If you’re new to marketing and you have no following and no list, how can you get started?
Common advice is to gradually, over time, build yourself up to become an authority. You write a lot of articles and post them to your blog, you’re super active in social media, you make videos, and generally you slog away until finally people begin to notice you and buy from you.
Yeah. That’s a lot of fun.
But who says you have to start at the bottom and work your way up?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could borrow the credibility, charisma and social following of more established marketers?
Let me tell you a story:
Michael was a totally average, ordinary guy. He didn’t stand out in a crowd. In fact, Michael was actually kind of boring. Sure, he was a nice person. But when you met Michael, there was nothing about him that made him special. Five minutes after he left a room, everyone forgot he’d even been there.
Then one day Michael got a job working directly with the Governor. He appeared with the Governor at special events, at press conferences and on the news.
Suddenly, Michael was a fascinating guy that people wanted to talk to. They called him just to ask his opinion or seek his help. They wanted to be friends, to invite him to parties, and to brag about being his friend.
What happened? Michael was still very much the same guy. The only difference was that he appeared with someone who held a great deal of sway with others. The Governor was what you might call a “big shot” in his “niche.” And because he was seen with the Governor, Michael was suddenly perceived as being a “big shot” too.
And this is how you fast track your own success in whatever niche you’ve chosen online.
The first step is to have something to say. Hopefully you are something of an expert in your chosen niche, or you at least know enough to promote your chosen products and create content.
The next step is to associate yourself with the people in your niche who already have a following. Without going into terrific detail, here are 3.75 ways to do exactly that:
1: Write Round-up Posts – You’ve most likely seen blogposts that go something like this: “20 Online Marketing Experts Give You 20 Ways to Make $1,000 Cash Fast.”
There’s more going on with those posts than meets the eye.
The person who compiles the methods from experts is getting their own share of credibility simply by being associated with these names.
The experts will often promote the blogpost on their social media accounts. These means more traffic and more exposure.
And if you’re just starting out, it is entirely possible to write your first round-up without interviewing any of your experts.
If you are new to your niche, it might be difficult to get experts to respond to your request for their solution to your topic.
What you can do instead is search their own posts and find what they recommend, then write it up in your own words along with a link back to their original post.
Once this is done, email them to let them know how much you respect their opinion and that you will be posting their idea with full credit back to them in your blogpost. They will almost never tell you NOT to do that, but if for some reason they don’t want you to, this is their chance to say so.
Then once you publish, let them know the article has gone live in case they want to promote it.
Once you have your first round-up under your belt, it will be much easier to get experts to respond for your next expert’s roundup by showing them your previous post.
Here are the steps to doing a round-up blogpost:
- Choose your question for the experts
- Find your experts and their email addresses
- Reach out to them with your question
- Write the article and publish
- Promote the article
Round-up posts are great for building relationships with other bloggers and influencers because you get at least 5 points of contact with each one.
- Your initial outreach
- The expert’s response
- Your email thanking them
- Your email notifying them that the post is live (include the link!)
- (Hopefully) their email telling you they shared the article with their followers, readers or subscribers
That’s plenty of opportunity to build rapport which will come in handy later.
And your posts are chock full of association with experts, taking you to expert status in the eyes of your readers.
2: Guest Blogging – If you’re getting less than 250 website visitors a day, then believe it or not, your priority should be writing for other people’s blogs.
They have the traffic and they have the credibility with their readers. Your job is to write them a great post that adds tons of value and by doing that, get some of their readers to follow you over to your blog.
Find blogs in your niche that take guest posts. Write an awesome article for them and include a relevant free offer in your bio box. What’s a ‘relevant’ offer? Something directly in line with the topic of the article. For example, if the article is on commercial cat toys, the freebie might be directions for making cat toys from stuff lying around the house.
Done right, you can also mention the freebie inside the article, too, if the site allows this. Readers click your link for the freebie and sign up to your list.
Guest blog on as many popular sites as you can within your niche, and people will start to recognize your name and assume you are an authority they should pay attention to.
Okay, now that I’ve given you the plan for guest blogging, let me also give you a reality check – depending on your niche, the plan I just outlined might take a lot of time, effort and no’s from blog owners. Some niches are overrun with people who want to guest blog. And when bloggers in those niches haven’t heard of you, they generally don’t feel a real need to let you guest post unless you do a VERY good job of selling yourself.
