Creating a guest article strategy

If you read any marketing blog long enough you’ll eventually hear about the benefits of guest posting on other blogs or writing articles for different websites and online magazines. Many popular bloggers attribute their success to these guest appearances. I’ve personally made several guest appearances over the years on different websites, and I find each one is marked by a spike in readership both for the day and in the long run.

Better still, the right guest article strategy will earn money while you build your author platform. There are several blogs that pay for guest posts, and if you’re interested in freelancing, guest articles are also a good way to build publishing credits. Of course, you can’t guarantee that every guest post you pitch will be accepted, but if you follow the steps outlined in this post you should be able to guarantee yourself at least a couple guest appearances in the coming months.

Step One: Create a master list of blogs/websites to appear on

Start with blogs you love that accept guest posts. If you can’t think of any, start following some. Part of building a successful blog is becoming part of the blogging community. That means following interesting blogs and interacting with their authors via comments. Of course nobody has time for every blog, but you should be reading at least two blog posts every day.

Even if you do follow a number of blogs, spend some time on Google looking for interesting ones you can contribute to and online magazines you might be able to write for.

Be creative when hunting for these blogs/websites. Sure, you can write about writing–and find several markets related to the topic–but what else do you know? Have you owned a pet? Volunteered somewhere interesting? Traveled the world? You can find several opportunities to publish guest articles about almost any topic.

Do a separate search for paid opportunities to write about the topics you’re comfortable with. Most of the blogs I’ve found that pay for guest posts center around technology and programming, but there are paid opportunities in every niche; you just have to look hard enough.

Ideally your master list should contain at least three potential writing opportunities for each topic you feel qualified to write about. A mix of paid and unpaid opportunities should be included. You can find out more about how to choose the right blogs from Mike Fishbein’s Guide to Guest Blogging.

Step Two: Brainstorm topics

Come up with 2-3 ideas for each blog on your list. The best ideas will be most suited to one blog, but will be able to fit all your selected blogs about a given topic with only minor tweaking.

Focus on answering questions you’ve had along the way. Chances are the people you’re writing for want to hear about what you’ve learned and learn from your experiences around a given topic. The steps you’ve taken to reach this point in your life are probably more interesting than you realize–every job you’ve ever had, everything you’ve ever done can be turned into an article if you think about it in the right way.

Step Three: Create a pitch schedule

Set a goal to pitch a specific number of guest articles each month. This can be whatever you’re comfortable with and have time for. Even sending one pitch a month can open twelve doors in a year. You never know which pitch will make it and what post will become popular, so pitch everything you think is valuable.

A good starting point is 2-3 pitches each month, with a mix of paid and unpaid opportunities. Ideally you also want to pitch blogs in different categories, so if you get all three, you’re appearing in front of three very different audiences in a short period of time. This way you can also recycle any rejected ideas and turn them into pitches for your next round of submissions.

Step Four: Follow through

If you want more in depth help, check out my post about getting your first guest article published. Otherwise, all I’ll say is that your plan isn’t the most important part of building your author platform–it’s the process of actually taking action towards achieving your goals every day. The most detailed plan you’ve ever created means nothing if you don’t implement it.