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OK. So I figured since I wrote a post all about guest posting and why it’s a great promotional strategy… I figured I might better follow that up with a few handy do’s and don’ts for all of you out there who are a bit impulsive and want to jump in head first. (And don’t try to deny it either!)
It all sounds pretty simple in theory- you drop a line at handful of high-ranking blogs with hundreds of thousands of avid readers (yes I’m exaggerating slightly) to politely ask for an opportunity to write a guest post for them.
You wait a week, two weeks, two months. The seasons have changed and your email has already prompted you to clear out your sent folder because it’s reached maximum capacity. Yikes.
And you still haven’t heard from a single one of those so-called amazing blog owners whom you wanted to guest blog for, not a peep or even a hastily written “Thanks but no thanks”.
Or maybe instead of a simple pitch, you went ahead and wrote an article for each of those kick ass blogs, and submitted them with again… nary a word in response.
Now you’re left hanging, wondering if they will or they won’t use that awesome post you worked so hard to write for them… and worried about using it yourself in case suddenly “viola!” they get in touch and say they love it.
It’s not fun to be sure.
No One likes to be Left Hanging
It’s frustrating, and you may even feel like giving up… guest blogging just isn’t your cup of tea.
But giving up at this point is silly.
I mean what… you decide to get all serious about guest posting, write those first articles or submit those first pitches, and then don’t get the response you’d hoped for.
So now you’ll just flop over and start bawling all over the floor?
Giving up because you’ve gotten a less than excited response is no way to get where you want to go. And if you’ve done all that work and pitched 5 blogs, what’s the harm in trying for 5 more?
You might even hit jackpot with that 10th and last call (er… email?) you make, kiddo.
And please… relax. I’m not saying that you should write free content for other blogs so much that your own blog suffers. Not at all.
But if you’re relatively new to the blogging world, or you’re an entrepreneur trying to get exposure for your business and using a blog to connect… then based on my own personal experience, guest posting pays dividends!
It just requires that you use a bit of finesse in your scheduling, so that you can both cultivate your own blog and guest post without too much frazzle. (We wouldn’t want you to strain something now would we? And yes… that was friendly sarcasm. You know you love it!)
But Really, As an Entrepreneur…
Having great content is not the only thing you need to concern yourself with.
Sure it’s a major part of the equation of a successful blog.
But the other part of the equation is traffic and exposure. So adopting new and creative ways to promote yourself and your blog, as well as establish trust and credibility with the people that result from that traffic and exposure is important.
And guest posting is exactly that… a new and creative way to promote yourself.
But before you get all gung-ho about guest posting, take a moment and stop to think about what you really want to get out of it. Don’t just do it because I say it’s cool, or everyone seems to be talking about it. For Pete’s sake, that is NOT a good strategy for your business or your blog.
In fact you can pretty much hold that as a rule of thumb for everything in life.
You need a clear idea of where you’re going with guest posting, what your goals are, what you hope to achieve, yada yada. None of this “I just want to do it because the rest of the world is doing it” crap, OK?
That said, if you’re already gung-ho, here’s a list of do’s and don’ts you can refer to every time you feel the urge to write and submit a post somewhere. Game on!
First off, do find yourself a suitable site to blog for. Be a little choosy as this will affect the kind of impact you make to your audience and, ultimately, their response to your post and your site. And yes, you can target the high profile blogs, but don’t be afraid of guest posting on smaller, perhaps up and coming blogs as well. The readership tends to be a bit more personal, and might even end up being more responsive if that is part of your goals.
Do your homework, and do it well. Find out what makes your chosen blog’s audience tick. Get to know more about the niche and the blog owner by reading up on past posts randomly and even taking down notes if you need to. You might use these later for when you’re actually writing the guest post, as a reference to other posts on the blog that relate.
Do come up with article ideas and learn to pitch them in a respectful but effective way to the blog owner. Be brief but compelling and include a few juicy details that make the article sound enticing. Or you can skip the pitch (which is what I do) write a post tailored to the blog you want to guest on, and send it fait accompli. Then cross your fingers and do a prayer dance. OK, maybe not the dance part.
Do work on the post with your notes in mind. Make sure that it sounds genuinely like you and not a poor imitation of the style and voice of the blog owner. You’re writing as yourself, the guest blogger, and not as the ghost blogger of the blog owner.
Do put your byline at the end of the post and perhaps a line or two about you and your business as a brief bio. I recommend making it a little unique, maybe even inject a bit of humor into it, but that’s my style. Do what suits you best. Most importantly, add a link back to your blog so the readers will know where to find you the next time they want to read more of your killer content (clap clap clap!).
Don’t be stingy with content and style on the guest post just because it’s not going up on your own blog. Write the post as if it were going to appear on your site. In fact, I suggest you make it extra special so you can butter up the blog owner AND make a good impact on his readers to make them YOUR readers too. (Hey, there’s enough reader love to go around!)
Don’t lose hope or patience when blog owners haven’t turned up at your door begging for a guest post. Remember that a guest post is a two-way favour for both the blogger and you. You get exposure, they get great content. Chances are if he or she likes your idea, he or she will get in touch with you… and if they haven’t, don’t be shy about trying again.
Don’t hit the send the button immediately! Check your guest post again and then again, before submitting it. You might want to sleep on it for a while just to be sure that it’s exactly how you want it to be, and not some sloppy half-baked job Aunt Thelma wrote while in the midst of a bout of sleepwalking.
Don’t forget to find a post or two that you that relate to what you’re writing on the blog owners site and link to it within the post. It gives the blog owner a helpful little SEO boost and shows them you’ve taken the time to read other content on their blog.
Don’t forget to credit other blog owners and link out to them if you use an idea of theirs within your post as well. Call it a little thank you gesture, and it also shows that you’re good enough at what you’re doing to appreciate other people’s ideas and expound upon them.
Don’t lose contact with the blogger you’ve just befriended and wrote a blog post for! It might go without saying but c’mon… you’re doing this not just as a one off, but to build relationships, and that includes relationships with the blog owner themselves, not just the readers.
He or she just might need you again in the future and I’m almost 99.99 percent sure that you will be able to get that chance again if he or she really likes your post and your style.
Better yet, you might even be able to cajole the blog owner into writing something for your site. Now how’s that for really great promotion?
How about you? Have some do’s and don’ts when it comes to guest posting? Drop your thoughts in the comments below and let’s discuss them.