Getting eyeballs on your website or blog is key to growing your solopreneur business. Whether you’re a coach, freelancer, or blogger, you’ve got monetizable skills and killer products that will genuinely help people around the world. But, first, they need to FIND you. One amaZing away to make that happen is to pitch guest posts and share your content with bigger audiences.
The synergy that guest posting creates can be pretty magical.
First, you get some extra exposure for your business. Second, the owner of the website where you publish your guest post brings a next-level of help to their audience. And, third, the members of the audience get even more support than they had before.
When it’s done right, it’s the perfect win-win scenario.
And, by-the-way, everything that I say in this post about guest posting, goes the same for being interviewed on podcasts.
What is guest posting (aka guest blogging)?
Essentially, guest posting is exactly what it sounds like. You write a blog post and you get it published, as a guest writer, on another blog or website.
But, there is a strategy that goes with it.
For instance, if you are a freelance writer and you write marketing copy for sales pages, you don’t want to write a guest post for WebMD.
The audience who reads WebMD is not interested in the blog post that you write regarding marketing or sales copy. As with all things related to successfully growing an online business, your guest posting strategy must be motivated by the desire to help people.
Think about the main topic of your business. In other words, the number one way that you help your clients. Are you a Pinterest VA, a health and wellness blogger, or maybe a productivity coach?
There is a main idea that you focus on inside of your business. That is the “hub” of your business.
Next, you want to think about the spokes.
Each of the spokes is a related sub-topic that off-shoots from the hub.
So, if you’re a Pinterest VA, your spokes would be things like Pinterest SEO, Creating Pin-Worthy Pins, Using Tailwind, Creating a pinning schedule, etc.
Each of these spokes is something that you could write a guest blog about and share it with the audience of a related business-owner.
You wouldn’t write a post and then approach another Pinterest VA to publish it as a guest post on their blog. That puts you and that VA in direct competition of one another.
But, you could approach someone like Meera Kothand, Wonderlass, or Moms Make Cents and ask if they accept guest posts.
Each of them has a blog that is geared towards helping new bloggers grow their businesses. Those new bloggers are your potential clients. Submitting a guest post that speaks to Pinterest SEO is extremely informative and helpful.
How does guest posting help grow a business?
You can see how amazing guest posting can be for helping a larger audience. Plus, it helps you to build those relationships with colleagues and supports networking.
But, that’s not where the benefits of guest blogging stop.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a huge subject and there are a ton of ways that you can improve the SEO of your website.
Search engines are things like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Each of these search engines has an algorithm (a mathematical set of rules) that evaluates every website that it scans.
The SEO of your website tells the algorithm how high to rank your site. Just like you, the search engines only want to provide their users with the highest quality information.
So, if the SEO of your site is minimal or non-existent, the algorithm won’t rank your site as high on the quality scale as some of the other websites in your space with better SEO.
One surefire way to improve your site’s SEO is to have ‘backlinks’ published on other websites. For instance, if you visit Huffington Post, Medium or Entrepreneur you will see articles written by guest authors and a link back to their website.
Those backlinks help to legitimize those websites in the “eyes” of the algorithm. The calculation is influenced by how many backlinks a website has and the ranking of the site the backlinks are published on.
When you submit guest posts, and publish a backlink to your site in the author byline, the SEO of your site is improved.
If you’re a blogger, and you have ads on your blog, pageviews are money. But, even if you’re not a blogger, pageviews are extremely important to growing your business.
Because, the more people you have reading your content and viewing your products & services, the more opportunities you have to help someone.
When you guest post on other websites, the audiences for those websites are introduced to you and your content. If they like what they see in the guest post, they will come over to your website and read more.
As you do more and more guest posts, you will naturally grow your audience and pageviews. And, since you are planning your guest posts strategically, you never have to worry about stealing pageviews or audience members from other people in your space.
You are simply providing an established audience, who you know is interested in what you have to share, with an extra level on their journey.
Have you ever visited a website and seen a section on the site that says “also seen on” or “brands we’ve worked with”?
When you saw that, how did you feel about the owner of the site? Did you feel more trusting in their message?
I’m guessing the answer is yes.
It’s completely natural to feel more trusting about a personal finance coach when you have seen that they have been published on WiseBread or Forbes.
Because it improves their reputation. When you can associate yourself and your message with larger businesses in your space, please naturally trust you more.
Your online reputation is very important when it comes to growing your business. And, guest posting is an amazing way to do strengthen your online reputation.
If you want to be a Facebook virtual assistant, having a guest post published on Social Media Examiner will do a lot for your online reputation.
How to find guest posting sites
Alright. Now that you are sold on the idea of guest posting, the next step is to figure out how you can have guest posts published.
First things first … don’t sell yourself short.
Just because you are new to online business doesn’t mean that you can’t find guest posting opportunities or be interviewed on podcasts.
The process for both is pretty much the same.
People you follow and respect
Remember when we talked about the hub and spokes of your content? That’s the perfect place to start when trying to find guest posting opportunities.
The next step is to make a list of all of the bloggers, influencers, businesses, and websites that you follow and respect. So, if you’re a fitness coach, you might want to guest post on MindBodyGreen. And, if you’re a freelance writer, you would probably love being published on Successful Blogging.
Shoot for the stars and write down everywhere that you would love to be published.
Next, take a look at your list and think about whether or not your audience also follows those sites on your list. If not, cross them off.
You might get a kick out of being published on PetFinder’s blog but, if your audience is entrepreneurs who need help with their taxes, PetFinder would be a complete waste of your time.
