This week I’m featuring the lovely Michelle Nickolaisen of Bombchelle Industries who completely rules at something I have never really been all that fantabulous at… dum…. dum….. duuuuuuum….. guest posting. I don’t know about you, but coming up with even more time and topics than what I already do has generally felt like an overwhelming pain in the ass.
But then I look at what Michelle has created for herself and the results are undeniable. From Fast Company to Design*Sponge, Michelle has been OWNING guest posting. And she’s not just getting traffic and attention, she’s also making real live moola at it.
So… let’s let Michelle tell us all about how it’s done:
Makeness: So, What is the ONE thing you know that you have nailed in your business? Be specific:
Getting good results from guest posting as a marketing strategy.
[Michelle’s being humble – she has had NINE posts go up since May (as in less than three months ago) + MANY more spots where she was quoted in other articles.]
Makeness: Tell us about all the things you tried that relate to this that DIDN’T work?
Oh man, there’s a lot, but I think the biggest mistake I made (and that I see others make) is not tracking results. Without tracking results, you can’t adjust your strategy to make sure it’s working.
[Oooooo, numbers. Numbers make me queasy.]
The other mistakes I see people make are:
-not having a plan at all
-not consistently following up with places (sometimes emails get lost and/or editors/blog owners are just busy and forget to reply)
-not spending enough time making sure the pitch email is concise yet thorough
[So what you’re saying is… PLANNING to guest post at some point is not an actual PLAN? Well shit.]
Makeness: What was the catalyst for getting your thing to work really, really well?
Definitely tracking results – like I said, that’s such a simple (and yet nerdy) thing to do, but once you can say, “Okay, even though Site Y has a larger audience, the traffic from Site Z was WAY more likely to sign up to my newsletter and go on to become customers,” then you can set up a really effective strategy.
Makeness: How do you know it’s working?
Well, there is of course the tracking that I mentioned – I can look at traffic from the guest post I did at Design*Sponge and say that it quite literally converts 10x better than other traffic. Also, whenever I converse with customers or clients, I always ask them where they found me – that gives me a good idea of how well the guest posts work as far as getting loyal clients/customers. (Eventually I’ll have my analytics set up to track that too, someday when I have the time to do that!)
[Whether it’s guest posting or another marketing technique – people SO OFTEN overlook that simple little step of asking where business came from. New clients are remarkably forthcoming with answers and their responses can give you invaluable insight into what’s working and what isn’t.]
Makeness: What influenced the direction you took ‘the thing’?
I’m a big data nerd. It’s not enough for me to say “I *think* these email subscribers came from that guest post,” I need to know for sure. And I tell my clients/readers/customers to do the same thing, so what kind of advice giver would I be if I didn’t follow it myself?
Makeness: What advice would you give to others who feel like their ‘thing’ isn’t working?
I find that a lot of people tried guest posting once or twice, but kinda half-assed it, and so they assume it won’t work for them or their business.
[Grumble grumble grumble… that does not sound familiar to me AT ALL.]
I’d say that if you’re in that boat, give it a try again BUT:
-have a plan – you’re going to guest post at places A, B, and C, based on (their fans overlapping with yours, you doing actual research into their community engagement, etc.)
-track your results
-after you have results from the first 2-3, come up with a plan for your next 2-3 places, BASED ON actual results from the first round
Try THAT plan over six months or so (yes, good things take time!) and then see if it works for you.
[So what you’re saying is… you have to STICK WITH IT? Interesting.]
Makeness: Anything else you think people should know about your thing [as it relates to this topic]?
One pitch tip for the road: One of the things that I like to teach with a pitch email is to give three options for posts and have a favorite – this works because they’ll probably go along with whatever post you want to write, but if it’s not a good fit, having other options opens up a dialogue and keeps the conversation from ending at “no that’s not a good fit, sorry”. Also, remember that people get TONS of these, so you want to keep it as brief as possible when you’re giving ideas/headlines, but two or three sentences explaining your favorite idea, and one explaining the other two is a good rule of thumb.
And if you’re ready to get serious about putting a real plan in place….
I’m running a class on this! http://www.bombchelle.com/
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