Equipping Writers for Success
The Writing Life
The Writing Life
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by Jennifer Brown Banks
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Perhaps you're one of them. But there is great truth to the expression: "It's not what you do, but how you do it that matters."
"Strategic" guest blogging can make all the difference.
Here's a case in point. A few months ago, I was asked to pen a post for the ever-popular site ProBlogger. It came about as a result of pitching my freelance services as a ghost writer to the content manager, with whom I had worked before. To make a long story short, because I knew that this award-winning site had a cult-like following and the opportunity for massive exposure, I polished every word like fine silver.
Included with my piece was a generous bio with a link to my site and my various creative offerings. Within 72 hours of my "appearance," I received 263 Tweets and e-mails from three corporate clients requesting quotes for my work. I "sealed the deal" and received a deposit from one, while the other two are currently in negotiations. With a little strategic effort and a savvy game plan, I was able to use a free platform to elevate my business and my bottom line. And you can too.
There are three major areas to consider: planning, positioning, and problem-solving. Let's explore each of them, and how they can help earn pay for your efforts.
There are literally millions of blogs reflecting thousands of themes and niches. Some are professional, while others are recreational. How will you choose the right ones for your guest posting goals?
Essentially, it depends on your purpose. Are you seeking to win friends and influence people? Sell your products? Establish your expertise in a certain area? Gain support for an important cause? Promote your book? These are crucial questions to consider. The clearer you are the more strategic and focused you will become. Remember, you want to "work smarter, not harder."
Align your guest posting with blogs that are ideally suited for your purpose. For instance, my objective in doing a guest post for ProBlogger was not just to share valuable information with their readership, but also to "target" professional clients that potentially would be in need of my services.
How will you stand out and be noticed when there are so many other talented writers on the Internet? What do you bring to the table? In business, it's known as your U.S.P. - Unique Selling Proposition. Being able to successfully identify it and to "sell" others on it will give you a competitive edge and solid footing. For example, writer and editor Hope Clark is well known for her expertise in helping writers to find grant resources for their creative projects. Author Peter Bowerman is considered the ultimate authority on providing tips and techniques for writers to earn what they deserve and avoid the "starving artist" syndrome. It's all about branding. Make sure that your bio (and e-mail signature line) highlights your most unique and valuable areas of expertise. It should be concise, yet clever. Additionally, Kelly James Enger, in her book "Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks," states: "Every time you send an e-mail, you have the opportunity to market yourself. Create an e-mail signature that includes your title or the description of the work you do."
In a tough economy where most of us are seeking to get "more bang for our buck," today's clients are looking for not only for writers who their way around a sentence, but for service providers who can help them to do more with fewer resources, identify strategies that will help them to solve current or futuristic problems, require little "hand-holding," and save them time and money. Can you deliver? One way to convey your competence in this area is to provide testimonials and case studies on your blog or website from satisfied customers (in your bio link).
Four More Ways To Score!
Know your readership. Not all blogs are created equally. In your guest blogging quests, make sure to do adequate research. Does the site have an active community? Are there advertisers? Does the blogger post on a regular, consistent schedule? Are there a large number of followers? These are all success indicators. Ultimately, if the blog is not successful, chances are that it will not attract potential, "serious" clients for your business. Do not pass go.
Adopt the real estate mantra - "Location, location, location!" In addition to the success indicators we mentioned above, it's important to target blogs that enjoy a good, credible reputation in the blogosphere - often called "A-list" blogs. Ideally, these sites are rewarded with a Google Rank of 4 or better. To check and verify a site's Google status, visit: http://www.prchecker.info/check_page_rank.php
Remember the importance of presentation. It's true: you never get a second chance to make a first impression. For this reason, when pitching for potential posting opportunities, it's essential to put forth your best work. Busy editors and blog owners don't have time to do extensive editing; and if they have to, more than likely your work will be rejected for the next person's. Sure, even the best writer might have a typo or a dangling modifier here and there. Just make sure to keep it at an absolute minimum for maximum results!
Check the archives. In the interest of efficiency, it's a good idea to consult the past posts to avoid duplication and to save everybody wasted time. Because at the end of the day, no matter how well you write, if your article idea lacks originality, or has been extensively covered -- it won't fly. Is your idea innovative? If it isn't, do you provide a different treatment of a topic that has been previously addressed? New research findings? More current statistics and expert quotes? Assess then act accordingly.
Keep in mind that guest posting has many potential benefits. It's a great way to increase your visibility and your bottom line in the year ahead. Don't think of it as free writing; think of it as free advertising!
This article is not available for reprint without the author's written permission.
Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, pro blogger, and ghost writer. Her guest posts have been featured at "top-dog" sites such as: Men with Pens, ProBlogger, Daily Blog Tips, and Write to Done. Visit her site at http://Penandprosper.blogspot.com/.