Guest posting is a tough game.
It’s even tougher if you want to be guest posting for TechCrunch and other top level sites.
The thing is, I’ve been published by TechCrunch. And I’ve only been writing professionally for two years. If I can do it, then you probably can too.
To get into guest posting, you need to make strong connections with other writers and publishers and begin to cultivate a portfolio which can meet the needs of the editors you reach out to.
I’ll walk you through my step-by-step guide to guest posting across the web, and then explain how I leveraged this work to get inside TechCrunch. I’ve found the most important thing to helping my success has been following the right processes. This post will give you an overview, and I’ll share one or two of my Process Street checklists with you to use in your own work.
You have a number of options for getting started in guest posting. There are two main approaches I have taken:
- Be super personable. Reach out to the writers you read the most. Build trust and a professional relationship.
- Build a big email list. Find a range of publications and their contact information, and reach out to all of them.
In this article, I’ll focus on the first option and how to create valuable connections specific to the areas of the industry you want to write about. Though, if you want some advice on contacting large numbers at once, you can find that in a previous article of mine with a link to download a free spreadsheet with 189 contacts on it.
The first step I took to both improve my writing and to increase my publication rate was to devote more time each day to reading. It is very easy to get caught up in trying to write more, and in turn, forgetting to research.
Reading more allowed me to discover new sites, blogs, and writers I would have otherwise missed. This has helped shape my writing style and presented me with a wealth of new information. More importantly for guest posting, this extra reading has shown me countless places where I know my work would be appreciated.
Identifying Your Targets
Before you start writing for TechCrunch or other large sites, it’s a good step to have a few publications under your belt.
If your ultimate aim is to be published on TechCrunch, then start thinking from the beginning about the kind of content TechCrunch would appreciate. This way, when you come to submit these first guest posts as evidence of your literary genius, they’ll like what they see.
Unlikely to help your cause when contacting TechCrunch
Form a list of 20 blogs or websites you like to read which you think you have a good chance of getting published on. This was my first step, and it helped me focus my attention well. It also made sure that I knew the sites I was going to contact and could submit content tailored to them.
Begin to like, share, retweet, and comment on the posts these sites put out. If you engage with the article with a long form comment where you’re constructively adding to the discussion, you’ll catch the attention of the writer or editor. Hopefully, you can strike up a conversation with them about the topic in the comments. This will make the original writer feel like their work is valued.
My next step is to follow them on Twitter and engage them there. I would attempt to naturally build a friendship with them. This close connection beats cold emailing in my eyes as the value of the relationship is already greater.
There’s a number of tools you can use to improve this outreach which let you reach more people in less time. You can use Outreach Lists from BuzzSumo to help you find contacts on Twitter and points of interest you can use to make those initial interactions count.
Making It Professional
Now you have your connections. Hopefully, you have cultivated at least 10 of these relationships from your initial list of 20. I found that even with the personal approach, not all sites were open to the guest posting opportunities – particularly at the start of my guest posting. It’s good to give yourself some wiggle-room.
I sat down and came up with five different articles I wanted to write. Each article had a couple of potential variations which could be made. If each proposed article has two other directions I could take it in, then my five articles amounted to 15 potential avenues I could go down.
One thing I really recommend when reaching out to sites for the first time is to give a variety of very well crafted titles. I give each site an option of 5 titles to choose from with variants being sent out to different blogs.
I wrote a longer article here which explains my basic rules to writing the perfect headline. If you want to grab my Process Street checklist which I use to create titles, you can find it here and start using my process right now.
Send your professionally crafted email to the blog you want to write for with your perfect headlines tailored to their needs, and watch the positive responses roll in.
Eyes on the Prize – Get Published!
Once you have your initial guest posts completed and you’d marketed them across the web, you can start to think about applying to write for TechCrunch or another highly reputable website.
If you want to maximize the reach of your content, I recommend checking out our Process Street advanced content promotion checklist. If your work has been popular in the past, you may stand a better chance.
Approaching TechCrunch was much like reaching out to the other blogs. The difference was I had to be more targeted and make sure I was only offering my best work… oh, and I had to already have the article written.
We’re not playing with variety. You’re in the big leagues now.
First off, write the best thing you can write. Take a topic that’s trending or uncover something new* and present an engaging angle on it.
(*it’s not new, FYI)
One step I can’t recommend enough is reaching out to the right journalist. Find the keyword for the topic you want to write about and search for that keyword within TechCrunch to see who is writing about it. Then read through those articles and find the contact you think will like your piece.
Remember, rejection is always a possibility. But keep the lines of communication open and persevere.
Here are some takeaway points to keep in mind:
- Don’t ask; give. Send it to them without permission.
- Paste the whole article into your email. Don’t make them click links.
- It needs to be good. At the very least, make it somewhat unique and definitely interesting.
If you want to check out the article I wrote for TechCrunch, you can find it here. You might also see that once your foot is in the door, you’ll likely get a few more articles accepted too.
As for the one last giveaway, see this article to find the email template I used to land TechCrunch plus our spreadsheet of 12 journalists with their emails.
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