I shared something on Twitter recently: I don’t know who needs to hear this, but there is no magic genie that's going to help you start your thing. There is no moment when everything will feel easier. You just have to start. You are the magic. I believe this is so important for people who, for the longest time, have been wanting to start an online business or focus on something they love. I want to encourage you this week to start your thing. You and the actions you take are the magic. Stop waiting. In this week’s episode, I’m also sharing another growth strategy: GUEST POSTING. If you’re already running an online business, or you want to start building your audience online, this is an incredibly effective way to gain forward momentum. Tune in to hear me break down the key points of guest posting, the pros and cons, and DOs and DON’Ts you need to keep in mind. By the way, make sure you’re staying up to date with future episodes and getting growth strategies directly in your inbox. Sign up to be part of the family here. Episode Quotes "Everyone's roadmap is different... What works for someone else may not work for you." "The magic is not only you, but it's the action that you take." "You create your path, but you can only create it through action." "Guest posting is a flexible and effective strategy if you don’t have time to do podcast appearances." Listen to Learn 02:21 - Do the thing. You are the MAGIC! 08:41 - What is guest posting? 11:41 - Pros and cons of guest posting 16:23 - Guest posting DOs and DONTs 27:59 - Updates and announcements Connect with Me JanelleAllen.com Follow Me on Twitter! Looking for the Transcript? Episode 128
I shared something on Twitter recently:
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but there is no magic genie that's going to help you start your thing. There is no moment when everything will feel easier. You just have to start. You are the magic.
I believe this is so important for people who, for the longest time, have been wanting to start an online business or focus on something they love. I want to encourage you this week to start your thing. You and the actions you take are the magic. Stop waiting.
In this week’s episode, I’m also sharing another growth strategy: GUEST POSTING. If you’re already running an online business, or you want to start building your audience online, this is an incredibly effective way to gain forward momentum. Tune in to hear me break down the key points of guest posting, the pros and cons, and DOs and DON’Ts you need to keep in mind.
By the way, make sure you’re staying up to date with future episodes and getting growth strategies directly in your inbox. Sign up to be part of the family here.
"Everyone's roadmap is different... What works for someone else may not work for you."
"The magic is not only you, but it's the action that you take."
"You create your path, but you can only create it through action."
"Guest posting is a flexible and effective strategy if you don’t have time to do podcast appearances."
Listen to Learn
02:21 - Do the thing. You are the MAGIC!
08:41 - What is guest posting?
11:41 - Pros and cons of guest posting
16:23 - Guest posting DOs and DONTs
27:59 - Updates and announcements
Connect with Me
Follow Me on Twitter!
Looking for the Transcript?
Janelle Allen: Do not write your guest posts and then disappear. This is about building relationships. It's about promoting the work. So do thank the person. Send a follow up email, thank the person because they took a chance on you and make sure that you promote, not just your piece, but their work, right? Build that relationship. Again, this is only going to come back to you in a positive way, but build that relationship. You never know if you... if you'll... they'll invite you to do something else in the future or maybe you'll want to have them on, so definitely think the person and and share and promote as well.
Welcome to Level Up Your Course, where we pull back the curtain on what it takes to create learning that transforms lives. You will hear stories from business owners like you who share their success and their struggles. This is not where you come to hear passive income myths, friend. This is where you learn the truth about building a profitable learning platform. I am your host, Janelle Allen, and this is today's episode.
Hey family, hope that you are doing well. This is episode 128 and we are going to talk about growth strategies, so we're doing something a little bit, or testing out something different and that is having more themed episodes.
So this month we're talking about growth strategies. Last episode got into a little about podcasting, coming off of the heels of my interview with Tara McMullin where she and I talked about podcasting. And Tara is one to know about podcasting because not only does she have a podcast but she does podcast production. So she had some great thoughts and that inspired me to do a solo episode to share some thoughts and strategies for you if you are thinking about launching your own podcast. So if you missed that episode, head back to episode 127 and check that out and there's a handy guide on how to start your podcast that that I give you the link to in that episode.
