99.99% of Guest Bloggers Don’t Do This & It Kills Their Conversions

By , August 26th, 2013 in Landing Pages | 31 comments

Time for some brutal honesty.

When people read your guest post, most won’t click the links in the “About The Author” section at the end of your post.

You probably won’t click mine. I’m ok with that.

Of the 10,000 articles, emails and social updates pleading for your attention right now, I’m happy you’ve made it to paragraph 4 in this. Seriously, Thanks :-)

However, if you do click my byline, you won’t land on my homepage…not today, I like you too much for that.

Today, when you visit, I’ll roll out the red carpet and welcome you, dear reader, with a guest post landing page.

Why Would You Waste Time With A Guest Post Landing Page?

To me, the byline link is like an invitation for you to visit my online home for an afternoon of drink and good conversation.

If you were to visit my home for a dinner party in the real world, what kind of host would I be without a tour to show you all the great conversation pieces?

Odds are, you won’t scroll far enough to read my byline let alone click. But in case you do, I want to make sure my home is tidy, and I’m a good host.

The guest post landing page is my way of showing you around my online home, dining you, and starting a good conversation.

What Are The Elements Of A Good Guest Post Landing Page?

Sticking with the dinner party metaphor, the question becomes, what do you show your guests on the grand tour?

The answer of course is, “Well, it depends on who your guests are.”

If you’re guest blogging on a site like Unbounce, showcasing your best work on Landing Pages, Email Marketing, or Conversions is a safe bet.

With the guest post landing page, you want to maintain the scent of the site and article your visitor is coming from, while also introducing visitors to your own unique point of view.

1. Acknowledge The Site Your Guest Post was Published

Use the headline to tie your guest post landing page to the site your visitor is coming from.

Some ideas for testing are:

  • Coming from ___? You’re going to love it here.
  • _____ Visitors always welcome Here!
  • If you liked that post on ___ you’re going to love these.

The idea is to quickly orientate your new visitor and introduce them into the content.

James Agate of Skyrocket SEO demonstrates this matching beautifully on his Raventools guest post landing page.

raven

On this page he also adds additional points to the ones he made in his guest post, and the primary call to action is to sign up for his guest posting service.

Which leads me to my next point

2. Design with A Goal In Mind First

I guest post is to introduce new visitors to my philosophies on online marketing.

Others guest post to generate leads, drive traffic, or sell services.

The goals of these landing pages are very different, and that should be reflected in their design strategies. Understanding what the page is intended to do first helps to center your design, as well as the guest article itself.

If you’re using guest blogging to build your subscriber base, take cues from the copywriting formula of “Problem, Agitate, Solve.”

Ideally, your guest post tunes your visitor into the problem and offers a few quick wins, while your byline and guest post landing page offer more permanent solutions.

With the appropriate keyword research for your guest post, the long term effects of designing this kind of funnel can be significant, considering bigger blogs are far more likely to rank for more competitive key phrases.

3. Use Your Guest Post To Tell A Much Bigger Story

Human beings are addicted to storytelling.

If the guest post landing page is done right, it’s another form of storytelling.

Right now you’re reading about guest post landing pages. When click my bio link, you’ll find links to articles about other unconventional landing pages, a landing page optimization video, and perhaps an article about writing guest posts on popular blogs. All of which have something in common with what you’re reading right now.

Why do this?

Studies have shown that the internet is having a negative impact on our brain’s ability to store information, due to overabundance and easy access.

However, other studies have shown that storytelling has helped adults learn more complicated information in shorter amounts of time.

By using your guest post as a starting point for a much larger conversation, you’re helping your new visitors go down a single, focused path, which in turn improves retention, trust, and all that other stuff we look for as business owners.

As you’re building that story, read your existing guest post, then ask yourself, “What would I want to learn next?”

Elizabeth Seda of A Life On Your Own Terms does a really great job of following up this post with this landing page.

4. Add Social Proof To Let Visitors Know You’re Legit

You know you’ll get great information here on the Unbounce blog, but my site is uncharted territory.

Most people are hesitant to trust new sources. So by adding a handful of items, such as other sites you’ve published with helps new visitors feel more “at home” with your content.

Social proof, even if it’s only on a subconscious level, helps new visitors know they’re not wasting their time and that they’re still in safe territory.

Wondering what kind of social proof you can add? In this Techcrunch article, author Aileen Lee identifies proof in 5 different categories.

  1. Expert Proof: Mentions from major industry bloggers, or using the logos of other sites you’ve previously published with lends instant credibility to your work.
  2. Celebrity Proof: Endorsements from celebrities, either mainstream or industry specific, bring a level of gravitas to the table almost immediately.
  3. User Proof: Testimonials, customer reviews, & case studies are extremely powerful if you’re using guest blogging for lead generation purposes.
  4. Wisdom of the crowds: Signs that large groups of people are already trusting what you’re saying, commonly displayed as email subscriber counts or social media account followings.
  5. Wisdom of friends: Endorsements from friends or other people your visitor might know.

