If, however, you’re following some of your favorite writing blogs, you may be aware that many of us are tearing our hair out because we’re getting so many offers for guest posts by people who, in spite of what they say in their email, have no clue what our blogs are about.
Then there are what appear to be almost automated queries that are coming from organizations that are trying to build links back to their site. If you’re writing for a company that’s doing this, please stop. While links back to a guest poster are legitimate, wholesale writing to generate links back is poor form to say the least.
Some of the better known bloggers are changing their rules. Cathy Miller is one who announced in Spammy Guest Post Requests Have Mellow Blog Owners Screaming that she’s changing her policies regarding guest posts. Check out the comments and you’ll see other writing bloggers echoing her thoughts.
Others, like Jennifer Mattern have actually begun to slow some of the worst guest posting practices down with her Bloggers Beware: WriterBay.com Uses Guest Posts as Link Spam. There she relates a change in policy by the company she talks about.
I wrote a whole rant about guest posts called, strangely enough Those Thinly Disguised Guest Posts & Comments – A Rant.
I got some great comments.
But what if you’ve got a great idea for a guest post for someone’s blog? Is there a way to approach bloggers legitimately?
6 Tips for great guest posting
Read the blog – this should be obvious but apparently it isn’t. This doesn’t mean you have to read everything the blogger has ever written, but it does mean you need to be truly familiar with what the blog is about. From that understanding you should have an idea of what the blogger is trying to accomplish.
Follow those guidelines - It’s amazing how few writers actually read the guidelines. For example, I state clearly in my guidelines that I can’t tell you when your post will appear. I can’t tell you how many potential posters have leaned on me for an exact date. I usually return their article at that point rather than make my calendar work for them.
Your post should make a contribution – While back links to your blog may be your ultimate goal, that will only work if the piece your offering makes a solid contribution to blog you’e guesting for. What do those readers need or want to hear? How can you help them? Those are the questions you need to answer as you write your piece.
Don’t try to hide your affiliation - If you’re blogging for a company, spell it out. Some blogs simply won’t publish guest posts that come from companies figuring their goal is more advertising than anything else. Some will accept such pieces as long as it’s clear what the game is. Hide your affiliation and you’re likely to get a bad reputation, and we bloggers do talk amon ourselves. It’s not worth the risk.
Expect to be edited – Remember you’re writing for someone’s blog. They are likely to have style conventions, like how they handle headlines and subheads. They also may spot what they consider errors in word choice or phrasing. Some blogger will let you know if they are making significant changes, others won’t. Don’t expect to be notified.
Neatness, spelling and politeness count – Your submission should be of high quality, with correct spelling and usage. And for heaven’s sake be polite.
Don’t expect the blogger to rewrite for you – I reject articles that just aren’t up to snuff. Sometimes I’ll suggest the writer read their piece out loud and do some serious editing, but usually I just say something like “I’m sorry this just isn’t written well enough to qualify.”
Follow these guidelines and you’re likely to be welcomed as a guest poster.
Your turn: What did I leave out of the guidelines? How do you approach guest posting? If you have your own blog, do you accept guest posts? Tell us in comments.
Write well and often,