Profitable Karma: My Secret Guest-Blogging Strategy

My blog traffic grew 695% in three months.

That’s not a typo. From February to May, my traffic multiplied by almost eight.

Want to know how I did it?

The answer is guest-blogging, but with a twist. You see, a lot of people guest blog, but they don’t do it right. They write the post, and get a spike in traffic, but then a few days later, they’re right back to where they started.

The reason why they get no traction is that guest blogging, in and of itself, is basically a form of advertising – a way of getting exposed to new people. The thing is that the blogosphere isn’t driven by ads, it’s driven by relationships. If you want to really grow, you need more than traffic spikes; you need to build connections with other bloggers and influencers.

Guest-blogging is a way to do that – but only if you do it right…

Why guest-blog? It’s not what you think!

There are lots of benefits to be had from guest-blogging, and I don’t mean to be knocking the traditional reasons why people do it.

Just so we’re all on the same page, here are the benefits that I’m talking about:

  • Traffic and Exposure. This is the number one reason why people guest blog – when you’re starting out, you have to do double duty creating content on your own blog, as well as building an audience for that blog. Since advertising is probably out of your budget, writing posts for blogs that have existing audiences is one of the best and fastest ways to make people aware of your content.
  • Social Proof and Street Cred. Once you start landing guest posts on a few bigger blogs, people will start to notice, and take you a lot more seriously – especially if it isn’t just a one-shot deal, and you get onto several of the larger blogs in your niche. Writing about how to come up with ideas on your own tiny blog is one thing, but doing it on Copyblogger is quite another!
  • Engagement and Debate. If you do a good job, you’ll get people talking, engaging, and interacting. This gives you a chance to respond to the comments, and start building relationships with readers. The best ways to get these conversations going is to write posts that are exceptionally good, or somewhat controversial.
  • Backlinks from Authority Sites. This is at the bottom of my list, because I’m not much of an SEO guy – I think that if you’re writing good stuff that your audience wants to read, the search engines will eventually figure out how to get more people to see it. That being said, there’s definitely value to having backlinks from major sites that publish your posts (Firepole Marketing has already got a PR of 4, and we haven’t been at this for very long at all).

These are all great, but they’re all secondary to the real value that you can and should be getting out of guest-blogging.

To understand the real reason, we have to understand what really makes the blogosphere go round: the Karma Economy.

The Blogosphere’s Karma Economy

The blogosphere isn’t driven by traffic, or advertising, or backlinks, or even by sales – it is driven by relationships with your peers.

And no, your peers aren’t Brian Clark, Darren Rowse or Michael Stelzner – though of course relationships with these guys are great to have, and guest-blogging is a way to build those relationships as well. But no, your peers are other early-stage bloggers, who are as hungry for traffic and exposure as you are. Whereas you might chase the big players for the slightest tweet or mention, you can build real relationships with the people who are in your own weight class.

None of them has the power to give you the exposure of a Copyblogger or Problogger, but they all stand to become loyal readers of your work, and many of them are on the same growth trajectory that you are. Six months from now, when you’re a little bigger, they will be too.

Don’t wait until they’re big and powerful – that’s self-serving and opportunistic, and not genuine at all.

Make an effort to build relationships with people when they can’t really help you, and help them out – because that’s what genuine help is about, and that’s how real relationships are formed. Don’t think about what you can get back, just trust that eventually what goes around comes around – that’s how the Karma Economy works.

So how do you build relationships?

Start by reading their blogs, commenting on their posts, and interacting via email. Build friendships. And when you can, offer them a little gift…

What Makes a Good Gift?

The quality of a gift is in the eye of the beholder – the more coveted, valuable, and hard to get the gift is, the more it’s worth to the receiver.

And what fits that description better then links from authority blogs? 😉

That’s my secret – if I’m doing all the work to get a post on Copyblogger, Problogger, or Think Traffic, then why not share the love, and drop a few relevant links to my online friends?

A side benefit of doing this is that you’re that much more credible with the host blog, too, because you aren’t just dropping links to your own posts. And if you happen to have a link or two to your own favourite post, they’re much less likely to mind.

But that’s just a side benefit. The real value is the relationships.

Calling in favors… carefully…

Since this post is about growing your blog by building relationships, I should add a word about how and when to call in your favors, and that word is “sparingly”.

