Is guest posting all it’s cracked up to be?Posted 17 October 2011 by Sandy Cosser
This is a question raised by Andy Havard in a recent post on Soshable. Havard looked at the dangers of guest posting, which he listed as:
- Cheating and getting caught. This is when you try submit the same piece of content to several bloggers while claiming that it is completely original and not available anywhere else. You would be surprised at how many people try this.
- Blending in with the crowd. This is when you lose your online identity in an attempt to write something general and banal that won’t offend bloggers offering guest posts. Again, you’d be surprised how often this happens.
- Not returning the favour. This is when you send off your blog, wait for it to be published and never contact the blogger again. It’s the equivalent of leaving the money on the dresser. It’s rude.
From personal experience
We’re advocates of guest posting, both in sending out guest posts and accepting them. We figure the relationships are mutually beneficial. When we write guest posts we, of course, get a link or two. But we also see it as an opportunity to prove ourselves as capable content writers. When we receive guest posts we have new content to keep sites rolling.
But there are problems on both sides.
Writing guest posts:
Before writing a guest post for a particular site, you have to read over the site and the blog, especially guest posts, to get an idea of the feel and tone of the site, to see how posts are formatted and what topics are generally covered. It’s also a good idea to read some of the comments to see how content is received. There is very little more frustrating than writing a post only to have it come back because you’ve misjudged the tone or because you’ve failed to engage the audience. Still, this is infinitely better than having the post published and then slated in the comments. That doesn’t do you or your links any good.
If you’re targeting a particular site, suggest some topics during your initial approach. Don’t over extend yourself; if you don’t know much about nanophysics then don’t suggest any topics related to it. Stick to what you know but put a new spin on it.
Don’t be boring. I can’t tell you the number of bland, banal, boring posts we receive. Havard is 100% right, don’t lose your identity. Yes, you need to adhere to the tone of the site, but you don’t have to lose yourself in it. Always inject some of your personality into your writing, always. And try not to write about something that has been written thousands of times before. If you absolutely have to revisit a tired old topic, really inject it with personality and breathe fresh life into it, don’t let it lie there like a dead fish.
Always read the writing guidelines. Some bloggers only allow links in the author bio, some allow limited links in the body of the content and author bio, some don’t allow self-serving links in the content but will allow links to sources. Make sure you know what you’re doing when you add your links or risk bloggers’ wrath.
Receiving guest posts
Reply to everyone. It’s very rude not to reply to guest post requests and you could risk alienating a great resource.
Even if you’re not going to accept a post, be courteous. If the writing is horrendous give writers the chance to redeem themselves. Tell them why you aren’t happy with it – tone, style, format, whatever – and ask them if they would like to rework it or send you something else. If it’s still not up to scratch then politely tell them so and thank them for their interest.
Publish posts as soon as you can. It’s not always possible to publish guest posts on the day you get them but try not to keep writers waiting for more than three days. If you won’t be able to get round to it for a couple of days let the blogger know. Again, it’s just polite and it saves them from having to clutter your inbox with follow ups.
Keep track of guest posts. It’s very embarrassing to have a blogger follow up on a post that you promised to publish and then completely forgot about. It’s also embarrassing if you have more than one site and can’t remember which site a particular blog is for. Keep a log.
Always send the blogger a link as soon as the post is live. If possible give it a bit of a boost by tweeting, digging or stumbling it. It doesn’t cost you anything and it shows good form.
(Image by Tracy Hunter, CC by 2.0, via Flickr)