Build Your Platform by Guest Blogging

You’ve already heard a great deal about building your platform and especially about the benefits of blogging and writing articles to demonstrate your expertise to your audience. Still, you’re always looking for more ways to drive traffic back to your online presence, and ultimately to the bookstore to buy your book.  Another excellent way to achieve this is by serving as a guest blogger.

A guest blogger is someone who does a single post for another individual or group’s blog. This can be a one-time deal or a recurring column, but either case allows you to tap into someone else’s audience. There are many great blogs out there for you to choose from. You can locate blogs related to your platform in a number of ways:

  1. Go to the top magazines or associations in your topic. Chances are the editors of the magazine or leaders of the association have at least one blog (sometimes they have several—each one for a different beat).
  2. Ask for referrals. Find out from your network what other blogs your audience is following.
  3. Check out the competition. Other authors and experts in your field already have a line in with your audience. Grease the wheels by offering to swap guest posts.
  4. Look at the blogroll of your favorite sites. Most times bloggers feature the blogs they follow on their tool bar. This is a great (and fast) way to locate additional blogs. You can use sites like Technorati and Alexa to evaluate which blogs have the most traffic so you can develop your strategy and start by focusing your time on the blogs with the largest audiences.

Once you’ve identified blogs related to your topic, you will want to craft a pitch. Before you contact the blogger, check to see if they have posted writer’s guidelines. If so, follow them to the letter. If not, send them a short pitch that includes a specific idea for a post topic and identifies exactly why that post would be of interest to their audience. Close with a short paragraph about your qualifications. Here’s an example of a typical pitch letter:

Dear blogger,

The world of publishing is changing fast. Many of your readers are trying to navigate this evolving landscape, but it can be overwhelming. I propose a post that looks at the pros and cons of each book publishing option available to authors, complete with a short checklist readers can use to identify which route is best for them.

I work at an independent publisher and write articles and white papers related to publishing. You can view samples of my work at

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to your response.

There are a few other things to consider when pitching a guest blog post:

  1. Research the outlet beforehand to make sure it’s appropriate. Bloggers don’t want to get pitched by writers who are outside of their subject area and who don’t have anything to offer their readers.
  2. Read some of the posts and make sure that you are providing something unique. If they’ve already done a post on the subject, craft a new angle or choose a different topic.
  3. Be considerate of the blogger’s brand. They are building their platform and readership too. Don’t try to hone in on their turf.
  4. Keep the self-promotion out of your post. Often you are allowed a short bio and a link back to your website or blog, so focus on creating value and leave the promotion out.

Above all, don’t be afraid to ask. Most bloggers work hard to fill their editorial calendar and are happy to have someone fill in (as long as the topic is relevant). Also, don’t be afraid to consider having someone guest post on your blog as well. They will bring their readers with them and will often add you to their own blogroll. In the realm of social media and blogging, paying it forward really does pay off.

Shennandoah Diaz is the Business Development Assistant at Greenleaf Book Group, a publisher and distributor supporting independent authors and small presses. Diaz develops educational materials for authors in addition to managing Greenleaf’s social media, writing case studies and white papers on the publishing industry, and coordinating Austin Publishing University.