MD04: Guest Posting on Big Websites Like Entrepreneur With Kimanzi Constable
This is episode features a very actionable strategy; Guest Posting.
Kimanzi Constable chats with us on how Guest Posting helped him to go from being a bread delivery guy to being an approved contributor on websites like Entrepreneur.com, HuffingtonPost and Mind Body Green.
All thanks to the specific step by step strategy that he shares with us today.
He started small and scaled big fast, being also a guest writer on a very popular blog; MichaelHyatt’s.
According to Kimanzi,the first thing you want to do is identify the sites where you want to featured on, do searches on Google of course and other mediums like Amazon or Twitter to go further.
Analyze the writing style of the blog so you can model your guest post around that style and improve your chances of being accepted.
Then Kimanzi goes into set of ways to connect with the people in charge of accepting you, so you can establish a relationship and improve your chances of being featured on their website.
At the beginning of the interview, I read an email that Kimanzi got from one of his listeners that demonstrate how powerful this strategy is, because the guy who wrote the note is thanking and telling Kimanzi how his methods helped him land several guest posting opportunities in a very short period of time.
KimanziConstable.com (to get the guides mentioned by Kimanzi)
www.48days.com (Dan Miller’s Website)
Hello everyone, I hope you are all having a good time. I’m actually having some back pain today because I was training yesterday on the racetrack and I had a soft crash and I actually had a hard time waking up this morning. It’s all good, I’m here now. So today we’re going to be chatting with Kimanzi Constable from kimanziconstable.com. He’s going to be telling us how to do guest posts on big websites or any type of website. And Kimanzi has a very interesting story because he went from being a bread delivery guy to being a contributor in entrepreneur.com and Huffington Post. So you might want to listen to what he has to say about guest posting. And guest posting is an awesome strategy for your business because you get the chance to be in front of someone else’s audience which is a big deal when you are just starting out to your blog or your website or your business, you have no audience. And actually guest posting is one of the most powerful ways to gain front of a target audience that you want to reach. So let’s dive right into the arena with Kimanzi Constable on guest posting.
So I was wasting time on Facebook yesterday when I came across an image which was actually a screenshot of an email that read: “Hi Kimanzi, my name is Robert Allen. I’m a 21-year-old college student from out of Nashville, Tennessee and I’m a huge fan of your work on living a passionate and inspired life. I cannot begin to explain how helpful your advice on guest posting has been for me. Since listening to your interview with Pat Flynn, I have already landed six guest posts with your pitch and technique. I cannot thank you enough for the value that you have added.” With that said guys, I want to introduce you to Kimanzi Constable. Hey Kimanzi, welcome to the show. Thank you for coming on man, I appreciate it.
Kimanzi Constable: Yeah, thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Borja: Yeah, so what I just read is a true proof of concept of this strategy that we’re going to be talking about and something that I think is really powerful for anyone in any industry. So Kimanzi, what I want to take our listeners is, I want to take them through the process of creating their first guest post. So would you mind telling them what has guest posting done for you, like what have been the outcomes of your guest posting career.
Kimanzi Constable: Yeah, when I had no audience in 2012, I knew that I needed traffic and one thing that I had seen that worked and had been talked about was guest posting. You write an article for another website, probably larger than yours, that’s the goal and they give you three links; two links back to your website, one link back to the social media page. And in 2012, I wanted to do this in a big way and so I had spent the beginning part of the year, just writing and writing for different sites that I had read. And I actually had written 80 guest posts in a couple months and I started sending those out. And in 2012, I landed 50 of those guest posts on different blogs and in 2012, it brought half a million visitors to my website from those guest posts and it really built my business. It built my email list. It built the people that I still talk to today. Even from 2012, it had done so much. It really put my business on the map.
Borja: That’s awesome. So you’re talking about three links right?
Kimanzi Constable: Yeah, three links in the byline. Usually a guest post starts and says, “This is a guest post by Kimanzi Constable.”-and that’s a link to your bio page. “He helps men and women live by their own designs, check him out at kimanziconstable.com and connect with him on twitter.” So they will give you two links anywhere in there if you want. Some authors what they will do, they will put one link to their website, one link to their book on Amazon but two links for whatever you want and then one is usually to a social media and this is in the byline.
