It’s a strategy every top blogger tells you to pursue: Contact successful bloggers and ask them for a guest post, link, or interview. But blogger outreach isn’t quite that simple.
Now that every blogger is constantly hit up with requests, you’ll have to be a bit more sophisticated than shooting them an email that is essentially just, “Hi total stranger, would you do me a favor and help build my blog career?”
To help you avoid wasted time on blogger outreach that goes nowhere, I’ve pulled together three recent examples of outreach gone terribly wrong in pitches I received. There’s also one terrific example of outreach done right.
Wondering what basic mistakes to avoid? Read on:
Note: Think you’re missing the credentials or qualifications to be a successful freelance writer? I wrote this post five years ago, and I still see a lot of writers struggle with this. The credentials that really matter have nothing to do with writing, and everything to do with mindset. Enjoy! –Carol.
If I’ve learned one thing mentoring freelance writers, it’s this: Writers are hung up on qualifications.
I wish I had a dime for every time a freelance writer told me:
“I’ve always wanted to pursue a career as a freelance writer, but given that I lack a journalism degree, I felt unqualified.”
To which I can only say: Hey. Me too. Both on the no-degree front (I’m a college dropout with a degree in nothing), and the feeling inadequate thing, too.
Except I just plunged in and started writing anyway.
Do you think lack of qualifications or credentials are holding your back from being a successful freelance writer? Are you thinking about going back to school, taking another course, or talking yourself out of pitching higher-paying clients because you don’t have an impressive resume?
Everyone should be a life-long learner. But you don’t need a degree or credentials to be a successful freelance writer. Here’s what you really need:
Do you think you know how to write a blog post? If your blog doesn’t earn much money, I’ll bet that you don’t — at least, you don’t know all the elements that go into writing a successful blog post today.
Writing a popular blog post is a lot more sophisticated than it used to be. If you want to attract a decent-sized audience, there are a ton of technical steps to take to make sure readers can find it — and then, that they read it, like it, and want to subscribe.
Here’s a look at the process my blog editor Evan Jensen and I have cooked up at this point to make sure our posts reach the largest possible audience (and yes, I’m using affiliate links for some of the tools I recommend):
How to write a blog post? First, have a plan
My top tip for having a successful blog is to create a system and checklist for each blog post. That way, you get a consistent result. It’s not that some posts come out spiffy and others look like something you slapped together in a semi-daze when you couldn’t sleep for 30 minutes last night. With a system, you can give readers a pro experience, every time, and leave them clamoring for more.
Here are the blog post writing rules I’ve developed:
If you’re a writer who hopes to make money blogging, you’ve probably heard the conventional wisdom: Comments are important. You need to attract lots of comments and respond to all of them.
That builds rapport — it shows you’re engaging with your audience and you’re accessible to them. Also, responding to them all doubles your comment count, and makes your blog seem popular and interesting!
That worked, for years. You could write a great, controversial or highly useful post and easily rack up 100 comments. But not so much anymore.
Over time, my feelings about comments have changed, because the comments you get have changed. Which is why this is the last post on my blog that will allow comments.
Here’s why I’m killing comments on the Make a Living Writing blog, and what I’m doing instead:
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ever wonder what the secret sauce is to writing a guest post pitch that gets accepted? This was a popular topic on my blog five years ago, and it still is. Study these examples to learn how to pitch a guest post and land an assignment. Enjoy! –Carol.
A few weeks back, I talked about bad guest post pitches I’ve received, and outlined some of the elements of a good one.
One writer asked if I would show some examples of pitches that were accepted here — so here are three.
One needed a little back-and-forth and refining before it was accepted, as you’ll see.
I also noticed that each of these pitches had weaknesses to them, too. Guest post pitches don’t have to be perfect — but they do have to convey that you have a strong, unique idea, know how to execute it, and have some experience in freelance writing.
The idea also needs to be something I haven’t written about before, and probably wouldn’t have thought to do otherwise.
Want to learn how to write an effective guest post pitch? Here’s what you need to know.
Are you looking to find some great-paying blogging clients? Join the club! Business blogging is one of the best entry-level types of writing to get you started as a freelancer. When I got back into freelancing in late 2005, paid blog writing caught my eye right away.
As someone coming off 12 years as a staff-writing journalist, I was fascinated by the breezy, casual, short blog-post format. So I dove in.
Soon I was earning quite a lot blogging for clients. I documented what I was doing, and the post How I Make $5,000 a Month as a Paid Blogger became one of the all-time most popular posts here at Make a Living Writing.
Recently, I got to wondering what I’d do if I wanted that level of monthly income from blog writing clients now.
My approach would be completely different, because the world of blogging has changed so much. Also, the way I did it a decade ago was a recipe for burnout. I had to churn out nearly 60 blog posts per month to make that money! That’s not sustainable.
Here are the strategies I recommend now, for becoming a well-paid freelance blogger: