Category Archives: Guest posting

Why guest blogging is good for business

Ed Yourdon / Foter / CC BY-SA

Most of my clients look at me blankly when I first mention guest blogging.
By then I’ve usually managed to convince them that their business needs a blog. The next content marketing strategy is guest blogging to help grow their business and once they get it and start seeing the benefits for themselves, they can’t stop singing the praises of guest blogging.

So, what is guest blogging and why should you do it?

Imagine you’re a career coach and you’ve been invited to speak at a conference attended by frustrated middle managers in need of career inspiration – exactly the type of customer you’re after.

The organiser hands you the microphone and gives you carte blanche to talk to them about how you could potentially help them solve their career problems. Would you say no to an opportunity like this? No, I didn’t think so.

That is what guest blogging is all about – an opportunity to get your name in front of a new audience, exactly the right type of audience for your business, and to show them why you’re somebody worth listening to.

How to find guest blogging opportunities?

The first step is to ID whom you want to talk to. Who is your ideal customer – for example if you run a cookery school for toddlers, you probably want to talk to mums.
Do some research and find local or national websites targeting mums.

(Building a national profile is an excellent way of showing local customers how important you are and why they should want to do business with you.)

Start getting involved in discussions on the sites you want to be associated with and following their content. Many editors of websites (and publications) are constantly on the look out for fresh information relevant to their readers.
Guest-blogging ideally is a win-win situation. They get good, fresh content, you get a chance to talk to their audience.

What should my guest blog posts be about?

First work out what you want to achieve with the guest blog post. Do you want to make middle managers stuck in a career rut contact you to consider you for coaching?
Come up with a topic that your ideal client will find interesting and helpful. So, for the career coach for example – 5 reasons you may be ready for your next career move.
If you’re an estate agent, perhaps you want to write about a trend relevant to your audience of buyers and sellers – such as: How to make your house sell itself.

At the end of your post, you include your profile and a link to your website (if allowed) and how you could help your potential customer solve a problem they may have.

Take a look at my portfolio to see some of the guest blog posts I’ve written for clients in recent months.
If you’re idea is original, relevant and well-written, chances are good that the editor of the website you’re targeting will only be too delighted to use your copy and will usually agree either to link to your site or at least mention your website in the copy.
The top prize is a link – as a variety of back links from reputable websites is an ideal way to boost the site’s search engine ranking, but a mention of the website also does the job of getting you noticed by a new audience.
Once your guest blog is published – share and keep sharing on all your social media channels, to make sure both you and the website owner who published your guest post get maximum exposure.

If you need help identifying guest blogging opportunities and goals or just can’t seem to find the time to come up with a list of interesting topics in your niche, I can help. Contact me for any communication needs. You can view my full list of services here.

Get your name in the news: media relations tips

Mike Bailey-Gates / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

 

In my former life as a journalist, I’ve deleted and binned more press releases than I care to remember. The number of times I ended up interviewing a so-called ‘expert’ offered by a PR company can be counted on one hand.

Now that I’m on the other end of the table, my insight into the media and nose for news enable me to help entrepreneurs and small business owners to get noticed by the media – in a positive way of course.

These days everyone can write their own news on the internet, but writing an opinion piece or feature or getting quoted in a well-respected paper or website, is still one of the best ways of building your profile as a credible authority in your field.

Here are my tips for getting your name in the news

Think news first

Find something in your company, product, story that is newsworthy – not from your point of view, but from a journalist’s point of view.
If you can add a fresh angle to something that’s already in the news, you’re likely to find a willing ear.

For example, the day after a national survey about working mums’ guilt appeared in the media, I approached a parenting website on behalf of Inspired Mums, a career coach – offering a guest blog post with tips for working mums on how to banish the guilt – it got accepted straight away.

Find out what journalists are writing about on Twitter and engage in the conversation using topic hash tags. If they think you’ve got something worthwhile to add to the story, they’ll get in touch.
Offer stories about new trends in your industry, new ways of looking at things, different approaches, a look behind the scenes, but steer clear of promotional articles only designed to make you look good.

Lose the fluff and hype

Editors are no fools. If you’ve called your product or company “unique”, “world-renowned” or “leading”, your release is already in the trash folder.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve tried to explain to CEOs and PR people that journalists couldn’t care less about your core messages. They care about the news value of the story first and foremost. A story with a perfectly crafted core message but without news value – is a complete waste of time. Of course, once you’ve hooked them with a topical news angle, you need to get your message in there, but in a subtle, organic way.
If you understand this, you’re half way there.

Don’t expect them to do your job

Do NOT send information and photographs in the hope that the editor ‘will know what to do with it’.
They WILL know what to do with it, yes – they will delete it, because they have no more than two seconds to decide whether the email you sent is a story or not. If you haven’t told them what the story is, you’ve lost your chance.

A clear, well-written and persuasive two-line pitch explaining exactly what the story is about, why it is relevant and how it can be illustrated, has a much better chance of getting a look in.

Quality, well-written content

Once you have a bite, you can follow up with a crisp, concise article – answering all the obvious questions: Why, what, where, when and how and then include meaningful, non-salesy quotes from no more than three people. Offer up to three captioned photographs, good quality jpegs to choose from and links to your website and contact details for the people mentioned in the article.
Don’t expect the journalist to do research for you. Include relevant quotes and statistics and make sure they’re accurate!

Don’t send an attachment – include the press release in the body of your email.
Newsrooms are shrinking and if you can deliver a complete, ready-to-publish package on time – you’ll get the exposure you want – most of the time.

Respect deadlines

If an editor shows an interest in your story – be prepared to be interviewed or provide more information. Don’t switch off your mobile and go the gym or say you’re too busy when a journalist calls. Bad move. You won’t get asked again.
Similarly, if you pitch a guest blog post and you’re given a deadline, make sure you deliver on time, whatever happens. No one cares that your computer crashed or your babysitter was late. Make it happen.

Build a relationship

If your article or post is used in whatever way, send a quick thank you email or tweet. Don’t bombard the journalist with daily story suggestions, but do follow them on Twitter, read their stories or blogs and comment from time to time. They’ll be more open to your next, targeted and relevant pitch.

If all of this sounds too much like hard work, why not let me handle the media for you while you get on with the day job.
Contact me if you want help getting exposure in the media.

I can help boost your website traffic and build you profile through effective blogging and guest blogging too. Targeted, engaging website copy to help you meet your goals – I’m your girl.