Expanded Guest Post: How to 100x the effectiveness of your next guest post

Bryan Harris —  Bryan Harris - August 15th, 2014

Last week I introduced you to the Expanded Guest Post.

We looked at a case study of how you can write one article for someone elses site and generate 500 new email subscribers to YOUR business.

Many of you have spent months screwing around on your blog and haven’t cracked 100 subscribers yet.

I know…I was one of you.

With the Expanded Guest Post (EGP) I routinely get 500 in one week.

In fact, I had an EGP go live last Friday that generated 323 new email subscribers in the first 3 days.

I promised to show you how to create an Expanded Guest Post and that’s exactly what you’ll learn today.

You need to start thinking about every article you write like being a new salesman for your company.

If constructed properly, it will consistently bring new leads and customers to your business.

I’m going to walk you through the exact step-by-step of how to create your first one.

Also, be sure to read all of the way through for a special behind the scenes training video.

Let’s jump into the details.

How to Create an Expanded Guest Post

There are 3 components to an Expanded Guest Post. I’m going to walk you through each of them and show you how to do it yourself.

You don’t need an existing email list or traffic. You can do this with nothing more than a landing page and good writing.

Follow along and copy my framework.

Step 1: Use the phrase “For Example”

Your first task in writing an EGP is to write an incredible “How To” article.. I’m talking “This is the most in depth article I’ve ever read on this topic!” kind of good.

Anyone can spew out a 500 word blog post entitled “5 Ways To Share Your Blog Posts On Facebook”

You have to be different.

You need to shock and awe your readers.

The best way I’ve found to do that is going deeper than everyone else. Give more details, more case studies and more actionable advice.

Sometimes you might find yourself stuck and feeling like it’s nearly impossible to go deeper in your post.

When you feel that urge, inject the phrase “For Example.”

This forces you to go deeper and provide real case studies of what your advice looks like in action.

For example…

(see what I just did there)

Here are two excerpts from my most recent guest post.

How to use “For Example” to take your blog posts deeper

Another example…

This makes your post stand out because it’s more relatable and actionable than anything else they’ve read.

Your reader can easily put themselves into the shoes of the characters you use in your examples and case studies.

Remember: The goal is to shock and awe your readers. Leave them dumbfounded.

You want these types of reactions to your post…

Here are a few examples of articles that fit this criteria:

Tip: I’ve found that the most effective EGP’s that I’ve written are “How To” articles. Don’t preach to them and don’t pontificate on a subject.

Teach an actionable skill.

Step 2: Create expectation and climax

Stop thinking of your guest blog post as a singular event and start thinking of it like the pilot episode of an 8 season TV show.

Your job is to hook the reader where they have no choice but to watch the next episode.

Have you ever thought about what makes us binge watch on Netflix?

My wife and I are in the middle of a 3 week long Dexter marathon. The weird thing is it’s not THAT great of a show.

It’s solid but I’d give it a B-.

So why have we spent an insane amount of hours watching it? Because of expectation and climax.

We HAVE to watch the next episode to see if Dexter actually kills Miguel Prado!

Surely he won’t kill his best friend…right!?

<click…watch next episode>

Dexter vs. Miguel

They suck you in and next thing you know you’ve spent 8 hours watching a TV show you don’t even like.

The writers of Dexter know this and they engineer each season to lead your from one episode to the next.

It’s a work of art.

Your blog post needs to be built the exact same way.

For example…

(see I’m doing it again)

In the same guest post mentioned before I did this by making reference to an incentive at the end of the post.

But I didn’t wait until the very end to tell them about it, I inserted it 1/3 of the way through the post. Thus building expectation.

Expectation being built (read the full post here)

However, you don’t have to use an incentive to build expectation.

In this example, expectation was built through curiosity.

Expectation being built (read the full post here)

I told the readers that I had 10 strategies in total but I was going to be sharing 3 of my best with them.

This sounds perfectly reasonable, after all sharing 10 strategies would take forever (or would it?).