Borja: That’s typical for all type of blogs, like big blogs, smaller blogs?
Kimanzi Constable: All types of blogs, that’s the structure that they use.
Borja: Okay and would you mind telling people a little about your business, what is your background and how do you come to do what you’re doing and like what was the source of your main business.
Kimanzi Constable: I had a bread business for 12 years where I was a service business in the bread industry. And in 2011, I had been journaling my thoughts for an entire summer and I got inspired by a woman who had self published her books. She wasn’t a big name, nobody knew her and she was able to sell 1.5 million copies of her books. And her story really inspired me to self publish. I self published a book in August of 2011, the book had bond, it sold five copies in the first six months. It was just a complete failure. So 2012 rolled around and it was really about figuring out how do you do this kind of stuff and that’s where the guest posting had to come in. I just knew that the bottom line was I needed traffic to my website and I didn’t have any. And so, the guest posting brought that traffic and then once I got that traffic, it was a matter of figuring out well how do I monetize this thing. The books had sold well. I self published a first book and then I ended up self-publishing a second book that year and both of those books over a two-year period had sold 86,000 copies. I had made over $200,000 but the problem was that I had over 180 grand in debt to the IRS alone and then to student loans and everything else you can think of. So all the money that I made on books, went to pay off debt, I was back to square zero.
And so, then I had to figure out how do you monetize this, how do you make a real online business. So I created a couple programs, like I remember the very first thing that I created product wise was a little guide, it was called The Guide to Booking Paid Speaking because in 2012, I had spoken 36 times and had gotten $22,000 in revenue from speaking. And so, I created this guide on how to do it, it was 19 bucks. I sold probably four or five of those a week. People really loved it and so I created a couple other guides, one of them was a guide on how to guest post as you can imagine because I had done it so much.
Borja: And what – sorry to interrupt you, I just want to drop that guide because people are going to be interested in. Where can people go and find that guide?
Kimanzi Constable: Oh well you can get it for free now when you go to my website kimanziconstable.com. That guide, along with the guide for right guest posting and guide to book paid consulting and then a guide to starting your online business. Those are all free when you sign up for my email list. So those were paid guides that I just made completely for free.
Borja: Oh that is perfect man. And what do you for monetization?
Kimanzi Constable: Yeah, so I had the guides, I had the books. I needed some bigger ticket items. I had income from speaking. I started coaching which was something I was very reluctant to do because I’m an introvert through and through and I didn’t really want to talk to people like this one on one. That’s just crazy. And then some people wanted to be on video conversations, like man you guys are crazy. But when I did first get that coaching client, that person was inspiring and he took action and he took everything that I said and he did a better than I said and he got amazing results. He was able to quit his job within four months just doing what I said and it really inspired me. And I’m like this is definitely what I want to do. And so, when I started coaching, I was coaching for – I had an hour session and it was like $67. It was some ridiculously low amount but I didn’t know of the value that I was providing, I didn’t have confidence in myself. But I did eventually figure a few things out and increase the prices.
And then the other X factor in the income was I did some affiliate stuff for a while. I have stopped doing that but I didn’t do some affiliate marketing that brought it to a couple bucks. And then I also started doing some paid consulting. I had built up an online presence. I had done a lot of guest posting, I got a lot of exposure and sold a lot of books. And a company had come to me and said hey we want you to teach us how to do this and they offered to pay me 500 bucks. And now I was like whoa, a company paying me to teach them which was pretty cool. And I would go in there to their staff and I would show them this is what you need to do and I felt important man. It was exciting and from there I piggy banked into some larger contracts. The largest contract that I’ve had that I’m still working on now, it’s a great source of income, it’s a $16,000 contract. So consulting with companies has been really good but now at this point, it’s coaching, it’s consulting, it’s speaking and then it’s book sales. And that’s it, I don’t have any products, I don’t have any affiliate stuff. I do have some group classes so I teach a class on self-publishing, teach a class on building influence and I teach a class on writing and on those classes I do partner with other people. But that’s pretty much how the income breaks down.
Borja: And you are attribute that basically to guest posting, all that success.
