We’ve had a special request for today’s post. Sheila Wray Gregoire sent me a message last week, saying, “I’m looking for people to write guest posts for To Love, Honor and Vacuum on marriage/parenting stuff. It’s a good chance for bloggers who are just starting to get some exposure.”
Sheila’s right. Guest posting on other people’s established blogs can be one of the best ways to grow your platform and increase your following on your blog. When you write a guest post, you’re not only getting exposed to a whole new set of readers, but you’re also proving that you’re good enough for someone else to risk their blog’s reputation on.
Unfortunately, Sheila found that most people who submitted a guest post for consideration didn’t know how to properly write a guest post. Hence, she reached out to me to see if we could spread the word about her need for guest posters and also tell our readers how to write a killer guest post.
This one’s for you, Sheila.
Here’s what you need to do if you want to write a guest post for Sheila or for anyone else.
1. Study the intended audience, voice, and style of the blog you want to guest post for.
This is one of the fundamental skills of article writing that also applies to writing a killer guest post. They know what their readers like, and they are going to insist that anything they publish fits with what their readers expect. They won’t break the rules just for you.
Are their posts short or long? Do they use numbered lists? Is the tone sarcastic or serious? Practical, inspirational, or a combination of the two? Show that you’ve done your research by getting it right.
2. Write something new.
Don’t submit material you’ve already published on your blog (or in print). When you offer someone a guest post, the assumption is that they’ll be receiving new material.
3. Meet a need.
You should scan the last 6 months of posts to be sure you’re proposing something fresh that they haven’t already written on. Better yet, try to think of a post the owner of the blog couldn’t write themselves. What unique experience do you have that also ties in to the theme and topic of their blog? Not only will this help build a relationship with your fellow blogger, but it will also give people a reason to check out your blog.
4. Give your absolute best.
If you’re trying to choose between two ideas you think would be perfect for a guest post, choose the best one.
But then I won’t be able to use that awesome post on my site?
No, you won’t. You’ll do better. You’ll give a brand new audience a chance to see how awesome you are. Translation–you’ll actually gain at least twice as many new readers as if you posted that stellar content on your own site. Plus, you can provide a paragraph summary about your guest post and a link on your site on the day it goes live. That gives you the best of both worlds because your regular readers won’t miss out.
4. Ruthlessly self-edit.
Guest posts help the blog’s owner by giving them a day off from posting themselves. But not if they have to spend as much time editing your post as they would have writing their own.
5. Don’t blatantly self-advertise and link back to your own blog.
The blogger that you’re writing for will usually have you write a bio (or they’ll write an intro about you) where you’ll be able to include a link to your blog. That’s all you need. If you write well enough, people will click through to your site. I know because I’ve done it. Focus on the quality of your post, not on how many times you can talk about the content readers can find back at your site or how they really, really need to buy your book.
6. Include an appropriate keyword.
You and the blog’s owner both have a vested interest in people finding your post. Research an appropriate keyword the same way you would if you were writing for your own site, and let the blog’s owner know what that keyword is so they can include it in a tag and in the appropriate places on the backside of their website.
7. Promote twice as much as you would a post on your own site.
Basically this comes down to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Even though you’re sending traffic to someone else’s website, it’ll work out for your benefit somewhere down the road.
Now I’d like to call on you for some help. Help us help Sheila spread the word by tweeting about this post on Twitter or posting a link on Facebook.