Here are a few quick tips on how not to approach guest posting if you’re looking to have a post published on someone else’s blog. They come from my own recent experience of interacting with a number of bloggers approaching me to write on my blogs.
I should note the most people who approach me about guest posting do it right – so if you’re one of them this post is probably not about you!
1. Using Someone Else’s Content
One of the stupidest things you can do when submitting a post to someone else’s blog is to use someone else’s content. You might laugh, but I’ve had this happen to me numerous times. On one occasion the guest post submitted was extra familiar – it was something I’d published years ago on my original blog!
2. Using Content Published Elsewhere
Don’t submit a post that you’ve already posted on your blog (or that you intend to publish on your blog in the future). This is one of the more common problems I have with guest posts. I’m not sure if people do it intentionally to try to get away with it or that they’re unaware – but having the same content appear in multiple places on the web doesn’t help anybody rank well for that content in Google. Write and submit something unique. If you do intend to post something in multiple places make sure you get the approval of the blogger first.
3. Poor Quality Writing
Let me start by saying that I understand not everyone has the same ability in this department. Let me also say that you don’t need to be the most brilliant at spelling or grammar to be a successful blogger – however one of the main reasons I reject content is around the quality of writing.
4. Content that Isn’t Useful
Successful blogs are blogs that are useful to people in one way or another. As a result successful guest posts are posts that meet needs, answer questions that people have or that solve problems. If your content is not much more than a 500 words that do barely more than touch the topic of the blog you’re unlikely to connect with the audience or make an impression upon the blogger.
5. Self Promotional Content
The main reason that you as a guest poster are likely to engage in guest posting is to get exposure to a wider audience. That’s pretty well understood by everyone – however sometimes posts go too far and become more about the guest poster than anything else. If you’re going to use links back to your own blog inside the post (as opposed to just a byline) then make sure they’re completely relevant to the post itself and useful to readers. If you’re too self promotional you’re less likely to have your post accepted and if it is you could end up hurting your reputation with those who read the post. Read more on this at When Guest Posts Become Too Self Centered.
6. Irrelevant Content
One of the things that surprises me most about some of the guest post submissions that I get is that they don’t relate to the topic of my blog. One submission for a guest post that I received last week was for a post titled ’10 Ways to Prepare for a Job Interview’. The post itself was quite good – however considering they wanted it to be published here on ProBlogger….. it was a complete waste of both my time and the author of the post’s time to submit it to me. While this is a fairly extreme example many submissions that I receive show a lack of understanding of the topic of the blogs that they are asking for a guest post on. The more tailored your post is for the audience of the blog you want to appear on the better.
7. Topics that Have Been Published on Recently
Another reason that I regularly reject guest posts for is simply that the posts submitted are on topics that I’ve recently covered on my blogs. This one is a little tricky because as a guest poster you’re not always fully aware of what the last month or two have seen published on a blog but a quick perusal of the archives or search for keywords will help you identify what has already been covered. Another quick tip to stop this happening is to email the blogger with a topic before writing it to see if it’s something they’re interested in.
8. Writing on Ideas that the Host Blogger Doesn’t Agree with
This is another tricky one that takes a little research to avoid but if you’re wanting to write on a topic that is a little controversial it can be worthwhile finding out what the blogger thinks about the topic before making your submission. There’s nothing wrong with a blog having different opinions shared on a topic – however if the blogger doesn’t agree with what you’re going to write (and has a different ideology) you might want to talk to them about how you can present an alternative point of view without it seeing as though you’re undermining them.
9. Demanding too Much
I have no problem with working with a guest poster to make sure that they benefit from their guest post and fit in with their needs – but occasionally I get submissions from potential guests who place such high demands on when and how their posts should appear that I give up. Remember that you’re a ‘guest’ publisher – while this doesn’t mean you should be walked all over by the blogger you should be polite and not too demanding.
10. Biting off More than You Can Chew
Sometimes I get amazing submissions from potential guest posters who suggest ideas for posts that are so big that they’re actually unable to achieve writing them. Often it’s about topic selection and choosing a topic that is simply too big. Other times it is about saying you’ll have a post ready by a deadline that is just not realistic. Be careful not to over promise or you could leave a blogger without a post on the day you said you’d have one ready.
11. Not Following Up a Post in Comments
This one is common. You’ve written a post, it’s accepted by the blogger, they publish it, readers respond in comments with their own ideas and questions….. and there is silence from you as the blogger. One thing that can help your guest post to stand out and be even more useful is to interact with those who read it. This not only goes down with the readers but it makes an impression upon the blogger. Similarly – another way to make an impression is to actually promote the posts you’ve guest posted. Tweet links to them, promote them on social media sites, link to them on your own blog etc. This all helps your blog to be more successful which helps everyone.