from a DR 91, 10 million monthly traffic blog when you only have a budget of $45 for each guest post. That’s setting yourself up for disappointment.
4. Negotiate in increments
Blogs are notorious for overcharging, but most of them are also open to negotiation.
Try to negotiate in $10, $15, and $20 increments.
We're fairly successful when negotiating for $10 less.
Try to get a feel for your niche's "haggle-ability" (don't know the exact word for this). Try to ask for $10 less for the first 20 sites. If you have a 70% success rate, try asking for $15 less on the next 20 sites.
Keep repeating until most of them are rejecting your offer. This gives you an idea on the *actual* prices of guest posts on your niche.
That being said, don’t ask for 50% off on the first ask, you’ll just piss off the bloggers.
Some bloggers know what Domain Rating (DR) or Domain Authority (DA) are.
If they're asking for a price that's waaaay above their metric - as I mentioned, some bloggers tend to overestimate their blogs - respectfully let them know that their DR 20, 2k traffic blog does not fetch a $250 price tag.
They're more keen on agreeing to a lower price once you tell them this.
5. Non-US, non-EU blogs are cheaper
I’ve had success asking for up to 30% to 50% discount on non-US and non-EU blogs. They could go as low as $20, depending on the country.
Careful though, you might not want to have a link from a site with predominantly Indian traffic if you have nothing to do with India.
6. Outsourcing? Look for an outreach expert that is mindful of costs.
If you're can't do it yourself for lack of time or expertise, it's good to find an outsourcing partner that is transparent and mindful of costs.
Take note that I said "mindful", not "cheap".
Being mindful of costs is considering your budget constraints while trying to get the best possible links at that budget.
I have to admit that my services are not cheap, but we make sure you get the most value out of your hard-earned money by running an effective and ethical custom outreach campaign for your business.
I hope this article sheds some light on our mentality and approach regarding outreach. I also shared some price negotiation tips that will hopefully be helpful when you decide to run your own outreach campaign.
Need help with your digital marketing? I'm just a chat away.