This immediately creates a desire to know what the other 7 strategies are.

Why isn’t he telling us all 10?

Are the 3 he’s teaching us really the best?

I want them all!

Expectation built!

(Note: I’ve created a training video to show you how to do this. Be sure to check it out at the end of the post.)

Step 3: Provide a content upgrade

Up to this point you have:

  1. Shock and awe’d with a detailed article
  2. Engineered the article to build expectation
  3. Built up a climax that ends in the last paragraph

Now, it’s time to capitalize on all of that and extend the conversation to your blog.

We need to give the reader an opportunity to press the  “NEXT EPISODE” button.

How can you do that?

Like this…

Excerpt from Guest Post on Acuff.me

First, you tie up the central theme of the blog post.

Second, you transition from the central theme to the content upgrade.

Third, you introduce the content upgrade.

Lastly, provide a clear call to action.

If you’ve built expectation throughout the post, this should feel completely natural. This shouldn’t feel forced or fake at all.

Your call to action should be a natural extension of the guest post itself.

Think about the experience of watching a show on Netflix. At the end of each episode what do you want to do?


Make it extremely easy for your reader to do that.

Let’s look at another example…

Guest Post on Leadpages.net

How Greg got 100x more subscribers with an Expanded Guest Post

Don’t think you can do it?

Take a look at this case study.

It’s not as hard as you think.

Greg runs the Podcast and blog Mobile Mixed. Recently he wrote two guest post.

This one: Everything You Need to Know to Run a Successful SMS Marketing Campaign

And this one:  A Step-by-Step System to Higher Productivity

The first post was on popular marketing blog, Convince and Convert.

According to Similarweb.com, Convince and Convert received 1.8 million page views in the month of July and according to Alexa they are the 1,240th most popular website in the United States.

The second post was on a much less popular blog, Productivityist. In the month of July they received 190,000 page views and are ranked the 114,287th most popular site in the United States.

It seems pretty obvious which site SHOULD have sent him more subscribers…right?

Convince and Convert has 10x the traffic. Should be a slam dunk.


Greg’s guest post on the Productivityist generated 100x more email subscribers.


He wrote an Expanded Guest Post for them but not for Convince and Convert.

Let’s take a closer look a the Convince and Convert article.

Guest post by Greg Hickman on Convince and Convert

This is a good article.

If quality of content was the only factor in effective guest posting, this article would have killed.

But it didn’t..

Guess how many new subscribers joined Greg’s list after reading?

Wait for it…..ZERO!

In this post Greg fell victim to two major issues

1. No call to action

2. His by-line (the only way for readers to find out more about him) was sandwiched between two MASSIVE CTA’s.

As a result Greg saw no traffic and no new subscribers after spending more than 6 hours writing the article.

How can he turn it into a post that generates 500 subscribers

Here are 3 tweaks Greg could make to significantly increase the number of subscribers from this post.

Tip #1: Create Expectation

In the opening paragraph of the article Greg does a decent job of building up desire.

He uses a few phrases that made me think, “Hmm..maybe I should be paying attention to mobile more than I am now

Phrase #1

Phrase #2

However, he then jumps straight into 10 points on mobile marketing.

Completely missing the opportunity to build expectation.

The lead in is very important.

Which one of these two lead ins would have intrigued you the most?

The one Greg used?

The one he used

Or a lead in specifically engineered to build expectation and climax?

“How would you like a 90% open rate on your messages? Today I’m going to show you 10 strategies to make that happen. Also, I have a special FREE bonus to help you even further. Make sure you read all the way to the end to get it.”

Tip #2: Link to your own articles

Several times throughout this post Greg linked out to relevant articles.

This is good.

However, be sure to use this opportunity to link to your own relevant articles as well.

If you’re spending 500 words to talk about a topic you’ve already written about on your own site, link to it.

For example…

In section 5 he covered the topic of getting permission before you start blasting people with a SMS marketing campaign.

