January 20, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The premise behind guest authorship is simple. You write an article for an external publisher, get it published, follow up by sharing on social media and engaging with commenters, and then benefit from the increased visibility. It’s a great time to get started as a guest contributor since most online publications are hungry for new voices.
Many people use guest authorship as a platform to build their reputation, network with other people, or increase visibility for their businesses. But did you know that guest authorship can also make you a better entrepreneur all around? Here’s how.
Arguably, your main job as an entrepreneur is giving people something they want. You’re positioning your business to provide a product or service that your target audience needs. To do that, you must research your target audience carefully and appeal to them specifically. This can be difficult, especially if you’re not familiar with a target audience.
Related: Conducting Market Research
Working with external publishers forces you to get to know their audiences well. In the right situation, this can help you better understand your own target demographics. Otherwise, you’ll get valuable experience with market research.
Introspection and demonstration of expertise
This is also a great chance to introspect, acknowledging and better understanding your own level of knowledge in your area of expertise. In the course of writing, you’ll be practicing the Feynman Technique. Pioneered by Richard Feynman, the technique holds that you learn things and retain them better by explaining them to a common audience.
In other words, writing for a general audience will help you reinforce your own knowledge. It will also help you identify and close gaps in your own knowledge.
This holds true when writing about things you know well, but there are also benefits to taking on topics you know nothing about.
Research and improved knowledge
As a guest author, you may have opportunities to write about topics outside your area of expertise. To contribute substantive content, you’ll have to go out of your way to research and better understand these subjects. If you do this enough, with enough subjects, you’ll broaden your knowledge and range of expertise. That can come in handy in many ways as an entrepreneur; you can come up with better ideas, work more efficiently and possibly save money by spending more efficiently.
Feedback, criticism and self-development
Writing on a public forum is also a valuable opportunity to hear feedback and criticism. You’ll get to read comments from average users (for better or worse) and hear what they have to say about your work. They may offer constructive criticism or clue you in on a counterargument you neglected. In any case, it’s an opportunity for self-development.
Publisher diversity and exposure to new opinions
Working with a variety of publishers also introduces diversity of thought, exposing you to new opinions and new ways to see the world. You’ll break out of any echo chambers you’ve inadvertently created for yourself and will get to know conflicting opinions much better.
How to get started with guest authorship
If you’re not sure how to get started with guest authorship, don’t worry; the early stages are easy to manage. Your first goal needs to be creating a solid portfolio, so you can prove that you’re a worthy contributor. That means starting an independent blog of your own and regularly contributing to it. You should strive to show off your expertise in a particular subject, as well as your attention to detail and eloquence in writing. Assume that editors are going to review this blog before accepting your contributions and use it to showcase your talent.
Once you have a solid blog in place, build out your social media profiles and highlight your status as an author and an expert in your field. From there, scout for entry-level publishers who might feature your work. It’s tempting to go after big names with millions of regular visitors, but higher-authority publishers tend to be more discerning. Instead, go after a publisher in your specific niche or one with lower visitor counts.
Make your first pitch, appealing to the audience of the publisher (rather than serving your own personal motives) and work with the editor to get it published. Over time, as you accumulate more posts on more publications, you’ll be able to work your way up the ladder, eventually getting featured in bigger and better publications. From there the benefits of guest authorship compound.
Guest authorship is a fantastic marketing strategy, but it can also be used as a tool for self-development as an entrepreneur. The more time and effort you invest into guest authorship, the more you stand to benefit; start small and work your way up as you gain more experience.