In episode #10 of Marketing Academy Secrets, we cover the ins and outs of writing guest posts and how you can use them to grow your audience online.
Let’s talk first about why it’s important to guest post. So, one of the problems that many folks have when starting out with a blog is that no one really knows who you are. One of the best ways to start building an audience is to rely on an audience that someone else has already built. The other thing you want to do is think about social proof. When you blog on someone else’s site, they’re essentially extending their trust to you. They’re saying, “This person is a subject matter expert at something and I like them so much that I’m having them write content on my site.” And that’s assuming that you choose a decent site to post on and that they do have some credibility.
Deciding Where to Guest Post
Now that you’ve identified that you do want to guest post and you do need some more traffic, you want to make a list of the top ten sites that are run by one person (one author), and then the top ten sites that are media sites (sites that have many different contributors and accept guest posts). Don’t think that you’re going to convince someone who has zero guest posts on their site to all of a sudden love your writing and want to put it on their site. You don’t want to waste their time and there’s also a disconnect there. Once you identify the sites you want to post on, rank them in order of desire: Decide where you’d really like to be.
One of the things you’ll likely have to do when you get started is to say “Yes” to almost every opportunity. After all, you need to build a reputation, you need to start honing your craft, and you need to build relationships online. You want these publications to start counting on you and you can use them as building blocks. So, you start with something that has a smaller audience, you establish yourself as an expert, and then you use that as a stepping stone to get other places to post.
How to Land a Guest Posting Opportunity
Next, let’s talk about how you get publications to say “Yes.” If it’s a media site and they already have some area on their site that says they accept guest posts, that’s a great place to start. And I’d do a simple email introduction. “Hi, my name is Seth Price, I write on the subject of X, Y, and Z, and I think that this particular topic would be a perfect fit your audience, or I could write on something that you might suggest. Here’s a link to some of my writing samples, here’s a link to my website. I’d love to hear your thoughts.” It can be really simple like that, and you just send that out and follow up. If they do accept guest posting and you understand what type of topics that they generally have content on (and you’re a good fit for that), they’ll likely respond to you. Don’t take it personally if they don’t be respond. Be consistent: Stay in touch, read their posts, comment on theirs posts, make them aware that you exist, and slowly build up trust.
Writing an Epic Post
So now you’ve gotten someone to say “Yes.” And this is where the real works starts, because you want to create an epic post. You don’t want to withhold your best stuff for your own site, you want to write your best content for someone else’s site. Unless you’re a famous blogger, you really need to build that credibility. I would start by reading the content on the target site so you really understand the feel of how the content is, how they talk to their audience, and then you can figure out the topics that resonate. You can search for popular posts there and tailor what you’re crafting so it’s really a good fit for that publication.
Before you send your post over to the publication, make sure you check for spelling and grammar. The last thing you want to do is send over a post that’s riddled with errors. Also, make sure that you craft a bio. This is an opportunity that almost every publication offers its guest posters, to put some information about themselves and a link to their website. A few things I like to think about: Make sure your bio highlights your expertise and make sure to include a call-to-action. So instead of simply linking to your website, link to a landing page where you offer some additional value. And it shouldn’t link to something that you’re selling. Ideally, your first call-to-action should be to get folks to sign up. So, if you offer a free eBook or some free training or any of those things, you want to get folks to sign up on your website. And now you’ve taken that trust from the publication where you guest posted and you’ve extended that and built a relationship with a visitor.
Rinse and Repeat
The last part is really easy: rinse and repeat. Stay in contact with the publications that you have written for. Even if you don’t write that often there, keep them on your radar, connect with them on social media, and slowly, as you’re creating more guest posting opportunities, ratchet it up. There’s no reason why you couldn’t have a guest post in a local newspaper, for example. The key here is that you need to be consistent.