But enough about the past. Let's talk about the present. In this episode, we are going to continue with the theme of growth strategies. So if you are running an online business or you want to start an online business and you're not really sure how you're going to grow, how you're going to get people to pay attention to what you have to offer, this month is all for you. So today we're going to get into a little bit of an old school, you know, oldie but a goodie and that is guest posting. This is something that I had a lot of success with, uh, years back when I did more of it. So it's something that I think every person who is, I want to say starting out, but not even starting out, is something that everyone should have in their arsenal because it can pay off big time. So we're going to talk about guest posting, but before we get into that, I want to talk about mindset.
And I don't want anybody to get freaked out and just start tuning out because this is important and it's going to be quick. I shared something on Twitter the other day and you know what? Let me, let me read the exact tweet so that I don't have to paraphrase because it was something that resonated with quite a few people and it goes like this:
I don't know who needs to hear this, but there's no magic genie that's going to help you start your thing. There's no moment when everything will feel easier. You just have to start. You are the magic.
Man. It took, I don't know why it took me so long to be able to say that out loud. It was something that really started percolating, it has been percolating all of these years because I have conversations with so many people who email me or ask me or you know, just share that they don't know how to start.
And if that's you, I want you to know that there's no path really. You know, you find the path through the action. So what is more helpful, I think, rather than giving -- cause listen, let's just be real. I used to do one on one coaching and I would help a lot of people and give, you know, give the roadmap. But everyone's roadmap is different. And on top of that, well actually, let me talk about that. So what works for someone else may not work for you. But on top of that, what I started to realize is it wasn't having a roadmap that really kept people back. In other words, you can go online and find examples of people who are doing what you're doing and reverse engineer how they did it. And that may work for you. You know, though your mileage may vary, it may work wonderfully for you, and it may not.
And that gets into some deeper things, right? Because one of the things that I've learned just through life is everyone's path is their own. So, you know, your thing, what you should be doing in this world -- sometimes things don't work. Sometimes they don't work because of you, because of us, right? We're getting in our own way, but sometimes they don't work because that's not really the thing that you want to be doing. But that's a whole other conversation. What I started to see is that when people reached out and I do one on one sessions with them and they, they'd finish those sessions and they would feel so inspired and they would have a clear roadmap and they would say, I've got exactly what I need and about 50% of those people would go on and do the thing and 50% wouldn't. Eventually I realized, and this was through looking at my own self, that we are the ones who get in our own way, right?
We're looking for an external factor that is going to magically make everything fall in place and it just doesn't exist. I wish I could tell you that there is a point in time when everything is just easy and, and you, there's like a yellow brick road to success, but that's not what it is. The magic is not only you, but it's the action that you take. When you start to move in the direction of your goals and dreams, the path literally unfolds.
You'll meet people who are doing work that you want to do or you'll be inspired by someone or someone will recognize what you're doing and lend you a hand or you'll make mistakes, right? I read something that was so wonderful and it said you didn't fail, F A I L; you fell, F E L L. And what happens when you fall? You just get back up and that's what it is. That's what business is. I can't tell you how many times I've failed. I'm still failing, right? It's not, it doesn't matter. You create your path, but you can only create it through action, right? It's like the woods. If you go to the woods and you see this path, that path was created through people walking one step at a time.
So I just wanted to share that because I feel like I, I meet so many people who are stuck waiting for this magical moment when everything is going to come together and it simply does not exist. And I, I'm personally, I can't pretend that it exists anymore, right? I have to make this stance and let you know it doesn't exist. The key is to take a step and then take another step and take another step.
And of course you're going to do a little, a little bit of research and a little bit of outlining what you want to do, but you don't want to get stuck waiting and planning and waiting and planning and you've been planning your thing for one year and two years and three years and four years and five years. Do the thing. You are the magic. So that's all I have to say about that. I just want to put that out there. So don't, you know, don't like, don't at me on Twitter, don't send me, irate emails. This is what it is.
