Six Weeks To Street Cred

Guest post at Design*Sponge(Or: how to guest post your way to fame and fortune)

Guest posting. You know you should do it. We all know about the results. More traffic. More sales. Higher profile. People always tell me they want to do it BUT…

  • “…I don’t know how to pitch a post without annoying someone.”

  • “…I did it once and it didn’t work very well, but I’m not sure why.”

  • “…I don’t feel like I’m a good writer.”

  • “…I just don’t have any idea where to start.”

And after enough questions & comments like the above…I decided to run a course on it.

Why guest post?

guestposting2 (1)

You can use guest posting to:

  • gain traction with a new business or new products and services – making the time from zero to profitable much shorter
  • strengthen your “passive” marketing (do it once, it keeps working for you again and again) so that you don’t have to hustle quite so hard
  • establish yourself as an expert so you can score future writing and speaking gigs, if that’s your goal
  • get new clients and customers coming to you, instead of you actively seeking them out and pitching them
  • use that expertise & credibility you’ve established to strengthen your future pitches to potential clients and customers – making them that much more likely to say “yes, take my money!”

Guest posting is a great way to get new leads, customers, & clients – but you don’t have to take my word for it:

3.7% to 37.5%? Yes, please.

This is directly from my analytics dashboard. You can see that – well over a year after it went up – my guest post at Design*Sponge is still sending traffic to me, and that traffic is converting to email sign-ups at just over 10x the rate that “cold” traffic is.* You’re probably looking at the actual number of conversions and thinking “Yeah, but three isn’t a lot,” and it’s not, really; however, I’ve been keeping an eye on it since it went up and that conversion rate has been pretty steady over the last year, including when the post was sending 50 or 100 people my way at a time. That seriously adds up, y’all.

Of course, that wouldn’t matter if those people weren’t high-quality subscribers who later went on to purchase products or services…but they are. And, perhaps best of all, knowing that the Design*Sponge audience is a great fit for my topics, classes, and products gives me very usable information I can use in my future guest posting efforts and in my marketing overall.

*I’m not a design whiz & didn’t have an easy way to put all the stats together visually, but in case you’re curious: my average conversion rate to an email subscriber is 3.4% from organic traffic (someone clicking on a link on another site) and 1% from search traffic. And the average conversion rate of a landing page is 5-15%. So the Design*Sponge traffic converts eleven to thirty-seven times better than other traffic to my site, and two to seven times better than industry standards. Oh yeah – that’s the power of a well-placed guest post!  

FastCompany, Grasshopper, and LifehackGuest posting gives you credibility

Aside from sending people directly to you that want to know more about who you are and what services you offer, each post gives you credibility that you can use when talking to future potential clients and customers. In my current case, it’s particularly relevant because I’m selling writing/editing and content marketing. When I’m pitching myself to prospective clients, I can say “I’ve written for FastCompany.” – and it’s true. That’s a huge bonus and has already got my foot in the door with picky clients (and as of writing, it’s only been a week since that post went up!).

Even if you’re not actually a writer, it still gives you credibility and can lead to future opportunities. If a potential client sees an ah-maz-ing post from you, a web designer, on a high profile site, that makes them aware of web design issues they didn’t even know their site had, they’re going to want your services. If you teach classes or courses, an excellent how-to post gets your knowledge in front of new people…and if they’re interested in the topic, they head back to your site and become email subscribers and eventually customers, which is where we go back to item #1. A well written and well placed guest post can turn you, in the mind of a potential client, from “a stranger on the internet who might or might not know what they’re doing,” to “a credible expert that I can trust with my money.”

In this course, October 6-November 14, we’re going to be covering:

Week 1: Creating a results-driven guest posting strategy (i.e., one that does what you want it to)

  • The different benefits you can get from guest posting – and how your strategy is going to differ depending on which benefit you’re aiming for

Week 2: Laying the groundwork

  • How to find places to guest post that fit your needs, including why bigger sites & audiences might not be better

Week 3: Getting in the door

  • How to get in at places (even big ones, like FastCompany and Design*Sponge) where you don’t know anyone

Week 4: Actually writing a killer guest post

  • Coming up with the content, including quick tricks & workarounds to make brainstorming an idea way easier than you’re used to

Week 5: Track your results to get better results

  • How and why to track your results, including which analytics tools are best for your needs and simple resources to set them up, and how to use that information to create better plans for the future

Week 6: Pulling it all together to work with your marketing calendar, build your credibility, and boost your biz

  • By now, you’ve had at least one post written and pitched; this week we’re going to go over how to create a longer term (6-12 month) guest posting plan that does all of the above

Guest posting can...Bonus module #1: Getting other press for your biz

  • Guest posts are a great start, but getting other media features can only help your business…and this module will show you how to get started!
  • How to keep in touch with reporters, what constitutes a good pitch, how to give a good quote, the two things you need to understand about reporters & writers to get more media features
  • I’ve been quoted at or featured on/in MediaBistro, Entrepreneur magazine, CIO.com, & more, plus I’ve quoted other people when writing for KISSmetrics, Grasshopper, and Sitepoint. This module shows you both sides of the “getting quoted” coin.
  • This will be a PDF, audio, & video delivered after you sign up (to tide you over ’til the class starts!)