Part 5: Permission

This would have been the perfect chance to link to Episode 67 of the Mobile Mixed podcast which talks about this exact topic.

Tip #3: Provide a content upgrade

This is the big one.

The expectation built in the lead in paragraph set the stage and built anticipation…the content upgrade is what converts your readers into subscribers.

For a full rundown on content upgrades read this: The Complete Guide to Content Upgrades

Greg offers a SMS Swipfe file for free on the right hand sidebar of his website.

It contains “200+ examples from businesses using SMS marketing everyday.”

Greg’s universal opt-in on his website

This would be the perfect content upgrade for this guest post.

1. It already exists (no making it from scratch)

2. It’s highly relevant to the article

3. The readers would be helped by it

This is how Greg closed his post:

Closing Paragraph

if you’ve used a similar lead in line to what I described in Tip #1, this closing paragraph will be the most read portion of the post.

You’ve told your reader to “Be sure to read to the end for a special bonus.”

Even if they only skim the rest of the post, they are going to look at that last paragraph.

That makes the last paragraph the climax of the entire article.

This is how I would re-write the final paragraph.

“And there you have it, the 10 key components to help you start your own SMS marketing campaign.

This is a lot to take in and implement. I’ve found that one of the biggest barriers to entry is writing the SMS campaigns.

So, I’ve packaged up my entire swipe file of over 200 SMS messages that you can steal and use to create your own campaigns.

It’s completely FREE, just click here and you can download them immediately.”

What do you think?

Would you click on that?

I would.

How many subscribers could Greg have generated with an Expanded Guest Post?

What would have happened if Greg would’ve used this framework to write his guest post?

Based on my experience and the estimated traffic numbers and Alexa ranking of the Convince and Convert blog, he would have seen 400 – 600 new subscribers with this strategy.

I asked this question last week, but I want you to really think about it.

Question: How would 500 new email subscribers change your business?

In the next few weeks we’re going to start looking at an examining that exact question.

Here’s a little something to whet your appetite though..

I ran across a case study of a guy named Samuel Hulick who had a list of 6,000 subscribers.

…the equivalent to 12 or so Expanded Guest Posts…

He wrote a book called “The Elements of Onboarding” and generated over $27,000 in sales in his first week of sales.

Think about that.

No Amazon.

No publishing deal.

Just an email list.

How to write your first Expanded Guest Post

So, that was a ton of information.

I’ve produced a free training video for you.

If you need a little more hand holding or just a first hand example of how I do it, I’ll take you behind the scenes and show you how I came up with the bonus for this post.

I’ll also show you my process for engineering expectation into the post in order to make sure my readers actually see the content upgrade.

For complete access to that training video, (click here )

  • Hey Bryan,

    Awesome post! Thank you for linking to my “8,317-word guide” and using it as an example.

    Even though we followed each other on Twitter last week, this is my first time visiting your website and blog. Very impressive!

    I’m going to have to bookmark you and come back to browse through your archives. I think I’ll subscribe to your list, too…

    Thanks again, Bryan. Hope you have an awesome Friday and an even better weekend.

    – Kevin

    • Thanks Kevin. Your article was incredible. I’m on pace to finish reading it by early 2015 🙂

      • Haha. Perfect! You’re on pace to finish reading it just before I finish writing my follow-up: “How to promote your blog post: The 12,439-word guide your cousin Earl will pretend to understand.” 🙂

  • Brian Dean

    Incredible, in-depth post, Bryan. Can’t wait to give this a shot for my next few guest posts.

  • Joel Widmer

    Bryan, Excellent step-by-step post! Especially loved the point about creating expectation.
    Curious how you tell the blogger, when reaching out, that you want to include an email opt-in inside the post. Any insight on that?

    • Thanks Joel.

      Your question: Just include it in your post. I’ve used it a good bit and have never had anyone balk at it. If you do it right they welcome it as it bring even more value to that posts.

      More value = more shares and traffic for them.

