This is a guest post by Jarrod Wright.
Guest blogging is growing in popularity. In the post-penguin era, it has become one of the safest ways to build links. However, some SEOs and other internet marketers have jumped on the bandwagon too quickly.
Sometimes we get so excited to see those three precious words – write for us – that we fail to really think through our article pitch. We are so anxious to get a valuable link on a good site that we don’t give the guest blogging process enough thought.
Meanwhile, blog owners are feeling Google’s wrath too. They have started paying more attention to what gets posted and linked to on their site. Plus, they are feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of guest bloggers contacting them. As more and more writers pick up their pen, blog owners get more and more requests to post.
Therefore, it isn’t surprising to learn the two individuals tend to butt heads. Guest bloggers constantly feel the sting of rejection. Blog owners are constantly annoyed by subpar work.
How can we make the transaction go more smoothly? As a guest blogger, there are certain mistakes to avoid. Follow guest blogging etiquette and you’ll have much more success.
1. Not Being Personable
Pitches that start with “Dear Sir or Madam,” or “To Whom it May Concern” will usually get deleted. Blog owners expect guests to be familiar with their site and what they are about. They like to think of the experience as a relationship – not a one night stand.
Take time to read the About page. Find out who you are addressing the submission to.
Also, write your pitch like an honest-to-goodness form of communication. Don’t copy and paste the same message to a thousand different blogs. Comment on the things you like about their site. Reference a favorite post. Blog owners are far more likely to interact with individuals who take an interest in what they do.
2. Not Investigating
If you want to make a guest contribution to a site and don’t instantly see posting guidelines, take a few minutes to poke around. See if you can unearth the information. This will save you and the blog owner a lot of time. You will instantly set the blog owner on edge if you email to enquire about information that is already shared publically on the site. Don’t bother the blogger with something like, “Do you accept guest posts?” when the site already contains proof that they do.
3. Not Following Directions
Even if the blog owner hasn’t posted guidelines on the site, he or she no doubt has them. When you have been given access to the guidelines, read them carefully before you even think about writing.
Some bloggers will ask for an article idea to be pitched first. Sometimes, you will need to include certain words in the subject line. Sometimes you need to supply examples of your writing style as part of an application process.
When you sit down to write, be sure to do everything the blog owner has asked for. This might include formatting preferences, minimum and maximum word counts, submission document preferences, media size and submission policies, and link placement.
4. Submitting Irrelevant Content
Why would a blog about hair restoration want a post about car insurance? Don’t waste your time or the blog owner’s by submitting content that is irrelevant. Look at the blog categories. Check the archives. Find out what the target audience is.
5. Submitting Redundant Content
How many times does a blog audience need to read an article on the same, tired subject? Do you really think that weight loss blog needs one more article about counting calories when the archives already have 20 articles on the subject?
Look at what has already been posted on the site. Do a search for the topic you want to write about. If the subject has already been written to death, pick a different one.
6. Submitting General Content
Not many blog readers get excited about general, not useful content. People do online searches for helpful information. They subscribe to blogs to receive the most relevant information on a particular topic. Take those factors into consideration when writing. Don’t just touch the tip of the iceberg. Cover every aspect of the topic – leave no stone unturned.
7. Trying to be a Show Off
You may be an expert on a particular topic. Just because you have a wealth of background knowledge doesn’t mean the audience will. Don’t use technical words or assume people understand what you are referencing.
George Orwell, an English novelist and journalist, advised writers to do the following:
- Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
- Never use a long word where a short one will do.
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
- Never use the passive where you can use the active.
- Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
Speak directly to the readers. Write like you are having a conversation, not like you are writing a product instruction manual.
And while you don’t need to necessary have the same voice as the blog owner, you do need to have a voice. Boring, uninspiring content won’t appeal to anyone.
8. Resisting Edits
Your name is on the guest post, so its quality will reflect (positively or negatively) on you. However, your post is on their blog so its quality will reflect on them too.
Don’t be surprised if a blog owner makes edits to your article. It never hurts to have a second set of eyes hunting for grammar or punctuation errors.
Most blog owners will simply make minor changes here or there. If major edits need to be made, they will likely consult you. No matter how major or minor the changes are, don’t fight the blog owner. Don’t go into diva mode. If it doesn’t make sense to the editor, it probably won’t make sense to the readers either.
9. Going AWOL
Once you see your article go live, it is tempting to scram – move on to the next guest post that needs attention. However, it is important to maintain a good relationship with the blog owner. One of the fastest ways to peeve a blog owner is to go missing after you’ve reaped the rewards.
Hang around for awhile. Reply to comments. And don’t forget to thank the blogger for helping you out.
Hopefully, by avoiding the biggest etiquette mistakes, you’ll have a much better chance of getting your guest post published.
Jarrod Wright, the owner of Subtle Network Design & Marketing, offers search engine marketing and creative design services to a wide variety of clients. Not only does he submit guest posts on behalf of his clients, he also runs several sites that accept guest contributions. Over the last few years, Jarrod has witnessed just about every SEO and guest blogging mistake a person can make! Follow him on Twitter for even more internet marketing tips and suggestions.