If you're in the practice of writing a blog, and have been getting encouraging comments from your followers on Facebook, LinkedIn or on your blog itself - you might be interested to become a guest writer on an industry blog. Industry blogs are a great way to enhance your expertise, become discovered by new audiences, add to your social media following. and drive new business.
Okay, sounds good right? So how do you make it happen?
Guest post: This is where you take a piece that you wrote yourself, and offer it to be published by the publication you're targeting. It's super simple. Find the email address of who to contact, (usually this information is on their Contact page) and this would be considered a "Story Idea."
Pitch your story: In this scenario, you offer a story to a journalist to write about. It's pretty straightforward and salesy, because you're asking them to write about you and your company, whereas a guest post is more classic "content marketing".
Sponsored story: If you have the means to do so, many blogs are open to paid content in the guise of a sponsored story. Usually in the form of a packaged sponsorship, inclusive of a feature in their email newsletter, social media, as well as on their home page for a specific period of time. Do your due diligence to make sure the publication you're looking into can make your investment worthwhile. How many people are on their newsletter? What are typical email open rates? How many followers do they have and how much traffic do they get to their site?
In any of these scenarios, you should be asking questions about how they track clicks. Can they attribute being featured on their blog to increased engagements to your site?
Once you decide the route you want to pursue, it's time to make it happen! Do note that it takes practice, some rejection, and research to achieve getting featured on a popular industry blog.
Identify a list of blogs you want to reach out to: The first step to getting promoted via an industry blog is simple. Make a list of blogs that you like. Focus on publications that already speak to your audience. For instance, if you are a personal trainer who works with postnatal Moms, then look for popular blogs that cater to new Moms. A good way to find these is by Googling a few keywords and seeing what shows up on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd pages. For instance "new mom blogs", this would be a great way to find publications, whereas a search like "postnatal personal training workouts", would be a great way to find journalists who write about a topic related to your company.
Build a list of contacts: Once you've mastered a list of about 20-30 blogs that sound good to you, it's time to find a Contact (or 2) to reach out to. Create a spreadsheet with a row per publication that includes columns for the name of the editor, a journalist that writes about companies like yours or topics you're interested in, plus any contact information you find.
Choose your story or, write your article: If you're writing an article, listicles and how-tos are the most popular article types for blogs. A strong article explains difficult things simply, or can speak to an industry trend. If you're pitching your company, consider what makes your company special, do you have a story about a massive success, failure, perseverance or other lesson that will resonate personally with strangers?
Personalize your outreach: After you have your angle, it's time to do some cold-emailing! It's important for each email to be personalized and show that you're not copying, pasting and sending. If you're writing to an individual editor or journalist, look them up on Twitter or LinkedIn first. Learn something about them, see what you have in common, what you admire, or call back to a piece they wrote that you really enjoyed.
Follow up even if there's no answer, or the answer is no: The hard part about getting featured is when no one answers, or the answer is no. Don't be shy to follow up or stay in touch and send them new ideas. Be forward by asking if there's a different topic that they'd be interested it or if they have feedback on the article.
It's not easy to get featured, but it is a fun process and gets easier the more you do it. It will also be a helpful exercise because once you go through searching through publications, you may get more ideas on what to write and put time towards building your blog as well.