This year I started focusing on 2 things on my personal development side: writing on my personal blog and guest posting on other blogs.
First I started writing periodic articles for my personal blog. These kind of articles were divided in 2 types: the ones that are focusing on how to do your work better in content marketing, social media and visual marketing.
Here are a few examples:
- 4 Ways To Promote Your Instagram Stories
- 5 Awesome Types of Video to Create for Social Media
- 73 Visual Marketing Statistics A Marketer Should Know
The second one is guest posting on other blogs. That means that I started pitching blogs and websites from my expertise area like social media, content marketing and digital marketing. I had a few successful articles that were published on sites like Content Marketing Institute, AdWeek, Single Grain or Maximize Social Business.
But there were websites that didn’t accept my pitch, my draft or even my entire article. And I still remember the first email I got from a website that said: “unfortunately we can’t post your article”.
First I was disappointed. I wanted to shut down all my guest post strategy and focus on the first thing: my personal blog. But then I realized how important is guest posting not only because those websites are driving backlinks, but also because it’s a long term game and sometimes we fail, sometimes we lose. But what’s important is the purpose of why I’m doing it and how to get to the results I want.
So I started pitching other websites, blogs and yeah, I failed a lot but I also got my wins. And I’m proud of myself because in 2016 I’ve done this particular thing that I didn’t have the courage to do.
But in this article I want to focus more on the fail than on the win. Why? Because there are a lot of articles that are telling you why guest posting is important, how to get published by websites like Huffington Post or Entrepreneur.com, but there are only a few that are telling you what you should do if you fail in guest posting.
So here are my take points on what I’m doing when I fail in guest posting.
1. Ask the reason
When I received the email with the “unfortunately we can’t post your article” first I was disappointed but then I got up and replied the editor on the reason about why I was dismissed.
I wanted to find out the reason why I didn’t make it to their website.
Maybe my article wasn’t good enough because it wasn’t backed with more data, or maybe I talked about a topic that wasn’t in my expertise, or maybe it wasn’t well grammatically written (but this wasn’t a problem because all my articles are proof readed). So I’m replying them and I ask the editor what was the reason why I didn’t make it through the editor part.
And sometimes I got an answer about why they didn’t use my article and this helped me rewrite another article and tried to pitch that one to the website.
Also, asking the reason can create a relationship between you as a contributor with the editor of the website.
In this way you show them that you are more interested in quality than quantity and they will appreciate this.
2. What topic they would be interested in next
Another question you could ask them is about the topic. Just ask them what kind of topic do they want you to write about.
For example, when I pitched my idea to Content Marketing Institute I recommended them a topic that I had the expertise in and it was in trend at that moment. So they accepted it and I had to write the article.
Think about this: if you are expert in LinkedIn Ads and this social media platform has just released a new type of ads I recommend you to use it the moment they launched it and then get the results you had, write a draft and start pitching to the websites that are publishing posts in the social media marketing, online advertising or LinkedIn topics. Recommend them that you are talking based on an experiment you just had with the new types of ads released by LinkedIn.
If you want to use the trendy topics, try to be fast in approaching these websites but also try to be an expert or have other articles written about. Doing so, you show them that you are familiar with the topic.
3. Pitch to another website
You wrote that article especially for that website and you are very proud of it. But they didn’t accept it, so what you should do?
You can start pitching another website. Why not? Don’t get upset because you weren’t lucky on the first side. Work hard and get to another website. Maybe you wanted to be published by the top website in your industry, but you were declined. So move along and choose some other website. Don’t stop until somebody will get back to you and accept your article.
I learned this lesson from Aaron Orendorff.
Maybe you are in that moment of your career when you are starting guest posting. So don’t stop at the first website. Work hard and find other websites that can give you their space.
4. Post it on your personal blog or Medium
But what if you don’t want to guest post this certain article on a different website?
Well, this is why it’s important to have a personal blog or a medium profile. Publish it on your own website, share it on social media, send the newsletter out there.
Then, when you pitch to another website you can give them this article as an example. And if you had great results with it, share with them your results.
Guest posting is not an easy work and many content marketers are struggling with it. This is why sometimes, when they fail, they don’t know what to do. And I believe that we need to fail in order to understand how to move along and try to make the best of our work.
Maybe the first 10 websites you are pitching your idea to will refuse you, but this doesn’t mean that you should stop.
Guest posting is not a sprint. Guest posting is a marathon with lots of fails but also lots of wins.
Now back to you, what is your biggest struggle when you do guest posting?