How to Land a Guest Blog Spot in a Big Outlet
I’ve had guest blog spots in many big outlets, including; Fast Company, Forbes, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, Parents,Fox Sports, Golf Digest, and many more. In fact, blogging is how I made a huge career shift five years ago from corporate attorney to sports business analyst for ESPN. And it served me again as I decided to start my own business and become a publicist last year.
I remember a piece I had published by Fast Company on public speaking, and a follower asked me how I chose the topic I pitched. Great question! In fact, I find that most people are doing the process backwards…
How Do You Know What Topic To Pitch For Guest Blog
First, I keep a running list in Evernote of my blog topic ideas.
Here are the typical ways I get an idea to add to the list:
- I find myself explaining the same thing to clients or potential clients over and over again.
- I make a mistake in my business that I learn from.
- A client or social media follower asks a question.
- I have a success in my business that I can share with others by giving actionable advice on how I got there It’s all about being aware of what’s going on in your own business and around you.
Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find inspiration everywhere.
My list in Evernote is so long, I’ll never write all those blogs! If there’s a topic I feel particularly passionate about, I’ll find somewhere to submit it right away.
This particular piece was about public speaking, so I did a Google search to see which sites covered public speaking the most often. Entrepreneur, Inc. and Fast Company were all up there, and I ultimately chose Fast Company.
That’s where I see people get it backwards. They have their eye on a specific site, and then they try to come up with a topic that works for the site. You can do it that way, but I often find my clients trying to shoehorn in a topic they really want to write on a site that just isn’t the right. Your best writing will always come from what you’re passionate about, so pick your topic first…then find the outlet it fits.
How Did I Land Guest Blog Spots on Big Outlets?
These are the EXACT steps I’ve followed to land blogs with outlets like Forbes, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Levo, Men’s Health, Woman’s Day, Parents, Bustle, Golf Digest, Bleacher Report, SB Nation, and more.
1 – Read at least ten blogs in the section where your piece will be placed.
Trust me, in this respect you stand out by fitting in. Each outlet has its own voice, and you can get a good feel for the audience by reading what’s already been published on the site.
2 – Use the search feature to look for any blogs even remotely related to what you want to write.
Search every term you can think of around your idea. If you find something similar but are still adamant about your topic, find a unique angle. And if you haven’t pitched your piece to the editor yet, acknowledge the other piece in your pitch and explain how/why yours will be different. Pretending you didn’t notice the other article will do more harm than good.
3 – Mimic a headline style you see used frequently on the blog.
For example, lists are popular on most sites.
4 – Note whether the majority of the blogs are written in first person or third person.
Stick with the majority.
5 – Word Count.
If you haven’t been given an assignment yet with a set word count, take a look at the average length of blogs on the site and stick within that range. Cut and paste the blog into a program like Word if you have to in order to determine the length.
6 – If there are other blogs on topics that are related to yours, find ways to work those links into your copy.
The editor will LOVE this. Not only does it show you’re familiar with their publication, but it has huge value for the site because it keeps people reading and clicking around the site. You can even point it out when you pitch your piece or send in your draft – “Also, I included links to several other pieces on Entrepreneur.com that went more into more depth on issues I mentioned.”
7 – Be a Team Player.
If you’re going to link to a piece on a third-party website, first make sure there isn’t something on the site where you’re writing you can link to (see #6). Editors do not like to link to other sites when they can link to their own writers. Be a team player. And never link to a competitor’s site.
Want to learn about the pitching strategy that landed my client a guest blog on Entrepreneur in mere hours? Grab the free training here!