Build Your Platform by Guest Blogging
by Shennandoah Diaz
Guest blogging is one excellent way to drive traffic to your online presence, and ultimately to stimulate book purchases.
A guest blogger is someone who writes a post for somebody else’s blog. This can be a one-time deal or a recurring column. Either way, it allows you to tap into someone else’s audience.
No matter what a book’s subject is, you can find many great blogs to choose from, and you can locate relevant blogs related to a book in a number of ways. For instance:
• Investigate the top magazines and associations involved with your topic. Chances are the editors of the magazines and the leaders of the associations have at least one blog (sometimes they have several—each one for a different beat).
• Ask for referrals. Find out from your network what blogs your audience is following.
• Check out the competition. Other publishers, authors, and experts in your field already have a line to your audience. Grease the wheels by offering to swap guest posts.
• Look at the blogroll of your favorite sites. Bloggers usually feature the blogs they follow on their toolbars. This is a great (and fast) way to locate additional blogs.
Then use sites such as Technorati and Alexa to evaluate which of the targeted blogs have the most traffic so you can start by focusing on the ones with the largest audiences.
Get to Know Your Target
As you prepare to pitch a guest blog post:
• Make sure each blog you targeted is appropriate. Bloggers don’t want to get pitched by writers outside their subject area who don’t have anything to offer their particular readers.
• Read posts on each blog and make sure you will be providing something new and different. If a blogger has already written a post on the subject you have in mind, create a new angle or choose a different topic.
• Be considerate of the blogger’s brand. Every blogger is working to build a platform and readership too. Don’t try to horn in on any blogger’s turf.
• Keep promotion out of your post. Often you will be allowed a short bio and a link back to your Web site or blog, but you should focus on creating value in what you write.
Craft the Pitch
Once you’ve identified blogs related to your topic and taken some time to get to know them, you will want to craft a pitch. Check to see whether guidelines for writers have been posted. If so, follow those guidelines to the letter. If not, send the blogger a short email pitch that includes a specific idea for a post and explains why that post would interest this blogger’s audience. Include a short paragraph about your qualifications.
Here’s an example of the pitch letters I send:
Dear [name of blogger],
The world of publishing is changing fast. Many of your readers are trying to navigate this evolving landscape, but it can be overwhelming. I propose a post that looks at the pros and cons of each book publishing option available to authors, complete with a short checklist readers can use to identify which route is best for them.
I work at an independent publisher and write articles and white papers related to publishing. You can view samples of my work at [Web site].
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to your response.
Don’t be afraid to send your pitch. Most bloggers work hard to fill their editorial calendars and are happy to have someone add content—as long as the topic is right for their readers.
Also, don’t be afraid to consider having someone guest post on your blog. Guest bloggers will bring their readers with them and will often add you to their own blogrolls.
In the realm of social media and blogging, paying it forward really does pay off.
Shennandoah Diaz is the business development assistant at Greenleaf Book Group, a publisher and distributor supporting independent authors and small presses. Diaz develops educational materials for authors in addition to managing Greenleaf’s social media, writing case studies and white papers on the publishing industry, and coordinating Austin Publishing University. Learn more at greenleafbookgroup.com, or email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.