Sunday, March 24, 2013

Precycling: A Great Way to Get the Most Mileage Out of Your Blogs

If you are new to the blogging scene, you probably don’t have a lot of followers (yet). For aspiring authors, this is a calamity. There you are, pouring your heart and soul into your posts, and nobody is reading them! How will anybody know that you are a gifted writer if your blog is languishing, unhonored and unsung, in cyberspace?

The standard advice to unsung bloggers is to guest post, preferably on a high-profile blog that gets a lot of daily traffic. While this is a good way to build visibility, it can often take months before your blog is posted. (The more popular the blog, the longer the wait.)

A more traditional approach to increase your visibility is write for ezines (online magazines). Again, this is a time-consuming process. First you have to pitch your idea, then have it approved, and then wait for a slot. For those who need to build a platform now, all that waiting, often followed by the inevitable heartbreak of rejection, can be a strain. A third option is to precycle.

Let’s say you have written an informative, humorous, moving or any well-written piece that simply screams, "People need to read this!"  In order to get these gems the immediate attention they deserve, you can post them on sites that get a lot of traffic, but don’t involve a long wait. It seems almost too good to be true.

The only catch is that all of these sites require that your work be 1) original (it is, it is!), and 2) that you post on their site first (it boosts their SEO to have first shot at original pieces). Because these sites are concerned about the quality of submissions, they will want to see examples of your writing before approving you. (This is easy if you’ve been devoting yourself to your writing.) After a short wait, you are good to go.

Where you precycle depends a lot on what you write. Some sites cater to people with a literary bent, others to the contemporary scene, and still others to more practical information and advice. If you do a Google search on “article submission websites” you will find lots of places to precycle.

In the meantime, here are some suggestions:

1) Blogcritics. "A sinister cabal of superior writers."
Everybody who’s anybody reads Blogcritics. (It’s got a global Alexa ranking of 23,796, which is quite good.) The audience tends to be young, so Blogcritics is far and away the best place to post reviews of anything contemporary (music, books, articles, TV shows, movies, culture, politics). But do not despair if you are an old codger. You can post other pieces as well. I’ve posted everything from medical articles to opinion pieces without a hitch. (Take a look at their “features” to get an idea of the range of topics.) The best thing about Blogcritics is that they syndicate their articles. That means your post could end up in an online newspaper. In Seattle. Make sure to read their guidelines carefully.

2. Buzzle. "Intelligent life on the web."
For all you fiction and poetry writers, Buzzle is a gift from heaven. Like Blogcritics, Buzzle appeals to a young audience, but unlike other high-ranking article sites, they welcome fiction and poetry. (Poetry!) Their audience is predominantly female. Buzzle does not allow URL links in their posts.

3. ArticlesBase.
This is a high-quality free article site that prefers informative “evergreen” articles. An evergreen article is one that stands the test of time. You can read it a year from now, and it will still be relevant. The reason for their preference is that ArticlesBase, like many other free article services, is a resource for journals and ezines that need an article fast and don’t want to pay for it. Once you submit your article it could appear anywhere. You won’t get paid, but you will get exposure. No anchors or URLs are allowed.

For a long list of good places to guest post see:

List of Guest Blogging Sites (140+ best sites)

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