When people decide they want to start off blogging or creating any kind of content for their business, they’re likely to come across guest blogging as a strategy fairly quickly. Guest blogging involves getting a guest spot on someone else’s website and creating a blog post that not only relieves them from having to fill a content slot, but gives you some exposure to their audience. Plus, if you have built up a following, you’ll be able to direct some of that attention toward the other person’s blog. In short, they’re a win-win.
Unfortunately, the way that most people approach a guest posting opportunity usually boils down to barely more than cold emailing people and hoping someone A) sees their email, B) bothers to open it, and C) actually reads it and does something about the message inside.
Instead, here’s a quick and easy checklist you can use to increase your chances of being accepted as a guest blogger on another site and using that siphoned exposure to help your own blog in return.
1) Identify a blog with audience crossover to your own. You don’t need to find someone writing about the exact same topic as you, but you do want to be able to identify some crossover between your audiences. For example, if someone runs a fitness blog that focuses on exercise and your blog focuses on diet, their readers might be interested in what you have to say.
2) Read a few posts. Get a feel for the blog by reading more than just one or two of their posts. Note the tone of voice and ‘angle’ they seem to have.
3) Comment. Leave some thoughtful comments on their post. If you’re the guy or gal leaving “wow. Nice post!” type comments, you will be ignored. If, however, you leave something genuinely thoughtful and which shows you were interested in and are interacting with their content.
4) Follow them on twitter. Next, find a social platform they’re on, usually twitter, and follow them. Share out a couple of their posts on your own feed over the next few days. Tag them in one of your tweets to make sure they know you’re giving them credit and to alert them that you’re sharing their content.
5) Send them a DM asking for permission. Before you pitch via email, ask for permission to do so. Send them a message on twitter letting them know that you have an idea you’d like to run by them, and if they have an email you can shoot it over to.
6) Craft an effective email pitch. An effective email pitch for a guest blog post gets to the point quickly. More importantly, however, a guest blog pitch focuses on much value and utility you can bring the person you’re pitching. Focus on what you can do for them, not on why they should help you out or how badly you need it.
Following these six steps, and having the patience to execute them over a few days, will put you miles ahead of every other pitch your target blogger is probably getting, and that’s definitely something.
Content is king, queen, and the whole royal court these days. In fact, the nod given to creating longform, rich content by traditional ad agencies, who themselves have rebranded in droves to ‘media agencies’, should give you some indication as to the way of the online marketing tides right now.
Consistently, brands who embrace the content creation trend rather than throw more money at legacy methods are scoring bigger than their more stubborn counterparts, and that’s because it’s mostly a win/win scenario: Brands who are willing to work consistently build their followings, and consumers get something with a little more thought than a banner ad.
Naturally, the charge on content marketing was led by savvy content marketers long before mega-brands and agencies caught on, but the particulars of its evolution have little relevance today.
For marketers, this can be viewed as a good or a bad thing. On the one hand, you can come up with great ideas that people love and share and put those great ideas down into writing without being a bigtime agency. The bad part, however, is that they’ve got the chance to churn out a lot more content when working in teams.
How do you compete? Well, for one, you should always be striving to do what someone else does better than they have. Because content marketing is a value game, a vast library of past projects and work can be completely obliterated and made obsolete by one game-changing piece that’s so amazing, so legit, that people can’t help but pay attention.
The next step is to make sure that you’re giving every single post the ‘after-care’ it deserves. For independent content marketers, you’ll probably be looking to spend at least as long promoting an article as you do creating, and preferably 2-3 times that amount.
To achieve this, start putting together a promotion list with the different places and ways in which you will share every single post. As a new avenue comes to mind, add it. As you check analytics and find certain methods aren’t actually generating any interest or traffic for you, drop them and try and find something else to replace that method.
Content marketing fits, in many ways, with the concept of growth hacking, which has grown to relevance in the past year or two especially. Growth hacking is about leveraging creative product and promotion hack that can help to give a business a viral growth factor in which every user you gain recruits at least one other user to the service or customer to the product, which means that a brand’s growth is, at that point, self-perpetuating.
Getting these tactics to culminate in a success story is the stuff of legends, but those who have been successful (like Dropbox, for example) know that the core is testing and tweaking constantly. Content marketing can be an excellent means in driving people into the top of that funnel.
In part 2, we’ll get into a few of the specifics for sharing a blog post once it’s been creative, and how you can even growth hack the reach of your articles, to an extent.
Even in a world where live-streaming video and podcasting are gaining popularity amongst knowledge consumers at a breakneck pace, there’s still immense power in the written word. Not only is reading still the preferred medium for consumption by many, but it can also be essential in cases where streaming connections aren’t practical or when consumers want to engage deeper with their content.