Kimanzi Constable: Oh yeah. The problem a lot of people have is they have the best looking websites, they have the best structure and the best programs and products but they have nobody that sees them. Most bloggers don’t have an audience and that is their biggest downfall. So when you can get exposure – it is pretty simple, if you don’t have an audience, get exposure to a larger audience. You can do SEL* sure but that’s going to take you some time, that doesn’t happen overnight. There’s a lot of things you can do. You can do page traffic*, you can do Google ad words, you can do Facebook ads – all these social media sites have ads but you’re going to be paying for that. And the organic reach for social media is I think they estimated Facebook like 2.71%. So when you are posting all kinds of stuff on Facebook, Facebook doesn’t want to show that to anybody unless you pay for it. So while you can guest post for free and get on a website that has an email list of 15,000 people – one of the very first guest posts I had was for a man named Dan Miller on 48days.com. He has a website that has 200,000 email subscribers. When I can get in front of that audience for free with one article that I wrote, I mean is there any other way that is more powerful?
Borja: Definitely not, definitely not. So when I was trying to map out this interview to take our listeners through the process, I came across a situation and I figured that this is what I decided. I see two different types of websites where you kind of guest post, one is like large media sites like entrepreneur magazine, Huffington Post and others are more average and typical blogs that you find around. So I’m going to start to divide the questions into these two different processes which are actually pretty similar but I have the feeling that there is a slightly different approach. So my first question about it is, if you had to post your first guest post on this week or this month, what would you do? How do you contact people or how do you decide?
Kimanzi Constable: Yeah I would say your first view if you have never done it before should definitely be the blogs, you should start there first. And what you want to do is I started with the blogs that I already read. So I was very familiar with those blogs. If you don’t read blogs then it is just a matter of using Google to find other blogs in your niche. So if you are somebody who does online business, there is no shortage of blogs. If you are somebody that does real estate, I have plans to do real estate, you start looking for big real estate blogs. And in the blog world, you are interacting with people. So you find the blogger and the first thing you want to do is connect with them, definitely on twitter because you can tweet to them, you can share their content and include them in a tweet and they can see that. So that’s the first thing you want to do, is you want to build some familiarity with that person. You don’t want to be a completely unknown random stranger, I’m not going to say you’re going to be best friends with that person but you want to have them look at your name and say yeah, that is the guy that has been sharing my stuff.
And then here’s another strategy, comment on their blog post because especially like larger blogs. I will give you an example. If you’re in social media, you probably read Jeff Bullis. He has got a really big social media blog. He gets about, I don’t know 8 to 10 comments on there, not a lot of comments. So when you comment on there and he sees that, it’s going to make a big impact in his mind because nobody else has taken the time to comment on there but you are. And I started to comment and I was blogging, he commented back and we establish some kind of rapport right away. So between establishing yourself on social media and commenting on their blog, you build up some kind of rapport. And then it is a matter of knowing the terms and conditions; some blogs don’t take guest posts. Michael Hyatt, who was a big blog for me, he does not take guest posts. Jeff Bullis who was a big blog for me, he doesn’t take guest posts anymore. So you have to know. Pat Flynn, I asked Pat Flynn on my interview with him last week, does he take guest posts. He said yes, it’s not a lot but I do. So you know that he does.
And so you start there, once you know that they do, you get a feel for their style, how long are the articles, what kind of articles are they – are the listicals where they like to list odd numbers, are they free-flowing articles. What are some of the kind of key things that this blogger likes to hit on. Go to their most popular posts, those posts are popular because the blogger likes to write them and the reader likes to read them. Start there and see what is popular and just get a feel for their style. A lot of times people are not successful in guest posting is because they write the article first and then they think where can I send this and it is completely backwards. Normally when we write, we write for our website and we say certain things on our website that our audience will respond to. But outside of our website, people won’t respond to that. They will respond to what they are used to reading on that blog so when – the biggest thing that I can’t tell you is you have to write for whether it is a blog or a large publication, you have to write for that place, don’t write the way you normally write, write for that place.
