Every web series creator should guest post. Meaning, write a post for someone else’s blog. Period. The reasons are myriad but the most important three are:
It positions you as an expert and leader in your genre/style.
It leverages the blog owner/publisher’s authority as your own. Meaning, your presence on a well-respected blog automatically gives you equal respect. It adds up to instant trust by audiences and readers.
Builds a highly targeted audience much quicker than only posting to social media.
Why is this important to a filmmaker or creator? It’s simple; experts are easy to pay, easy to collaborate and there is no doubt what you get when you invest in them.
However, the biggest concerns I always hear from people about guest posting or posting on a Facebook group are: “Why would a well-known blogger/Group Admin let me post on their site?” “No one knows who I am.” “There are so many people writing about my topic/genre.” “I keep sending out pitches and no one responds”.
Let’s face it, there’s a lot of crappy advice out there and we can all get bogged down jumping from tactic to tactic when trying to build an audience for your original work. These things sound great on paper but when implemented…no dice. I call it the “Tactic Swamp” and it’s easy to get stuck there when nothing else seems to be working.
But let’s be honest, the only way to grow your audience is to get the attention of the right audience and grow the amount of space we take up on the internet and in the press. Guest blogging is one of the most powerful strategies there is for this. Being associated with a prominent blogger automatically ups your cred and leverage. Again, audiences immediately label you as an expert. What guest blogging gets you:
Drives more Targeted Traffic to your site
Converts that traffic into highly engaged subscribers that keep coming back
Gets those subscribers to REFER you to their friends
*** All based on Guest/Group Posting. ***
Great Bloggers have a very clear point of view and a very specific way of talking about their topic. So, when people seek to guest blog on their site, you can imagine they are very cautious about who they let into their world. Remember, like your web series, their blog is like their own child. They are very protective. In addition, know that if you “hard sell” them or come off as spam-y, that door is closed to you forever. So, it’s better to get a good idea of what makes them tick before sending out any pitches. Real research on how they see their world becomes imperative.
These people get hit up all the time so the more you know their work, the better chance you have. Some things I like to do to get to understand a blogger I intend to reach out to are:
See which Topics they keep coming back to. Chances are if they keep hammering on a certain subject, there’s a good bet that’s something they want to keep talking about.
See which posts got a lot of Comments. This may be a point you can focus on in your pitch. What was it about that central topic that readers were commenting on.
What AREN’T they talking about in regard to your chosen topic and avoid that subject like the plague.
This is a must: Subscribe to their email list and start engaging with them. Leave comments and respond to their questions. All these steps are important, but success is found in your preparation and your ability to create trust between you and that blogger. The better your research and the more you engage with them and their content, the better chance you stand of connecting with an influential blogger and developing a genuine relationship. This could become a blog you can contribute to for a long time to come.
So let’s assume you know your audience, you know your topic and you know which blogs you’re going to pitch (if not, make that happen prior to reaching out to target bloggers). Now it’s time to write. Again, always bear in mind that successful bloggers are busy so Keep It Short. Do not waste your time writing a huge letter that will for sure to get you sidelined by the blogger or their editor.
The best pitches only need to include 5 Things:
A short intro to who you are and what value you get from their content (include personal takeaways/how did you benefit from their content?)
A focused explanation of how your article would add value to your target blogger’s audience
A brief explanation of your main topic.
A list of 3-5 subtopics
The main takeaways that will lead to solving their audience’s problem - Include a visual, whether it’s a photo or info-graphic
Did I mention, keep it short?
One final and VERY important thing: NO SPELLING OR GRAMMAR ERRORS.
With your final checks complete, PRESS THE SEND BUTTON
Creating irresistible content doesn’t mean you need to be Shakespeare. You don’t need to be the best right now, just able to communicate your ideas confidently and succinctly. The more consistently you put out quality content, the more people will trust you and engage with whatever you put out. you will become a destination and a source of valuable information/entertainment for your audience. Concentrate on quality, not quantity. Your audience deserves and expects value for their time.
The rule is 20% content creation, 80% promotion. Be consistent in your content releases and plan them at least one week ahead. This gets you and your audience in a rhythm which further solidifies their comfort with you.
In the end, guest posting as a creator defines you as an expert in your genre both to the audience who will watch your content as well as to the industry that will hire you and buy your work.
***Alex LeMay is a Showrunner and Director from Los Angeles, California. He creates and produces web series’ for Sony Studios, YouTube Red, Maker, Go90, Air + Style and more. In addition, he is the founder of alexlemay.com, a coaching and consulting business that helps working filmmakers build profitable content businesses.