Let’s face it, you are reading this right now. That has to count for something, right?
Despite its importance, many people still have lackluster writing skills, or at least don’t ever bother into the intricacies that professional writers sweat over their perfection of day in and day out. Today, we’re going to go over three ways you can make your writing more effective by increasing reader comprehension.
Be a factbacker.
One of the things that becomes quickly apparent when you start reading through successful blogs and publications is that research efforts are never an afterthought. When writing pieces which largely consist of your own opinion or which are based primarily on your own experiences, it’s easy to just ramble and say what you want to say without too much of a basis.
One of the best ways to stand out from the crowd is to get used to infusing your writing with links to other sources that can back up what you want to say. If your goal is to say something completely new or put an unwritten spin on a topic (which is awesome, by the way!), then try and source some of the articles that got you thinking or that could help lead readers to your own conclusions. This push for credibility can really help the effectiveness of your messages.
What the hell is a fact-backer? I don’t know, I made it up! One of the greatest things Shakespeare and others like him did for the English language is add words to it. In fact, you’d be surprised at how many of the most common, normal-sounding words we use today were invented in the last few hundred years by a handful of creative minds.
Doing this not only makes people stop and really think about what they’re reading – you probably stop and try to figure out new words immediately when reading – but it also creates a mental association with your writing by forcing more engagement.
Get smart with formatting.
Finally, get spacey with it. Time spent reading a webpage increases with the general readability of that page, and a major contributing factor to this in the online space is how well your text is spaced out and formatted.
Unlike writing a formal article, let alone a research paper, writing for blogs and casual online properties should never exceed a couple of lines per paragraph. In fact, unlike in other forms of writing, it is perfectly acceptable for each sentence to be its own paragraph.
Beyond these three, it’s practice, practice, practice to get as good as you can at bringing concision and persuasiveness into your written words – good luck!
Blogs are becoming one of the fastest-growing ways for people with common interests to share information, ask questions, and dig deeper into their passion subjects. They also are increasingly being used by companies to build stronger relationships with their customers.
But whether you are publishing your own special interest blog or writing a blog for your corporate masters, your objective needs to be to attract and hold onto the largest possible reader base.
Sounds simple enough, right? Yet thousands of bloggers routinely shoot themselves in the foot by making stupid mistakes that could easily be avoided.
Here are the top five ways many bloggers inadvertently ruin their credibility and turn off readers so they never return:
1. Talking Too Much about Yourself
This is more of a problem with company-sponsored blogs than with individual bloggers. But the purpose of both types of blogs should be to provide readers with content that consistently informs and educates readers on new and interesting topics.
Blogs should be commercials for products or companies. When you only write about what your company is doing (or about yourself), you are going to turn off a lot of readers, especially if you keep doing it blog after blog.
A better plan is to establish yourself as an industry thought leader and give you readers high-value content. When you do this, you can increase loyalty bonds and keep them coming back for more.
2. Shamelessly Hawking Your Products
Unless you are Amazon.com, most people don’t visit your blogs to buy products.
While it’s generally acceptable to include links to affiliate products or to promote products you endorse (and hopefully get a commission from), you can’t be obvious about it. Don’t hit readers over the head with your sales pitch. Educate first and sell subtly.
3. Not Selling Enough
Sure, this sounds like it runs counter to the last item, but it actually doesn’t. While you want to provide your readers with high-value content and avoid bludgeoning them with your sales pitch, you also should remember that your blog is there for a reason: To increase interest in your company or subject.
Tie your valuable content back to your brand and include a soft sell to get the message across to your blog’s readers.
4. Turning Off the Comments Section
Some companies are so concerned about their online reputation that they try to manage the way they are portrayed on their own blog by not allowing comments. Big mistake.
Not allowing comments doesn’t encourage readers to engage with your content. It sends the message that you don’t care what they have to say, that you don’t value their opinions.
While there may be some (minimal) risk that somebody is going to post something critical and that it will be read by other readers before you can get rid of it, if you properly maintain your comments section on a regular basis you can address any negativity quickly and effectively. In many instances, your best customers are those that had a bad experience that you addressed to their complete satisfaction.
5. Being Too Long-Winded
People aren’t clicking on to your blog because they want to read “War and Peace”. Keep your blogs short and information-dense. Providing too much information can make reader weary and wary of future blogs posts.
Remember the old show business adage: Always leave them wanting more!
These five common land mines can destroy the credibility of any blog. Avoid these and you can improve your chances of attracting many new followers, and holding on to your existing ones longer.