So get a good idea of some of the topics, the styles and then you can either do this two ways, you can come up with three articles that you think would be really good. Come up with the headlines and writes like a short mini synopsis, two or three sentences and then you can email that to the blogger or if you have a really good feel for it, you can just write the article and then email that directed to the blogger. And that is what I did, I didn’t send any synopsis. I actually had all of those articles written. And that way the blogger can read it and they will let the writing speak for itself. And when you do it, you just want to be very brief because they are very busy, “Hello, I’m a fan. We have interacted so and so.” Give them a little flattery–everybody likes to be flattered right? So say, I really love this article and tell them how it has specifically helped you and then put the article in the body of the email. A lot of times people will send attachments. I’m not going to open an attachment from a stranger, you are probably not going to open an attachment from a stranger and a big blogger is definitely not going to open an attachment. And even if you wrote it in Word or pages or Scribener, whatever you wrote it in, still attach it in the email. And then honestly at that point, is a matter of letting the content speak for itself.
Borja: And would you paste the article on the email for that blogger feed?
Kimanzi Constable: Yes, you paste the article in the body of the email.
Borja: Okay, okay. So that way they don’t have to download it or go to a link or something like that.
Kimanzi Constable: They’re not going to do it, yeah. If you put a link in there to something you have written and you want them to run that or you put an attachment, they are not going to do it. They’re just going to delete your email. You want to put it right there where they can read it in the email.
Borja: So what if you write the email for a certain blog and you get rejected, do you repurpose that email–sorry that article and send it to another blogger or what do you do with it?
Kimanzi Constable: Yeah, you have two options. You can send it to another blogger with a similar type of audience and similar type topic or you can post it on your blog absolutely. So the content is not going to be wasted no matter what.
Borja: Right obviously because you can just publish it yourself and still do some market over there, excellent. And how do you go about including links on the guest post? Does it go in the author bio or…?
Kimanzi Constable: Yeah, it goes in the author bio or the byline is what they call it, usually two or three lines. And that is when the blogger says okay we want to run this, send me a byline – send me your bio. And then that’s when you will send them a bio and you will have the three links in there.
Borja: Alright, you never include links on the body of the article?
Kimanzi Constable: Never. Well you can include links, don’t get me wrong. If you’re trying to prove a point about something, so let’s say you are writing about something in weight loss and it is to a health blog. And you make a bold statement, you say 81% of people mess up on their diet and then you could link to web M.D. or something relevant, absolutely but when you are linking to your own stuff that’s when people get turned off. Anything that feels self promotional, people are going to resist it, blogger, large website whoever. They don’t want to see you linking to your site and they don’t want to feel self promotional. That’s what the byline or the bio is for.
Borja: Yeah, it makes complete sense because I mean otherwise you could be turning off the reader. So now let’s going to a large media site because let’s assume you already have a couple guest posts on smaller blogs out there but you want to get featuring something like entrepreneur magazine or Forbes or Ink, how do you go about getting in touch with these people?
Kimanzi Constable: There is going to be kind of the same process; you have to get a feel for the style. You can’t write what you think needs to be written. You got to get a feel for the site and see what the most popular posts are. And there, you really have to understand the terms and conditions. You have to see their word length and all these sites have their terms and conditions for people that want to write for them. You have to follow what the word count is and staying away from this topic and you absolutely cannot have any self-promotional links in there. You can definitely have links to back up what you’re saying to other places but nothing self-promotional. And large sites, everything lives and dies on a large site by the editors of those websites. So entrepreneur magazine, Huffington Post – all of them have editors and they all list them on their website. Some of them are easy, they will give you the email addresses of the editor where you can just email the editor directly. Some of them are a little harder where you have to research but no matter what site it is, Ink fast companies, Fast Magazine, once you see there are a list of editors, it’s a matter of do your research and this is – even after my Pat interview Borja, what happened is I had people that would email me and say hey, I tried sending something to the Huffington Post using the formula you said and it didn’t work. And I’m like, did you do your research? And they are like well, this is what you said. I said no, that’s not what I said, I said this is what most of the editors use but you have to do your research. And then I would send them screenshots of different editors when I plugged them in, that that email sequence works for exactly. So there is no easy route when it comes to this, you have to do your research.
So once you find an editor, let’s say the Huffington Post, what I would do is I would look for the section that you want to write for. Let’s say it is a business section, you find their business editors. Take that person’s name, paste it in Google and see what pops up. Probably the first thing that’s going to pop up is their Twitter profile; go connect with them on Twitter, go retweet their stuff. Reach out to them and say hey, I appreciate the work that you’re doing in the business section, get on their radar. Pop them in Google and see if they have a blog. If they have a blog, guess what? Go to their blog and start commenting on their blog. You want to get on their radar. My friend calls it–he says you want to be the noticer. You want people to notice you and it makes sense right? But put in their name in there, it pops up so much information about that person and more than likely if you pop their name in Google, you will find their email address very, very quickly. And if it as a website that they write for, so like if it’s a business editor for the Huffington Post, go on Huffington Post and in the search box, put that editor’s name. I guarantee you they write for the Huffington Post on their own, go start commenting on their articles and I guarantee that their email address is probably in their Huffington Post bio.
