How to Get Awesome Guest Blogging Gigs With CPR

Carol Tice

Freelance writer shakes with a new bogging clientBy Daryl Rothman

Have you ever had a great idea for a guest post and wish it could be featured on one of the top blogs for writers?

It can be.

I found a great list on Write to Done’s Top 10 Sites for Writers, but I had a huge problem when it came to pitching them my guest blog ideas.

I was a nobody.

Not as a person, but I had next to no publications to my name. Plus, the guidelines and submission formats — while crucial to adhere to — seemed so distant and impersonal. What would distinguish my random pitch from the plethora of inquiries these sites received?

I decided I needed to do something different: perform CPR.

No, my dreams were not dead, and neither are yours. But mine needed a revival, a jolt.

The Power of Relationships

When I say CPR, I don’t mean resuscitating a stopped heart. In marketing, CPR refers to Cultivating Positive Relationships.

After being published on several of the Top 10 blogs, with more scheduled, I can tell you, CPR was the key. Getting published on top blogs can be a huge boost to your own blog’s visibility, too.

Do relationships matter? Just today I sent a quick note to a top-ranked author and inquired how she was doing. “Thanks for asking!” she replied. “No one ever asks anymore.” Writers are people, too — a little basic human kindness can go a long way.

Reach Out

I’ve always been a people-person. That’s not necessarily synonymous with being a social butterfly. Some of the boldest writers are the most reserved people.

But I’ve always been more successful when I’m able to connect with someone at least a little bit, to say hello, get to know them a little, let them get to know me.

Be Authentic

Robert Steven Kaplan of Harvard Business School has spoken of the importance of giving something of yourself when building relationships. Tell them briefly about your writing and why you’ve contacted them. Demonstrate you’ve read their blog and sample posts and explain you have an idea for a fresh angle on a subject you think will interest their readers.

This hypothetical interaction is not the same as the pitch itself, so you don’t want to run long or unveil the entire pitch unless the author has asked you to do so.

Listen

Really. Listen in the same way you need to listen to the guidelines: they say, you do. (Or, don’t do. If they say they aren’t open to pitches, don’t pitch them) It’s knowing not only what to do, but what not to do.

If you get to submit a post, follow the guidelines, read sample posts, and submit the best draft you can. If the author asks you to revise it, listen meticulously to the feedback.

Reciprocate

The top-ranked blogger who publishes your guest post is conferring something of great benefit upon you. You get exposure to their vast readership, association with an esteemed author/blog, and myriad opportunities to connect with others through the comments.

I always offer what I can. I’ve offered to beta-read, and to link their work. I understand their following dwarfs mine, but the more positive buzz the better, right?

I offer this even if they have rejected my request to pitch. It never feels good to be told “no,” but I try to reframe back into CPR mode, rather than pouting.

Follow Up

If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If they grant permission to pitch, do so promptly.

Maybe the author asked you to read a few more posts and get back in touch. If so, be strategic and organized. Maintain a tracking system. The last thing you want is to generate interest and start building relationship with a great author, only to come off disrespectful and amateur by neglecting basic courtesies and follow up.

How has Cultivating Positive Relationships paid off for you? Tell us in the comments below.

Daryl Rothman writes novels, short stories, flash fiction, serial fiction and articles. He has guest-posted for KM Weiland, CS Lakin, Joanna Penn, and Firepole Marketing.

How to be a Well-Paid Freelance Blogger

26 Comments

  1. Daryl Rothman

    Thanks Joseph, and that’s great advice. The impersonal medium(email, online form etc) should not induce from us entirely impersonal approaches. I think a dose of humanity is in order , followed by, as you said , a focus on the business at hand.

  2. Joseph E Rathjen

    Someone I know who is a Human Resources Director, gave me a very good piece of advice recently. She said, “When you write a letter, proposal, query, etc., make believe that the person you are contacting is physically in front of you or even on the phone. When we convey a more personal, respectful, and admiring approach to the accomplishments of others they respond more favorably to the contact. Making them aware that you appreciate their contributions (even as an outsider) sets you apart from the bland, business-like contact.”

    I find that the “opening-human-approach,” followed with the pertinent, business details always garners a second and more attentive look from your target.

    Self-centered, behavior will get you nowhere in business, for a query or anything else in life.

    Great post! 🙂

  3. Kostas

    Great post Daryl. I’ve always said that building up a relationship with other bloggers is one of the keys to securing guest posting opportunities. I think it helps to build up credibility too rather than just throwing a pitch at people without even introducing yourself.

  4. Daryl Rothman

    Hi Esther, thanks. I’ve a few thoughts but Carol may I defer to you here, as this is up your alley, dealing with the “make a living writing” aspect?

  5. Esther

    Hi everyone! Happy Thursday!

    I did enjoy reading your post as well, but I have an interesting dilemma. I decided to approach an editor of a magazine and let her know how much I enjoyed it. Surprisingly, she emailed me back and she took me out to coffee. I pitched a few ideas to her, and she had me write a few articles, which she published in the magazine. I was shocked and happy, and have been writing articles monthly. Now, since my first writing happened to be in a magazine (a big job), I don’t want to go and get small jobs, but I am not sure what to do to get more money for my writing. I don’t want to go to content mills, since I am in a national magazine, but one article a month doesn’t make enough to pay all my bills (although it is a very nice amount). Thanks.

    • Carol Tice

      My pleasure, Daryl.

      Esther, you’re smart to realize that one decent client does not a freelance writing business make. Now that you have published clips in a national magazine, use them to break into more national magazines! Once you’re in one, it’s so much easier to write queries to the next one and get a “yes” from an editor.

      You can also approach businesses that want articles on their websites, which can be a very lucrative niche. I find business owners are very impressed by national magazine clips!

      Hope this helps.

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