      At the end of the day everyone wants more traffic and shares.

  • Awesome post, Bryan. Pumped to try this out this week. When you are guest posting you probably can’t post the leadbox link right onto their site so is it ok to just direct them to a landing page that has the sign up for the content upgrade?

    • You’d be surprised. If it’s very valuable many sites don’t care.

      However, if the site owner doesn’t allow it just link to a standard squeeze page.

      Example: videofruit.com/pop-up-lp

  • This is an awesome post, Bryan! I will give this a shot when I do more guest posting for sure! Thanks for sharing this strategy with us 🙂

    • Thanks Naivd. Share the results when you implement.

  • I think there are two big lessons here:
    1 – There is a structure (dare I say formula) to create great content. If you begin a winning structure you give yourself a much higher chance to create compelling content.

    2 – Each piece of content you create should draw people closer and closer to your business. If you are going to exert the effort to create great content do your content justice with an appropriate call to action so they can take the next step.

  • WOW. This was one of the best posts I’ve read on Guest posting. Equivalent to Neil Patel’s blogs on it! 🙂

  • Jason Lee

    I love your content. Before signing up for your blog I’d heard of you and thought “oh god, another blog and more content to read that will just fill my inbox” but you provide clear, detailed techniques and strategies with examples ;). You even write your post with implementation of the advice given. Genius!

    • Thanks Jason. That’s exactly what I’m shooting for. No fluff just straight actionable advice.

  • THIS post is a work of art. A great read and genuinely useful. Thanks Bryan!

  • Great post brotha. I just hope other people will learn from this. Huge opportunity when you do it right. As you can see. ; )

  • Great post Bryan. I have a question for you.

    What is the advantage of waiting until the end to give away the bonus?

    Are you only doing that because it’s a guest post on someone else’s blog?

    I notice that most of the time you give away your bonus near the top of your posts.

  • Dale

    It’s a great idea, but I’m having trouble applying this.

    To start off I made a list of the top candidates that accept guest posts in my area. 3 of them expect a significant payment for a post.

    Of the two remaining, one approved my pitch, so I made the post and bonus, but upon sending it was told I would have to pay an advertisement fee (~$400) if I wanted to leave in the link to my site to the bonus.

    I still have the last one to sent my post to (pitch was approved), but am wondering if there’s anything I’m missing before I do?

    • I wouldn’t pay to write for someone else.

      • Dale

        Oh don’t get me wrong, I said “thanks but no thanks”.

        I’m just wondering if this is to be expected, especially by the bigger sites. Or maybe it’s just my niche? (Career)

        • I’ve never encountered that myself. There are so many out there though, I wouldn’t noodle on it too long. Just work your list.

          • Dale

            Cool, I’ll let you know how it goes in a few weeks.

            Thanks Bryan

  • I just wanted to mention to be sure you tell the blog owner that the expanded guest post call to actions are a requirement of publishing it.

    I just got burned by a very popular, high traffic blog. My reference to the bonus links were removed entirely, and then published, without telling me.

    Had I known they were going to do that, I would have found another blog to publish on.

    • Aaron

      Craig, I’m so sorry for you. What they did shouldn’t even be legal. Maybe you could post about who it was, so no one else makes that mistake.

      Unfortunately, I’m not sure that telling the blog owners that the call to action is a requirement would change anything. Dishonest people are just dishonest.


      Aaron Billings
      Creator of RoyaltyFreeMusicMarket.com

  • Hi,
    That was a fantastic article with great examples worked into the text along the way.
    Will try and be like this myself.

  • Just submitted my first guest post last night. I’ll incorporate some of the tips you mentioned here for my subsequent ones. 🙂 Thanks for this!

  • Hey Bryan! This was magnificent. Thanks for sharing. And I really appreciate how indepth you go. I was wondering how does one go about booking a guest posting spot on another influencer’s blog? I am a lifestyle blogger who blogs for the creative entrepreneurial stay at home mom who wants to discover her calling, pursue her passion and mother with joy. I want to translate this information to my niche but not sure how.

