Marketing + Promotion

Guest Blogging tips for Creative Brands

Exploring the benefits of guest blogging, choosing the right type of site, methods for pitching your content, and maximizing your opportunity for exposure. // From MichelleHickey.Design

August 16, 2016

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In this post, you’ll find guest blogging tips for creative brands: how it’ll help you grow, how to find opportunities, and advice for pitching your content.

Guest blogging is one of those small actions that can potentially grow your business in a big way. It didn’t just bring more traffic to my blog but exposed me to a whole new audience and led to a spike in sales. It remains my second-highest selling month to date.

An often underrated form of promotion, I’ve found that many newbies have shied away from this approach, because they either feel unqualified or don’t realize the potential. This article will explore the ins and outs of guest blogging. We’ll cover the benefits,  pitching methods, and maximizing your opportunity for exposure.

Guest blogging tips for Creative Brands from Michelle Hickey Design

Why bother with guest blogging?

The benefits of guest blogging are plentiful. To start, you are given a new platform to share your knowledge, which organically leads to new fans and potential buyers. The more sites you contribute to and the larger their reach, the greater YOUR reach. If you are able to secure an opportunity as a contributor (where you share multiple posts on a single blog), your relationship with the website alone becomes golden.

The better your rapport, the more likely the site will be to organically promote and support you. Furthermore, your contribution gives you clout in your industry, in the same way that an impressive job on your resume can lead to greater opportunities.

How guest blogging elevated my brand

I was given the opportunity to guest blog on two amazing creative lifestyle sites: Today’s Creative Life and Remodelaholic. The posts I shared centered around printables (my area of expertise), that were designed exclusively for the readers of those respective blogs.

Initially it seemed counterintuitive to hand over my hard work for someone else to use on their site when I could have been sharing them on my own. It was only after learning how to optimize those guest posts, that I realized the value that those opportunities were bringing me.

In each guest post, the blogs gave me the chance to introduce myself and include links to my blog and shop. While it was great to get some exposure, readers weren’t given much incentive to click on those links. What could I offer that would delight them, and then leave them wanting more?

My first idea was to offer a counterpart for each printable design. For example, I created a series of guest room printables, and shared two with Today’s Creative Life readers, and included a photo of a third design that could be downloaded by visiting my blog. This post from 2014, is still bringing a ton of traffic to my blog. In fact it’s my #5 source, beating out Buzzfeed and Craftgawker.

Exploring the benefits of guest blogging, choosing the right type of site, methods for pitching your content, and maximizing your opportunity for exposure. // From MichelleHickey.Design

Increased traffic is fabulous, but do you know what’s better? Increased sales!

How guest blogging led to a sales spike

I have a reader to thank—a lesson in listening, instead of guessing what they might want. Last year, I shared printable “First Day of School” signs on Remodelaholic. One reader left a comment asking if we could share an editable version, to use the signs for years to come.

In a lightbulb moment, I thought of how perfect it would be if could sell a premium, editable version of the signs in my shop, and include a link to purchase at the bottom of my post on Remodelaholic. Before I made this proposal, I thought about how I could enhance the offer bring a better value to both Remodelaholic and to their readers.

Leveraging my guest blogging opportunity

As part of my proposition, I offered to design a matching set of “Last Day of School” signs to be published later in the year. I then asked if I could include a link at the bottom of each post for anyone interested in purchasing editable versions of the signs. To sweeten the deal further, I would provide Remodelaholic readers with an exclusive coupon code that would give them the editable “First Day” and “Last Day” signs, for the cost of one.

Remodelaholic was on board, and it ended up sending tons of readers to my shop. Last August, when most people go back to school, I got a major spike in sales, which remains my second-highest selling month of all time.

Exploring the benefits of guest blogging, choosing the right type of site, methods for pitching your content, and maximizing your opportunity for exposure. // From MichelleHickey.Design

Those posts brought Remodelaholic so much traffic, they asked if I’d update the posts for the next school year. And bonus, to extend my coupon code offer. Wins for all!

After reading those accounts, I’m sure you are anxious to start on your own guest posting! Read on for tips that will get you the absolute most out of your guest blogging experience.

Guest blogging vs. sponsored posts

Before you craft your pitch, it’s important to understand the difference between a guest post and a sponsored post. A guest post is written by an individual on a topic in their area of expertise, benefitting the audience’s needs. A sponsored post is an opportunity to directly promote your product or service.

If you are offering to guest post, you are offering to provide value, not to focus on what you sell. Brainstorm topics you feel comfortable speaking on. You may also consider sharing a resource, such as a free printable. Choose a topic that fits naturally with you and your brand and come up with a method to present it in a fresh way.

Guest Blogging tips for Creative Brands

Choosing the right blogs

I suggest starting a spreadsheet of blogs or websites you have interest in posting on. If your area of expertise is a niche like “pets” or “toddlers,” populate your list with blogs that serve those audiences. You want to go where your potential customers are hanging out.

If you’re looking to hone your niche and get clear about the value you can offer to blogs, download this free Brand Blueprint so you can pitch with confidence.

Put at least 20 names in your spreadsheet. Cast a large net so you’ll end up with at least a few bites, and understand that not every website will be a good fit. What I didn’t include in my account above was another website that I contributed to for a couple months that sent my hardly any traffic or customers. Remember that these relationships need to be beneficial to three parties: the website, their audience, and you.

Submitting your guest blogger proposal

Once you have your list, see if your dream blogs have information about guest blogging on their site. Lots of blogs welcome contributions and may even have their own application process. Others may clearly state that they aren’t accepting guest posts or contributions, which you should respect.

Take the time to build a relationship with the brand before submitting a proposal. Interact on social media or send an email letting them know how their content positively impacted you. When you send your pitch, you won’t be a stranger, and they will be far more likely to respond.

Do your homework before pitching

I receive many proposals from people who want to guest post about weddings, a topic I haven’t covered in years. Those emails go right into my trash bin. If the person hasn’t taken the time to get to know my site, they won’t care about my audience.

Keep your proposals short and sweet, keeping your focus on how you can serve them, and their audience. No need to get into specifics about promoting your products. Those details can be negotiated once they are on board.

Once you’ve had a guest post published, include a link to that article in your future proposals. Allow brands to see how awesome you are, first hand.

A few more guest Blogging tips for Creative Brands

Maximizing your guest blogging experience

Once you’re in the door, look for opportunities to elevate your brand while keeping the site’s audience in mind. Here are some ways you can offer an incentive for readers to stay connected to you:

  • a giveaway of one of your products
  • a series of three posts that build on or relate to one another
  • an exclusive coupon code
  • a free guide or printable
  • a contest that involves audience participation
  • a poll that would help shape future products
  • a video that allows the audience to connect with you on a deeper level
  • an invitation to an exclusive group, webinar, or event
  • answers (solutions) to your most-asked questions and an invitation for the audience to ask you more

Guest blogging is one of the most organic ways to reach potential customers in a genuine way. Approach each opportunity with care, knowing that not every single post will yield the same results.

Guest blogging tips for creative brands: the most important one:

The more you put yourself out there, the greater your chances of having one of your own business-changing moments!

If you’re looking to hone your niche and get clear about the value you can offer to blogs, download this free Brand Blueprint and being pitching with confidence.

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  1. Another excellent post Michelle – Filled with honest, insightful, and very inspiring advice! I now look forward to every e-mail notification from you! Thanks so much.

  2. Thank you for your good quality content. I have clicked around related posts several times. Keep up the good work. I love how it is all paying off for you and your family.


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