In our blog posts and webinars, we often hat-tip our content creation team. Lindsay Miller is this content curator. She, along with our other copywriters, develop the product behind our outreach campaigns.
Perhaps you’ve been avoiding guest posting because it seems like such a pain. You have your own blog, and you write for it regularly. You can write what you want, when you want. Post it. Promote it. And move on to the next. With all that freedom, begging publishers for the opportunity to write for them just doesn’t seem appealing.
But we’re here to tell you that not only is guest posting a fantastic way to organically build traffic to your site, it’s also an immensely beneficial, satisfying (and dare we say fun!) way to build relationships within your market.
So, what do you need to have in your guest posting toolbox to ensure success? Here are a few essentials:
Are today’s publishers bombarded with guest post requests? Yes. Are all the pitches they receive compelling and specific to their needs? No. In fact, often, when we do our guest post outreach, we’ll receive responses from publishers who say, “I usually ignore these…but yours really caught my attention.” What that tells us is that publishers are overrun with guest blogging proposals, but they’re still hungry for opportunities to post content from guest writers who really get their needs.
So, before you click send on the first pitch email, think about your potential publishers. Have they already covered a certain topic in depth on their own blog? How will their readers benefit from your expertise? Are they missing any content? Do some research. When you know what your prospects need, you can address their points of pain in your pitch, and that will get their attention.
A compelling and personalized pitch.
Can you provide timely content? A new perspective? Or an eye-opening personal anecdote? The guest post you’re able to provide should shape your pitch. What are you offering? Be open, personable, and confident. Boldly offer the kind of guest post that will add value to a site’s content.
And, wherever possible, personalize your pitch. The last thing a publisher wants is to receive an email that feels like it was sent to hundreds of other people. If you’re a frequent reader of a publisher’s blog, tell them about a post of theirs that you found really helpful and link to it within your pitch. Or provide them with a compelling but infrequently covered topic and explain why you think it will help their audience.
Time (to reply).
Don’t click send and then abandon your inbox. Be ready when those responses start flowing in. Know that not every response is going to be a whole-hearted “yes,” and that’s ok. Remember, publishers get guest post pitches all the time. The fact that they’re responding to you at all means
- your pitch was compelling enough that they opened it and read it, and
- they’re giving you a chance to start a conversation with them and prove yourself in the process.
Have suggested topics or sample content ready to share with those who want more information about you. When you can back up your awesome pitch with more awesomeness in the form of unique topics or popular posts from your own blog then publishers will be more likely to open up their blogs to your content.
Follow up skills.
Don’t be afraid to follow up. In fact, follow up is essential. Many publishers are busy. They may not read every email that comes into their inbox. They may forget to reply. They may be on vacation when your first email comes through. Just because you don’t get a response in your first round of pitching doesn’t mean the game is over. If you don’t hear from a publisher within 4-5 days after your original pitch, follow up with them. It shows you believe in the content you’re proposing and that it is a priority for you.
Time (to write).
Make sure you have some writing time squared away. Let’s say you’re pitching to 10 bloggers. If you receive three requests, will you be able to fulfill them all within a week? If not, then you may want to reduce your number of outreach targets. This is your chance to impress an influencer in your market or industry. Turning your guest article in three months after your initial pitch won’t make you look very good, and it will probably make the publisher feel like they weren’t a priority for you. Be honest with yourself. Think about how much time you truly have to devote to the project. Then, adjust your outreach accordingly.
Know what topics have been covered by the site for which you’re writing and by other sites in that topic area. Avoid writing on topics that have been done a million times before. The best way to wow publishers is to provide them with content they wouldn’t have come up with on their own. Think outside the box. Is there a counterintuitive approach to the topic you’re covering? Can you offer more value by making the topic more specific?
For example, let’s say you’re a personal trainer offering exercise tips for people with disabilities. You have a guest posting opportunity for a site for people with muscular dystrophy. Rather than offer, a guest post with “5 Exercise Tips for People with Muscular Dystrophy,” dig a little deeper. How about one with “5 Pool Exercises for People with Muscular Dystrophy” or “6 Reasons Yoga is Great for People with Muscular Dystrophy”? Adding specificity makes your post more unique and that’s the kind of content publishers really want for their sites.
An open door.
Yes, you want the backlink that a guest post will provide, but more than anything a great guest posting campaign is an opportunity to build relationships—with bloggers and their audiences. Use every opportunity available to reciprocate the goodwill the blogger has extended by allowing you to write for their site.
Ask if they’d like to write a guest post for your site. Tweet your guest post once it’s up so that you can send as much traffic as possible over to the publisher’s site. Engage. Respond to comments once your post is up. Know that when your post goes up your job isn’t over. In fact, in a lot of ways, that’s when the real work begins.