How to Write a Contributed Article that Gets Published in a Top Industry Publication
If you’re the CEO of an early stage company running your own DIY PR program, you may find that your experience with an elevator pitch makes landing a guest blog opportunity easy enough.
But then you have to write a piece that editors will actually publish.
There’s plenty of advice out there on how to pitch to media, but there’s less information available to help you figure out how to take that critical next step and actually write that guest post (also known as a guest blog, bylined article, or contributed article).
This is, in part, because guidelines vary greatly from publication to publication and based on the topic you pitched. For example, a science-backed piece from an expert in the field comes with different expectations than an op-ed from a leader in tech.
Whatever the subject matter or the publication, here are five guest blogging tips to help you write guest posts that editors will be excited to publish and their audiences will be excited to read.
1. Follow the Publication’s Guidelines
If the publication gives you a hard word limit of 500 words, don’t turn in 1,000. This may seem obvious, but you should do your best to deliver a piece that fits within the publication’s editorial guidelines (or at least touch base with them if you find that you need some wiggle room).
Not all media outlets provide contributor guidelines for guest posts, but for those that do, be sure to follow their requests around…
- Word count.
- Sourcing for graphics and images.
- Self-promotion (e.g., linking back to your company’s website).
Following an outlet’s basic editorial guidelines is the first step to moving your guest blog toward publication. After all, if your post doesn’t get published, your target audience will never hear your message.
2. Deliver the Guest Post You Pitched, Not Your Product
You worked hard to craft the perfect pitch; now think of that pitch as a promise you now have to follow up on.
Sometimes, the news cycle will shift or you’ll change your mind about how you want to talk about a specific topic, and that’s okay. Some zhuzhing is normal.
But you should ultimately deliver the guest blog you pitched and avoid any temptation to try to sell your product or services (unless, of course, the pitch that caught the editor’s eye was to write a piece about your exciting new product / service / company).
View every guest blog as an opportunity to bolster your company’s reputation and get its name out there. The win is seeing your byline and expertise in a live guest post; this subtler approach is more likely to gain a reader’s trust than an overtly self-promotional article.
3. Provide Advice Only You Can Give That’s Grounded in Experience
If you’re working to develop a thought leadership program, your guest blog will likely be based on your own thoughts and expertise, which are drawn from your own experiences as an entrepreneur and leader.
The anecdotes you include will provide critical support for the insights that make up the scaffolding of the article and help distinguish this guest post from all the others out there.
Successful thought leaders hold that title in part because they have a wealth of knowledge to share. Use this guest post as a chance to tell a story that your audience will be able to relate to by grounding the article in your real lived experiences.
4. Deliver Appropriate Insights for the Publication’s Audience
We’re big believers in landing coverage in trade publications because each of these opportunities is a chance to get a specific message in front of a specific audience.
For example, if you’re writing a guest post for Supply and Demand Chain Magazine, you should assume your audience knows the basics of supply chain management. Or, if you’re writing a piece for AgDaily, you can safely bet you’re mostly talking to farmers and those who work closely on farmland management.
And this allows you to reach the right people in the right place at the right time with information that can help them.
5. Write Clean Copy That Tells a Compelling Story
If you’ve read this far, chances are you believe in the power of thought leadership, and perhaps you're already running a healthy blog that demonstrates that you’re tapped into your industry and community.
If this is the case, you’re equipped with the skills to tell a timely, compelling story in your next guest post that an editor is sure to rush to print.
Clean copy that follows the publication’s guidelines, comments on a recent news story, and captivates editors with a unique point of view will make it out the door more quickly. And that’s the whole point of doing content-fueled PR in the first place.
A guest post is not just a chance to publish a thinly veiled sales pitch or to repurpose copy from the product pages on your website; it’s your chance to tell a memorable story that cements your name (and the brand associated with it) as a credible source of insights and information.
All 5 Guest Blogging Tips in a Nutshell? Relevance and Timeliness Are King
It can be difficult to secure a guest blog opportunity, so it’s critical that you have the right talent on hand to turn around the timely, relevant article you promised in short order.
While drafting a guest post may be easy to put off week to week, it’s important to prioritize writing the piece that this publication’s audience needs when your insights will be more helpful.
If your marketing team is lean and you’re looking to increase your media share, contact us to find out how Propllr’s team can help support your content marketing and PR efforts.
Photo credit: Burst, via Pexels