There are a lot of ways to market your business when you’re first starting out. You can buy Facebook advertising, speak at events, hire a PR and marketing professional (ahem!), and position yourself as a thought leader in your industry, just to name a few.
Of course, some of these avenues are more costly than others, so today I want to talk about one of the more affordable options: guest posting.
Guest posting is just what it sounds like: You write a blog post or an article that you then post (as a guest) on another outlet. The idea, of course, is that this other website (or newspaper or magazine) has an audience similar to the customer target you’re trying to reach—and they have a much, much bigger audience than you.
Though it’s not an entirely easy process to guest post—you have to come up with relevant topics, write an interesting and informative article, then pitch yourself to the media where you want to be featured—it is, like I said, incredibly affordable. In fact, all it costs you is time—and it gets you in front of exactly the right people.
Most smart business owners—or their marketing team—are able to handle the first steps of guest posting. Where most struggle is in the final, and most important, piece: pitching their post to get it featured.
I happen to know a thing or two about pitching to media… So, this week, I’m sharing three helpful tips for successfully pitching your guest post:
Know Your Audience
This applies to both your own target customer segment and the audience of the outlet you’re pitching. It’s important for both you and the media that might host your article that you know the audience you’re trying to reach and you know the audience that reads their content.
It’s not worth it to you to pitch an outlet that doesn’t even cater to the potential customers you’re trying to reach. So think carefully about who you pitch—is your target customer a Forbes reader? Huffington Post? New York Times?
Consider where you can find the people who will love your products or services. Then, pitch your post to those outlets!
Do Your Research
Read up on the place you’re going to pitch: have they covered your topic before? What are people talking/asking about in the comments? How do they format their headlines? Do they include a sub-headline? Is there a call-to-action (inviting people to comment, for instance) at the end of every post? What author information do they include?
And, most importantly, do they give specific instructions for submitting a guest post or applying to be a contributor?
These are all important points to consider before you email your post off to a general email address where it might never see the light of day—or, if it does, you won’t be considered (at best) and you’ll be blacklisted from ever writing for them (at worst). Yes, it happens.
Editors and reporters are just as short on time as the rest of us and they have a lot of submissions to sort through. Even if you have the best post, you will be ignored if you ignore their style, their content, and their specific instructions for submissions. So, do your research.
Keep It Personal
This advice applies to any pitch—or any time you email someone for the first time, really. Don’t send a canned email, where it’s clear you simply added in the editor’s name and pressed “Send.” Make it personal.
Read a few of their latest articles and offer your opinion. Let them know why you think your topic and your post are relevant and interesting to their readers. Share a couple of insights from your article, so they have an idea of what you’ve written before they have to read the entire thing.
In other words, write your pitch as if you’re speaking to another human being who is short on time—take the time to get to know them and show them that you’ve done your research.
With the hundreds (possibly thousands) of emails they get every day, I assure you that making the effort will go a long way.
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If you follow this advice—and have a great post—I’m certain you’ll have a pitch worth considering. And, if you’re still struggling, you know who to call!
Have you pitched a guest post before? Share your experience with me in the comments below.