So let's talk about guest posting. As I said at the top of this episode, guest posting is -- if you haven't heard of guest posting, if you're, if you're scratching your head right now and you're thinking, what the hell is guest posting, Janelle? It's really simple. If you haven't heard of it, guest posting is just pitching and writing an article for someone else's audience on, on their website to be published on their website. It's a little bit of an old school tactic in that when, you know, really when blogging took off and people started making money from having blogs, this was one of the first ways that people were able to get a lot of subscribers with one simple tactic, right? So that's what this is. It's a, it's a tactic to get leads to get people to opt in to your list when done right.
And I say old school because you don't really hear people talk about guest posting as much anymore, but it is very effective when it's done right. And I'm going to tell you all of the ways to do it the right way because I've written several guest posts in the past and I've gotten thousands of subscribers from them in the past.
So I'm going to break down for you how to do it. And I had to research all of this stuff, the hard -- you know, on my own. So I had to do it the hard way to figure out the right and wrong ways to guest post. And I'm going to give it to you right here, right now.
So we've talked about what guest posting is. Just to give you a little bit of an insight into my experience, when I -- so I started blogging maybe around 2012 way before Zen Courses, way before I was doing anything around online courses. I didn't have a business plan at all. I thought I was just going to create something cool and then magically people would pay me money. Yeah, remember, remember what I said about failing? But I was having fun and I learned a lot. And one of the things that I learned was how to guest post effectively.
I wrote a guest post for Paid to Exist, ProBlogger. Um, those, those are the two most popular ones. I think I did a guest post for Fizzle. I did some type of content for Fizzle. Um, so I've written several of them and I'm forgetting many because it's been a while, but the Paid to Exist post and the ProBlogger guest posts were the two that stick out because those were also the two that I finally started to have a formula for guest posting and I was able to get thousands of subscribers. In fact with the ProBlogger, I still hadn't quite figured out the formula and I just kept tweaking it. Finally I got it. So I'll share what that formula is in a moment.
But first let's talk about why you should guest post. And I've already said this is kind of quote unquote old school tactic in that people aren't talking about it. A lot of people are trying to be on podcasts nowadays, but people are still reading articles online, right? So that's why it is still effective in my point, in my viewpoint, I don't know why you don't hear a lot of people talking about it.
Pros and cons. I can think of about four or five pros. So let's go through those first. Number one, pro, instant social proof by being featured on someone else's site, right? So you go to people's websites and you see that they have those logos where their writing has been shared. Once you start getting published, you can do that yourself, and that's instant social proof and credibility for you. Pro number two, it boosts your reputation, right? So that credibility piece, but also boosting your reputation with people you want to write for and impress. So if you do a good job and you write a great article and that person's audience loves it, I guarantee that they're going to tell people the word is going to spread. And then the next time you want to write for someone, you won't have to work as hard to convince them that you know what you're doing. So you kind of boost your reputation amongst people that you want to impress. Pro number three, this content is going to stay out there. It's going to be -- it's rare for articles to just disappear. So it's going to be evergreen content. And if you keep the same business and the same URL, then you'll also have some SEO. You'll have some links, right? You'll have some links to your work. So that's the pro and people, especially if it's a hot topic that you're guest posting about, when people find that, especially if you're writing for someone who has a larger audience and site traffic than you do, you're going to get the benefit of that. So that's pro number three. Pro number four, you can easily systematize your process. So when you start out guest posting, it's, well not you, cause I'm going to tell you how to do it. But usually when you start guest posting, it can be taxing. But there comes a point in time where you start to figure out, okay, this is how I need to do it. And you can systematize that so that it gets easier and easier every time.
