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How to be a Good Guest Blogger

This week we’ve been looking at the practice of guest blogging. So far we’ve covered why guest blogging is good, how to find guest bloggers for your blog and how to get guest blogging jobs. Today I want to finish this mini-series of posts by looking at one last question:

How do I be a Good Guest Blogger?

So you’ve got the guest blogging gig – perhaps its for a week while the blogger is away, perhaps it’s just a one off slot – but how should you approach it? Here are six things to keep in mind:

1. Research the Blog – do a little homework on the blog that you’ll be writing for. Your posts will be much better received both by the blogger you’re helping out as well as their readers by finding answering some of the following questions before you start writing:

  • who reads it?
  • what voice or style does the blogger write in?
  • what is the reach of the topic that is usually covered?
  • what posts get most comments?
  • what level is the blog pitched at
  • what are the unwritten rules of the blog?

With this information in mind you’ll be in a much better position to write something that meets the needs of the reader, blogger and yourself.

2. On Being Yourself – one of the fine lines that you need to walk as a guest blogger is that between being yourself and respecting the culture already established on the blog you’re posting on.

While I would strongly recommend that you write in your own voice and style I think it’s important not to take the blog in a completely different direction while the blogger you’re helping out is away. While some readers won’t mind a radical change some will react against it and the blogger could come back to a disgruntled readership.

3. Look for Gaps in the blog – one of the reasons that I love having a guest blogger come on at my blogs is that they bring a different skill set and knowledge base to the blog to my own. I attempt to find bloggers who will add something unique and different to the topic I’m discussion (while writing in a style that fits with mine).

As a guest blogger you can really get on the radar of your readers by fulfilling a need in readers and plugging a gap in the topic of the niche.

4. Sell Yourself – as part of the agreement that you have with the blogger that you’re helping out negotiate a byline (or by-paragraph) that will enable you to sell yourself (within reason). Include a link back to your blog and RSS feed as well as a brief biographical/descriptive sentence or two about who you are and what you do.

Link back to your site if you have something write on topic that adds something to the post – but don’t fill your posts with self referential links – this looks cheap and nasty.

Another aspect of selling yourself is sharing some of your story. While blog readers ultimately want great content on a blog – many also want to connect and relate to the person they’re reading to. This doesn’t mean writing a biographical post but it could mean sharing some of your experiences on the topic at hand.

Lastly, part of selling yourself is to consider what is happening on your own blog during your guest posting stint. If you blog on someone else’s blog for a week but let your own slip you don’t provide those who come over to check more of your work out with much incentive to stick around. If anything – the times that you guest post you should put a concerted effort into making bigger efforts onto your own blog as it’s an opportunity to find new readers.

5. Be Reliable – if you commit to post daily for a week – post daily for a week. If you promise to write a series on a certain topic – finish the series and don’t leave it hanging mid stream.

If you can’t meet your commitments you let the blogger and their readers down and could damage your own reputation. It’s better to set lower expectations and over deliver than to promise the world and not deliver to the expectations that you’ve set.

6. Add Value – don’t view guest blogging as purely an opportunity for you to get new readers and promote yourself. Remember the reason that we talked about guest blogging being a good thing was that it was a win win win situation where you as the guest blogger might raise your profile but where the blogger and their readers need to come away from the interaction better off too.

Add genuine value to the blog you are writing on and you’ll win yourself new fans with readers and the blogger and could just find yourself with a regular guest blogging spot.

Being a good guest blogger is like being a good guest in any situation. Do everything in your power to leave the place you are visiting in better shape than when you arrived and you’ll create a great impression.

Read the full Guest Blogging Series at:

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Darren, that is a nice series on Guest Blogging, perhaps you should add internal links between the posts on series so that readers can read them one of the other.

  2. I think one of the more important things is to not advertise your site on your guest post. One or two links to it is alright, but that is all. One thing I can’t stand is a seeing guest post with 5+ links to the poster’s site…

  3. Nicholas says:

    Darren, excellent series on Guestblogging. I hope you can append to this series by having an open mic, and having bloggers send in their own experience when they guestblogged for another blog…

  4. Karen says:

    Duly noted, Darren! ;)

  5. christophe says:

    The value of Darren blog is that he succeed in speaking on a very targeted topic every time in a different way. Respect!

  6. Armen says:

    Excellent! Really good post here.

    I think something that should be added (or maybe it’ll be covered elsewhere) is that the guest blogger shouldn’t go back onto his own blog and republish everything he has written as a guest. It cheapens the whole idea as it looks like you’ve written it for yourself rather than for the other blogger.

    I simple notification that you’ve written a post on another blog with a link is enough.

  7. Sameer says:

    I agree..and one more thing is that you should not guest blog on a blog of the same niche as yours..and do not preach about your area of interest on someone’s else’s blog..

  8. Lyman Reed says:

    Thanks for this, Darren. I’ve got my first guest blogging gig next week. This post couldn’t have come at a better time!

  9. fantastic man.
    infact many people make these mistakes and make their blog useless

  10. zaki says:

    With these info, I want to give it a try….
    Being a guess blogger will provide new exposure and lift up my standard to the next level….I wonder which blog can I become the guess blogger….Anyone out there….want to give it a try?

  11. I’ve ventured into guest blogging a few months back, and I was surprised how easy it was to get people to get involved. Its great for both parties because 1) you get unique content from another perspective and 2) they raise awareness of their own blog or website.

  12. Edward says:

    Thank you for this “Guest Blogger” code, it was really helpful.

  13. Awesome list of tips, what a good idea to build it, I´m gonna spread the word about it. Thank you very much for this great job.
    Keep up the good work.

  14. I want to say thank you for all the idea’s, information, suggestions to guest blogging. I hope you don’t mind I added your link to this series in to mine. I am a very new blogger trying to learn. I have been doing alot of reading, yours I have read several of already.
    Again, Thank you

    You do a very good job in explaining with good tones for someone to easily understand the concepts of what your writing about.

  15. Having worked with hundreds of freelance writers over the years, I would especially underline #5 Be RELIABLE!

    It is amazing how many people aren’t, and what it does to your reputation. Don’t commit unless you are able to follow through.

  16. Darren,

    Excellent. Can’t tell you how Excellent. 2 E’s and 5 VG’s.

    If there was an auction system for “guest bloggers” where people could bid on having a guest blogger on their blog…

    You would get top dollar!

    hmmmm …. did I just think of a charity event fund raiser where the best can offer their blogging creativity for the benefit of themselves and others and give those who were interested the rare opportunity to have a top blogger?

    Thank you for all that you do!

    Mike

  17. Caitlin says:

    Great post! I’m thinking of doing some guest blogging–it seems like it really benefits the guest blogger and the person with the blog. I will definitely keep your tips in mind! Thanks!

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