If you’re interested in learning more about incorporating social proof, Hubspot has an excellent article that breaks down 10 different ways make your social proof even more effective.

Gary Korisko of Reboot Authentic uses social proof in a few different ways on the guest post landing page he created for Think Traffic. Though there are quite a few things I’d do differently here, I think his use of Expert proof on the right sidebar well.

Be warned however, studies have shown that social proof doesn’t always have a positive impact on conversions.

In this article on Visual Website Optimizer, tests showed that displayed that no social proof was better than low social proof, as displaying small social share numbers had a negative impact on conversions.

In another test by the folks over at DIY Themes, they found that removing social proof actually increased conversions to their email list.

In other words, like anything having to do with landing pages, always be testing.

5. Use Media Formats That Best Match The Goal Of The Page

Remember, this landing page quickly orientates visitors to your content as quickly as possible.

For most personality based businesses, or software products, I’d recommend using video give the visitor a feel for what your site is all about.

My friend Amy Schmittauer demonstrates this expertly in this guest post on Dj Waldow’s blog.

Though the video wasn’t on a guest post landing page, it could be. Add a call to action at the end and an “ethical bribe” in exchange for an email address and you’ve got the framework for a phenomenal guest post landing page.

If products or software is more your thing, Startup-Videos.com is a great place for inspiration and contact information for various studios and their approximate price ranges.

Don’t limit yourself to video though. Depending on your background, alternative media formats like a slideshow might be a better fit.

For example, let’s say Jesse Desjardins a popular slide designer on Slideshare, writes a guest post about the impact of bad slide design for public speakers.  Then in his bio, he includes a link to a landing page with the following presentation and a lead capture form.

Can you think of any better way of generating leads than demonstrating your work is the solution to the exact problem you were talking about in the guest post?

I can’t.

Bonus: Guest Post Landing Pages Aren’t Just For Bylines

Alright we’re in the home stretch.

If you’ve made it this far, I’m hoping you’ll take a couple minutes to check out the links in my byline. But what if I suggested that the byline isn’t the only place you could use this strategy?

Using everything we’ve talked about throughout, you can also use the guest post landing pages for links within the body of the article.

Placing contextual links within the article, especially framed with strong phrasing, evokes curiosity, and typically drives more clicks than a byline.

Acknowledging the referring site, showcasing relevant media, highlighting social proof – all focused on a clear goal – adds an element of personalization that statistically speaking, creates a unique experience & improves conversions.

Your Turn

I’d love to get your take. If you’re adventurous enough to click a guest author’s byline, what would you like to see?

Free downloads? Phone numbers? Something else?

How will you use the guest post landing page strategy to take over the world?

– Tommy Walker


write-for-unbounce-cta

About The Author

Photo of Tommy Walker

Tommy Walker is an online marketing strategist, show host, and prolific guest blogger for sites like Unbounce, ConversionXL, Smashing Magazine & more. He specializes in highly effective, counter-intuitive approaches to online marketing, and seeks to expand your thinking on what's possible with online content. Check out his approach on guest post landing pages, and get a free copy of The Top Ten Content Marketing Strategy Mistakes by clicking here.
» More blog posts by

Comments

  1. Nathaniell says:

    Though I haven’t done any guest posting, I’ve been looking to start. These are some great ideas, and of course they are great because they are simple and totally make sense.

    The only thing I didn’t really agree with was flaunting your credentials. I know it’s par for the course in the blogosphere, but as someone that browses a lot of blogs, I really don’t like when I first read someone stuff and he/she tries to impress me with all the awesome stuff they’ve done.

    It’s like, “Yeah, yeah, what makes you relevant to ME?”

    Anyway, just some food for thought.

    • Tommy Walker says:

      That makes sense. I think a lot of it comes down to the presentation of credentials themselves.

      It’s like when you talk to someone whose accomplished a lot in real life. If all they talk about is how they did this cool thing with these other big name people, it’s obnoxious. If however it happens to come up, it’s a neat discovery.

      Unbounce I think does this really well on their homepage. They let you know who uses the service without rubbing it in your face. I think that’s the key to using that proof tastefully.

  2. Darek says:

    Awesome post Tommy!

    I haven’t done any guest posting yet and I never thought of creating a landing page for gest posts can be such an advantage, so thanks for the great piece of informations.

  3. Noman Ali says:

    landing page link in One Word “Relevancy” of Guest post is matter.

  4. Use the media formats that best suits your page is what i found the key point out here!!! hoping for more best results after this.
    thanks!! :)

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hi Tommy,

    This is the first time I’ve read a guest post about creating a landing page for your guest post. Interesting concept.

    I’ll have to think about how to incorporate the *guest post landing page* strategy when I guest post.

    A clean, clutter free, easy to navigate landing page is for me. Links to posts work; videos work too. The CTA should be easy to find and understand.

    P.S.

    I clicked on your link and was taken to your landing page for readers of Unbounce. :)

    • Tommy Walker says:

      Oh yeah? What’d you think ;-)

      • Amandah says:

        I liked the following:

        1. The video (great image of a retroTV).
        2. The page clearly states, “Coming from Unbounce.”
        3. The links to other blog posts.

