Providing useful, inspirational or entertaining content on popular blogs in your niche can be a great way to reach your target audience, especially when you are just starting out. Nina Dafe shares tips for how to do this effectively and which mistakes to avoid.
If you took the decision to become an authorpreneur and write a non-fiction book, it’s more than likely because you realize that they are a great way to:
- Position yourself as an expert in your field
- Increase your authority and credibility
- Give you a larger platform to share your influence, thought leadership and message
- Increase your followers, subscribers and fanbase
- Expose you to your ideal clients – keeping you booked, busy and making bank.
However, none of this is possible if nobody knows that it (or you) exist! The truth is, “if you build it they will come” is only true in Hollywood. A literal field of dreams, if you will.
If you want to create more impact and ultimately sell more books, you will need to attract more attention to you and your brand. This means becoming more visible through networking, PR and marketing.
A great place to start is mastering guest posting by becoming a guest author, blogger or contributor on another person’s platform.
Having now been featured in over 40 platforms, including Thrive Global, HuffPost, Bustle and the TEDx blog, here are some tips for getting started with guest posting based on my experience:
Before you even submit your guest post, there are a few things that you should do to make sure that you give yourself the best chance of success, including:
First and foremost, do research to make sure that the platform that you want to guest blog on actually accepts pitches and/or submissions – as not all blogging platforms do. I can't tell you how many pitches I've received, even though I don't accept guest posts on my blog!
Once you've established those basics, you'll want to get clear on who the platform's demographic is and whether it ties in with yours. So research:
- Who the platform's target audience is
- What the audience's interests and/or pain points are
- How your expertise can help them
- Whether your topic has been covered before
Next, check their submission guidelines to see how they prefer to receive guest posts. For example:
- Is there a word count?
- Are there particular topics that they like/dislike?
- Can you promote yourself within the article or do they prefer that be confined to your author bio?
- Do they prefer submissions to be emailed or sent via a particular platform?
- Do they prefer that you pitch your guest post idea or send a fully-fledged article?
As the saying goes, “people only do business with people that they know, like and trust”. With this in mind, another great step to take before sending your pitch would be to find ways to connect with the editor of influencer so that you can establish a rapport. More on this, later!
During your pitch
Now that you've laid all of that groundwork, you can formulate and send your pitch.
Here are some common mistakes and how to avoid them:
1. Having unclear subject lines
If you are sending your guest post via email, you'll want to make sure that the email subject line is not vague. Make it as clear as possible so that it doesn't get lost in the pile of emails that the editor or influencer is reading every day!
This can be done by following any instructions that they may have about this in their submission guidelines. If there aren't any, I like to make it clear that I am sending a pitch and what it's about, as in the example below:
[Pitch] 3 Networking Mistakes and How to Avoid Them According to Experts
2. Starting with your bio/qualifications
Although counter-intuitive, resist the urge to start by introducing yourself and your history. Editors and influencers are busy people, receiving thousands of emails a day. Do them (and yourself!) a favor by getting straight to the point of why you're contacting them.
Your short, professional author bio should go towards the end of the pitch instead. Also link to your media bio and/or the “press” page of your website, if you have one, so that they can check out your expertise and previous PR experience to build credibility.
3. Failing to establish a rapport
Yes, you want to be brief but you also want to be human and relatable to create a rapport. You can do this by complimenting the editor/influencer that you are writing to and establishing common ground. My favorite way to do this is by mentioning:
- When we met each other, either online or in-person previously
- A mutual friend
- My favorite past articles, programs, talks and their impact
This is why I mentioned the importance of networking pre-pitch earlier. It's also important to maintain this rapport post-pitch- but we'll get to that later.
Once you've gotten their attention by establishing a rapport, shoot your shot and pitch!
As I said before, keep it brief. Get straight to the point by providing a quick summary of your guest post. Headings, subtitles and bullet points are your friends when it comes to avoiding waffling and making your email more inviting to look at and read as well.
5. Not being unique
If you did your research thoroughly, as previously mentioned, you'll know if your guest post topic has been covered on the platform before and in what capacity. Use that knowledge to set yourself apart by crafting a unique pitch.
In other words, try to present a unique and different perspective in your guest blog post.
Have you heard the saying “the fortune is in the follow-up?” That's because it's true! Here are some helpful tips to know about it:
1. Timing is everything
As previously mentioned, editors and influencers are very busy people. This means that pitches can fall through the net. If this happens to you, you'll want to find a way to follow up so that they don't forget about you, lose interest or think that you're being a pest.
Most guest blogging guidelines will mention if and when you can expect to hear a response to your pitch. Contacting them during this time will place you firmly in the pest category – don't do it!
My rule of thumb is to contact 1-2 weeks after that time. If no response time is given, 1-2 weeks after sending is also a good time to send a follow-up email in general.
If handled correctly, in my experience, 9 times out of 10 they will thank you for following up and/or apologize profusely before actioning it.
2. It's a good relationship-building tool
A little known fact is that, because editors and influencers are such busy people, they tend to use the same experts for particular topics. Sending a good pitch and demonstrating your expertise within a guest post is only half the battle of building a good relationship with them and becoming a regular contributor, though. This is why what you do post-pitch is so important for building that know, like and trust factor.
Here are some of the ways that I do it:
Say thank you
When alerted that your post has been accepted and/or published, send a thank-you email. You can also go the extra mile by sending a thank you card, gift or some of your merchandise.
Give them publicity too
The best relationships are mutually beneficial. Editors and influencers want publicity for their platform too. You can reciprocate and help them achieve this by sharing your post:
- On social media, tagging them and/or using relevant hashtags
- With your email list (forwarding it to them so that they know you did it, of course!)
Be an asset
Another way to reciprocate is by finding ways to be an asset and add value outside of guest blogging. My favorite way to do this is by:
- Asking how I can be of service and finding ways to do so
- Connecting them with other content creators who would also make great guest bloggers for their platform
- Building and maintaining the relationship by continuing to follow up (see my bio for details about 7 ways you can do this without even having to leave your bed!)
So, to summarise…
Mastering guest blogging is one of the BEST ways to share your expertise, gain authority, market your non-fiction book and, ultimately, sell more copies. However, your greatest PR success will come through remembering that:
- People only do business with people that they know, like and trust; so-
- How you conduct yourself with editors and influencers pre and post-pitch is just as important as the pitch itself.
Have you thought of using guest blogging as part of your book marketing strategy? Please leave your thoughts below and join the conversation.
As an international bestselling author (of The Art of Unlearning: Top Experts Share Personal Stories on the Courage to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone), Nina Dafe mentors heart-centered, visionary Christian women who want to banish the blocks keeping them from crushing their business goals once and for all.
She is also an international speaker, talk show host, and award-winning blogger whose writing has been featured on multiple platforms including Thrive Global, TEDx, HuffPost, She Leads Africa, Bustle, Relevant Magazine, and Radiant Health Magazine. Named one of 101 women of influence by Monique Melton, you can find out more about Nina and her 7 tips for getting collaborations, referrals, PR and speaking opportunities (leading to increased credibility, subscribers, followers, customers and more) without even leaving the bed at Faraboverubiescollection.com!