Whether you’re looking to launch a new CBD brand or promote an existing one, guest posts are a powerful marketing tool. A well-placed high DA guest post can both increase your Google rankings and introduce your brand to a new audience, leading to a significant amounta of growth.
Of course, if getting a ton of guest posts was easy, everyone would be doing it. Putting together an effective blogger outreach campaign is a challenging process. And it can be even more difficult when trying to promote “sensitive” topics. A label that — regardless of how unjustified it is — is often applied to CBD and other cannabis byproducts.
That label makes it much harder to secure guest posts in the CBD niche. Still, all of the challenges involved in securing CBD guest posts are only bumps in the road. It’s annoying but easy to navigate with proper experience.
My team and I have helped over a dozen CBD brands secure over a hundred guest posts through outreach, and today I’m here to walk you through the process so you’ll be able to do the same. This guide will go over the steps you’ll need to follow for a successful CBD outreach campaign.
Understanding the CBD Guest Post Market
If you’re new to the guest post economy, then it’s good to start by understanding the reasoning behind it. We know why you want a guest post — you want to get your content and your link published on well-established and popular websites. But what do those websites get out of the transaction?
One word: content. High-quality content written by an expert in their field is always worth a premium. And whether you’re producing the content yourself or hiring someone to do it, that content is something you’ll provide for free in the form of a guest post.
Here’s a good spot to share examples of what a CBD guest post looks like when it’s published. I can’t share work we’ve done due to confidentiality, but here are some examples that are very similar to our past work:
Trading quality content for a backlink is the purest form of guest post transaction, but it’s not the only method out there. Another way to obtain guest posts is to offer cash or a reciprocal link as payment. These practices are known as paid placements and backlink exchanges, respectively.
A paid placement happens anytime a webmaster accepts a payment in exchange for allowing content and backlinks to be published on their website. Webmasters may call these payments publishing fees, or they may say that the fee is the cost of reviewing and editing the content. At the end of the day, the result is the same: the webmaster is using guest posts as a source of revenue. And Google requires that websites disclose guest post arrengments through a sponsored tag or a paid content disclaimer.
Sometimes these payments are called publishing fees, sometimes they’re fees supposedly to cover the cost of reviewing and editing the content, but the result is always the same: the website is using guest posts as a revenue stream. This is something that websites are required to disclose through a sponsored tag or a paid content disclaimer.
Backlink exchanges are deals where both parties agree to post a link or guest post on their respective website. In exchange for the webmaster linking to your homepage on their blog, you agree to post a link to their homepage on your blog. Quid pro quo and all that.
None of these methods is necessarily better or worse than the other. You can find success in the CBD industry using any of the three. However, it should be pointed out that Google technically only allows the “Classic” form of guest posting and link building, which involves pure outreach, instead of link purchases or exchanges. Incidentally, that’s the type of outreach that Invalley specializes in.
In theory, Google’s algorithm may penalize your site for buying links. In practice, it takes quite a lot of effort to gain the wrath of the algorithm, as Google will favor ignoring links that look sketchy over actively penalizing a site.
Still, this guide will focus on obtaining guest posts through pure outreach. And now that you understand why there is a market for guest posts, let’s take a look into how CBD guest post outreach works.
Outreach Guide: Securing CBD Guest Posts
Step #1 – Choose a Niche
You may be thinking “That’s easy, my niche is CBD!”. But thinking like that will greatly limit your options. CBD oil and other CBD-infused products have a variety of applications, and as such, content related to CBD can fit into a wide range of niches.
Niches that are a natural match for CBD content include fitness, health, wellness, mental health, vaping, and more. As an entrepreneur, you can even pitch content related to your experience in the CBD industry to business and finance-oriented websites. You can make CBD content fit into any of these niches and more. It’s just a matter of getting creative.
Want more proof? Just choose a topic, any topic. And then go into google and run the following search: “[TOPIC] intitle:CBD”. It will quickly become apparent that there are very few niches that are off-topic for CBD.
Blogs that focus on Cannabis culture in general are also a good match for CBD content. Examples include Growingweedindoors.org, Cannabislegale.org, and more. The Cannabis crowd is different from the CBD crowd, but there is a lot of overlap between both groups.
Then, of course, there are all the websites focused specifically on CBD-related content, like TheCBDblog.co.uk and CBD-medic.com.
