So your guest post pitch has been accepted by THE blog you’ve always dreamed of posting for. You’re on cloud nine – and deservedly so!
You’ve been working up to this moment for a long time. You’ve learned the craft, improved your skills and honed your style on your own blog. You knew the moment was right – you were finally ready to make the pitch. And you nailed it.
Then you get hit by something you never saw heading your way:
Perhaps you recognize the signs: Your excitement turns to fear. You sit down nervously to write and your mind goes blank. You try to write your post but the words are coming out all wrong. Your tone feels awkward.
You start to think, “Who’ll want to read this? This isn’t good enough… What was I thinking? Was I out of my mind?!”
No, you weren’t – but you are now. You’re putting so much pressure on yourself, and this is only the first draft!
Here’s what to do:
Give yourself permission to be ordinary.
“Act, reflect. Act, reflect. NEVER act and reflect at the same time.”
Ideas won’t come to you linearly at will. Let them come in their own time, when they’re ready. And record each of them as they come. Move them around and find them a proper home later.
Draft something ordinary first. Polish it later on.
Don’t try to impress anyone with an ‘out-there’ idea.
Jon Morrow, the A-list expert, claims the worst thing you can do is to try to come up with the most unconventional angle, something so different that it doesn’t really fit in the general theme of the blog.
Something so earth shattering that people might have trouble believing you could actually deliver it.
Do your homework – and here’s a checklist to help you:
- Check out the audience. Does the blog cater to a highly advanced audience, or is it aimed at the beginners? Write to the wrong audience and you’ll lose your guest posting chance.
- Look at popular posts. See which type of posts on the blog get a lot of attention and nod of approval by the readers. They like that stuff – don’t deviate to something wildly different.
- Research the style. Every blog has a preferred style of writing, even if they don’t publish a style guide. You can generally get a feel for it if you read plenty of their posts – and you should conform to it as much as possible.
- Be confident about your idea. Make things easier for yourself by pitching an idea you can execute effortlessly. This isn’t the time to tackle a completely new subject or go out of your comfort zone.
- Get a working headline. Compose one sentence that sums up the entire post… and don’t deviate from that idea as you write the rest. Go deeper into the topic, but stay ON topic!
- Outline. Ali Luke recommends preparing an outline of your post and then drafting the body before anything else. Write your opening intro and ending call to actions last.
Beware of resistance.
During this process, you’ll be tested by all forms of resistance – especially if any of this advice is new to you. You’ll have thoughts swirling around that sound something like this:
- “I’m not good enough.” Yes, you are. So carry on. You’re feeling the same thoughts that the majority of writers out there have inside their own head – yes, even A-listers!
- “Nobody cares if I do this.” Yes, they do. There are all sorts of people who care about you in the world, and they want to see you succeed.
- “I can’t do this.” Of course you can. This isn’t moving mountains – it’s writing a simple guest post. Keep it in perspective and have faith in your ability, just like the editor of that blog already did.
You can do this.
Take the pressure off. Pretend you are writing to a friend or a fan who loves your work. You don’t have to write that post that goes viral – and no one expects you to. Your work doesn’t have to be extraordinary.
Just plain good will do.