Help others. Do it often, and don’t keep score. When you need help, reach out and ask for it, but try to give a lot more than you hope to receive.

Building relationships isn’t transactional, and it isn’t 1:1 – it isn’t a matter of “I did this for you, now you do this for me”. Keep on giving, and make sure you’re giving to people of character, who share your values.

If you do, then when you need them, they’ll be there. That’s how the Karma Economy works.

What do you think? What has your experience been with the Karma Economy? Have you experimented with guest-blogging? What was that experience like?

Danny Iny is an author, strategist, serial entrepreneur, and proud co-founder of Firepole Marketing, the program that teaches expert marketing for non-marketers. Get his free cheat sheet about Why Guru Strategies for Blog Growth DON’T WORK… and What Does!, or follow him on Twitter @DannyIny.


98 thoughts on “Profitable Karma: My Secret Guest-Blogging Strategy”

  1. fazal mayar says:

    tremendous post dan. I guest posted a bit and noticed that some good links were built for my blog after the post being published. guest posting is a must for any blogger.

    1. Yes and it’s very useful if you are using newsletter & offering any product on your website. Guest blogging can increase your newsletter readers & then it can increase your business..

      1. Of course, you need to have some way of capturing leads into a funnel – but I think that misses the point of guest blogging, which isn’t so much about driving traffic, as it is about building relationships that will help you drive more traffic further down the line. Does that make sense?

      2. @ Pankaj

        with readership you will also get new exposure to new visitors and readers.

        1. Erwin Miradi says:

          Yeah. And I personally think it’s also important to accept guest posts from others. Just to make sure the blog is updated while you’re busy with the SEO or something else.

          1. Yeah … accepting guest posts from other blogger is the perfect way to add more flavour and more ingredients to any blogs.

            Your readers will also get the different kind of writing style to read.

    2. Thank you, Fazal. Yeah, the links are great, but the relationships are the most important thing. 🙂

      1. Virtual Tour says:

        Would have to agree with the relationships, they are always more important then the other.

    3. I agree with everything you said, it gives you amazing backlinks too

      1. Virtual Tour says:

        Helps a ton with really good backlinks and people linking to that article. It all helps!

        1. Yes like any of John chow post it get many backlinks instantly as more and more people wants to talk about what John’s blog is saying.

          1. SportsNub says:

            Yes, I can find many trackbacks at the end in some popular posts.

      2. me too. Thanks for share.

    4. Virtual Tour says:

      I totally think guest posting is key to making everything work!

      1. PPC Ian says:

        I agree. Guest posting is huge. It involves a lot of work (especially if you want to get featured somewhere of high caliber like John Chow dot Com), but totally worth it!

      2. SportsNub says:

        Yes, sure. Guest Posting it the best tool.

  2. Michael says:

    Great guest post there Dan! Really enjoyed it . You made some great points about guest blogging. This is my new thing I am focusing on with my blog. Going to do a group of guest posts and see what kind of exposure and relationships I can build from it. Wish my luck!

    1. Thanks, Michael, I really appreciate it!

      Be strategic about where you guest post – don’t just focus on the traffic, focus on the relationships, and bringing value to the blogger and the readers. 🙂

      1. Yes give value and people will give you respect and love by visiting again and again to your blog.

  3. very interesting, and certainly I want to be like that. thanks for the information

    1. You bet, Secret of Mind. 😉

  4. Justin says:

    I think that too many bloggers get it wrong in the beginning. They focus all of their energy on building backlinks through guest-posting and commenting and lowering their Alexa.

    You got it right that focusing on building quality relationships with your audience is the best way to go. They will be made to feel special and will choose you and your blog to spend money on instead of someone else.

    1. That’s a great point, Justin, and it’s particularly silly because (1) Alexa is not a very useful ranking measurement tool, and (2) either way, your ranking is a by-product of how much other people like your site.

      Like you said, if you build strong relationships with people, based on liking and shared values, then they will want to help you ,and you won’t have to rely on many of the more distasteful tactics that fill the blogosphere…

    2. @Justin I love that, nice angle and great point…i’ve learnt alot

    3. Guest Posting it the best tool to creat new ways for poeple to found your blogg.

  5. Great Stuff Here Dan!

    I haven’t experimented with guest blogging yet but I have with other “good karma” deeds. And it has done wonders for my blogging, social, and online efforts.

