Guest Blogging: A Beginner’s Guide
While guest posting may seem like a simple concept in theory (All I have to do is write a little something and get someone to post it — easy!), it really isn’t in practice. There are more steps to it than you might think. And even if what you’re writing is awesome, readable and informative, that doesn’t mean that Google is going to deem it so.
Getting your guest post out to the right place is an essential piece of the guest posting puzzle because you want to be certain that you’re feeling out the appropriate opportunities. Just trying to shove your guest post in anyone’s face who is willing to read it is not only a waste of time, but you’re even less likely to be successful in the process.
So, you should always make sure that where you’re placing your post has a high relevancy to what you ultimately want to accomplish. While you naturally want to gain links, you don’t want to open your doors for just any old links.
Do Your Research First
Before you decide where you want to send your guest post pitches, do some good old-fashioned research. While you may not want to take the time to do this, I promise that it will help you in the long run because you’ll be ensuring that you are choosing the right places to pitch your post.
You might ask, “How do I complete this research and locate this amazing place for my post?”
It’s not all that hard. If you want to locate the right place to guest post, all it takes is a simple Google search using the right keywords — think keywords, keywords, keywords. For instance, say you’re a fashion jewelry outlet and are looking for some fashion blogs to write for. In this case, you might want to use the search terms “fashion jewelry” “submit a guest post.”
You can duplicate this for whatever you might be looking to write about. Using this method will get you to the right place very quickly, and you can easily determine the best sites to submit your pitch to from there. If you don’t use the correct search terms, weeding through all of the results could prove to be pretty monotonous and unnecessary, so searching correctly and keeping a list will make this as simple as possible.
Keep A List By Your Side While Researching
The next best step is to make a list of the blogs and websites that you want to pitch your post to, and you can even put them in order of priority and relevancy to make your life that much easier. From there, plan a pitch out to each one and make sure you are adhering to what they are all about rather than just composing one standard, generic pitch for each one. Besides, if you end up writing for more than one website it’s more than likely they are going to want the content to be exclusive only to them.
When doing your research, ask yourself these questions:
- Can you trust the site? Is it a blog that you would go to on a regular basis?
- Would you trust their information for yourself? If not, it’s a no-go. Move on.
- Is the site spammy? This is an obvious one because it’s doubtful you would want to go with a spam-ridden site.
- Does the site target what you’re looking for? Is it within your market? You want to make sure that where you are posting fits well with your industry specifics.
These are all things that you’re going to want to take into consideration when researching and deciding upon the best place to pitch your guest post to. So take the time to complete your research, take notes and keep a list of all of them, even those you decide not to pitch to. This will prevent you from running into them when researching for another guest post down the line.
Once you have your list down, prepare a well thought-out pitch for each one. While this seems like it may be time-consuming, it doesn’t have to be, and it will prevent you from having one generic post for every site (let’s avoid redundancy here.)
Success is all about being a great writer and knowing the best way to reach out to your potential new guest post home. In her article, Stephanie Beadell explains some of the ideal ways to succeed as well as some of the best (and worst ways) to perform outreach. It’s a lot more than just typing up an email and clicking “send,” so taking some of these pointers will prove utterly beneficial.
There’s no sense in even submitting a pitch if you aren’t going to take a look at your writing and the way that you present yourself, because you are going to waste your own time as well as that of the person you are sending the pitch to, and this is something you definitely want to avoid at all costs.
Patience Is A Virtue
While you may get anxious to hear back from someone right away, it’s best to remember that everyone is busy just like you are, so once you click that send button it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to receive a response 5 minutes later (unless you hit someone’s Inbox at the perfect moment.)
So you’re going to want to be patient and be kind. Don’t go nagging them a couple of days later as this will make you come off as being desperate; give it sufficient time, and use yourself as an example. If you received a pitch email, how high would it be on your own priority list to read and respond to it? Put yourself in the receivers’ shoes to get a better idea of when you might expect to receive an answer.
What Else Should You Do?
Keep things short, sweet and to the point. Don’t become some sort of a wordy essay-writer when submitting a pitch (I have to admit, it was a habit I had to break myself of) – it’s best to keep it concise so the reader knows your point from the get-go. Because of the fact that most people are busy at their jobs in this day and age, seeing some long, stretched-out, salesy type of pitch is going to be an immediate turn off. If I received something like that in my inbox, I would automatically take it out of consideration.
It also means a lot more if you personalize each message rather than writing one and bcc-ing it to everyone on your list (and if you do decide to do that for whatever reason, make sure to Bcc and not make the all-too-common mistake of cc-ing everyone. Bad, bad, bad.) Taking a little bit more time could mean life or death for your pitch and ultimately, your guest post.
Always, Always Proofread
No one wants to get a sloppy unorganized e-mail and if you send one, needless to say, it’s not going to be a good way to show off your great (or not so great) writing skills. If you aren’t all that confident in your writing skills and feel like you would benefit from having someone on your team proof it for you, that’s most definitely the best thing you can do, especially if it’s going to help everyone in the long run.
As in life, nothing is perfect. But when guest posting, you want to be as close to perfect as you can be. So you’re going to want to do things such as:
- Make sure the subject line isn’t spam-filled, or something like, “Hi, this is Kerin from SEER Interactive.” Make it relatable and make sure the recipient wants to open it.
- Refer to something that they wrote on their blog, a post that you found to be interesting. Even if you aren’t an avid reader, you can at least make it known that you took the time to read through and find out what they had to say. Otherwise, why would they want to put your post on their blog if you don’t take a moment to find out what they are all about?
- If you aren’t sure of a topic — and this happens all the time — suggest one and then let them know that you’re open to writing other topics if they have something else in mind.
- Include every method of contact that you have. Even if you’re an email junkie and aren’t a fan of talking on the phone, throw your number in there. Some people find it much easier to pick up the phone and make a quick call, so it may be worth it.
I Got A Guest Post! Now What?
You’ve taken all of the steps to get out there and pitch your guest post, and you’ve received a Yes! Now comes the fun part after all of your hard work and outreach — composing your guest post. Think about everything you want to include in it, and keep it entertaining with a conversational tone.
Create a fun and interesting title. Not sure what to make it? A great way to figure this out (and to get more hits) is to find out what people are searching for:
In this case, I might go with a title such as “Fashion Jewelry Designers: September 2013 Trends.”
When writing, keep to your pitch. Make sure you are observing the topic of your pitch and make it known that you’re a pro in your niche. When you’re done, proofread it again. And again, and have someone else proofread it.
Once you get your post up and running, you know what to do from there. Good luck!
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)
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