The 5 W’s for Serving as a Guest Contributor
What exactly is a guest contributor? A guest contributor is an individual, not on staff, who writes articles for publications, particularly digital publications. These can range from blogs or magazines for a specific industry to general news publications. Theoretically anyone can serve as a guest contributor. But depending on the structure of your particular industry guest contributors are usually high level executives such as CEOs, CMOs and VPs. These positions make gaining contribution positions easier as the title implies experience. Guest contributions are an important part of any public relations or digital marketing plan because the articles demonstrate thought leadership. So, how do you secure one of these opportunities? Here is the who, what, when, where and why of becoming a guest contributor, no matter what your vertical is.
While anyone at a particular business can be a guest contributor, it is often times recommended that high level managers and CEOs serve as contributors. These individuals have years of experience that backs up the scenarios described in their articles. In addition to this, they are often seen as the face of the company so it is fitting to have the article written from their perspective. Employees on lower levels are not excluded from guest contributions, however, they typically are featured on sites with lower metrics.
Depending on the publication that is being targeted the content will vary. For example, a publication such as Entrepreneur or Forbes covers a variety of topics related to business, sales, marketing and strategic growth. If a CEO is looking to contribute to one of these publications they should center the content around one of these topics. On the other hand there are specific search engine industry publications such as Search Engine Land and Search Engine Watch that focus more heavily on topics centered around SEO and digital marketing. No matter what publication you are targeting the content should match the other articles these publications have covered and provide helpful tips to their audience. Find a publication you read on a daily basis and go after a contribution spot! Since you’re in your industry you ultimately know what others around you are reading.
Guest contributors should strike a balance between being a regular contributor and composing high quality pieces. There is no need to try to generate and publish a piece of content on a weekly or even monthly basis if you do not have anything new and newsworthy to discuss. However, if your industry is evolving and there are opportunities available to contribute relevant content to publications every few weeks then this should be done by all means.
The best places to publish content on are blogs and online publications. By publishing articles in the digital sphere, it provides an opportunity to interact with those who read the articles and comment on them as well as sharing the articles across social media for promotion. The specific publication is often times dependent upon the particular vertical of the business. Try to narrow your selection down to the best publications and bloggers that cover the beats of your business. When selecting these individuals keep in mind that there are select reporters for business, health, finance, etc. Often times, the contact information for these reporters, journalists and editors can be found on the publication website.
This is the most important part! Getting your content in front of an audience demonstrates thought leadership and supports how knowledgeable you are. In addition to this, it gains the attention of others who may want to partner with you. The more contributions that you make to online publications, the more will gain the attention of like-minded industry professionals who may be future associates or customers.
So what are you waiting for? Start generating some content ideas and make sure the piece is well researched and put together in a thoughtful manner. This will reinforce your knowledge and why others should listen to your point of view. Good luck!