    Next Up Guest Blogging!

    1. Tell us more, Dewane, what kind of good karma deeds have you tried, and what’s worked for you?

      1. Yes Dewane tell us more and would love to try as well …

    2. That’s a must for every serious blogger, it increases your traffic in a flash

  6. PPC Ian says:

    Great guest post. I need to do more guest posting, this post has motivated me to do so.

    1. Thanks, Ian, I’m glad I could help. 🙂

    2. Same here bro, would be glad to have α̲̅ spot here on johnchow.com

    3. So Ian which blog you are targetting for the guest post ?

      1. PPC Ian says:

        Not sure yet! Just posted the first guest blog post on my blog and it did really well. Got a huge number of comments. Now, it’s up to me to do my own guest post. 🙂

  7. Another reason why Guest Posting is good.

    1. Yes at the moment guest post is rocking the world of blogging and there is no doubt of that.

  8. Erwin Miradi says:

    I was guest-blogging too. But instead of building a good relationship, I got my access deleted by the admin. I got one big lesson then: Don’t write when you drunk, especially on someone else’s blog.

    1. Hmmm… good advice, Erwin. 😛

    2. This is really a good advice, hope to use any oppurtuinity i have wisely

      1. Erwin Miradi says:

        @ ZK: Oh well, people make mistakes sometimes dude 😛

        1. Yes … after all we all are human beings 🙂

  9. fas says:

    Very well said. If you give, then u get in return.

    1. That’s exactly right! 🙂

    2. That’s true for sure

  10. John,

    I strongly agree with you about this gest blogging strategy. If you make yourself visible to others your blog will become more and more known so the traffic and backlinks will grow up naturally.

    1. Hi Emprestimos, thank you very much. You’re exactly right – if you build visibility and add value to others, then the traffic and backlinks will naturally follow.

  11. Graham Lutz says:

    I can’t think of a better way to build a blog than guest blogging. It might be time and labor intensive, but it’s genuine growth.

    There is a lot more that goes into writing a guest post than just shipping it off, hoping it gets published. A little planning can make all the difference.

    1. You’re right, Graham – it is time and labor intensive, but then, so is everything else that will create lasting and sustainable results, right? 😉

  12. Thanks Dan. In the offline world helping others without asking for anything in return works wonders, so I’m glad you’ve found a way to make it work online. Thanks for the tip.

    1. You bet, Alex. Online or offline, people are still people, right? 😉

      1. SportsNub says:

        yeah, Online or offline doesn’t matters a lot.

  13. My experiences with guest blogging is really helping my growths in traffic to my blog.And remember traffic=money$.But I only guest blog once a month,so now with Zac Johnson’s post and this one I will be very sure to guest blog twice a week at least.

    Thanks For Sharing,
    Bradley Nordstrom

    1. Thank you for sharing, Bradley! Yeah, increasing your guest posting frequency sounds like it will be very helpful to you – good call. 🙂

  14. Guest posting is really important, it has been proven how it could double your traffic even up to 400%…will soon venture into that. Thanks for this wonderful post

  15. Stephen says:

    Great post, and really enlightening for a Newbie blogger. I will take your words to heart and build my internet street cred as my readers and I work toward making $1,000,000 in 365 days.

  16. Those who has the courage to go against the views of many are those who can stand out from the crowd. A guest blogger must not be afraid to post his opinion whether people will agree or not.

  17. Great insight, Dannny. I’m currently reading Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi and you basically affirmed what he said by your own experience. Have you read the book? I highly recommend this book if you haven’t.

    I especially like how you defined the Karma economy and I realized how I’m doing it all wrong by targeting only the bigger bloggers in my niche. Thanks for this post and I’m sure to visit your blog.

    1. Hey Ronald, I haven’t read that book, but I’ve heard very good things about it. I’ll add it to my list of books to read. 🙂

      I’m glad the post was helpful, and I’ll look forward to seeing you at Firepole Marketing! 🙂

  18. Virtual Tour says:

    Thanks for the great post, totally agree with the blog posting/guest posting. It’s something I really need to do a lot more of!

