Quiz Time. What do A Time to Kill and Fifty Shades of Grey have in common?
A. Both are bestselling books
B. Both were adapted into movies
C. Both were originally self-published
D. All of the above
Yup, both John Grisham and E.L. James started out with no interest from the “big guys” so they went out and made themselves known on their own, successfully. These two books have more in common than you’d think, since each author went about self-publishing and self-promoting.
Grisham started out by selling A Time to Kill from the trunk of his car, while E.L. James began by writing fiction and publishing it (for free!) on her website. Now, maybe it’s the introvert in me, but the latter sounds like a much more attractive option than the former.
These days, giving away the goods for free (at least some of the goods) is a sound business plan. In fact, at this year’s Grammy Awards when Lorde and Joel Little’s song “Royals” won Song of the Year, Joel Little announced that they originally gave the song away for free.
If you still need convincing on the business benefits of giving away your goods, read this. If you’re on board, then let’s move onto the Where, How and Who of this process.
Where: It takes some time and effort to identify where you’d ideally like to share your content, but finding guest blogging outlets is not rocket science. For example, if you’re a business coach, you’ll want to look at sites that blog about business growth, management skills and the like. Think about your own target audience and what they might be reading. Search Google, Facebook and Twitter using the keywords and hash tags you use in your own content to find companies targeting the same audience.
Don’t worry about sharing content with your “competition”. We are currently in an “I scratch your back – you scratch mine” guest blogging kind-of-world. Often, a client that’s a great fit for you will be a horrible fit for your “competitor” and your competitor might even recommend you to these clients (if you have a fantastic networking relationship and have offered them some free content)!
How: Now that you’ve found your key network, warm up to them via social media. Follow, like, share, re-tweet and re-pin your way into their hearts (and networking communities). Read their blogs, comment on them and share them on your own social network. Once you’ve been stalking… oops, I mean “following” them for a little while, go in for the pitch.
Your pitch should have three key components: it should be authentic, specific, and to the point.
Your pitch letter can have a template outline, but it must be authentic. If it sounds generic, it’ll feel generic and you’ll end up portraying yourself as generic. Invest the time reading your targets’ blogs and tailor your pitch letter to the specific publication/site/blog you’re pitching to. Give examples of blogs or posts that you enjoyed, those which inspired you, and go on to describe why you related to them.
Ensure your pitch is specific. If your target can’t figure out exactly what you’re offering right off the bat, they’ll assume you don’t know what you want to give them. Or worse, that you don’t have the knowledge you pretend to have. Pitch 2 or 3 specific blog topics that you think would benefit their audience.
Keep on point. Yes, you want to get across that you really did enjoy their blog post on Jack and Jill, but don’t go on a 3 page ramble about your love for fetching pails of water. Offer them specific blog topics, but avoid submitting the actual blog just yet. Ideally, the title should be clear enough, but you can add a one line description as well.
Who: Some sites make it clear whom to contact for what. They might list the company’s team and roles along with contact details or they might only have a contact page with a form to reach them. If you can’t find anything – a contact form, email address, guest blogging guideline – reach out via their social media channels and ask!
Most importantly, try.
Best case scenario: You’re posted everywhere, you get a major following, you’re recognized as a thought leader and you end up featured on the cover of Forbes.
Realistically: You’ll get some recognition in your field, draw more traffic to your site and land a client or two.
Worst case scenario: They say no (or in many cases don’t respond at all) and if that is the case over and over again, try a new pitch letter, re-examine who you’re targeting and maybe even hire a VA to help you out with it.
Bottom line, though, like the lottery, if you don’t play, you can’t win – so go out and play with your fellow blogging friends!
Submitted by Tovi