  • Erika Volk

    Thanks Bryan I used the EGP last month and it nearly doubled my email list!

  • Wow. I’m 3 months into building my platform via blogging, so my first BIG goals are to build my email list and to guest post. I can’t even imagine how many hours of spinning my wheels you’ve just eliminated. As soon as I pick my jaw up off the floor, I’m going to figure out how to implement all this great advice.

  • sniderman

    I’m coming late to the party here, Bryan, but wanted to say thanks for this! My writing could be the ‘poster child’ for your ‘before’ examples. But, armed with just this slight bit of information, I’m already inspired as to how to make the copy improvements I need to help reach my goals. Can’t wait to burrow further into the site – thanks again!

  • Loved the post Bryan! You really nailed it buddy.. I’ll be definitely using “for example” when writing going forward. Thanks man

  • Would it be possible to get post BEFORE having a blog or should I wait until I have a a few articles under my belt? Do you have any articles on how to create an incentive for email opt-in?

  • Great post Brian I had a good laugh when I saw my picture 😉 Thanks for always going over the top with content.

  • Greg Vinson

    Dexter not “that great of a show”? With all due respect, how dare you sir? Hehe; no seriously, its one of the best television dramas ever written, particularly season one; Dexter is the quintessential compelling tragic antihero. So there. 😉

    Oh, as a side note; your post was great; excellent writing tips!

    Stay tuned; next week I’ll have more controversial opinions about other people’s opinions about television shows.

    For example, Breaking Bad is so watchable because mild mannered science teacher Walter White…

  • Great stuff Bryan. I discovered you on Smart Passive Income and really felt like you were talking specifically to me when you spoke about validating your product. Within a day, I pre-launched my course to my small list and got validated with 5% sales. I’m circling back now as I’m nearing completing of my course and love the distilled nuggets of wisdom you provide. It will definitely help with my full launch coming up. thanks again!

  • le_stat

    Super post.

  • I really looking for this and i finally found it. Thanks for the Guest blogging sites list… Now i going check out all those links which may satisfied me. But very nice information this.

  • Dan Holmes

    This crap is ruining the internet. It was written two years ago (poorly) and much of it doesn’t apply AT ALL. I got here because Feldman Creative shared a blog post in which he claims this website is one of the “21 best blogs to help you blog better.” It links to the landing page and then you end up here to read crap that’s two years old and written like an infomercial.

    This is what’s wrong with our industry! Scam artists like the owner of this website who writes crap that makes it seem like digital marketing is simple if you “just follow his formula” and “install his tricks.” Blech, it makes me sick. And I’m one of the people out there working directly with clients having to teach them that this stuff is crap.

  • Flippie Dreyer

    Hi Bryan,

    I found your blog a couple of days ago on Google and I am so impressed!

    You sort of remind me of Neil Patel and Brian Dean with your outstanding helpful posts!

    Keep up the great work!

  • This is such a good strategy. I’m getting ready to write some new guest posts, and I couldn’t have read this at a better time.

    Can’t wait to implement all this gold and see what happens!

    Thanks Bryan!

  • Hey Brian,
    Its good reading such an informative article. I have applied Call-to-action strategy now could see the increased conversions to the product page. Great work. Thanks for the Share.

  • Hello. We are a community with a project involving blogs for Guest Posts and we think it might be of your liking, and/or your readers’.

    We would appreciate it if you could share our project on your blog, including a small reference: https://wikiwebpage.com

    It is probably in your interest to advertise your blog or other projects you might have. If this is the case, we would really like to have you as a member.

    With no further matter at hand, we thank you for your receptiveness.

  • thanksyou so much for all you shared in there sir..
    very helpfully..

    regards harga printer brother

  • Hi Bryan,
    Just downloaded the best list building strategies of 2017.
    Thanks for that 🙂


  • muthukumar