So we have this big tool called the internet and we need to use it, we can find out pretty much anything we want to find out with a little bit of research but find out who the editor is of the section that you want to write for. Do your research with the types of articles that are popular and use the same sequence; send them an email, say, “Hi I am so and so. I love the Huffington Post. I love the work that you’re doing, we’ve interacted a little bit on Twitter. I’ve written an article that is”–and tell them how long the article is because if they think it’s going to be a long article, they’re probably just going to skim it or they’re not going to read it at all. But let them know this is how much it is so they know it’s in their terms and conditions and paste the article in the email. Do not send an attachment. Do not send a link saying–this is what I see a lot of times, I edit at the Good Men Project and I edit for the business section, what I see is people send emails to me and they will say, “Hey, I wrote something that I think you will like, it’s at this link…”–and they will put a link in there. And I’m just going to delete that because if you’re too lazy to put the article in the email for me to read, I’m not going to go read it. And that’s just me, I edit a site that has about 30 articles a day at the Good Men Project. We get about 2 million visitors a week. A site like the Huffington Post, they’re probably going to put out, I don’t know, maybe 100 articles a day and they’re getting 45 million visitors a month. So those editors are far more busy than I am and they would definitely delete your email pretty fast if you’re…yeah exactly. So paste it in there, send it to the editor and they’ll give you a yes or no. Large websites are nice because blogs, you want to have a little bit of relationship. Large websites don’t know you from Adam or from the next person. So their decision is going to be made solely on the…exactly.
Borja: Yeah. It makes complete sense because the owner of entrepreneur magazine is not going to have time to go through all of the thousands and thousands of pictures that they must get every day. And my guess is like our–as a blog owner, I wouldn’t like to publish–if the article is really good I would like to publish it on my website first and how do you go about that?
Kimanzi Constable: If you want to publish the article on your website first that you sent to a large website?
Kimanzi Constable: What I would tell you is for your very first article, your very first pitch to a large website, it should be a 100% original article. When you do it on your website first and then you have to disclose that, so anytime you write for any site, if it appears anywhere else, legally you have to say this appeared somewhere else. Otherwise there is copyright infringement going on there and you could be doubly penalized by Google if you don’t include where the original source was, so you have to do that. But when you do that and say hey I wrote this on my site first, I would love to publish on Huffington Post, the editor is going to think this dude is a lazy writer, I’m not going to publish that. So your first pitch should be original. Now once you get accepted on a large website, they end up giving you a contributor account where from going forward then, instead of sending the articles to the editor, they give you an account that is kind of set up like WordPress where you login, you paste your article, you do whatever you want to the article, put your links in there, all that good stuff and then you hit send to review for the editors. And they’ll send it to the editors, they will review it and they will kick an email back up that says–if your article is published they will say it’s published here and they will give you the link. and at that point, you are more than fair to take something from your blog, publish it there and then at the bottom, you have to say this article originally appeared on yourwebsite.com. And they will give you a direct link to your website in the article. But that’s only after you get in, do not try to do that when you are doing the first pitch. They will think you are lazy writer and they will delete your email.
Borja: And honestly, I wouldn’t like to repost a complete article because I would be worried about duplicate content and penalties from Google, wouldn’t you?.
Kimanzi Constable: No, I wouldn’t worry about that too much. Once you are in there and you contribute it, as long as you link back to the original source, I do not worry about double penalty from Google. I’ve reposted a lot of content from my blog and now as an editor at the Good Men Project and I’ve yet to hear of anybody getting double penalized for that. As long as you–the standard terms n publishing are as long as you link to the original source, you are allowed to republish content.
Borja: That’s true.