All right, so that leads me to the cons. Speaking of time, it can be time consuming. Let's just face it: the reason that a lot of people don't write, it's not just because it feels hard to figure out what to write, but also that writing -- good writing -- takes time. There's the research component and there's the writing and there's the editing and more editing. So it can definitely feel more time consuming than, say, recording a podcast where you can just talk or even a video. Well not video, video just, just takes forever in my opinion. But that's a con for some people. The second con is you have to keep track of the links to any freebies or lead magnets that you share. In other words, for example, I mentioned, uh, a guest post that I wrote for Paid to Exist, at some point I killed that blog project. Right? And so any links to those, what I shared, that link to that URL, I just, I had, I lost them. So that can be a con. If you decide to pivot and change things around, you have to keep track of that stuff so that you can still benefit from the traffic from that. So there's obviously, in my opinion, those are small cons. Even the one about time, if you really want to get down to it, you can bring in people to help you write these guests posts. But they are there. So I just want to be upfront about those.
So the big question that a lot of people ask when, you know, when I talk about something like guest posting is how do I do it? What is, what's the protocol, Janelle? What's the way to do it? Well, there is a way, there's a right way and a wrong way to guest post. So let's break that down. Now I'm going to break these into do's and don'ts and I'm going to start with the don'ts because -- well, we'll go back and forth. How about we do it that way?
Alright, number one, do not under any circumstances. This is a big one. This is, this is like a pet peeve for me. Do not under any circumstances pitch sites that don't accept guest posts submissions. So if you go to a site and they explicitly say that they do not accept guest posts, don't pitch them. Maybe the exception is if you have a relationship with the owner of the site, but if you're just cold emailing and you see that they don't accept or even worse if you didn't bother to check to see if they accepted guests posts, then yeah, just just don't do it. Don't do it. I can't tell you how many guest post pitches I have received and I don't currently post -- I don't accept guest posts. I don't articles written by other people. I did it one time in the course of, of running Zen Courses and that was just a special occasion and I have it on my contact page that I do not take guest posts and I still get requests all the time and that always rubs me the wrong way because I -- it, it means to me that you either did not do your research or you did see that, because it's all my contact page and I usually get submissions and requests for submissions rather from the contact page, so that that also means that maybe you just didn't, decided not to respect that. So please don't do that. There are so many places that do accept guest posts. So that's number one.
Number two in the do's and don'ts, do not send a pitch without researching the guidelines for said pitch and checking out the types of content and posts that the site publishes. In other words, do your due diligence, righ? So do visit the sites you want to write for check to see the type of content that they typically post, particularly the popular content. And also look for their submission guidelines. Usually posts, for example, CopyHackers, I know does this, there's so many out there. There's a lot of yoga sites that accept guest posts, but they usually have the submission guidelines and if you can't find them, if you're on a Mac, you just do command F and just search submission guidelines or go to Google and type in the name of the blog or publication submission guidelines. And you can usually find it very easily. So the contact page is also the place, another place to go. So do your due diligence and know who you're writing for and know what types of content they publish and what they don't. And know what their submission guidelines are before you send that pitch. Because if you don't, I'm here to tell you, if you do not look at the submission guidelines, for many sites, for sites that get many requests, that, that is just not going to be good for you friend. That's all I have to say. It's not. It's not going to bode well. So that's number two.
Number three in the do's and don'ts. Do not -- this is a big one. So far, we've been talking about things from the standpoint of of the sites you're writing for. This is for you. Do not write an amazing guest posts for a publication and fail to include a call to action for the reader or just link to your site. Don't do that. What do I mean by that? I mean you write this amazing guest post and then at the end there's just a little bio with a link to your site. Don't do that, and I'm going to tell you why in a second. Here's what you do instead. Create a lead magnet or the site's audience and include a strong call to action at the end of the article where you pitch the freebie that you're offering them and there's a link at the end of the article in order for them to get that freebie, it's kinda, it needs to feel like a next step, right? So you're writing your article, you're leading up to this thing and at the end you say if you want to learn more, I put together a great resource for you, go here to grab it. And when they click that, they should land, they should hit a landing page with an opt in form and in exchange for their email address, they get that freebie that you've created specifically for them. That's the way to do it. That is, that is the magic thing. That took me so many times, I did not do that and I couldn't figure out why am I doing all of this writing? I'm doing all of this work, this research, this writing, and I'm not really getting any subscribers from these posts. And then I, I came across an article that really broke it down for me and just said, you know, you've got to treat this like -- it, it is marketing and you've got to treat it strategically and you need to give the readers something to do at the end. And just linking to your site is not a compelling do. It doesn't connect to everything that they've been reading about. Sure, you will get some traffic. You'll get some people who click on that link to check out your site, but it's much more compelling to have a call to action that connects to what they've just learned and gives them a next step or something tangible that they can take to continue to get results. Like I said, I did this for several blog posts and the one that did really well was my Paid to Exist guest posts where I got over a thousand subscribers from one guest posts. So this can perform incredibly well if you're strategic about it. So that's number three. Just to recap, create a lead magnet for the site, include a call to action at the end of the article that goes to a landing page with an opt in form for them to get the freebie. I should say, a little asterisk here, you can do this for anything. You can do this for a guest being a guest on a podcast. When people say where can, so where can folks, find out about you? Go to janelleallen.com/newsletter or whatever, whatever it is, give them the URL for your lead magnet.
