woman sitting and writing with pen and paper
From choosing the right publication to creating a tailored pitch, there are several carefully curated steps that go into contributing content to a publisher. — Getty Images/MundusImages

If you’re looking to get your content seen by a larger audience and expand your reach, think about contributing to a publication or blog as a guest contributor. Contributing content to publications in your area of expertise is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your industry. Your post will get your name and product out into the open and gain new exposure.

Below we’ve outlined why you should develop your writing skills, become an expert content contributor and how to achieve your goal.

[Read: 7 Creative (and Free) Ways to Promote Your Business]

Why become an expert content contributor

Contributing content as a guest for a blog or publication establishes you as a voice in your industry and validates you by those publishing your work. Furthermore, publications want great content from experts because it expands their reach and potential just as it expands yours.

There are also back-end SEO benefits to being featured on a major publication. Contributing well-written content on a reputable site will increase the number of referral links, or back-links, to your site. Google’s search ranking favors links from reputable, high-authority publications, so being featured on one increases your website search ranking, making you more likely to appear in search results and increase your traffic.

Being a guest contributor is different from purchasing a sponsored content slot. With a solid pitch and great writing skills you can be featured on major publications without having to pay for your place there.

[Read: How to Develop a Content Distribution Strategy]

Once you have an idea of which publications you’d like to pitch to, properly research them and the content they post.

How to start contributing content to a publication

Following are some steps to take when looking to contribute content:

Choose the right publication

There are two types of publications you should be looking into: major news publications and blogs and sites within your industry and niche. These will give you the widest possible audience, as well as an audience that is directly invested in the type of work you do. You also don’t have to pitch to a site that is directly about your produce. Think outside the box and compile a list of websites where you could have a unique angle to pitch to them.

While you may be seeking large publications, also look for smaller blogs. These typically have a large, active audience and having your work published there will give you more credibility when pitching to the more major sites.

Once you have an idea of which publications you’d like to pitch to, properly research them and the content they post. Read through published content to form your unique angle as a potential contributor and identify a voice and subject that you can share that isn’t already on the site. Identify word count, tone, hyperlinks and break down the overall structure to increase your chances.

Write your article

Typically, sites are going to want the full article first. Make sure you have your article ready before pitching it to a publication. Be sure to write with your targeted audience in mind, and use the research you did to mimic the style of the site you’re pitching to. It’s also good practice to be sure you can write about the topic you’re pitching and that it’s more than an idea.

Don’t heavily promote your brand in your article, otherwise it won’t see the light of day. You can subtilty make mentions of how your brand solves a problem or just let your byline do all the promoting.

Craft and send a tailored pitch

Make it as easy as possible for editors to say yes to you. Make your pitch quick and personable. You'll want to format this according to the publication's guidelines and address editors by name, if possible. Typically, you can find this information on the publication's website. If not, reach out to an author who already has published content on the site. They may even be able to give you some advice on writing for the site, too.

[Read: How to Create a Native Advertising Plan for Your Business]

Follow up

It isn’t uncommon to not hear back from a publisher, especially if they’re big. If you don't in a few weeks, send a follow-up message. Editors appreciate a polite nudge when done respectfully. If your piece has been published, follow up on that as well to respond to any comments that readers might have and thank them for the opportunity.

Promote and network

Once your article is published, share it with the world! Promote your article on your social media platforms and website and continue to build your network of contacts in the media industry to land future opportunities. You can also use the published work to pitch to other sites to continue to build your network.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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