How has your marketing strategy shifted? Are you turning up the dial on earned efforts in light of paused or adjusted budgets? Backlinking has always been an effective earned strategy for marketers, and when done right, it can help you boost your SEO rankings.
That’s why you should look at creating guestographics as part of your backlinking strategy.
When it comes to content marketing, you don’t want to spend time writing numerous posts, and scheduling them on social media, only to see poor metrics in return.
If you feel like you’ve put in the effort but you still aren’t seeing results, you aren’t alone.
Though content continues to have a dominant place in the marketing world, creating relevant and visually compelling content has become the new short-term goal for small businesses and startups.
Because search rankings on Google are tied to backlinks, you have to rethink the way you’re pitching content partners what you have to offer.
Why Guestographics? They’re Unforgettable.
I have worked on different strategies for Venngage, and I’ve found one that definitely works to increase backlinks—offering guestographics.
With the help of guestographics and a few other factors, we at Venngage managed to increase our traffic by 400%. And we want to share our knowledge with you.
The strategy I’ve developed can also be used with other kinds of content that you specialize in.
Guestographics work because they generate far more engagement than many other types of content, and we have the ability to make infographics when we need to.
Infographics are visual, easy to absorb, and shareable—no wonder people love them.
So, what do you have to do to get backlinks using guestographics? Let’s dive in.
Understand Your Audience
If you have ever wondered how to find influencers, you need to start by creating user personas.
Understanding your audience is the building block of any content strategy, but it is also the first hurdle that marketers often fail to clear.
You can’t create effective content if you don’t know who you’re creating it for. You’re doing the hard work of getting backlinks, but they’re from sources that your intended audience will not visit. Here is what you should do instead.
What you need to do first is to analyze your top-performing content. Check your website and social metrics to see which pieces had the best engagement and got the most impressions.
Once you have lined up your best content, find out who regularly likes that content and whether they are regular visitors to your site.
You can then further analyze their demographics—are they young, older, male, female, interested in visuals, interested in video, and so on.
I would suggest reading through this guide from LinkedIn experts to learn more about finding the best contacts through that channel.
From there, you need to gather some information like names, emails, their gender, age, job titles, and industries.
It may not be possible to get all these, but you should definitely push to get as much as possible. I recommend aiming for a list of at least 100 people.
You can also use a form maker to collect data including emails.
Once you have this information, plan out the visitors in a Google sheet and you will soon see patterns that emerge that showcase who your target audience actually is.
Your next step is to look at SEO and then you can start connecting.
Perfect for SEO
Whatever content you make—whether it is a guestographic or a blog—you need to optimize it for SEO if you are to get any backlinks at all.
The best way to do this is to use White Hat SEO practices, which will benefit your search engine results page (SERP) performance on Google.
This means that when someone searches for a topic relevant to you, Google will determine where your page will appear in the search results.
But to do so, you need to go beyond creating excellent content. The reason for this is because there is so much high-quality content out there already.
If you want your content to win out over everyone else’s, you have to start working on your SEO.
Creating content can be time-consuming, but doing a quick keyword search for your topic doesn’t have to be cumbersome.
You can search the terms relevant to you in Google, or alternatively use the free keyword planner, which I use fairly often.
Make a list of relevant keywords from the planner and sort by the Average Monthly Searches, as that is what will show you the most popular search terms that could bring in traffic for you.
However, avoid choosing keywords that generate more than 10,000 searches because if a term is already that popular, it will take a fairly long time for you to rank for it.
Start small, keeping only keywords that get between 400-1,300 monthly searches, and make your top ten list from there. Now, you have the keywords you need to rank for.
Now that you have your keywords list, you need to use it.
Though it is tempting to use the keyword multiple times in your content, if you want to earn backlinks from guestographics or other content, keyword stuffing isn’t going to help.
Google frowns upon such methods, which will have negative effects in your search rankings.
Instead, use your keywords in the content anywhere between 2% and 6% of the time, as that should be enough for Google to notice you.
You will also need to ensure that you use your keywords in relevant areas of the post like the title, or text with an H1 tag, subtitles or subheadings, which have the H2 or H3 tags.