All right, number four in the do's and don'ts, do not my friends, write, this connects to what we just talked about. Do not pitch and write for sites that do not allow you to add a link to your freebie, and I know that might sound counterintuitive, right? You're trying to get yourself out there. Ultimately, that's up to you, but I would say the best thing that you can do if you're trying to build your list is to focus on publications -- and it's usually blogs, right? It's usually other online businesses and entrepreneurs that get it. So focus on writing for those folks who understand the value of being able to give people a freebie so that you can build your list. So just confirm, do confirm that you can include a link to your lead magnet at the end of your post. This goes back to researching the submission guidelines. If you do your due diligence, usually in those submission guidelines, they will tell you if they allow links. You can also look at other guest posts on the site and see, you know, what it looks like at the end. Are people just, do they just have a link to their site or maybe they just have a bio. They don't even some some that, some sites don't allow any links. So I would say unless it's a really high profile publication, right? I'm not going to say don't write for Inc or Forbes or you know, whatever the other big ones are. But if you're, especially if you're writing for blogs, make sure that you can include a link to your, your freebie at the end of your post so that you can get an ROI from that.
Alright, so last one in our do's and don'ts. Number five, do not write your guest posts and then disappear. This is about building relationships. It's about promoting the work. So do thank the person. Send a follow up email, thank the person because they took a chance on you and make sure that you promote, not just your piece, but their work, right? Build that relationship. Again, this is only going to come back to you in, in a positive way, but build that relationship. You never know if you, if you'll, they'll invite you to do something else in the future or maybe you'll want to have them on. So definitely thank the person and, and share and promote as well.
So those are key ways to do guest posting right. I just want to reiterate, guest posting is a great and effective strategy and yeah, it might take a little more time than say being a guest on a podcast, but if you like writing, or if you just don't have time to do podcast appearances, then guest posting is flexible. It's something that, you know, you can do when you have the time as long as you meet that deadline.
So with that, I am going to wrap up. That is our short and sweet growth strategy of this week. If you want to stay up to date with the podcast and get more growth strategies like this, be sure to sign up for the newsletter if you're not already on it. Also, we are in the midst of putting together a brand new community. I've shared a little bit about that. I actually shared about that in the last episode of the pivot that's happening, going to a community-centered business model. So if you want to find out when the community is opening, be sure to hop on the newsletter. I'm posting updates every week so you can, you can get on the newsletter by going to JanelleAllen.com/newsletter once again, JanelleAllen.com/newsletter to stay up to date. You'll also get an early invite for the community that's coming up.
All right, that is my time, so I will see you next time. We're going to keep talking about growth strategies. We've got to talk about YouTube. We've got to really dig into ways that you can grow your business. So stay tuned for next week and I will see you then.
All right, my friends, that is my time. Remember, before you can level up your course, you must first level up your mind. As always, thank you for hanging out with me for another great episode. I do not take it for granted. I am Janelle Allen, and this has been Level up Your Course. Peace.