It's that time of year again. As we push deeper into Q4, many connectors are feeling the pressure to complete their work before the end of the year. Pushy clients, creeping deadlines and over encumbering workloads are sure to get in the heads of any rookies or greenhorns who may have gotten in a little over their heads.
Despite the pressures of the season, Q4 doesn't have to be something to fear. Just as connectors feel the pressure to meet their deadlines; many bloggers are feeling the heat as well. Many community managers and editorial teams compete to accrue as much traffic during the last couple of the year in order to make last quarter sales or appease their advertisers. With that in mind, here are a few ways connectors can make the most out of this hectic time of year and make it out of Q4 in one piece.
Map Out a Game Plan
While there's something to be said about jumping in head first, a smart connector always utilizes a sound strategy. You wouldn't walk into a car dealership or a T-Mobile cell phone shop without having some sort of inclination of what you're looking for right? Looking for the right sites is the same way.
It's always a good idea to take an hour or so to brainstorm and come up a plan of attack to knock out your campaigns. For instance, a client might approach you to write and pitch out seasonal titles to build PR for upcoming holiday campaigns. This is tricky because traditionally, evergreen content is more malleable, and makes for an easier pitch than content locked to a specific season. If you find yourself in this situation, figure out exactly how you want to approach it. Consider stretching the vertical, bundling the content with something else, etc. It may take or week or two to fully get a grasp of what sites are looking for what. Try different things and don't be afraid to experiment a little.
Pinpoint a Content Strategy
Now that you've figured out how to approach outreach, you must do the same for content. There are many schools of thought for how connectors create and send out articles in order to meet tight deadlines. Do you create the content before or after finding the sites? How long should the articles be? If the content is category specific, what sort of tone should be used? Etc. There are really no wrong or right answers here, but it really depends on the types of blogger relationships you make and your personal approach to content. For example, if you feel like you're comfortable with the blog category you're pursuing, it might be best to write all of your content beforehand knowing that you may have to tweak or edit ideas before a blogger is willing to publish. Others may find that working with the blogger from the ground up on an article might be the best approach to get published. Whichever you choose, always be sure to account for the time it takes from an articles inception to a publish date and choose your strategy wisely.
Sell Them on the First Pitch
Most guest contributors understand the importance of the first pitch. It's the subject line that captures a bloggers attention and the words that compel them to respond. In other words, pitching and curating relationships is truly what separates a good connector from a mediocre one. However, in crunch time, you may feel that writing custom pitches for each blog is a waste of your time and it might be a better strategy to shoot from the hip. After all, connections often come down to a numbers game. While there's nothing inherently wrong with using email templates, always be sure to tweak your emails and double check your ideas before hitting the send button. For example, if a blogger makes a point to begrudge the constant onslaught of emails on "guest posting" -- address his or her points in your message. Take the time to get an idea of a blog's tone and empathize where the blogger is coming from. By addressing concerns or having a strong resume of previously published posts in your byline, a blogger will usually be more eager to work with you.
Reconnect With Old Relationships
Utilizing past relationships is often the strongest and most sound strategy to knock out a campaign in record time. All of the hard work and heavy lifting is already finished with making the relationship, and now all you have to do is send over your next title pitch or completed article. However, it's important to not take your inventory for granted. Like the change in the air from summer to fall, bloggers usually tend to be fickle with what they want and expect from their contributors. Before sending over that next content pitch, take a quick gander at their site. Do you notice anything strange or different since your last post? Have the guidelines changed? Are all of the links no-followed? Always keep an eye out and make your concerns known before using the site again.
When it comes to connections, you have to account for all variables. Whether it's tricky anchor text, seasonal content, fickle bloggers, etc., a good connector addresses all valid concerns up front and does everything in his or her power to meet client deadlines.
Teddy Hunt is a freelance content writer with a focus on technology, marketing and finance. When not behind a computer, Teddy spends the majority of his free time outdoors, exploring the Tampa bay area, where he currently resides.