Don’t forget about image SEO for your guestographic—you will want to add your keywords to the meta-description and the alt tags, so it also ranks on Google and Google Image Search.
With your keywords in place, you are ready to build lists and make connections.
Link Building Essentials
With your audience and keywords in place, you now have high-quality marketing collateral that puts you in a position to begin outreach.
If you want to increase your website or blog traffic, it is time to start building links.
Now, if you’re one of those fortunate people who already have an amazing list of contacts in the world of marketing, this may not seem like a difficult task for you.
But for most marketers, building a contact list that they can regularly share links with can be a daunting task.
I often use Buzzsumo to create email lists of potential audiences and influencers that have connected with my content or similar content using a keyword search.
I then filter the data for the most shared content—30-50 shares minimum—eliminating any large sites that are likely to refuse my content.
You can also do this manually, either by contacting someone you already follow or you know how to contact, either via Twitter or via Rapportive.
This works best for one-on-one connections, and if you have a very specific link or round-up you want to place on a site.
Once you have your target list, you will need to create a solid pitch to reach your audience.
Your subject link should be simple, outlining what is in the email, and not be too heavily focused on the sales angle. Avoid clickbait subject lines.
Your opening paragraph should be enthusiastic, informative, and give your reader a boost to their ego.
Don’t pack in too much information as that will bore them, but give them a hint of what’s to come.
This is what your next paragraph will entail, ending with a request from you either to make a guestographic for them, to share your post, place a link, or attend an interview.
You can use email software like Moosend to bulk email contacts, but remember to keep your mail copy short or else you’ll lose your audience’s attention.
And write in a friendly tone; don’t be too demanding or aggressive. You want to create a partnership to get backlinks, after all.
And if someone doesn’t reply, understand that it is all part of the process. Try following up a couple of times, and if nothing happens, leave it for a later date.
You will get a few interested parties, so focus on making them happy by creating excellent content.
Epic Content Design
If you’ve earned a request for a specific guestographic, you can create the content accordingly.
Guestographics aren’t easy to make, so the more information you can get from the party requesting the graphic, the better.
We at Venngage create infographics, and a number of other design templates, so guestographics happen to be our specialty.
If you aren’t a graphic designer but want to improve your backlink strategy using visual content, you may have to outsource to a freelancer, hire someone, or use graphic design software.
While guestographics are our main forte—and have been shown to earn us backlinks—it can be a huge ask to pivot to a new type of visual content so it’s understandable if this process takes time to ramp up. It’s worth it.
Work on strengthening your existing backlinks strategy before you venture into new territory like guestographics. If you have the basics in hand, you will be better positioned to apply this new strategy.
Mind-Blowing Promotional Opportunities
Promoting content you’ve created is something you already do, but if you’ve been creating content for other people, you need to promote it as well.
Don’t leave the promotion solely to the person you gave the guestographic to.
Instead, start looking for people interested in similar content, and ask them to share the graphic you created.
You could also offer to give them similar content which will not only increase the chance that they will share it, but also that they might request something more from you.
You could also look at offering to repurpose content for someone—creating blogs, vlogs, LinkedIn presentations, and social media posts from guestographics and other content.
Repurposing content is a great idea because you won’t need to create content from scratch, only adapt it for a new medium, which will also make it more shareable to new audiences.
This increases traffic and saves time. If you do repurpose your existing content, don’t forget about following your branding guidelines so your content is immediately recognizable as yours.
You can start a whole new cycle of promotion and collaboration, leading to more backlinks. Which is what you want.
Backlinks are very important in increasing your visibility on Google and the best way to get more is to give something in return.
Offering guestographics earned us a great deal of traffic but it still required a lot of steps and some hard work.
You can create different content that fits your niche but by following these steps, you can begin collaborating with influencers and marketers to earn you the traffic boost you deserve.
Nadya heads marketing at Venngage and has been featured in Entrepreneur, The Huffington Post, The Next Web, Forbes, Marketing Profs, Social Media Examiner and more. She also has a web-series called Drunk Entrepreneurs where she interviews different entrepreneurs who are finding success.