Almost a year ago to this day I submitted my first guest blog post. I had been blogging for a while but had never really had the guts or know how to think about submitting a guest post. I knew it was a good thing todo but still I had never got round to doing it.
Fast forward a few months and I had a regular paying writing gig, I was one of the top contributors for a new start up blog, I had discovered a whole host of new blogs which I wrote for and I had gained some new readers of my blogs too. To be honest I didn’t do things perfectly and I certainly could have tried to gain more readers from it but there are always lessons to be learned from everything.
What I want to do today is present some reasons why you should consider writing (and accepting) guest posts as well as some tips to help people guest post
Why Accept Guest Posts?
There’s been a lot of ink spilt over why you should write guest post but less on accepting guest post. So to me this seems like the more logical place to start.
Guest Post Are Free Content
If you are trying to keep a regular posting pattern (or even if you aren’t) getting a free blog post of great content can really help you out. Personally, running the Christian Bloggers blog where I am for a thrice weekly posting schedule, it can really be hard to keep up with. Having someone offer a good blog post is great.
Guest Post Provide A Different Perspective
Likewise I am not an expert in everything. There are a lot of things I don’t and can never know about. I’ll never really know what it’s like to be a mummy blogger and currently I can’t speak at all about having kids (two obvious examples) However, the people who read this blog do have these experiences and a whole host more. It’s the same for you.
Having someone else share their knowledge and experience is invaluable and you can learn from it as well.
Guest Post Build Relationships
You’ll doubtless be sending messages back and forth as you write guest post and reading their writing will help you get to know the writer as well. It’s a great way to build relationships and even friendships with other bloggers.
Why Write Guest Posts?
Maybe you’re convinced to accept guest post but what about writing guest post? If you’re trying to keep up a busy posting schedule (which depending on your situations could be daily, weekly or even monthly.) then trying to write even more may just seem crazy. However, there are some great reasons to write guest posts
Write For A New Audience
In my opinion this is the best reason. When I hear someone share their passion, knowledge or wisdom on a topic that is relevant or interesting to me, I want to know more about them and from them. But to be honest, I’m at a point where I feel a bit overwhelemed by the amount of information coming in and so I’m no longer really seeking new sources of information or producers.
So guest posting (or guest appearances) are the perfect antidote for me (and many others) When you go to your favorite blog (or podcast for that matter) you don’t have your barriers up to reading a new persons blog. Your more willing to give them a try (as you know it’s approved by the usual writer) and so your much more likely to head over to that persons blog.
Its no secret that many famous bloggers ascribe guest posting as the way they grew their blogs and the best way to.
Guest Posts Are Great For SEO
The fundermentals of having your blog high on search engines is this “have a link from a website, pointed at your site with a relevant description about the post.” So basically if we want this site to be the top result for Christian bloggers we need lots of nice links with the title “christian Bloggers” pointing to this site.
It is much more complicated than that as some people have tried to use this to cheat the system so here’s the new key. The sites have to be “good” sites (not just a blank site with links in it). So if you write for a decent blog (the bigger the name the better) the more “value” it will give to your site from a link (for example if have a link in your profile to your blog.)
I should warn you that the way Google does SEO is changing all the time so it’s not like getting a link from the huffington post is suddenly going to make you number one but it won’t harm you.
Guest Post Can Lead To Writing Feedback
A good editor should give you writing feedback and even if this blogger has a very different blogging style there is something you can learn from them. Make sure you write for their readers and not just writing your usual writing style (but at the same time keep make sure your personality comes across.)
But to insure you get writing feedback ask the editor for it.
Sometimes You Even Get Paid
Technically this isn’t really a guest post but if some sites will pay you for writing for them. I’d actually love to be able to offer to pay people for writing for christian bloggers and it’s something I’m looking into.
Guest Posting Tips
Okay so hopefully you’re ready to start guest posting and accepting guest posts. But how can you get more both as someone who writes a post and someone who accepts one.
Set Up A Page For Guest Posting/Read About Guest Posting
This is the first thing you should do once you decided to accept guest posts. Set up a page with guest post guidelines that you can direct people to. If people don’t know that you accept guest posts then they may never offer.
Make sure to tell people that you accept guest post, what type of content you want (You don’t want people submitting a How to guide to a bible study site! Or what about someone sharing completely different theological perspectives?) and finally things like the style, word limit and process.
My personal approach is to:
- invite people to post
- set out the word limit and prefered topics
- ask for examples of writing
- ask people to pitch a post
- provide a contact form (very easy via WordPress…I don’t know how to do this on blogger)
then, after I receive a pitch, I let them know if it would be okay. Sometimes I suggest a few changes to make it better for the audience and provide details like the writing style etc but generally I am happy to let the person go with their style.
If you are writing a post then make sure you read these pages. Never just submit a pitch or post as you never know if they will just reject it or not and it’s usually painfully obvious who has or hasn’t read the writing guidelines.
Know The Blog
This builds on from the previous post but if you don’t know the blog, it’s style etc then you can just waste your time pitching a completely out of style blog post. check it out, work out their style, usual topics and even check out their most popular post for ideas of what to write for them.
Contact The Owner (well)
I’ve already mentioned having a contact form but this is just a glorified email address. Here are some quick tips on contacting a writer.
- prove you read the blog/know their style
- get to the point
- pitch a post and explain how it fits their audience and will benefit the audience.
- make sure you think of a good headline.
- don’t send a complete post (don’t waste your time writing a post that will never be accepted)
- send some examples of your writing (links to other articles you have written on your’s or other blogs)
- thank them for their time
- wait a week, contact them if you haven’t heard anything.
Write Your Draft, Then Rewrite
With a guest post you need to make sure it is top quality. Make sure that you always write a draft, wait, reread it, and then edit it (even rewriting it completely.) The owner might still want you to make edits but sending something riddled with errors suggest you don’t care.
If you have real problems with spelling and grammar mistakes then get someone else to edit it for you (i’ll even look over a draft if you want [and I have time])
Prepare To Rewrite
No matter how good your first draft is, this is their blog, you’ve got to live by their rules. They may not like your post for whatever reason and you may have to rewrite it completely. Just accept it now.
Ask To Know When The Post Will Go Live
When you submit your final draft ask them when your post will go live. There are some good reasons for this but the main one is so you can…
Respond To Comments
This is a real chance to connect with this writers audience and learn from them as well. Don’t just treat this as a chance to lure them on to your blog but seek to learn and grow from them as well.
Thank Each other
After the post has been published (say a week or so…or just after the comments stop comming in) follow up the whole thing and thank the person for the chance. You never know what may come from this. Maybe you can write again, maybe they’ll write for your blog…maybe nothing but it’s a very rare thing to happen and it helps to build the relationships between writers.
Let’s Get Guest Posting
By now I hope you’ve gained some good ideas and tips for guest posting and there’s really only one thing left…let’s get guest posting!
Once a few people have added themselves here then look through the list. Find a blog that has a similar mentality to your own or who you’d like to write for and ask them if you can write on their blog.
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