Guest Blogging Tips for Success
What is Guest Blogging?
There are literally millions of blogs on the Internet! And what does a blog need? Content such as articles, videos and photos. Ideally, all businesses should have some sort of blog to help generate new sales inquiries through having their content found in search engines. But a blog is a major undertaking, especially developing posts. Guest bloggers to the rescue!
Guest blogging is writing or preparing content for a blog that is not owned or run by the writer. The advantage to the blog site or business is that by using guest bloggers, they can provide quality content at a much lower cost than by doing it themselves. For the blogger, it exposes their expertise and writing talent to a new audience and helps build an online reputation. Plus, guest bloggers benefit from backlinks to their own blog sites that may be included within the content, in a byline or bio section.
But there are rules of etiquette and guest blogging tips that must be followed by both parties to make it a successful effort.
How to Become a Guest Blogger
Typical qualifications for becoming a guest blogger include:
- Being a recognized expert on the blog's subject area or industry.
- Portfolio of other published work in the subject area or industry.
- Website or, for those who are employees, a complete LinkedIn profile.
- Excellent writing skills in the language used on the blog.
Notice that the last qualification is writing. Blogs don't need writers, they need experts! Proposing a guest post without being an expert will often meet with rejection since featuring unknowns doesn't help the blog site establish or maintain their competitive position as an authority.
That being said, there may be blogs who hire competent writers to develop content for them. When approaching a blog and its editor, be clear about the intent to write as an authority on the subject or as a writer for hire.
Becoming a guest blogger does not usually require a formal job application, although some blogs may have an extensive review process. Many blogs will publish guest blogging guidelines on their sites. Realize that even if those guidelines are followed, do not expect to be automatically accepted.
"Don't Call Us... We'll Call You"
Be aware that many blogs adopt a "Don't Call Us... We'll Call You" policy when it comes to guest bloggers. Why? They're not being rude. Blogs are highly protective of the content they're presenting to the world. Essentially guest bloggers are squatters on their sites, using their Internet real estate.
Don't get offended! Get famous! Become such an expert in your field that blogs will call (or email) to invite you to post for them.
Guest Blogging Guidelines
Though guidelines can vary from one site to the other, there are some general rules of etiquette to follow to help score a guest blog placement:
- Understand that the blog is making an investment. Blogs need to allot file storage space on their sites for guest posts. As well, they need to maintain and promote the sites, both of which cost money. Guest writers are getting to use those services for free.
- Blogs usually have excellent writers on staff. With the possible exception of small businesses that may be short staffed, blogs are usually started by writers and companies that already have skilled writers on staff. They don't need another writer on board.
- Blogs are under no obligation to accept any guest post. Some writers get dejected or even angry when a blog rejects a guest proposal or post. A blog is not a charity! It's a business.
- Pay attention to SEO. Blogs post to build their placement on Google and other search engines. To ignore target keywords for the blog's topic reduces the benefits of a guest post. As with all online writing, overstuffing a post with keywords will do more damage than good, eliminating any SEO benefit the site would have gained.
- Don't expect to be paid, but it is possible. Some sites may pay for guest posts, but most don't. Usually, if a site is willing to pay for posts, it will recruit and pay writers of their choosing.
- Don't expect the blog to publish the post on a desired date. A blog will include a guest post when it fits within the editorial calendar which could be months down the road. Hounding the blog to get a guest post published will result in one thing: rejection and removal from the publishing calendar.
- Treat a guest post request like a sales call. Because it is! Be polite and respect the site's established protocol for contact. Sell them on qualifications to write on the subject and what benefits they will gain from the relationship. Writers stand to get "paid" by gaining access to the site's audience.
- Properly attribute multimedia content provided. If providing photos, graphics, videos, etc., also provide complete attribution and release information to protect everyone: writer, multimedia creator and the blog site owner. Realize, though, that blogs may wish to add their own properly licensed illustrations and multimedia elements.
- If employed, get employer approval before guesting. Guest posting on a competitor's or other unapproved site could spell trouble for both employers and employees. If not guesting for self-promotion purposes, get permission first.
- Don't over-guest. Being a guest on every imaginable and relevant blog is not necessary and can waste valuable time and effort. Only pursue and accept guesting opportunities that meet sales or marketing goals. Also, accepting multiple free guest invitations from a single website or publication can quickly turn into a regular, but unpaid, writing assignment that can detract from pursuing paid work. Other than occasional "freebies," it should be pay to play or walk away.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2013 Heidi Thorne