When I wrote down some writing goals in my year end post, I said that I wanted to be more active in cross-promoting. As writers we sometimes hoard our best ideas in our workspace. Although one of the most important steps a writer can do to get his/her name out there is to guest post.
It doesn’t matter how many unique visitors you get on your personal site, seeing your post get shine on a major site is like those guys who find out they aren’t the father. But before you submit, there’s a lot of this
Stage I: The Optimistic Excitement
You have no idea what idea or topic you’re going to pitch to whatever site. But you’re ceremoniously pounding your chest because you’re about to conquer the same fear all writers have. I liken guest post submissions to choosing the big college that’s 6 hours away vs. the small college in your town. You can get the same quality of education at the small college. However, making a name for yourself where nobody knows you is a feeling that creates a strong ripple effect. Everybody is always curious about the new people on campus.
Stage II: Over-thinking
The first pitch is the hardest. You have a bunch of great ideas swirling in your head. But which one should you lead with? Which one is the best fit for that site’s particular audience? What writing samples should you send if the editor asks? Answering all of the questions gets accomplished in a great pitch. Pray about it, take a shot, listen to that new Pharrell, whatever.
Stage III: Giving Your Keyboard #thatwork
Whether you’ve decided to write a fresh post or a follow-up to something already out there, sitting down to do the post you promised is daunting. You’ll spend all week (or how every many days you have) vomiting your thoughts into Word. Once the first draft is out, you’ll go over it. You’ll read it aloud. You might let someone else read it. You’ll run it through spell-check and make sure it’s formatted correctly. Your first guest post will likely be the one post that you spend the most time on for that entire month.
Stage IV: Naming Rights
Catchy titles are why a lot of shitty posts get distributed and read. Readers are notorious for skimming or outright bypassing an article’s content. Good or bad, a post’s title is what makes people feel moved enough to click in the first place. Whatever you wind up titling your piece is how an audience will remember you. Make it stick.
It doesn’t matter how satisfied you are with your final submission, once you pressed “send” on that email, a rush of anxiety will take over. You’ll realize you used a word wrong. You’ll see a paragraph that didn’t fit where you put it. You’ll wish you’d made it shorter or longer. Freaking out is bound to happen.
Stage VI: Release Day
Waking up the next morning to see a post you worked tirelessly on go live is right up there with finding a sleeve of your favorite Girl Scout cookies in the fridge. You put yourself and your thoughts out there to be judged. You’re prepared to take the criticism and you welcome any debate. Your confidence level is on trill and you can breathe easy.
I’m preparing my first guest post in like 1.5 years. Even though I’ve done guest posts before, this is for a site that has a huge following. I’m currently on stage II.5 and it’s a beautiful struggle.
Wish me luck.