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Forget HARO.. This is the ultimate way to get PR

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DennisDuty

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If you're looking to get your product or brand in front of thousands of people... getting featured on a big blog is a pretty good deal. You're not only exposed to customers, but you're also exposed to other blog writers and you can experience a title-wave.

So, how do you get featured in a bigger blog?
Easy, just write the damn article yourself.

Case in point: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/te...kickstarter-projects-will-blow-your-mind.html

Lifehack gets 4.2 million unique visitors a month.
That's the first article of many I'll be writing for them.
There's no pay in writing for such websites.
So why do I write for lifehack (and a half-dozen others?)

There are more benefits to such things than money can buy.
Influence for one.

I have a personal or relationship with 4 of the 10 projects mentioned in the article (two of which are fastlaners @PeteLife and @Eskil ) and within a week of becoming a writer I was able to put them in front of an audience.

Another benefit are the contacts that are made. From previous writing gigs, I have a rolodex of influencing bloggers I can use to promote my interests. I don't just shake hands and move on... I volunteer free services, help them out, and check-in on them weekly.

Right now, I don't have any mass-market products I'm promoting. But nothing beats the feeling thatI'm a literal phone-call away from massive exposure through the internet's top podcasts, blogs, and networks.

The point I'm trying to make is:
Stop crossing your f*cking fingers and hoping that some expert or authority will promote your business.

Yes it takes time, but you can start becoming the expert or authority yourself. You can start setting up the domino RIGHT NOW so later you can knock them all over with the slightest touch.

You can start inserting yourself into positions of authority, slowly, one-by-one. You can leverage your old work to open up new doors and bigger opportunities.
 
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MakeItCount

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Interesting post Dennis !

What standard of writing had you prior to your start with the lifehack blog ?

No doubt these blogs are making big money promoting and writing about products, in addition to the money their making from traffic.

Will these blogs openly offer to write about your product ? i.e. Could I email lifehack tonight about a new product/service I'm releasing next week and have them include it in a blog similar to the above ? Is it that simple ? Or would you need to know those on the inside ?
 

SYK

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Will these blogs openly offer to write about your product ? i.e. Could I email lifehack tonight about a new product/service I'm releasing next week and have them include it in a blog similar to the above ? Is it that simple ? Or would you need to know those on the inside ?

They're going to be less inclined to take a straight PR piece from a vested author.

What Dennis did cleverly was put a layer (himself) between the companies and the PR coverage and sprinkled it with impartiality by creating a democratic top 10 list.
 

DennisDuty

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You can probably get anybody to write about anything, if you know how to 'frame it' the right way.
Lets say there's a major story you want featured in a major blog.

Your best course of action is to find some sort of twist or unique angle. You need to find a way that the story would make the blog look good, make the author look good, and would be interesting for a reader. Once you can work out some sort of angle that will work, search the site for the author most likely to write about the article.

Then you find their contact information and give them the outline for the story, stating that it's "right down their alley".
If it is, you'll get something written about your business.

Of course, it only takes ONE cog out-of-place to throw your entire plan offbalance. Your story needs to fit the blog, and then the author needs to be excited enough about the idea to act, and then the assistant and senior editors have to like it, and then it'll be scheduled to be released a few weeks out. The PR game isn't something that's easy to get into overnight. It's best if you can build contacts over a significantly longer period of time and you treat it like a chess game.

I have a blog network I suggested a story to... and it blew up for them and got them a ton of traffic. About once a week since then, they've emailed me asking if I have any "story leads". It's because they think I can get them a ton more traffic. I keep my mouth shut until I DO have something that fits their brand and will build a lot of traffic, and then I reach out to them, and they get some more instatraffic off of my story pitch.

Do that enough times, and your pitches will look like christmas for these folk.
You will email them and get an instant story from them, THAT DAY.
So long as you bring them more traffic than the trouble you bring them, you'll have them "in your pocket"
 

Testament

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Great article, Dennis!

How were you able to become a writer for these blogs? I'm not too familiar with lifehacker, but I'm assuming it's somewhat difficult to get into an editor position with them? Was there a process that you followed to being able to write for these blogs?

Also, is anyone at the blogs aware of your affiliation with the companies that you're writing about, or do you keep that under your hat?
 

DennisDuty

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Whenever I write about a brand I'm associated with I don't explicitely mention it, but a simple google search will obviously show any friendships or affiliations. I did link to the site here on a public forum and mention my evil plan, after all.

Most sites that accept user submitted content have an application process and require you to write x times per month, just to verify that you are in-fact there to contribute and you're not there to do a quick back-link and then leave.
 
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Testament

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Ahhh, I see! Thanks for the quick reply. :)

Do you have any criteria for which you decide which user created content sites to write for? How low did you have to start out at first before getting to something like lifehacker?