The trick with those tangentially-related websites is that a lot of them have rules against publishing CBD content. But as we’ll see later in the guide, a lot more sites are open to CBD guest posts than you may think.
At any rate, your outreach journey starts by choosing which niche you wish to target. You don’t have to stick with one niche forever, but the guest post market across niches is different enough that you should treat each new niche as a new campaign.
If this is your first-time doing outreach, start by focusing on CBD websites and blogs. But be aware that you can — and should — expand that scope later.
Step #2 – Build a list of options
Time to begin the grind. Are you ready? Once you have a niche selected, you’ll want to find as many viable options in that niche as possible. And you should start by creating a list of sites you’d like to get backlinks from.
In most cases, the first names that will come to your mind are that of huge websites in the CBD industry. And getting links from them is nice, but getting the webmasters on massive sites interested in your content can be quite difficult.
That’s hard in part because agencies like us exist. We build close partnerships with the webmasters of big websites, so their teams know they can rely on us to deliver quality content that fits their guidelines. That, in turn, allows those webmasters to spend less time reading guest post pitches and editing bad content. It’s a win-win for both parties, but it does make it harder for people doing outreach without an agency to get on certain sites (sorry about that).
Still, don’t let that put you down yet. Start your list by writing down the names of as many relevant websites as you can remember. Then start looking for more options.
Running online searches for niche-relevant keywords is a good way to find more options. If you have access to SEO tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs, this is a good time to leverage those.
Don’t be afraid to go past the 3rd page of Google looking for options here. Remember, a website that ranks in the Top 50 for one search may be Top 10 or even Top 1 in another search. For now, your focus should be on collecting potential options; doing quality control on the list comes later.
Another way to find options is to look into your competitors. Ahrefs has a free tool that lets users check where a website is getting backlinks from. You can use that to see where your competitors have published guest posts, and then add those sites to your list.
Targeting competitor links has a few advantages. One of them is that you know for sure that these sites are ok with publishing CBD-related links.
Once you’re satisfied with the size of your list (between 50 and 100 options is a good size to start) move on to the next step.
Step #3 – Qualify your list
Time to turn your list into a shortlist. Here’s something you should never forget: negative SEO can cause immense damage to your site’s rankings. Thanks to that, it’s important that you make sure all the sites you’re getting links from are strong and healthy to avoid toxic backlinks.
How do you know if a website is strong? Through data, of course.
Whole books can and have been written about SEO and data, our own site list has a bunch of interesting data points, and we wrote a blog post explaining the meaning of those metrics. But for the purpose of this guide, we can focus on just two indicators: traffic and Domain Authority.
Domain Authority (DA) is a metric created by moz.com that weighs various factors and scores how powerful a site’s SEO is on a scale of 1 to 100. The higher a site’s DA, the more impact a backlink from that site will have on yours. A higher DA also indicates that a site is probably not toxic.
“Probably” is key, as some sites use sketchy methods to manipulate their Domain Authority.
As for where you can get DA and traffic numbers from, the best way is to use professional SEO tools like SEMrush. If you don’t have access to those, there are free alternatives available, but using those takes longer. You can check a website’s traffic using Similarweb.com. And there are plenty of ad-riddled free DA checkers online, this one is a good example.
Once you have that data, remove all the sites with a DA of 10 or below and all the sites that get 0 traffic from your list. You can adjust your standards based on where your site is currently at with its SEO, but if you’re sitting at a DA of 0 and 0 organic traffic, guest posts from healthy DA20+ websites are not a terrible place to start, with DA50+ being ideal.
As a point of comparison, here are the minimum requirements every site must meet to earn a spot on our site list:
Minimum Domain Authority: 20
Minimum Organic Ahrefs Traffic: 300
Max. Spam Score: 30%
We also check traffic trends, content quality, whether the guest post will be indexed, whether the link will be do-follow or no-follow, and much more. Trust me, I’d love to unleash my inner SEO geek here, but explaining all of that would take 5000+ words at least. As a beginner focusing on Traffic and DA is good enough. Later you can either take classes or hire an expert to master the rest.
Once you’re done qualifying your list, that filtering process should leave you with only the websites that are worth your time. And now the real work can begin.
Step #4 – Find contact info
This is the trickiest part of the outreach process. If you want to pitch your website and your ideas to a webmaster, you need a way to reach them. And that is easier to do on some sites than others.