Kimanzi Constable: And here’s the thing too to understand, when you are posting on a large website, when you are guest posting, who cares about Google? Because you are getting exposure to that audience, you’re getting exposure to that blogger’s audience, to that large website’s audience. And people are so worried about Google, when I posted for Michael Hyatt for example, I reposted on his site. I got 20,000 visitors from that guest post. I wasn’t thinking about anybody in Google, I was thinking about those 6000 people from Michael’s audience that subscribed to my blog.
Borja: Overtime or…?
Kimanzi Constable: Over a month.
Borja: Over a month?
Kimanzi Constable: Over a month.
Borja: That’s crazy.
Kimanzi Constable: It’s crazy but he has half a million visitors to his website. And this was in 2012, he might have doubled that by now.
Borja: So Kimanzi, here’s a question that I ask of my guests and it’s different, it has nothing to do with guest posting but it has everything to do with online marketing and Moneydivers as a digital marketing brand, it has a very strong emphasis on the audience part of things, research market research, segmentation, content personalization etc. So with that being said, my next question is who is your avatar? Who is your ideal listener?
Kimanzi Constable: For me, it is going to be a man or woman that has a family. They’re probably going to be somewhere between 30 and 45 but it is a family man or woman who wants to live life by their own design. So they want to create freedom in their work which means it’s probably going to be something online. They want to create freedom in their health and their relationships. That is exactly who I was, I was a family man who was 170 pounds overweight. I was at a job that I hated and I was having terrible relationship problems. And it all works hand-in-hand, so now I am helping the person who I was; that person that wants to quit that day job, they want to do better in their health, they want to lose weight, they just want to be more healthy and they want to have great relationships and that’s who I really speak to.
Borja: Exactly and the reason I ask this question to everyone is because I want them to understand how important it is to take care of their audience and what they really want to accomplish and want to get from you.
Kimanzi Constable: Let me say this, we have been taught in this Internet world that you have to have a niche and you have to drill down and there is a need to niche. Here’s the thing that I found, I was in a very specific niche, just did online business for the family man and that’s all I did, that’s all I talked about. But when I started writing for the Huffington Post, Entrepreneur magazine and mind, body green, that was an entirely different audience. They did not care about the online business stuff, they wanted to learn about something more broad. So when you are getting exposure like as I’m sure some of your listeners are going to listen to this, you saw the email – I’ve been sharing several emails over the last few days of people that listen to smart passive income who took what I said. I’ve got a guy who reached out to me today who got on the Huffington Post after he listened to that interview. So when you get exposure to those large sites which some of your audience will, you’re going to have to be a little bit more general. Yes you want to niche but those sites are so big, there are so many people. Being a little bit more general, it will only help – you can definitely be specific and drill in overtime but I think if you don’t know yet you are struggling, don’t feel that pressure that you need to niche right now, that you have to know. Start a little bit more general, more Marie Forleo for example, is a great example of this. When she started out, there were several different things she liked to do and over time, she whittled it down to who she is today. So don’t be afraid to start off a little bit more general and then just figure it out over time. But the cool thing about large websites is that is not in the online world, that is regular traditional media. So you’re not getting exposed to the person that you would see online that is listening to all the same shows, they are listening to all the same podcasts, they are reading all the same blogs. This is the everyday person that reads newspapers, that has a busy life. That is a whole other segment of the audience that has not been tapped into and you are into traditional. So definitely being a little more general is not going to hurt you in that circumstance.
Borja: And that’s very important and I think that people should really implement that because a lot of people get overwhelmed with the whole how do I write, who do I write for etc. and that’s going to be a relief for them for sure. So Kimanzi once again, thank you so much for coming on the show man. I really appreciate it and I know a lot of people are going to take a lot of value out of guest posting and the way you do it. So thank you man.
Kimanzi Constable: Thanks for having me.
Alright, I hope you enjoyed that interview with Kimanzi Constable and don’t sleep on guest posting guys, you can see what guest posting did for Kimanzi and it can also do great things for you. So if you want to read the show notes for this episode, head on over to rebelgrowth.com/episode4 and I have all the resources and tools that we discussed in this episode right there. Also if you want to download my free report on how to create a blog that stands out from the rest, subscribe to the newsletter in the blog and you will be able to load it. And I want to take a quick moment to thank all of you that have left a review on iTunes, thank you so much. That really helps with momentum of the podcast. So amigos, go out and eat a double hamburger, guest post. Thank you.
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