In this week’s shAMA: Ask Me Anything, Shama answers Ulyses’ question about how to land guest post opportunities, and talks about whether marketing can make the difference between two equally solid brands. The Coke versus Pepsi wars are real, people. As always, a transcript is below.
Hey Zen Nation! Shama here, and we have another episode of “Ask me Anything,” where you guys ask questions and I do my best to answer. Our first question comes from Ulyses on YouTube and he asks, “How do you build relationships with editors or influencers of publications like the Huffington Post, Search Engine Journal etc…so that you can get introduced and start writing guest posts?”
So here’s my answer.
The first thing you want to do is establish a base outside of these platforms. So that means whether you’re writing a blog, or on other sites – remember, these are really high-tier publications, so you want to work your way up.
Focus on the things that you can do, build up your name, build up a base so when you do get that introduction you can have a much easier time guest posting. I’m a big fan of momentum and I always say, “success breeds success.” You want to make sure that you’re really focusing on creating good content already, so when you do approach them you’re not a nobody – you are somebody who’s already got content, you have viewers, and you’re excited. Make sure that you’re really creating valuable information.
The other tip that I’ll give you is when everybody zigs, you zag. Let’s face it, editors at top tier publications like the HuffPost or Search Engine Journals, they’re getting a lot of emails, and they’re getting a lot of people who want to guest post for them. So how do you stand out?
Here is my recommendation: Next time there is a networking event, or an event where you know that some of these editors are going to attend, shake hands, be face-to-face and let them connect a face to a name. Then when you follow up with an email, it’s going to be a much easier send.
So you have to get a little creative sometimes. Remember to build up your content, build up your name, have something of value, and then try to get the face-to-face introduction if you can.
, so when you pitch them they’re much more likely to say yes. When you do pitch them, two things.
One, make sure that the content you are pitching is good, it’s not something they already have readily available and it’s something that you’re really gonna put a lot of effort into. So most posts are 500 words, you’re really going all out, a five thousand word guide to something, something valuable to their readers.
The second thing you want to do if you do get that guest post is, promote, promote, promote. Make sure you’re driving traffic, not just depending on the platform or the publication to do it but you’re pushing traffic so they can say, “Hey, Ulyses is not only a good writer, not only did he get us good content, but guess what – he’s helping promote, he really cares, and he’s pushing it forward.” They’ll be much more likely to give you your second go-around.
The second question comes from LinkedIn, and I’m asked, “Most products at the end of the day might be the same. Is marketing a deal breaker when it comes to commodities? Is it marketing that makes a difference between Toyota and Encore?”
Here is my answer: “Yes,” the short answer is yes. Marketing makes all the difference in the world. It’s all about branding, perception in marketing.
Given, the product has to be good – this is if you’re talking about a good product and good marketing versus a bad product and good marketing. The good product and good marketing are always going to win out in the end. Remember in today’s day and age, it’s really more sellers beware, consumers have too much power. You really can’t hide that sort of thing for a long time.
I’ve often said that marketing is not a Band-aid. It will amplify what is good into great, and if it’s average, it will also be amplified to not-so-great. At the end of the day, let’s say, there are two products are absolutely equal in features, functionality, design, look, feel, I mean let’s face it they’re both solid. What makes the difference? Yes, marketing is the tiebreaker. When you got two products and they are competing against each other and there they are in the same category, they’re equally as good and beautiful and efficient and all that good stuff. Yeah, it’s really about marketing, branding and perception management.
I mean, think about Pepsi and Coke right, two very comparable products and for the longest time there was the sense that Coke is better than Pepsi, and was kind of right there, one behind the other, always trying to one-up the other brand. Then Pepsi did the Pepsi challenge, where they said hey what if we take away the labels, which one would you like Pepsi or coke? and according to them many people preferred Pepsi when they didn’t see the label.
So yeah, marketing matters. We all have our biases and good marketing and branding can make a huge difference.
I hope that was helpful guys, if you have questions be sure to ask them in the comments section of Facebook, or Twitter – choose your channel. We look forward to them. Use the hashtag “#shAMA” and we will be sure to find an answer. Until next time, be sure to market like a Zen Master.