Here are the 4 methods you can use to find relevant contact info for your outreach efforts:
Start with the obvious. Go over each site on your list, and see which of them have a contact form. Contact pages are often found on a website’s navbar or at the very bottom of their homepage — aka the page’s footer. Here’s an example of the latter on VeteransToday.com:
While you’re there, also look for “write for us” pages. Not all websites have that, but when that is present, that’s usually the best way to reach out for a guest post. And to find what a site’s publication guidelines are. Here’s an example found on a site’s footer:
If none of the options above are present, check the site’s “About Us” page. You may find contact info there.
Now if all three of those options fail, you need to decide how much you want to get a link on that website. If this publication has great numbers and is a good match for you, then it may be worth it to try reaching someone through social media. Or you can check if any agencies have that site on their list. (You can find our list here, by the way).
Another option is to leverage paid outreach tools. Buzzstream and Respona both have tools and databases built to help you find contacts on different publications. These tools can also help automate a lot of the outreach process, making it easier for you to reach out and follow up on potential leads.
Find contact info for as many of the websites on your list as possible. Then move on to the next step.
Step #5 – Reach out
This is where the magic happens. Time to actually reach out to webmasters and see who’s interested in publishing your CBD guest posts.
This kind of outreach is a balancing act. You’ll want to make sure that your outreach email doesn’t sound like generic spam. But on the other hand, customizing each and every email can take a lot of time, and you won’t necessarily get proportional returns to your additional effort.
Outreach is a numbers game. You can expect your conversion rate to be below 5% even when writing a deeply personalized email.
The key, therefore, is to find the right balance between customization and speed. And that’s where email templates can be very handy. A well-crafted template can help you save a lot of time while still coming across as well-informed.
You can find effective outreach templates online, or create your own version from scratch. Once you have that, then it’s just a matter of filling in the blanks and sending versions of the template to every contact on your list.
Make sure to mention your website is related to CBD in your template. That will lower your conversion rates — many sites have rules against CBD links or content — but it’ll also help set clear expectations from the get-go. This can help you avoid wasting time on leads that won’t go anywhere.
Step #6 – Get the guidelines
So you sent out 30+ emails and the webmaster finally responded. They’re eager to get a CBD guest post from you. Great! Time to sort out the details.
An experienced webmaster will lay out the terms of the deal right away. But if you’re dealing with someone who’s not being very proactive, you’ll need to take the lead and ask the important questions. Here’s what you need to know before committing to writing the guest post:
How long should the guest post be? Our default length here at Invalley is 500 words. That’s a good word count to shoot for whenever the webmaster says length doesn’t matter. But some sites may ask for 1000+ words.
Are you allowed/required to include images? If you want to include images, make sure you get them from free image websites like Pexels.
How will your backlink be included? Your link may be do-follow, no-follow, or marked with a sponsored tag. It may also be included in your author bio, instead of being part of the content itself. These are all good things to know, as they impact the SEO impact of the link.
Will the backlink be permanent? Some websites remove the link or even the entire guest post after a while, reducing their SEO benefit. MarkeWatch.com only allows guest posts to stay live for 90 days, for example.
Are there any writing guidelines or house rules you should follow? There may be rules related to content, formatting, length, what kinds of claims you can make, what topics you should avoid, and more. There might be a deadline you need to meet as well.
Will your guest post be promoted on social media? This is a good perk to have, as it means more people will see your article and potentially click on your link.
Getting the answers to these six questions can help you avoid a lot of drama down the line.
Step #7 – Review your keyword research
Keyword research is another SEO topic too huge to cover in this guide, and in-depth keyword research is not strictly necessary to help you start your outreach campaign. As long as you’re getting strong links in content relevant to your niche, that should help your site gain ranks on relevant keywords.
Still, if you do know keyword research and you determined which keywords you were going to target before starting your outreach, it’s a good idea to review all of that planning before you start content creation. Reaching this point in the outreach process can take weeks, if not months, and the SERP landscape for your chosen keywords may have shifted during that time.
Step #8 – Produce the content
Time to choose a topic and get to writing. Or send the publisher guidelines to your writer and let them do their thing.
Content is king when it comes to SEO. And while there are a lot of things you can try to make your content as optimized as possible, no amount of optimization can replace quality. The more useful and well-written your guest post is, the better it’ll be at passing “link juice” to your CBD website. Usually.