But there is a backdoor method that works really well, and it’s built upon #1 above. Remember the round-up posts we talked about?
Once you’ve done a few round-up posts, go back to your round-up of experts and contact each one, asking to guest post. Offer to write a post on a topic that their readers are passionate about. Not what you’re passionate about, but THEIR READERS.
This is key to any guest post. Hopefully what their readers want to read overlaps with what you want to write about and promote.
Check their site carefully to see if there are guest post guidelines. If there are, follow them meticulously.
Here’s an example email you might customize and send to blog owners:
Thank you so much for joining my recent roundup post, your input was invaluable.
Today I was visiting your website (again!) and I wonder if you accept guest posts?
If so, I have 3 ideas for a guest post that I would love to submit to you.
Thanks so much,
Be sure to have your ideas ready to go. Give them the working title, introduction, outline and approximate word count of each.
If they choose one, get the article back to them within the week. Some blog owners will have you format and upload the article yourself while others will prefer to do it themselves. Remember to include any photos.
And most important of all, remember to include your author bio. This is where you’ll convert their readers into your own subscribers, usually by offering something totally relevant to the article and free for subscribing.
Keep your bio to 50 words or less and write it in the third person. Tell the reader what to do, how you can help them and include your link. If possible, include a photo of yourself, your credentials, and something that makes them smile such as a quirky detail about yourself.
3: Get Booked on Podcasts – Find the podcasts in your niche and get yourself booked on them.
Create a list of prospective podcasts, looking for the podcasts that are a good fit for your topic.
You can start this process with a simple Google search using your key term plus the word “podcast.” Pay attention to their social media following, reviews and any requirements for getting yourself interviewed.
You can also find relevant podcasts through your LinkedIn connections, inside Facebook Groups, with a BuzzSumo Keyword Search, on trending Apple Podcasts and so forth.
In addition to approaching podcasts one on one, you can also use a service such as PodcastGuests.com which puts podcast producers and hosts in touch with guests like yourself. Create a powerful profile and get the paid version to be promoted to their subscribers.
Pitch your prospective podcasts by showing the value you have to offer their audience. What makes you stand out in your niche? What can you talk about that is interesting to the audience and also helps you to get new subscribers and customers?
Don’t be super-salesy here. Your goal is to show them what you can do for them and their audience. And don’t forget to tell them you’ll market their podcast on your platforms as well.
Follow up as needed to get booked. Make sure you have your messaging down before you appear. And don’t forget to mention your website and your free offer at least three times during the podcast. The host will often do this for you if you arrange it ahead of time.
And by the way, some of the experts from your blogpost round-ups and your guest blogging will also be podcasters, so don’t forget to ask to be their guest as well.
3.5 Publish a Book
Notice I said “publish” and not “write”. Remember #1 above? Now you’re going to do it in book form.
Once you have several round-up posts in your portfolio, you will also have relationships with many of your experts.
This is when you choose a topic that merits an entire chapter from each expert. Our earlier example of, “20 Online Marketing Experts Give You 20 Ways to Make $1,000 Cash Fast” could work for this as well, although I might change it slightly to, “20 Online Marketing Experts Give You 20 Ways to Make $1,500 Every Month.”
Approach your 20 or so experts and propose your book idea. You might even become an affiliate for the products they will promote in their author boxes inside your book. And you might also do live interviews that book buyers get access to for free.
If you really want to make it simple for your experts to participate, do an interview with each one. Have the interviews transcribed, and then convert each one into a chapter. This will take some rewriting, but you can always outsource it if necessary.
3.75 Next Level Thinking
Conversely, you could combine the interviews with the chapters and turn this into a monthly membership as well. The key here is to make the interviews highly relevant and cut out all the fluff. Good interviewing and excellent editing will help with this. Remove the small talk, the umms and ahhs, and keep a fast pace of awesome content that hold the listeners and readers spellbound.
Charge $10 or $20 or more each month, do one interview each week, and then promote the heck out of it. Personally, I would keep the monthly membership cost low and always act as the affiliate for the special offer your experts will make at the end of each interview.
Be sure the interviews contain PLENTY of great info on their own. This should be 90% content and only 10% selling. But what a great system for someone who is just starting out!