If you have a brand new art blog, your visitor traffic is probably minimal at best. One way to get readers (without spending money on advertising) is to locate a few of the top bloggers in your genre and offer to write a guest post for them.
Free of charge, of course.
Writing guest posts gets your name in front of the same audience you’d like to reach on your own blog, by leveraging the movers and shakers who already have an audience.
Here are 6 steps for effectively offering your services as a guest blogger:
1. Know your genre
Sign up for magazines, podcasts, e-zines, and (most importantly) blogs related to the type of art you create.
Pay attention to what’s happening in the industry, as well as what’s lacking. Know the pulse of your own niche. By doing this, you’ll gather information that will later help you pitch ideas for guest posting.
2. Speak up
Join in on the conversation. It’s not enough to go to local art events, you need to get online and immerse yourself in social media: chat rooms, forums, Twitter, Facebook, and the comments sections of art blogs.
In doing so, you create an online presence that increases your credibility as an artist and authority figure. A side benefit is that you once again gather information which will help you pitch ideas.
3. Write targeted posts
First and foremost, keep your blog updated on a regular basis and on target with your overall goals. Blog owners will typically check out your blog before allowing you to guest post. If you’re on target with your own blog, that will go a long ways.
Second, write an original post that targets that blogger’s readers. The post you choose to write can be based on industry trends, industry news, personal/professional experience, or something the blogger has touched on in a previous blog post.
But if you really want to up your chances of getting your post accepted, visit the blog’s comment section to find out what questions the readers have. Then check to make sure those questions have not already been addressed somewhere on the blog.
Once you’ve verified that they haven’t been answered, write a post that addresses those questions.
4. Create a compelling pitch
A pitch is very similar to a query letter writers use to sell editors on their ideas and is probably the hardest part of the process. It requires you to sell yourself, and your idea, to someone who may have never heard of you before.
Your pitch should be between 250 and 500 words, and should:
- Address the blogger by name (not sir, madam, editor, or blog owner).
- Confirm that you actually read their blog—in other words, show the blogger that you’re a real, involved person, and aren’t just trying to “game the system” by emailing any and every blog online.
- Include information as to why you should be considered an authoritative figure on the subject you are presenting. Go ahead, toot your own horn a little.
- Point the blogger in the direction of the original post and/or the reader comment (on his blog) that gave you the idea for your proposed post.
5. Proof your work—twice
Once you’ve written your guest blog post and your pitch, set them both aside for at least a day. After your mind is clear, go back the next day and do a read-through to make sure you’re comfortable with what you’ve said.
You should also check for typos and/or grammatical issues, and make sure all links you’ve included inside the post work.
6. Pitch your guest post
When pitching your guest post, check to see which form of communication the blogger prefers. Is it email, a contact form, snail mail, or a phone call?
Whatever communication medium they prefer, use it to send them your pitch, your guest post, and a nice 2-3 sentence byline (with a link to your blog).
7. Be available
In a perfect world, the blogger will love your post and use it immediately, thereby sending more traffic to your blog in a single day than you normally get in a month.
Or, it might take a while to get published. . . but either way, keep track, because once your guest post is online you’ll have an opportunity to further your exposure. Monitor the post’s activity, and take the time to answer reader comments directly on that post.
The more available you are, the more interest and traffic you’ll get. Plus, you could always get asked back for another guest post—and that wouldn’t hurt either.
Guest posting isn’t the only solution for getting traffic to your blog, but it IS a tried-and-true method that can have great results. Give it a shot. . . and good luck!