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Guest Blogging Tips for Success

Heidi Thorne is a self-publishing advocate and author of nonfiction books, eBooks, and audiobooks. She is a former trade newspaper editor.


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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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

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Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on August 29, 2014:

You're right, Chinaimport! I have severely curtailed my own guest blogging efforts and definitely have not invited anyone to guest on any of my sites in a long time. I think we may see similar slaps for syndicated content, too. A constantly changing landscape!

Thanks for stopping by and for the great input! Have a great weekend!

Kamal Mohta from Guangzhou on August 28, 2014:

Guest blogging was once a respectable thing to do but lately it has been abused so much that Google has started handing out penalty for it. I would probably think twice before getting a do-follow link from a website via guest blog post. If the host site feels the Google’s wrath, be prepared to share its pain on your website too.

You wrote a wonderful hub that was relevant prior to 2014. This reminds us how quickly things change in cyber world. If you have to guest blog make sure that link you get is no-follow as John Mueller from Google suggested in mid 2013.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on December 15, 2013:

Hello Pro-Hubber! Totally agree that guest posting is a good backlink generator that Google likes. Appreciate the kind comments. Have a great day!

Pro-Hubber from Florida on December 15, 2013:

Guest blogging is the best to way to get the backlinks. I occasionally write guest posts to some of the blogs. This hub is very informative and useful. Thank you

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on November 22, 2013:

JPSO138, so glad this hub encouraged you to get to guest blogging again! Good luck with that effort and have a great weekend!

JPSO138 from Cebu, Philippines, International on November 22, 2013:

I do have a blog and have noted that one way to increase visitors on my blog is to do guest blogging. Reading your hub makes me do it again since its been quite a while that I did such. Great hub!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on October 27, 2013:

Hi again, MarleneB! Guest blogging can be very rewarding on multiple levels. Really does help build your audience and credibility. Thanks for commenting and have a wonderful day!

Marlene Bertrand from USA on October 27, 2013:

I had an opportunity to guest blog for someone and it was a rewarding experience. This article is very informative. I like what you said about being an expert and how it is import for adding credibility. By the way, I really enjoyed the video.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on October 07, 2013:

Hi PegCole17! Agreed, guest blogging can be very time consuming. That's why it really pays to be judicious in accepting assignments. Glad you found it helpful. Happy Monday!

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on October 07, 2013:

This was very informative and useful. I did a little ghostwriting for a paid blog site and it was educational but time consuming. If I decide to try it again, these tips will be quite handy.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on September 19, 2013:

Hello RTalloni! Glad you found it helpful. Good luck with your guest blogging adventures!

RTalloni on September 19, 2013:

Valuable info and tips here--thanks!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on September 05, 2013:

Thanks, rajan jolly! Glad you thought the tips were helpful. Thank you for your support! Have a great weekend ahead!

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 05, 2013:

Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips for those wanting to guest blog. Voted up and useful.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on August 23, 2013:

Hi FlourishAnyway! I'd be curious to know how many hubbers guest blog, too. Maybe I should add a poll. :) Thanks so much for reading & your vote! Happy Weekend!

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 23, 2013:

Terrific advice for anyone interested in pursuing guest blogging. I wonder how many Hubbers do guest blogs? Voted up and useful.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on August 23, 2013:

Hi Careermommy/Tirralan! Glad you found the guesting tips helpful. I've done guest posting (paid and unpaid) on several sites. Some of the ops have been very good, others were okay, but not as effective. Keep us posted on your blogging adventures! (I do look for you on Twitter and watch for your blog updates there, too.)

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on August 23, 2013:

Thanks, Rose-ThePlanner, for checking out and sharing my guesting tips! Glad you found them helpful. Let us know if you pursue any interesting guest opportunities.

Tirralan Watkins from Los Angeles, CA on August 22, 2013:

Hi Heidi, nice article. I regularly guest blog for a working mother's site, so so these tips were most helpful!

rose-the planner from Toronto, Ontario-Canada on August 22, 2013:

This is a very insightful and interesting article! You have offered some excellent tips on guest blogging for success. Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on August 22, 2013:

Hi epbooks/Elizabeth! I think you'll find that blogging (whether your own blog or guesting for others) will provide a great showcase for your books. Take your time. Slow, but steady, growth in that arena is preferred over charging forward. I've seen so many new bloggers get all fired up, blog a blue streak, and then burn out within a few months. Thanks so much for checking in, commenting & sharing! Have a lovely weekend!

Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on August 22, 2013:

Excellent advice! I sometimes feel I've been living in a bubble the past few years. I've been concentrating solely on my books...but haven't even skimmed the surface of blogging and freelance writing. Trying to fit it all in and making progress, but very sllllowwwwlly. LOL. Thanks for the tips!! Voted up and shared!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on August 22, 2013:

Well, billybuc, I think most writers just want to be heard. Success? They'll just be "discovered," right? I have the opposite problem you do. I get a lot of "writers" wanting to guest post for me. They might be really stellar writers, but they are not experts. Often they don't have websites or blogs of their own (not even a HubPages, Blogger or account... some don't even have a full LinkedIn profile). Sorry, folks, I'm in business and I work with professionals. Thanks for being on the same page!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 22, 2013:

I have offered my two blogs to my followers for guest blogging opportunities and to date two people have taken me up on it. They are missing a good thing for all the reasons you outlined here. I think one of the errors I make is believing that all writers want to succeed. LOL

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