Writing guest pieces offers entrepreneurs and other business leaders several advantages. While these articles tend to be non-promotional in character, they enable authors to display their expertise, thereby building their credibility and authority.
By contributing guest articles, you demonstrate that you are on the cutting edge of your industry and cultivate trust with customers. Over time, PR efforts like this can combine with content marketing and other marketing efforts to generate leads and close sales.
Writing guest articles might sound difficult for the uninitiated, but the good news is that by following a few simple tips, you can start writing effective pieces that position you as a thought leader in your field.
Follow the publication’s submission guidelines
First, adapt your ideas and writing style to align with your desired outlets’ expectations, as many have submission guidelines that specify the grammar, style, word count, and appropriate topics for guest articles. Some will even provide guidance on the type of political or social perspective they want guest posts to have.
Following these guidelines is vital to be published, so be sure to read them carefully before starting to write. If you don’t, you may find yourself wasting time revising your work or — worse yet — getting a rejection notice from the outlet with no possibility of resubmitting.
Another good reason to review an outlet’s submission guidelines before you start writing your guest piece is that it can give you valuable insight into the outlet and prevent you from wasting time on the wrong ones. Collaborate when it makes sense, only writing guest pieces for outlets that align with your mission, business, or perspective.
Write in your own voice
Guest articles feature your perspective as an expert, so be sure to write in a voice that is true to your own. Having a unique and authentic tone of voice helps you connect with readers and distinguish yourself from others. Your personal brand is more than just what you say about yourself — it’s how you say it.
The key to finding your voice is to write about something you already know about. Whether it’s a subject you are passionate about, something that interests you or a subject that is a key part of your work, writing about it from your experience will help you tap into your unique voice.
Many people find that writing about something personal and meaningful brings out the best in their writing. The key word here is to lean on authenticity as the foundation for your communication.
In my experience, a professional-yet-conversational tone is usually best. While some people may trot out industry-specific jargon or long vocabulary words in an effort to impress, this is a mistake — the same goes for complicated sentences. If readers have to think too hard to follow your point, they’re likely to stop reading.
No one needs to read what you write, but you should write something they want to read. As such, for best results, always strive to make your prose accessible and personable.
Research your topic
Even if you are a subject matter expert in a field, it’s still a good idea to research facts, figures and statistics and use them to buoy your points. Boosting your claims with evidence demonstrates that your information is credible and builds trust in you as a source. In addition, many outlets will require you to verify your information by providing links to reputable sources.
While the time spent chasing down proof of things you already know might seem annoying, remember that your name is going on the byline of this article; you don’t want to associate yourself with information that may be inaccurate because you rushed through the writing process. It’s worth the extra effort to do your due diligence and ensure the validity of your points.
Write in a clear fashion
Here are a few tricks that can help you write guest articles in a clear fashion. The first is to ask yourself what the most important thing is that readers should take away from reading the piece. Answering this question will help you focus your efforts on communicating your central idea. Use this as your North Star — every sentence in your article should contribute to the explanation of that idea in some way. If it doesn’t, then it should be eliminated.
Another way to increase the readability of your articles is to write in concise paragraphs, typically about three to five sentences each. Readers can find it difficult to keep their place in paragraphs that go on too long, so they should only be as long as they need to be in order to communicate their main point.
Formatting articles with different subheadings to separate ideas can also make your piece easier to read and follow. This breaks the text up into chunks that are easy on the eyes.
Finally, always edit your writing at least twice for grammar and clarity. Taking a day or two off after writing a draft can help you come back to it with fresh eyes and makes it easier to spot mistakes and improve your writing. If you aren’t confident in your writing, no problem — PR agencies and freelance editors can help.
Build trust, inspire loyalty
Writing guest articles does take time and effort, but the rewards are more than worth it. By publishing your expert knowledge, you not only help educate the public, but you also gain credibility.
In addition, your willingness to be of service to others will reflect well on your character, as well as that of your business. In this way, writing guest pieces can help you build trust with potential customers and inspire loyalty with current ones.
Amanda Reseburg is a staff writer with Otter PR and has been a freelance journalist since 2016, with work featured in Scary Mommy and the Beloit Daily News. She was a creative entrepreneur for 13 years and founded her own hospice photography volunteer program, profiled by PBS. She lives in Orlando with her husband and three children.
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