I've actually thought about writing online for a while now, but not in the context of using it to create influence and connections - I think that's pretty genius. But one thing I've always gotten stuck at is the article idea phase. How are you able to come up with good ideas for articles consistently?
 

DennisDuty

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Quick clarification: I'm writing for lifehack. LifehackER on the other hand is a completely different site with more like 13m unique followers (as opposed to lifehack's 4m).

And I started writing for Infobarrel. You don't need any previous experience to write with them, you can write on any subject and they're not very pickey. I also wrote for Examiner.com in the videogame industry. Again, this is VERY easy to get, and it's hard for them NOT to bring you on as a regular writer. I also refined my article writing skills as a freelance author on Textbroker, taking whatever stories needed doing.

The main thing I did however was blogging on my own website, Castleforge Media.
When you apply to be regular writers on other sites, they typically want to see examples of the type of work you do.
To get the lifehack submission, I showed them 3 stories from my blog.
I showed them:

What Star Wars Teaches Us About Hard Work because it seems like a lifehack... being able to take lessons from popular entertainment and adapt it into something useful.

5 Celebrities Who Got Their Start On Youtube Lifehack LOVES list posts, as do social networks. This was one of my most shared articles probably because it was a list post. Seemed like a good idea to show them.

Twitter For People Who Don't Get Twitter I wanted to show them that I was halfway decent with social media. This one was less about me showcasing my writing ability and more about showing them that I'd pull my weight on social media.

For lifehack, they have an application process that involves showcasing prior work, rewriting a given headline 10 times, and restricting your "about me" words to force you to be express.

I've never had problems coming up with article ideas. My primary advantage is coming up with interesting content. With the more structured sites however like lifehack, they have lists of articles they want/need done.

There's an interesting workflow for such sites.
  1. They have keyword researches figuring out keywords they can easily land on page 1 in google.
  2. They forward these keywords to editors who turn them into compelling headline/story ideas
  3. They publically post the story ideas to the author pool and writers select which they want
  4. after the article is written, a copy editor cleans it up and makes sure that keyword density is good
  5. the scheduler gets it and places it into the schedule on a day when they have no competing stories
Alternatively, authors can suggest their own story ideas but if you're just starting out at these sites it's recommended you follow their suggestions until you can feel what I call the "life-energy" of the site.
 

Joe Cassandra

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I've done this a few times.

Find small sites that get syndicated on larger sites. For example, I've written a couple pieces on Brazen Careerist that got syndicated on Business INSIDERS and HuffPost.

Immediately after it's syndicated, I found the editor of the section of Business INSIDERS, saw what she liked to write about (in her case many articles on entrepreneurship and Shark Tank) and said"Hey you just syndicated my one piece and it did well now how about,..." now I added a simple twist to one of my articles to include: "How to Use Shark Tank to ______________", she published the piece the next day. 2 pieces in Business INSIDERS in a short time.
 
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healthstatus

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I've never had problems coming up with article ideas. My primary advantage is coming up with interesting content. With the more structured sites however like lifehack, they have lists of articles they want/need done.
There's an interesting workflow for such sites.
They have keyword researches figuring out keywords they can easily land on page 1 in google.
They forward these keywords to editors who turn them into compelling headline/story ideas
They publically post the story ideas to the author pool and writers select which they want
after the article is written, a copy editor cleans it up and makes sure that keyword density is good
the scheduler gets it and places it into the schedule on a day when they have no competing stories

Not as big as Lifehack (yet), but we are developing this platform and plan it to be in place by mid October on the HealthStatus.com site. We get solicitations for articles frequently and used them in the past, since our recent redesign, we have only used our own team of writers. But the I don't have to pay aspect of good content is VERY appealing.

@DennisDuty have you ever completed an article that you pitched and still had it rejected?
 

DennisDuty

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Not as big as Lifehack (yet), but we are developing this platform and plan it to be in place by mid October on the HealthStatus.com site. We get solicitations for articles frequently and used them in the past, since our recent redesign, we have only used our own team of writers. But the I don't have to pay aspect of good content is VERY appealing.

@DennisDuty have you ever completed an article that you pitched and still had it rejected?
For Lifehack, I haven't been there long enough to have even submitted anything original. I'm following their rules and suggestions until I feel confident in producing my own content that I know will help their brand.

For other sites though, I've never been outright rejected after the pitch but I've had specific notes on what I need to change in order for them to accept it. Usually it's that the conclusion isn't solid enough, or something like that.
 

PeeVee

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Genius, great info and what a great service to our fellow Fastlaners. All around good stuff. Thanks for sharing...wheels are turning.
 

Eskil

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I didn't get a chance to chip in here, as I've been swamped with our big interstate move + business.
BUT... I wanted to say THANK YOU Dennis for the mention in that article, and for a great post here. :)

+$rep speed coming your way buddy!!
 

ventio

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Aug 5, 2014
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great advice here, been applying to similar sites getting some nice backlinks while im at it. Thanks
 
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