Have you ever noticed that the work we do on our website and our promo materials is a bit like event planning?
Imagine that the brand new ebook you'll give away to your email subscribers is a party you're hosting. You'll have to let people know, invite them to the party.
You'll need to get some food on the table - that's your blog content.
And of course, host the party in a super cool space - that could be the design.
Now: No one's going to know about that party over at your website if you don't invite them. But how fantastic would it be if you only had to phone one friend, and they'd instantly bring their whole circle of wonderful, smart, interested friends?
This is where one of the ultimate steps in any good marketing plan should come in. Cue the guest blog post.
Why Guest Post?
Guest posts can do amazing things for your traffic, your authority and access to an existing audience. They're free, and more effective than PPC advertising, and more durable than social media. Oh, and the search engines will love you for them too.
Getting a guest post into the right kind of blog is not that easy anymore. Good bloggers are able to tell when something is genuine. Check out the following lines:
"We will create high value content to deliver for your readers."
"I’ve been following your blog for quite some time now, and I love your content and the lessons you share with your readers. Every time I read a post, I feel like I’m able to take a single, clear lesson away from it, which is why I think it’s so great."
"Our writers can offer you a unique and exclusive article on any topic related to translation, language, freelancing... "
These three quotes are all directly taken from pitch emails I've received. These are generic, dull, and barely credible lines. When your target blogger receives a bunch of them every day, it's time for you to step up and cut through the noise.
Don't be discouraged - in the next few lines I'm going to give you so many hot tips for landing a great guest post that you'll be excited to get started today.
Step 1: Approach Influential Bloggers The Right Way
Let's assume that you already have someone in mind whose blog will be a great platform for you to show what you've got. It could be a big name like Tim Ferriss, or it could be a big thoughtleader in your
It is not enough to simply pull a bunch of names from a list of "influential bloggers". You have got to read a few posts. The best guest post writers are people who are long-time fans or readers of a blog, because they really get the style. And before you even get that chance, rest assured that this blogger will know within seconds if you have no idea what their blog is actually about.
The first thing you should do now is to find out if the blog of your choice even takes guest posts. Look for the guest post instructions page (here is mine for example). These pages are often called "Contribute", "Write For This Blog", "Guest Post", "Work With Us" etc. If there isn't a page like that, see if you can find the blog owner on social media and connect very loosely, perhaps respond to a tweet.
After that, it's up to you. Either email directly, complete the contact form on their site, or DM them on Twitter with a short "Hey, I'm a fan and I wonder if you accept guest posts? Could I send you my idea and pitch by email?"
And here's how to cut through the noise:
- Address the blogger or editor directly. If they're your host, you should know their name.
- Introduce yourself and share your story. Talk about why you like their blog in particular, how you're using it, maybe mention something specific. The key here is to show them that you didn't just pull this name from a list of random "influencers".
- Share your story - why is their blog relevant to you?
- Know who their audience is and what they want to read.
- Okay, this is important: Don't email a fully written article. It's usually preferred that you suggest a few titles instead of expecting the blogger to invest a lot of time in reading your whole post.
This is a chance to get creative and make another topic relevant to yours. For example, a German tutor who works with teenagers as after-school trainer can talk about steps to avoid overwhelm in the classroom or stay safe on school exchange. Or a travel agent can talk about Germany on a German language blog.
Step 2: Write A Great Guest Post Draft
Just like some podcasts don't have guest interviews, some blogs don't accept guest posts. So if it's a reject email, don't be disappointed, thank the blogger for replying and bookmark them for future connections like interviews.
If you've got the green light, well done! I bet you've already got your fingers on the keyboard as the ideas race through your mind.
Right now, it's time to let that creativity flow and just write out a quality draft. You're chain-drinking Americanos or listening to meditation music. Just be in "creation mode" for a bit, get out what you want to say, and we'll meet in the edit.
Editing Your Draft
The following quick tips are good practice for blog articles.
- 500 words is a minimum, 2000 words is too much. The average post I see these days is 800-1600 - best to know what you're aiming for in line with your target blogger's instructions.
- Break up your text into subheadings and give each thought a little space to breathe.
- Start with a story, feeling, a little opener that tells the reader how you came to talk about this. A classic opener might be a variation of "Ever feel like [insert your topic]?"
- Complete your article with a clear next step and offer solutions for all the problems you have talked about. You don't have to have all the answers, but there should be a clear recommendation.
- For a bonus: Link back to one or two of your host blog's existing articles in the text
Step 3: Be A Joy To Work With
Once your first draft is written, the blogger may wish to work with you before they schedule your work for publication. Be nice, accept their editorial feedback. But even beyond the writing part, here are some amazing ways to become a blogger they will tell their friends about:
- Pay attention to the format they want to receive. For example my preference is always Google Doc or Markdown, and not MS Word.
- Provide a 50-150 word bio, a quality photo of you and any other information the blogger wants to include.
- Always pay attention when your post goes live, reply to any comments and share it with your own followers. For good karma, if nothing else - but I have previously acquired paying customers from this.
Time To Take Action
Now that you know the secrets to getting featured on your favourite ever blog, what's holding you back?
Have you ever guest blogged before? Which tip are you going to try?
Share in the comments below or let me know in our Facebook group!