Marketing

Crafting guest contributing pitches that editors can’t refuse

Getting started as a contributor
  • You must build trust to stand out in a crowded market.
  • Associating yourself with trusted entities is a way to build your reputation.
  • Provide value first, and the rest will fall into place.

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When buyer skepticism is at an all-time high, and people are sick of being scammed, duped and torn off — a great way to differentiate is by becoming someone who is trusted and respected. Contributing content to websites and news publications is a simple way to do this.

I have a kind of code that I live by in business and writing. I’ve believed it for a long time. This code is as follows.

You will build trust with your audience if you are:

Building trust isn’t something that happens overnight. However, with the internet, social media and review sites, you can’t really be shady and get away with it.

The world is more transparent. As a consumer, this means the people you do business with are working harder than ever to serve you. As a business, you have to do the serving.

Providing value to your audience

Let’s quickly talk about why I started the article on this note: value — you must provide it. You cannot expect to get returns on your time investment, guest contributing and building your personal brand, if you are:

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  • Rehashing ideas without a unique opinion
  • Not interested in bettering your audience
  • Not learning and developing yourself

Let me give you the keys to producing content and building a personal brand. Speak in a way that sets you apart from the crowd. Solve a problem, and be creative enough to make your audience think.

“Creativity in business is often nothing more than making connections that everyone else has almost thought of. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just attach it to a new wagon.” – Keith Ferrazzi, in his book “Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time”

Getting real estate content Published

Getting real estate content published

If you have a unique opinion and are providing value — getting published should be the easy part. I’ve done each of the following when trying to get something published:

  • Found blogs or publications that accept guest contributors and applied using their formal process
  • Reached out directly to editors of publications who have guest contributors but no formal process
  • Contacted guest contributors to get an intro to editors
  • Submitted articles to relevant pubs without contact with editors

One and two of the above list got me published in BrazenCareerist, Lifehack and SparkHire. C and D got me published in a large psychology journal, this article you are reading and an intro recently to Arianna Huffington, who got me set up to contribute for The Huffington Post.

Applying to contribute

It is important to realize that editors are extremely busy. The best way to get published is by making their job easier.

Don’t waste their time: proposing content that isn’t relevant or consistent with the organization’s message, duplicating existing content or being unsure of what you provide. Avoid this, and you should get your first break.

As you continue to grow your credibility, you will be able to get featured in bigger places. If you’re reading this, you’ll want to start small. My first guest post was on a blog with less than a thousand readers.

How to apply:

  • Read the contributor guidelines
  • Keep your communication short; craft your “pitch” around the guidelines
  • Include concrete examples of content you want to produce
  • Name drop or reference things that make you credible

Most newspapers will include the editor’s contact information on an editors or contact page. The other option is to go to the publication’s guest contributors page. Just follow the guest contributor process.

Go through the publication’s existing content. Make sure you’re not doing something that has already been covered. To find out what has already been covered, try using the following search on Google.

  • “keyword” + targetpublication.com
  • “keyword” AND “archive” targetpublication.com

Do you know your idea is unique? It’s time to reach out. Remember — you can send your article on the first contact. It’s better not to, though.

Sometimes you’ll have an article you wrote specifically for the publication. In this case, it’s best to get permission to send; you might say “if you like the idea I will send the article.” In any other case, you would want to do something like the below.

outreach email to editors

This is the exact type of email I send whenever I am trying to contribute. Send enough info so the person knows exactly who you are and what you offer. But don’t give your life story. Make communications short and sweet.

Content marketing and guest contributing, in particular, can have a big impact on your business. However, if you’re operating from a position of selfishness, you will lose. Your primary objective needs to be providing value.

Focus first on how you can benefit the lives of others with your knowledge and expertise. Then take action on the simple steps above. If you do that, you’ll undoubtedly get traction.

This article was targeted at those just getting into guest contributing. In the next article, I’ll be going into the higher level objectives — what got me into publications with several million readers, such as Psych Central and The Huffington Post.

This article is part two of four in a series on using guest contributing in content marketing. Click here to read part one.

Connor Ondriska is the chief marketing officer of AgentFire. Connect with Connor on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Email Connor Ondriska.