For today’s installment of guest-posting week, I want to talk about some of the benefits of posting that are a bit intangible, but very real. For me, these fringe benefit can be a good reason to guest post. Guesters can give your freelance writing career — or your quest to be a big-earning blogger — a major boost.
Many writers resist guest posting because it takes a lot of time and has an uncertain payoff. But I don’t think of guesting purely as something where I’m hoping for immediate monetizing.
Instead, think of it another way — as a great way to create relationships with influential new friends who might help you improve your blog.
The best way to get a guest post in my experience is to get noticed and asked. You get to know people, they get to know and like your work, and then they ask if you want to guest for them.
How can you connect with wonderful bloggers and skyrocket your own blogging career? Some ways that have worked for me include:
- Social media (for me mostly LinkedIn and Twitter)
- LinkedIn writer forums such as LinkedIn Editors & Writers and Writer’s Mafia
- A-List Blogger Club
I haven’t talked much about A-List in a while, so here’s an update on how the social aspect of the club Club is helping me. I’ve already written about technical stuff I learned in A-List that helped make my blog more enticing. But there’s more to A-List than just an archive of courses from the club founders that you can read and listen to and watch.
Hanging out in A-List’s private forums exposed me to a whole world of fantastic bloggers I had never heard of before. Recently, they all seem to be women — maybe just who I’m gravitating to right now. I don’t think I would have known any of them otherwise.
If you want to have a great blog — especially one that makes money — here’s a piece of no-brainer advice: Read a lot of great blogs.
Not just one or two. Get inspired! See the different writing styles and approaches bloggers are using.
Personally, I’m so focused on writing-writing-writing all the time. It’s been transformative for me to read bloggers who’re writing about something else — minimalism, the quest for happiness, sexuality, cooking. It opens up my world and makes me think of new ways to approach my own topics.
One easy way to find other wonderful bloggers, I’ve discovered, is to circulate in a community where everyone is really serious about their blog. One where they’ve paid an admission fee to learn more about blogging. It was a revelation to me when I joined to discover how interesting everybody in A-List is, and how much I could learn one-on-one from the members — they’re all over the world, blogging about many different things, and some of their blogs are just amazing.
The schmooze factor
Reaching out to a popular blogger you’re on a list or in a club with often gets a response. It’s a great way to meet bloggers you might guest for — and guesting for smaller sites is a great way to get in training for scoring high-profile guest posts.
I’ve ended up speaking live and forming friendships with writers I’ve met through A-List. You grow your support network, find possible places to guest post, and start getting useful, free suggestions on how to improve your blog.
So when you consider guest posting, think about the whole package of what guesting can bring you. You’re forging a stronger link with another blogger and helping each other succeed. It feels a lot less lonely, and my experience is you get where you want to go with your blog at lightspeed instead of snail-speed.
Given what I’ve recently learned about how much fear cripples many writers who’re trying to make it as freelancers, I think the power of finding camaraderie with other quality bloggers can’t be underestimated. Feeling that support can make a huge difference in the course of your whole career.
10 Great Women Bloggers I’ve Recently Discovered
To give you an idea of what I mean, here are 10 fantastic women bloggers I’ve discovered recently, mostly through A-List. Most of these blogs are written by A-List members or were recommended to me by A-Listers. A few came from other people in my social networks.
Cat’s Eye Writer — I had a longtime writer friend recommend fellow Seattle writer Judy Dunn’s site to me shortly before we became Top 10 Blogs for Writers winners together. I felt savvy for having already discovered her very practical, grounded advice site for freelance writers.
The Daily Brainstorm — This site is a collaborative, spinoff project from A-List, and A-Listers Barrie Davenport and Katie Tallo are at the helm (A-List co-founder Mary Jaksch is one of the founders here, too). The Brainstorm’s new free report for subscribers, 23 Ways to Rock Your Mind, gives you a taste of the quality inspirational material they crank out on topics from personal growth to food, money, and shopping.
The Happiness Project — You may know that, as author Dennis Prager put it, happiness is a serious problem. We live longer than ever, have a better quality of life than any generation previous, and yet so often, we’re miserable. Gretchen Rubin’s great site builds on her book of the same name, providing inspiration for accentuating the positive each day.
HoboMama — Lauren Wayne’s natural-parenting blog has a strong sense of voice I find refreshing. My kids are too old for me to carry them around in a sling anymore, and some of them came from foster care too late for that anyway. But there’s something about her style that makes me want to start all over and hand-grind my own baby food and all. I did breastfeed one adopted baby (yes you can!), so I’m hoping I get some points for that. She’s not actually a hobo…I think.
Hyperbole and a Half — I have absolutely no visual skills, so I’m always in awe of people who can tell a compelling story in pictures. I’m also easily impressed by people who can write funny on a regular basis. Blogger Allie (who describes herself as “heroic, alert, caring and flammable”) does both, telling stories of her childhood in a winning, bare-bones cartoon style . I gather she recently got a book deal off her blog, and well-deserved, I say. I challenge you to read this post about eating a whole cake without busting up.
The ParmFarm — Amy Parmenter is one of the first bloggers I noticed on A-List. Her helpfulness on A-List drew me to check out her blog, which is an uplifting place to hang out. As her tagline says, “Stop by. Grow.”
Pioneer Woman — If you want to see how to make your personal blog pay, this is a nice example. Ree is a self-described desperate housewife who did a Green Acres out of city life to live with hubby on a farm, and chronicles her adventures in country living on the blog. She also loves to cook, and sells her photography and cookbooks on the site. Her tagline (“Plowing through the country one calf nut at a time”) gives you an immediate sense of her frank, funny attitude. A fresh look at a way of life that few Americans pursue anymore…served up with a side order of tasty-lookin’ vittles!
Rowdy Kittens — Though the name wouldn’t tell you, A-List member Tammy Strobel’s blog is about simple living — her ebooks are Smalltopia and Simply Car-Free. I came to her blog originally after seeing her case study on A-List about how she earns affiliate commissions through her Products I Love page (a strategy I adored and immediately adopted). But I stayed for the interesting, inspirational posts on how we can make do with less, save more money, work less, and spend more time enjoying the simple beauty of life on Earth.
Toy With Me — Warning: This site is not G-rated. But if you’re looking for a frank, pro-woman look at modern sexuality that will make you laugh until pee dribbles down your leg, take a peek at this blog. Another great blog to look at for monetizing — blogger Crissy The Queen of Everything (as she prefers to be known) sells vibrators. Proudly. I could never pull this kind of tone off in a million years, and my husband would divorce me if I wrote about our sex life this way, but she doesn’t just make it work — she makes it rock. Read How My Hair Caught on Fire During Sex without laughing, I dare you.
Virgin Blogger Notes — This blog was started by Jean Sarauer, who was in the process of departing A-List to write a novel as I was arriving last fall. But good news — her blog was snapped up by A-List co-founder Mary Jaksch. Now it’s serving as an unofficial guest-posting training ground for A-Listers who’re hoping to guest for bigger sites, including Mary’s Write to Done or A-List co-founder Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits. If you’re baffled by blogging, this is a great place to hang out.
Next up on guest-posting week: I evaluate two social-media bigwigs’ opinions on whether guest-posting is the ticket to instant riches or a total waste of time. Subscribe and you won’t miss it.
What little-known yet awesome bloggers do you read for inspiration? Leave a comment and let us know who they are and how you found them.
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