Finally, think about how you help your audience. Read the blog posts of the sites that are left on your list. Do their audience members have a problem that you can help fix? In other words, is the way that you help your audience going to help their audience too?
If not, cross them off the list.
Once that step is done, you should have a solid list of places for submitting a pitch to guest post. Now, just visit each of those websites and check to see if they have a link for “guest posting”.
You will typically find it on the menu somewhere. But, if the website has a search box, you can search the phrase “guest post”.
Google itself is a great way to find sites that have guest posting opportunities. However, you will need to do a little bit of work to find the ones that are fully aligned with you and your business.
Yes, there are a ton of benefits to guest posting.
However, those benefits only happen if you are thoughtful and strategic about where you are guest posting. So, use Google to get a boilerplate list of places in your space that allow guest posts. But, narrow it down from there to get a list of hyper-relevant guest posting opportunities.
Essentially, you just do a Google search for phrases like “your space write for us”, “your space guest blog”, “your space submit article”.
For instance, health and wellness guest posting. Or, social media write for us.
Check the publish date for each of the search results and go with the most recent. Then, narrow the list down so that you have a list of guest posting opportunities that align with you and how you help people.
So, if you’re going to use Google for searching for guest posts, you should definitely use Pinterest also.
It’s a little-known fact that Pinterest is actually a search engine and has an algorithm and everything just like Google!
You should always include a Pinterest search for anything that you search on Google.
Basically, it’s the same process. But, with Pinterest, you need to make your search a little more general. So, you would search “guest posting opportunities” or “accept guest posts”. These search terms will bring up tons of articles that have lists of guest posting opportunities.
Just make sure to use those lists as a boilerplate and then narrow down from there.
Copy your mentors
It might sound slimy but, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel. Following in the footsteps of a mentor or an influencer is a totally legitimate way to grow your business.
It’s the highest form of flattery, right?
As long as you are not plagiarizing and you are using the information only to guide you, it’s all good. Remember, your mentor’s audience might be different then yours. And, even if their audience is the same, the problems they have could be different then the ones you solve.
Make sure that you are only using this as a way to get a list of potential guest posting opportunities. And, then clean up that list based on your business, your audience and how you help.
So, if you know that your favorite blogger or influencer does a lot of guest posting, go to one of their recently published guest posts.
Right-click on their photo and copy the URL for their headshot image.
Then, do a Google reverse image search of that URL.
Boom. You’ve got a list of places where you can send your guest post pitch.
There are plenty of business owners in your Facebook groups who are starting podcasts and need guests to interview. They are also working on projects outside of their blogs and could use some guest posts to fill-in those weeks when they don’t have time to write a brand new post.
Stay active in one or two Facebook groups and search each day for “guest post” or “podcast”. Follow the instructions for how to submit your pitch but, use the format below for writing the actual pitch.
How to pitch guest posts when you’re brand new online
Now that you have a solid list of places to send your guest post pitch, it’s time to think about drafting the pitch itself. You’ve done all of this work to research and narrow your list, don’t drop the ball on the pitch.
This is where the rubber meets the road. If you craft a thoughtful and strategic pitch, it can mean the difference between most of your pitches being approved and NONE of them being approved.
Build a rapport
Before you start writing your pitch, it is imperative that you read the blog posts that are published on the site that you’re pitching.
You should never pitch a site without having a good idea of how your business and service align with the site and its owner. You already know that their audience can benefit from what you have to say because you have checked site off of your list who don’t meet those criteria.
But, the next level is to build a rapport with the site owner themselves. You can accomplish this by reading through their blog posts, their about page, and any other pages on their site that give you insight into who they are.
What do you have in common with the site owner? Did you grow up in the same part of the world? Are there any similarities between their story and yours?
If you are in Facebook groups with any site owners on your list, make sure to comment on their posts. Help in conversations that they are involved in, where appropriate.
Mention in your post that you enjoy a conversation or comment that they had in the mutual Facebook group. Be genuine. Your goal here is to bring next-level help and support to their audience. Your pitch must be authentic.
Obviously, you won’t find personal connections with huge sites like Entrepreneur or Social Media Examiner. But, you can still speak to their mission or values as they align with your own.
Prove there is a demand
The site owner may not even realize that their audience is interested in the topic that you are pitching. They are focused on bringing their audience quality content that is specific to their niche.
When you craft your guest post pitch, make sure that you prove to the site owner that their audience would be interested in the topic you are proposing.
You can do this in a couple of ways.
First, read through the comments that are left on their posts. Is there anything that trends throughout the comments? Any questions or comments that you could answer with your topic?
If you speak to a subject that their audience is asking for more information about, the site owner will be impressed without how thoughtfully you’ve done your research.
A second way to prove there is a demand for your topic is to post a question in Facebook groups and tell the site owner about the results.
When you post your question, ask something like “I’m doing research for a post about XYZ. What is your #1 challenge/struggle with it? I want to make sure to cover all the bases”
Then, when you’re writing your pitch, tell the site-owner about the results of your comment. This will help them understand that there is a real need for a post on the subject that you are pitching.
In the final few paragraphs of your pitch, it’s time to start talking about yourself. In other words, drop any credentials, affiliations, or testimonials that you have.
Don’t start dropping every single name in your rolodex.
Just use the high-level ones that are hyper-relevant to your space and that the site owner might recognize.
For instance, if you are a personal finance coach and you have been published on Mint and interviewed on a personal finance podcast, include links to those.
But, don’t add links to the pdf version of the credit union newsletter that you were quoted in a few years ago.
If you haven’t been published or interviewed yet, add testimonials from your readers or clients. Show the site owner that you are a legitimate business and you are coming to them with dedication and a commitment to helping their audience.