Someone emailed me an interesting question about guest post writing when you have a new blog the other day:
I am new to your emails about guest post writing but been loving them. I know I want to guest post, but I feel I'm not ready! I need to get clearer on what my own brand/blog stands for first. And who my ideal reader is.
At the moment I don't have a single direction and my content is all over the place! I have so many skill sets and experiences, but I'm not sure if what I know is something people will pay for. I mean is it even a real problem or is it something I've just made up in my head. If someone asks me somethings about photography, marketing, I have all the answers. But how should I package the information in my head into a blog? Do you have any suggestion where I should start?
To the writer of this email (and to anyone else reading who get this I want to say--I get it. I used to feel exactly like you.
But then I discovered something counterintuitive--you don't need clarity on what your blog stands for before you can guest post. Guest posting itself gives you this clarity.
You don't need clarity on what your blog stands for before you guest post. You get this clarity by guest posting!
Wait what? Let me explain.
If you are asking yourself: "How can I figure out what my brand/blog should stand for," you will just be asking that question forever.
That's not because you aren't smart enough to figure it out. But its because this is a super hard question.
And what makes it hard is you are actually trying to guess two things at the same time. These are:
- Do people actually want to solve the problem I help with? AND
- Can my solution help people given where they are at?
Now, if you have ever helped anyone 1:1 in your topic area you are probably rushing to say yes. But slow down for a minute. Ask yourself is that really true?
If you are being totally honest the real answer is: maybe.
The truth is you just don’t know for sure. Because you either haven't tested your offer or you haven't tested it with people who you already have a personal relationship with. In both cases there is no guarantee that a cold audience that you meet online, that has no prior relationship with you, will like what you have to offer.
The good news is that is exactly where guest post writing helps! Specifically guest post writing helps you:
- Reach an audience that is already engaged
- Test if they want to solve the problem you want to help with
- Test if they want the solution you have to offer
The audience's engagement with your post is directly correlated to how on point you are with #2 and #3.
Want to know how to do this? Then read on.
How to use guest post writing to start or jumpstart your blog
Here is a quick framework to use guest post writing to start or jumpstart your blog.
Step #1 Brainstorm the problem(s) you can help with
What are some problems you know you can help with? These could be problems you have helped clients, friends/family solve in the past. Or it could be a problem you yourself solved in the past.
- List the top 3 problems you can help with
- Pick the one problem you are most excited about helping with
Step #2 Think through who has the problem
Once you have picked one problem in step #1, think through a few types of people who have that problem. The key here is to get as specific as possible.
For example--don't just say you are helping people get professional headshots so that they feel confident and powerful. Ask yourself who are the types of people who would need this. Is it
- corporate professionals wanting a headshot for the next conference they speak at?
- online business owners wanting to attract the clients who fit with their quirky personality?
- new actresses wanting to show casting directors they are fit for a variety of roles?
While all of them want headshots, the purpose (and the results) each group dreams of is completely different.
Think through 3 possible audience groups and then pick ONE that you feel you are most connected with.
- Pick three possible audiences you can help
- Pick one audience you feel most connected with
Step #3 Find 5 influencers who talk to the people you want to help
The next step is to find 5 influencers that are talking to the people you decided on is step #2.
Don’t limit yourself to a medium or platform. Go wherever the influencer is talking to your audience. This could be a blog, a Facebook group, Twitter, or Instagram.
Find 5 influencers who talk to the audience you want to attract
Step #4 Brainstorm an extremely powerful way you can help
This is your chance to share your mad skillz. Think through the steps people struggling with the problem need to take to solve it.
- Note where your audience is right now as relates to the problem
- Think through the steps they need to take to solve their problem
- What is one powerful way you can help them solve the problem or get a small win on the way to solving their problem? List it.
Step #5 Pitch your guest post, publish it, and optimize
At this point you have:
- What problem you want to help with
- Who you want to help AND
- How you want to help them
Combine all three into a pitch for the influencer.
Now if you have done steps 1 through 4 well, you should be able to get at least one influencer to accept your guest post. You can then use the level of engagement and action taking from your audience to gauge if:
- People want a solution to what we can help them with AND
- The solution you will provide help people move forward
If you don’t get an acceptance, it means steps 1 through 4 need more work. Simple right?
Wrap up & next steps
You just learned:
- Why thinking your way to brand/blog clarity is an impossible task
- Why you should use guest post writing to start (or jumpstart) your new blog instead
- The 5 steps you can take to do this
Now it is your turn. Go ahead put this into action.
- About the author
- related Posts
Guest posting since 2009, Sana’s posts have been seen on places like Adweek, VentureBeat, byRegina.com and many others. She is on a mission to help online entrepreneurs like you grow their brands, credibility, and email lists by getting their guest posts published. When she isn't writing posts like this one you will find her meditating somewhere beautiful or pondering the meaning of life over a cup of tea.