  19. My three reasons to guest blog is:
    Links – Links control the web. If you want rankings on Google, you need links.
    Traffic – The difference between someone who makes money online and someone who doesn’t is generally because one has a website which gets traffic. It’s that important, and guest blogging provides it.
    Branding – On the web, your name and your blog are your brand, and guest blogging helps you get them out there in your industry. This massively pushed my brand around the niche and put my website on the map.

    1. @property i totally agree with you, great point

      1. Thanks Job, nice to see more than I goes on hard road line.

    2. Erwin Miradi says:

      @Property: I agree with that. Those are exactly what we’re guest blogging for. But then again, it depends on the quality of the article we deliver.

  20. Forex News says:

    I totally think guest posting is key to making everything work!

    1. SportsNub says:

      Yes, Guest Posting is a hidden secret which hardly anyone uses properly.

  21. Danny certainly a very good and valid points which you mentioned in this post.

    I know very few people who able to get the maximum benefit of guest posting or of any marketing strategy.

  22. Forex News says:

    This is really a good advice, hope to use any oppurtuinity i have wisely

    1. SportsNub says:

      If you do try this then it would be very profitable!

  23. Guest blogging is really important and covered beautifully here….Great job!

    1. Great job really analysed well

    2. SportsNub says:

      Yep, surely it is explained in very good way!

  24. Health Blog says:

    I started guest blogging few weeks back, because my traffic was slowly going down. I am doing one or two guest post every week (in some blogs it takes more than a week to get guest post published due to large numbers of posts). I will engage more blogs for guest posting.
    Great and helpful post.
    Thanks

    1. PPC Ian says:

      Thanks for sharing your strategy, I hope this reverses the trend and your traffic starts increasing as a result.

    2. SportsNub says:

      That’s nice, I am sure that would help in increasing your traffic.

  25. Matt says:

    It certainly expands your exposure. I also agree with the seo. Many people focus so much on seo but lack good quality content. Good content will bring the traffic.

  26. guest blog strategy is the best method which i use to follow in my blog

    1. SportsNub says:

      Yes, Guest blogging does helps a lot in increasing the traffic.

  27. Its really an nice strategy to have blog updated regularly

    1. SportsNub says:

      Yes, updating your blog daily is surely a good thing.

  28. SportsNub says:

    A very nicely explained article. I really liked it and surely Guest Blogging does holds much importance.

  29. Excellent post. I recently started doing guest blog posts, but hadn’t really thought about focusing on my peers as well. Definitely going to take this into consideration in the future 🙂

  30. Brian P says:

    Guest is a great way to build SEO. I honestly love it!

    1. SportsNub says:

      Yeah, Guest Posting does helps a lot in SEO as well.

  31. Guest posting its an best strategy in seo

    1. Yeah i agree Top…Guest blogging is one of the most powerful ways to build your brand and site popularity.

      1. Erwin Miradi says:

        Yeah I agree too. But of course it also depends on the quality of article you make.. Guest blogging is indeed the best SEO strategy on if your article is good enough to draw reader’s attention..

  32. Richard says:

    Thanks for sharing your valuable experience on this.

  33. Guest post are really good for blog owner and guest author. Nice post. Thanks for share.

  34. guest post its an best strategy to earn more traffic

  35. Brock Blohm says:

    Danny,
    Wow. Blown away here. I am just now coming to realization how powerful comments are in the eyes of Google. I am really blown away. I wouldn’t have thought that they have such an impact. Cool. My focus is now shifting! Thanks!

  36. guest blogging strategy is the best method moving great so well i request all to try out this strategy too

  37. Gift Ideas says:

    Yes, it is the good idea to make the proof of existence in social media.

  38. mitu says:

    hi john,
    i had a query.
    are we allowed to directly copy paste -say a list of entrepreneurs directly from the net to our blog or google can ban us for that?can we copy paste interviews as well?or will that require permission?
    thank you.
    mitu

  39. Essays says:

    Link building through guest post is much better than forum link posting or commenting. It gives you really cool one way link from a page which is written according to your SEO needs, I mean stuffed with keywords.

  40. Technary says:

    Heard a lot of Guest Blogging. Should start writing a good new quality content!

  41. Gift Ideas says:

    There is really nice strategy to get huge comments.

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