        Suggested tweaks:

        1. Prefer to have the email sign up at the top instead of the bottom.

        2. Confused about the icons of the people at the top. Who are they? How do they benefit me, the end user?

        3. Slightly shrink the image/box of “The Top Ten Marketing Strategy Mistakes & How to Fix Them.”

        Thanks again for this post. I never thought about creating a guest blog landing page.

        • Tommy Walker says:

          Great feedback Amandah!

          That actually brings me to another point too, what you got was one of the variations of the guest post landing page. In another variation of the landing page, the ebook image is a little smaller.

          That being said, the other feedback here is fantastic, and I’ll be sure to implement in another round of revisions :-)

  6. OK, I’ll buy the basic premise of being hospitable when someone lands on your website, just like you would at home. But at home, I invite people right in through the front door. When I visit people, that is where I expect to enter, too. And when I go to somebody’s website, I expect to land on the home page – the front door of the site – not shuffled off to a “landing page” – unless the topic of the guest post had been about a very specific subtopic of the site I’m visiting. Maybe it’s just me, but if I feel I am being lead into a sales funnel when I thought I was entering through the front door…I’m gone!

    • Tommy Walker says:

      Interesting perspective.

      Do you think the design of the page might have an effect on your impression of the page?

      The idea isn’t to lead people into a funnel, but rather give the tour. What if the guest post landing page were designed to “mimic” the homepage but have the most relevant content?

      I think you make a very valid point here, and your thoughts should influence how people use this approach.

  7. I never thought twice about the landing page aspect for guest bloggers. Thanks for opening my eyes to this aspect. Just bookmarked this post.

  8. Great article here Tommy!Sometimes because of so many rules that we have to remember, we are taking for granted the most important things that we have to do for our campaign.Thanks for reminding us:)

  9. Neat idea for conversions and personalisation. Dilutes the SEO value though. ;)

    • Tommy Walker says:

      Not as much as you would think actually. If you’re publishing frequently with the same site, you’re able to direct your link juice much in the same way you would if you linked to a category page.

      Also, like the bonus section states, you can (and should) use this methodology for contextual links to have better control of what pages your visitors (and search engines) see as the most important. Fewer steps to get to the good stuff, that’s what it’s all about.

  10. Jon Davies says:

    Thanks for that. A very clear explanation of what a landing page should be used for. Up to now I had been confused about how a landing page should differ from a home page but its clear now,

  11. It seems I like your style Tommy, I keep finding myself loving your articles on here! Keep up the good work.

  12. Mark Ford says:

    So I’m one of the 99.99%

    When you use Guest Blog platforms you dont always know what site your guest post will appear on so this could be difficult to implement in some cases.

    Great idea though!

  13. Angela Booth says:

    Wonderful article. This makes perfect sense — a landing page for visitors who don’t know the blogger, other than a few words at the end of a guest post.. Great work, Tommy. I’ll be referencing your article in future blog posts.

  14. Rob says:

    Hello, great ideas. I do about 60 guest posts a month and have never come across these concepts before. I feel like you have just reinvented the wheel for me. Thank you so much.
    Game changing hehe

  15. Prashant says:

    Great post Tommy, legitimity is what matters most. Once a reader knows that theres some human element on the other side, they quickly connect.

  16. I like the helpful information you supply for your articles.
    I will bookmark your blog and take a look at once more right here frequently.
    I am somewhat sure I will be informed plenty of new stuff right right here!

    Good luck for the following!

  17. Bob says:

    I arrived here by clicking on your byline from another post… something I usually do when I come across an interesting and informative article.

  18. I landed here through Google research because I have been looking to gust blog since learning that it is an excellent way for a new blogger to get traffic and build their brand.

    I like the way the post discusses although sometimes I find myself a bit lost in details. However the piece is well done.

    Now if I were adventurous enough to click a guest author’s byline, I would like to see a link to their blog. People love Free downloads but many just ask for them because they are free and they don’t read them. Maybe a video will be okay, to satisfy the non-reading culture in which we find ourselves.

    I would use the guest post landing page strategy to get traffic back to my site but as I said people hardly click them. Once the article is finished they consider their business as being over.

    Despite that, I will contradict myself and thank this site to publish my link and thank those who will click to come over to visit: http://it-is-eéasy-to-make-money-at-home.blogspot.com. If somebody feels like they would want to blog guest there, surely I wouldn’t say no.

  19. surya says:

    hi,i am new to blogging world.i created a blog and posted some posts. i want to increase traffic by posting blogs as guest blogger..suggest me something…or can i do guest blogging for unbounce.com
    thanks in advance

  20. Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog
    and wanted to mention that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts.
    In any case I’ll be subscribing on your rss feed and I am hoping you write once more
    very soon!

x
Get actionable optimization tips delivered straight to your inbox.

You'll learn:

  • What it takes to build successful marketing campaigns
  • Why your landing page design and copy might be working against you
  • How to increase conversions while delighting leads and customers