This is the kick off to our annual January Blog Challenge: 31 Days To Clean Up Your Blog. What better time than January to sit down and review your blog? Over the 31 days we'll be sharing 31 tips, ideas, and strategies for you to deal with all those pesky maintenance tasks, take steps to grow in the new year and make blogging easier. This is Day 30.
You write and produce content every day for your own website. But have you ever written for another site or publication?
It might sound counter-intuitive and counter-productive when you have your own platform. In the early days of blogging a lot of people looked for guest writing opportunities - esepcially with magazines - because getting published in print was a big goal for many.
But is that still a thing in 2020s?
The answer is yes. Today, Google uses so many factors to rank you and your content in search results and one of those factors is E-A-T: Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness. We talk more about it here and you can read this excellent article from moz.com on why building your E-A-T is increasingly important - especially if you write content in the health, finance or legal fields (this means you dietitians, nutritionists, fitness trainers and anyone else who is providing health advice on line!).
One of the ways you can increase your E-A-T is to produce content under your name for other platforms, websites and publications in your niche - ideally with a link back to your website. If a link isn't possible then you must ensure that your name is mentioned as the author.
To write for other publications, you need to pitch an editor!
Pitching an Editor
We all know the kindest editor out there. They always think your stuff is great and they publish every single piece you submit! The only problem is...that editor is you. As owner of your blog, you have all the power and make all the decisions.
Pitching an external editor is a whole different ballgame. They probably won't get back to you right away and they might not think you're the bees knees.
Nothing guarantees a response from an editor, but there are certainly ways to stand out and give yourself a fighting chance!
Follow these excellent tips from food writer Dan Clapson and these great tips from journalist Tiffany Mayer when you're ready to get pitching.
Will You Write For Free?
This is a very touchy subject!
If your career is that of a freelance writer, writing for free probably shouldn't be an option to consider unless you have a very good reason for it (that will depend on you).
But, if you're looking for guest opportunities to boost your E-A-T, to market your brand, to promote a book, product or event then you're writing for the purpose of marketing yourself. In instances like that it's not uncommon to write for free or for a very reduced fee. Basically, you are asking for free advertising from the publication and they may not be keen on paying you in order to help you further your own brand (and they may refuse to give you a do follow link if they pay you).
This is why it's so crucial to ensure your pitch is appealing to the sites and publications you pitch - it absolutely must benefit them and be something that they know their readers will appreciate reading.
If you're looking to write a regularly scheduled column both to improve your authority and for some steady work, I would recommend negotiating a fee - even if it's minimal.
When You Get the Gig
So you pitch and you get the opportunity to contribute. What next?
Make sure you meet your deadline.
I'll repeat that.
"Make Sure You Meet Your Deadline"
If you don't meet your deadline you run the risk of backing up the entire production schedule for whoever you're writing for - be it print or digital. Don't be that writer. And it almost guarantees you won't be invited back.
Also make sure to add your newly minted published piece to your list of achievements on your About page with links back to anything published digitally.
Making connections, getting creative, being aware and pushing yourself are simple ways to give yourself a fighting chance when it comes to pitching to editors.
- 6 Tips For Pitching An Editor
- Have I Got A Story For You: Pitching Your Work To An Editor
- Pitch Better: Finding Magazine Editorial Calendars On-Line