Guest Posts, Magazine Articles, & Other Publications are Important
Any blogger will tell you that guest posts will not only help you fill your own editorial calendar in times of need but will also help you to build your presence and direct followers to your website. I’ve known this for years. I’ve asked folks to let me interview them, or if they’d want to do guest posts on this blog numerous times. (Both when I’ve wanted to fill my calendar, and when I’ve needed their input to make my site better.)
Unfortunately, I haven’t been great about sending out guest post pitches of my own, or about contacting magazines about features I’d like to write down the road.
Of course, when I say “haven’t been great” what I mean is “I hadn’t done any at all.” Not ideal.
In the last few months, I made the decision to consciously attempt to increase my visibility. I’ve done a Facebook Live presentation in an entrepreneur group with over 1,200 members. I’ve begun writing fiction for Wattpad. I have even begun content challenges for myself, like participating in NaNoWriMo. I even have plans to go way out of my shell and do a Youtube challenge for the month of December.
The one thing I haven’t been so great at in the last 24 months I’ve been copywriting for myself is pitching articles to other sites. Even though I feel comfortable talking to clients about their writing needs and sending them articles that they actually pay me real Earth money to write, I still didn’t feel comfortable contacting sites I admire to ask them if they’d like me to write something for them. I knew that had to change.
Step 1 to Conquering Self-Doubt: Talk to Your Tribe
I am lucky to have several groups of wonderful business people I can talk with whenever I’m getting down on myself or have questions about how I can improve. These aren’t folks that I know personally, but they’re folks that are happy to help when they can and always offer a compassionate listening ear. Here’s a glimpse at what I shared:
In case you have difficulty reading the image or are using a screen reader, here’s what it says:
Pitches Be Crazy.
I’m a writer and editor, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve gotten hung up by fear. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve sat on a goldmine post idea that could potentially bring me lots of traffic, but decided to share it on my own site rather than to apply to guest post on someone else’s blog. It’s easier to share things on my own site and have people read it (or not) from my own social shares than to guest post and make real strides toward boosting traffic and sales.
Why Do I Do That?!
I LITERALLY write words for other people FOR A LIVING, but I still hesitate to send emails to let folks know I like what they’re putting down and that I’d like to contribute/help educate their tribe. I think the difference is that *I* am making the call about what to write about, rather than getting a topic provided to me by someone else.
Do any of you struggle with this, also? Either the pitching process or guest posting in general? I’m just wondering if I’m the only person here who hesitates with my trigger finger hesitating over the ‘submit’ or ‘send’ button. 😛
I posted that inquiry to a group hosted by my business coach Lisajane, Success Seekers, and got some great feedback from other folks who felt the same way or who had insight as to why that might be.
How That Helped
Knowing you aren’t alone when experiencing a problem can do wonders for self-esteem and mindset, and can help you conquer imposter syndrome. (You know, that pesky feeling that you don’t know what you’re doing, and that people are going to find you out.)
Step 2 to Conquering Self-Doubt: Look at Your Progress
Two years ago this month I was just beginning a copywriting business. I had done content marketing and sales writing for previous jobs, but I had never tried working for me, and only for me. I didn’t have a portfolio because I didn’t own rights to anything I had written at my previous jobs, or any of the website content I’d written in the past, so I needed to build a portfolio.
I signed up with Fiverr, a freelance work site which allowed me to list my skills and services as a copywriter and sell them for $5. You read right. I wrote website content and blog posts for Five. American. Dollars. I’m not sure where you are when you’re reading this, but if you’re thinking ‘boy, that doesn’t sound like a lot’ – you aren’t kidding.
After the Fiverr fees and the Paypal fees, before taxes I was paid in tall, specialty lattes from Starbucks. (See the chart to the left if you don’t have a reference point in USD.) – If you’re thinking ‘wow, that doesn’t sound ideal’ – you are 150% correct, but the experience allowed me to build myself a portfolio quickly and gain valuable experience learning the types of clients I did not want to work with, and the type that I absolutely did.
Why is That Important?
I’m not writing for lattes anymore. I’m not writing for lattes anymore. I’m working on projects for clients that I LOVE, and I’m being compensated more fairly for my time, effort, and skill set. I know what I’m doing, and I’m doing well. Websites would love to have my contribute my knowledge because I have been doing this for a while and I am seasoned and experienced.
Oh hey, ego boost. How you doin’?
It doesn’t matter if you’re just getting started. Wherever you are right now, you’re further than you were yesterday. If you’re not, then sending pitches will get you further than you were yesterday, so the end game is still the same.
Step 3 Take Some Deep Breaths & Remind Yourself You Got This
It’s hard to remember in the moment, but you absolutely can do this. Whatever “this” happens to be right now, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take a crack at whatever your business dreams are made of. Even failures and rejections are learning experiences, so there’s no reason not to suck it up and take on the world. Don’t feel like you’re going to kick ass? That’s cool. Have a friend read over your pitches and see if you sound unsure of yourself or if you aren’t committed to the project. Editors can smell fear. (I know, I am one. 😉 ) Don’t let them sense yours before they’ve had a chance to sample your work.
Step 4 Success!
After chatting with my cohorts, remembering that I’m basically a million times further along now than I was when I started out, and spending time counseling myself about how essential sending pitches to magazines, literary magazines, and blogs/websites is to success as a writer, I sent out 4 pitches for article ideas. Four. It’s not an earth shattering number, but it’s reasonable based on my blogging and copywriting deadlines.
How many of my pitches were accepted?
So go get your dreams, you badass.
Let me know how it goes, or what you’re trying to do. Need help writing pitches? Let me know in the comments and I’ll make sure to tackle that topic, soon.