Bonus module #2: The Design*Sponge case study

Want to see what weeks 1-6 look like applied to an actual guest post? Well, you’re in luck, because once you sign up you’ll get this case study video that breaks it all down in approximately 30 minutes, with notes to review afterwards. Watch it before the class to prime you for the content, watch it after you’ve gone through the class to give you real world examples so you can say, “Oh! That’s what that principle looks like in a real-world scenario. Okay!”

All course content is delivered in easy to access material that you can keep up with no matter where you’re at.

There’s:

  • weekly content (a video, PDF, and audio mashup, depending on the week), with homework
  • a private Facebook group just for class enrollees, where I’ll be reading your plans, pitches, and posts and giving personalized feedback
  • Q&A sessions in the Facebook group
  • check in calls on weeks two, four, and six to answer any lingering worries or questions

The weekly content totals up at over 10,000 words of content and a few hours of audio/video. And that’s not counting either of the bonus modules. 

This isn’t like other classes out there. There’s no focus on just one aspect of the process (networking, or a good pitch email, or headlines) – instead, we’re going over every step of the way and making sure that it’s all backed up by a solid strategy that’s actually going to get you the results you want.

Sign up now: $250 for the class

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(Need a payment plan? Click here to do two payments of $125 and click here to do three payments of $85. If you need something more flexible or have any trouble with these links, get in touch and I’d be happy to help!)

“But Michelle!,” I hear you say. “I’m just not a very good writer – what if I learn all of the strategy smartness and I still can’t get guest posts published?”

First off, let’s be real – there’s a lot of crappy writing out there, so chances are you’re already head and shoulders above most folks. (Like, really. A lot.) Some of what we’ll be covering in the course is the basics of writing for the web in a way that’s easy to read and engages people, and that’ll be especially useful for you even if you don’t consider yourself a natural writer. And of course, we’ll also be covering how to write a good pitch email – which is a huge part of getting your post published.

But if you really want to make absofrigginlutely sure you’re sending out top-notch posts, you can upgrade your class ticket. The upgrade includes:

  • A personal review up to three of your pitch emails and rewriting as needed
  • Editing for up to 1,500 words (1-3 posts, depending on length)
  • A video recording of me editing one of the posts, noting the things I’m changing and WHY, so that you can use that knowledge to improve future posts
  • In addition to the editing assistance, a review of your guest posting strategy for the next 6 months where I’ll check into the outlets you’re looking at, give feedback on how comprehensive it is, and suggest alternative outlets if necessary–potentially saving you hours of time and energy

(The upgraded ticket bonuses are valid through end of 2014, giving you six weeks after the course is over to use them.)

Sign up now: $450 for the class + hands on assistance (10 spots available)

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(Need a payment plan? Click here to do two payments of $225 and click here to do three payments of $150. If you need something more flexible or have any trouble with these links, get in touch and I’d be happy to help!)

frequently asked questions

When are you going to run it again?

If I run it again, it’ll be January or February of 2015. I might just put it into a self-study format after this round though–it’s going to depend on a lot of the Q4 planning I do (that I haven’t done yet!).

I learn better with writing/I learn better with audio – will this work for me?

The content is a mix of written lessons, audio, and video. There’s also an element of interactivity with the Facebook group and the calls that’s going to help with the learning, so unless you learn exclusively in one format, you should be good.

What if I can’t make it live on the calls?

No worries. They’ll all be recorded, and you can submit questions ahead of time via email or the Facebook group.

What stage of business owner is this intended for?

The tools and tactics you’ll learn and the strategy you’re going to create using this course will be useful no matter what stage of business you’re at – whether you’re:

  • new and looking to gain traction as quickly as possible
  • established and wanting to shore up your inbound marketing so that you don’t have to hustle quite so hard
  • established and looking to establish yourself as an expert in your field to create future writing & speaking gigs

In fact, that’s part of what we’ll be discussing during week one – different scenarios you’d be using guest posting for and how you’ll change your plan depending on your desired results.

Sign up now: $250 for the class

[add_to_cart id=”13734″ sku=””]

(Need a payment plan? Click here to do two payments of $125 and click here to do three payments of $85. If you need something more flexible or have any trouble with these links, get in touch and I’d be happy to help!)

Sign up now: $450 for the class + hands on assistance (10 spots available)

[add_to_cart id=”13737″ sku=””]

(Need a payment plan? Click here to do two payments of $225 and click here to do three payments of $150. If you need something more flexible or have any trouble with these linksget in touch and I’d be happy to help!)
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About me & why I’m teaching this

Curious about moi, your teacher?

I’ve been writing for the web since 2008 (well, technically, since I was about 12, but yanno) and I’ve written on FastCompany and at Design*Sponge, among other places (and I have some new sweet posts going up soon!). I could go on, but if you want to know more about my writing & marketing background, you can feel free to check out my portfolio site.

I’m teaching this class because, like I said, there’s nothing else out there like it. This isn’t just about writing a good pitch or sending a succinct email or networking, and it’s not about SEO spamminess either. This is about how you can establish yourself as a business owner and expert, while creating incredibly worthwhile content that’s going to work for you long after you write it, so you can be successful without using gross promotional techniques or working yourself into sheer exhaustion.

Any other questions? Hit me up. (You can’t tell, but that’s totally a link you can click on to email me. I promise.)