Guest posting on popular, widely-read blogs is a great way to get visitors to find your own art blog or art website—especially if you’ve just starting out online and are looking for fairly quick results.
However, even if you do write an article which is accepted and then published on a popular blog somewhere, the type of visitors you get via that article might not be the visitors you really want (i.e., people who will buy your art).
So that’s the topic of today’s marketing tip—how to plan and execute the perfect guest post. There are seven steps that I’d suggest going through, and the first one is picking the correct target market.
1. Choose your target audience
Some people will naturally like your art more than others—to successfully market your art, you need to figure out who those people are.
So take a look at your art. Then, remind yourself of the folks who have bought your art in the past. From those two things, you can come to a conclusion as to who might want to buy your art in the future. This is the audience you should be targeting.
If your art is based around a certain subject (golf, for example) then your target audience is probably made up of those who share that same interest (golfers).
Your art might also speak to a common demographic (baby boomers, women, etc).
You should know best who your art will appeal to. If for some reason you have no idea, take a day or two to poll your friends, neighbors, even strangers, and find out.
2. Pick a topic that interests your target audience
Once you know your target audience, you have to figure out what their interests are.
What are they passionate about? Are they even online at all? More importantly, what topic can you write about that will tie their current interests to your artwork?
Let me give you an example: let’s say you paint realistic, very detailed trains. The type of people who might buy your paintings are the same folks who would spend money on a model train set, or other railroad items and memorabilia.
(I’d also guess that this audience would skew towards the older, male demographic.)
Writing about either real trains or model trains will probably get their attention. Throwing in some images of your paintings to illustrate the trains that you’re talking about will then tie your art to their interests.
3. Find a popular blog that relates to your topic
If your own blog was popular enough, you could post your article there and lots of people would find it just fine. But since your blog is new (or maybe you just have a portfolio site, not a blog) you have to find the perfect blog for your article.
This is where you can get creative. You do NOT have to submit your guest article to a blog that focuses on art, although that can work too.
Using our last example, you’d probably want to find a blog on trains. Or just travel. Or possibly all kinds of model planes, cars, trains, etc. Any of those could work.
But what if you want to cast a wider net? Or what if your art isn’t very subject-specific? In this case, you’ll just need to pick a popular blog and make sure that your article fits its readership as closely as possible.
Sure, this isn’t anywhere near as ideal, but it can still be effective, especially if the blog you choose is very, very widely read.
4. Thoroughly research and write your article
It’s rare that you’ll have all the information you need to write a guest post right off the top of your head. After all, this guest post needs to be amazing, right?
So do your research, take notes, come up with a basic outline and put at least a couple of hours into it.
You’ll also want to research your target audience and target blog—see what kind of articles they’re used to. Do they like lists and bullet points? Lots of images? Humor?
I’m not suggesting that you try to be exactly like everyone else, but if your article looks like it belongs it will definitely help you get your foot in the door.
(It goes without saying that spell-checking and proof-reading your article helps, too.)
5. Come up with a provocative (yet accurate) title
Titles are really, really important online. For a few different reasons, too.
First of all, the title is what shows up in Google. . . by picking a popular blog, your title already has a better chance to show up on the first page for any searches relating to your article’s topic.
With a top spot and a good title, people will be likely to click on your guest post for a long, long time. Most likely some of them will link to it, as well. This could mean consistent, steady traffic for years.
If your title is boring, however, it won’t get as many clicks, which means it won’t get as many links. . . and eventually other articles will replace it on the first page of Google’s search results for that topic.
The second reason to pick an interesting, provocative title, is because of social sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, etc. All of these sites work based on user-generated recommendations—and to be recommended, you first need to have people interested enough to click on your title in the first place.
So titles like “Top 25 Amazing Car Crashes Caught on Video” are a shoe-in to get interest from social media sites. If your article follows through on your title, then you’re likely to be recommended.
6. Follow the rules for submitting your guest post
Every blog is different. Most of the bigger blogs that accept guest posts on a regular basis have specific guidelines or forms to fill out.
Here at EmptyEasel, the submission form is pretty simple—I just ask for a name, a website to link to, an email address so I can contact you if necessary, and the article
But whatever is required, don’t think that you can just ignore it. If they ask for an image, include an image. If they want you to leave links out of the article, do so.
The more you can do to submit a perfect, easy-to-use article, the more likely yours will be published rather than someone else’s.
7. Promote and support your article
Guess what. . . your job isn’t done after pressing that “submit” button!
Sure, the article itself is out of your hands, but you still have a lot of ways to help push that article to the top of the search engines, or make it more popular in social networks like Digg, StumbleUpon, etc.
Once your guest post has been published, link to it from your own website, promote it in your social networks, and be active in replying to any comments that get posted.
The more active you are in promoting that article, the more visitors it will send your way and the more likely that you’ll be allowed to post another article in the future.
Guest posting is something that not many folks do, yet it can be tremendously helpful for getting qualified, interested visitors to your website.
If you’re just starting a blog or you want more people to find your online portfolio, give guest posting a shot. There’s really no other method that I know of for getting immediate traffic AND (potentially) some long-term traffic down the road.
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