#113: How to Funnel a Ton of Quality Prospects to Your Website with a Strategic Guest Post

Ever hear about “Oprah’s Favorite Things”?

It’s a list of products Oprah endorses every year right before the holidays.

Her audience is so massive that every product she recommends becomes an overnight success. And in many cases, the companies behind them are caught off guard and can’t keep up with the demand.

That’s the power of getting targeted exposure.

Need more clients? You don’t need Oprah to sing your praises. But it helps to get exposure to your business via publications your audience consumes.

In today’s episode you’ll hear from Marcie Hill, a freelancer writer, blogger and author. Marcie explains how she landed a guest post in Forbes.com to drive a steady stream of qualified clients to her business.

And how that traffic continues two years after the publication of that post.

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.

Tell us about yourself

Marcie Hill is a freelancer writer, blogger and author. In 2008, she left her job in human resources to pursue magazine writing.

Since then, her writing has been featured in Forbes, St. Louis Magazine and Toastmaster Magazine. She also has seven self-published books. Currently, she trying to break into technical writing.

How did you get clients during your first year in business?

She had no prospects when she left her job. She kept pitching publications and getting rejected. She did pitch one local magazine and landed a cover story, which was encouraging.

Marcie knew a lot of community organizations that needed help with their newsletters. From that, she was able to generate enough income to sustain herself.

How did that lead to your next set of clients?

The newsletter jobs helped her build her portfolio. She also started going to chamber meetings, local business meetings and other networking events in Chicago. She started landing clients with larger budgets.

You wrote an article for a large publication that brought you a lot of business. Tell us about it.

In 2014, Marcie pitched Forbes magazine multiple times. It’s not an easy magazine to get into. She was rejected at least six times, but she kept trying.

One day, she wrote a blog post on how to write a professional bio and decided to turn it into an ebook. (She used Smashwords to publish it independently.)

After, she checked the Forbes site to see if they had published any articles on the topic. She found that while they had lots of articles on resume writing, they had none on bio writing.

So she pitched the topic to Forbes—and the editor said yes!

Having an ebook on the topic added to her credibility. She included a link to the eBook in her pitch, which probably helped.

What have been the benefits of landing that article?

The article generated a ton of traffic. Since it was published, Marcie has landed a lot of projects writing professional bios.

What did you do right in this process?

She didn’t give up. When her pitches were declined, she kept at it—even if her feelings were hurt.

She dug into the Forbes site before pitching the idea to see what they had already published.

If you want a magazine to accept your pitch, it pays to do some research first.

She didn’t go with her first version of the article. She revised it to give it more personality and make it easier to read. That personality she put into the article helped make it popular and attracted more clients.

Instead of just having a two-line bio with a link to her home page, she included a bio with a specific call to action with a link to her book.

Even though this wasn’t a paid project, she gave it her all in the hopes of growing her authority is this area.

What’s your advice to freelancers interested in following a similar path?

Find a topic. Make it very specific. Do some research to see if your target magazine has  already covered it.

Once you’ve settled on a target magazine, find out who the editor is. Get the name and pitch to him/her. Don’t give up.

Follow each publication’s instructions for submissions. (To find these, search for the name of the publication and “writers’ guidelines.”)

If your pitch is rejected, try to find out why. That way you learn what to do differently next time.

If your pitch is accepted, try to include a link to something of yours that relates to the topic of the article. For example, if the article is about writing bios, then include a link to a page on your site that’s dedicated to your bio writing services.

Ebooks on the same topic are also a good thing to link to. Writing an ebooks doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Marcie’s ebook was only 10 pages. Just make sure it’s well written, well edited and has a nice cover.

Then who knows? Maybe you could add ebook writing to your list of services.

Where can listeners learn more about you and your work?

Marcie’s website: Marciewrites.com

Twitter: @Marcie_Hill

LinkedIn: Marcie Hill