As a business owner, you must constantly look for ways to engage and attract new customers. One of the more popular ways to do this is by having a captivating online platform that stealthily shows off your knowledge and expertise in your industry sector - without sounding too 'salesy'.

Having a blog on your company website can significantly enhance your SEO and, if done effectively, cause potential customers to become emotionally invested in your brand. So yes, have a blog – no question about it! But if you want to take it a step further, consider becoming a contributor to a high-traffic website

This will give you a much greater online presence and some really cool (credible) material to share on your company's social media channels. For example, if you own a small business, your website might get 3,000 unique monthly visitors, while the Huffington Post receives over 47 million unique monthly visitors. Becoming a contributor for a site like HuffPost allows you to bring your expertise to a greater platform and connect with a much larger audience. When you use social channels to share your articles that were published on a respected site like HuffPost, it tells your followers that you really know what you're talking about. Plus, large websites usually share via their robust social channels and many of them will tag the writer (generating even more followers for you).

Benefit your business

Jamilah Corbitt is the founder of JaiWiz a digital marketing firm that teaches its clients how to communicate authentically with their customers. Ms. Corbitt is also a writer for The Huffington Post, Business2Community, and The Examiner, covering stories about marketing and entrepreneurship. By writing for these sites, Jamilah uses the platforms to talk about subjects that pertain to her business. Smart stuff.

“Sharing my expertise allows me to position myself as a subject matter expert, and humanize my company's brand," she explains. “As the Principal of JaiWiz, I use education-based marketing to nurture prospects through the sales funnel. Contributing my expertise across the web aligns with two of my core values which are: 1. Adding Value 2. Authenticity. If I can add value to the lives of readers, then that builds credibility and trust with readers. People buy from people and companies they trust."

It's no secret that customers want to interact with the brands they do business with; the average person is internet-savvy and the majority of customers are highly influenced by what they see online. Being a contributor to a respected site not only opens you up to a larger audience, it gives your business some major street cred.

So how do you land a contributor spot? Here are the nuts and bolts:

How to find your target platform

Before you go off guns blazing and submit to every site that allows freelance contributors, find out which websites your target audience is actually reading. Make those sites your focus.

Then, relentlessly read each website and take notes. What kinds of topics are being covered? Which articles are being shared the most on social media? Start thinking about how you will use what's popular and implement your own unique view on these topics.

What's the style?

Now you have your list of target publications and a general idea of what you want to write about, you need to get the style down.

You see, each publication has its own distinct voice. If you want to write for a certain platform, you have to sound like them. For example, you wouldn't want to pitch Marie Claire Magazine sounding like the Wall Street Journal, would you?!

Always pay attention to the style of writing on whatever website you pitch. Is it funny? Cut and dried? Snarky? Breezy? Journalistic? Take note! Then practice writing in that style. It might take a few test runs, but you'll start to get the hang of it.

Wow the editor

You can usually find the editor's email by doing a little Google investigation. Many sites will have a section devoted to becoming a contributor or a page that allows you to email the editor.

Bear in mind, editors are constantly bombarded with requests from new writers, so in order to rise above the noise – you need to stand out! The best way to do this is by being relevant.

Using your research on what the platform is currently covering, write your own article with a fresh spin. Focus on adding value to the readers. It's your moment to shine and show off your knowledge, so make it count!

Once it's done, send it to the editor in the body of the email. Write a compelling title in the subject line (which should resemble the type of headline you'd see on their site).

Landing a contributor spot can take a little time and perseverance; don't get discouraged if you don't receive immediate feedback. Commit to the process and keep trying different ways to get their attention!

Written by Molly Reynolds

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