This is especially true in the CBD industry. There is still a shortage of quality content covering various CBD topics, leaving you plenty of room to produce content that stands out.
It’s also important to make sure the content fits in naturally on your target website. You want your guest post to look like something that could have been written by the site’s team, and to be written in a way that appeals to that site’s audience.
Remember: impressing Google is only one way to get more traffic to your website. Another way is to get a site’s readers to check your article and click on your link within. On big sites, that organic traffic coming from a publication’s regular readers can be quite significant.
The way to make your article blend in is to spend some time reading the content on that publication. And it’s a good idea to check if and how that publication has covered topics related to CBD before.
Here you can use the same trick mentioned in Step #1. Pick a site, and then run a search with the following modifiers: “site:[SITENAME] intitle:CBD”. Like in the example below.
What that does is show only the pages on that site that have CBD in the title. Which lets you check out what CBD topics have already been covered on any given site, and the tone of that coverage. In the example above, you can see that Apnews.com typically talks about the business side of the CBD market, rather than talking about the uses or benefits of the substance.
Step #9 – Include your link
The goal when link building is always to include your target keyword and backlink in as natural a manner as possible. This usually means avoiding exact-match anchor texts. In other words, you don’t want your link to be attached to your target keyword.
Say we decide to build links to this page targeting the keyword “CBD Guest Post”. An example of an exact-match anchor would be: “As mentioned on Invalley’s CBD guest post guide, one way to do outreach is…”
Exact-match anchors were used by spammers so much that they’ve become ineffective. These days, generic, naked, and branded anchors work better. Here are examples.
Generic: “Click here if you’d like to read more on CBD guest posts”.
Branded: “You can check the CBD guest post guide written by Invalley for more info on that topic.”
Naked: “If you want to learn more about guest posts in the CBD industry, visit https://invalley.com/blog/how-to-publish-cbd-guest-posts”.
Check this guide if you’d like a more detailed breakdown of the different types of anchors.
It’s also smart to avoid stuffing your CBD guest posts with a ton of links. You should include one, maybe two links to your website. And 2-3 additional links to authoritative sources on the topic you’re writing about. Just make sure you’re not including links to any blogs run by your competitors.
If you’re looking for good sources to link to your CBD article, Healthline is a good place to start. Just run an “intitle:cbd” search on that site using the method explained in the last step.
That site is hit-and-miss in terms of quality, but they always include their sources, which can give you plenty to work with.
The FDA website is also a great source for quotes and facts related to CBD. Especially when writing about the business side of things.
Step #10 – Send the content
Once your guest post has been written, edited, revised, and proofread, all that’s left is sending it to your contact on the webmaster’s team. Then it’ll either get published as-is or they’ll ask for changes to fit their guidelines.
Either way, you’ll eventually get your content approved. And then your job will be mostly done. You just need to make sure the article goes live when promised. And you’ll need to check the final product to make sure the link was included. It’s also good to check if there is anything wrong with the published article.
Mistakes happen. Sometimes links get removed by the webmaster’s team without warning. Or someone may end up publishing the wrong version of the content. The sooner you catch a mistake like that, the easier it’ll be to get the website’s team to fix the issue.
If you’re happy with the final result, then you’re done. All that’s left to do is sit back, wait, and watch the new link get indexed and start affecting your page’s rankings. Mission accomplished.
Do you see why so many businesses choose to outsource outreach? This process difficult, time-consuming, and frustrating even at the best of times. On top of that, many big publications won’t even accept pitches from individuals without an agency. Conversion rates are low in general, and even lower when trying to secure CBD guest posts.
Meanwhile, you can place an order from our site list in as little as 5 minutes. Or you can set up a Monthly Mix campaign. Then you will get several powerful backlinks in the CBD niche every month for as long as you’d like. All without needing to dedicate several work hours towards outreach every month. The Monthly Mix has been designed to be CBD-friendly; we’ve built relationships with plenty of sites that accept CBD guest posts.
But the important takeaway here is that working with an agency isn’t the *only* way to get powerful backlinks. Nor are both approaches mutually exclusive.
You can combine manual outreach and a professional outreach campaign from a big team like ours into one big SEO push. If done correctly and paired with a good content marketing campaign (blog posts, social media posts, etc.) the results can be staggering.