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Why You Should Start Guest Posting … Today

This guest post is by Jaime of USBundles.com.

When they’re done correctly, guest posts can be a true “meeting of the minds”—a way for both the guest blogger and the host website to benefit from association. However, many bloggers may resist the opportunity for various reasons.

Let’s examine some of the most common reasons why a blogger might be reluctant to guest post—and see why these aren’t really issues after all.

Tone is a ubiquitous conundrum. Or should I have said “tone is always a sticky wicket”?

Exactly. You already know the significant challenges that come with writing for your own goals—you need to understand how to engage an audience, and develop your style so that it is both natural and effective in context. When you’re a guest poster, you need to take into consideration a potentially unfamiliar site and audience—an extra barrier that must be overcome.

Why this isn’t really an issue: you’re there precisely because you bring something extra to the table. Some unique combination of style and expertise got you the gig in the first place. Don’t waste your time and their time by being overly self-conscious and diluting the qualities that make you valuable.

On the other hand, square pegs don’t fit into round holes, and opposites only attract in the movies

If you tend to use short, witty, casual blog posts to get your point across, a guest blog on a site that involves serious analysis and research is going to seem like a bad fit. What happens when readers accustomed to a 400-word top-ten list get thrown a 1,500-word in-depth discussion with charts and graphs (or vice versa)?

Why this isn’t really an issue: you can maintain your tone and style while respecting the host’s expectations. Examine the layout and structure of the existing posts. How do they use bullet points, paragraphs, block quotes, and other structural elements? How do they use photos, tables, graphs, and captions? Flex your writerly muscles by attempting to communicate in a format that will be familiar to the readership, and be prepared to go into more or less depth than you’re accustomed to. You’ll only become more flexible and knowledgeable, and therefore more valuable overall.

Who does this really benefit? You’re giving away precious words, and directing potential readers toward another site!

You can’t help but wonder if both of you might be better off concentrating on building your own audience and optimizing your own traffic. It’s hard enough getting people to come and stay—surely it can’t be a good idea to give people a reason to go somewhere else?

Why this isn’t really an issue: what’s true in Real Life is even more true on the internet—networking is a basic key to success. A major part of SEO strategy is to develop a fertile web of connections between sites; a healthy combination of quality content and link traffic (in that order!) is the single best way to improve your search results. But even more than that, exposing content to a wider audience can only be a good thing for the visibility, reputation, and connections on both sides of the equation.

You’re an outsider. The regulars will say “who the heck is this person?” and you’ll say “I don’t belong, so I don’t care”

You are a potentially disruptive influence upon a community of readers who feel comfortably empowered to engage with the content. Even if you hit all the right notes as far as tone and structure, you’re likely to address some different topics and different points of view. And you’re at risk of maintaining your outsider status by refusing to engage with the community.

Why it’s not really an issue: you really wouldn’t have been considered for guest posting in the first place if you and the host (and therefore the host’s community) didn’t share a relevant interest. Even the narrowest niche has a wide range of thematic connections (call it the blogging version of “six degrees of Kevin Bacon!”), so don’t worry too much if your topic strays a bit from the usual subject matter. We’re not talking about some sort of free-form aggregate web site here—guests bring their quality and expertise on a specific topic, and both sides get the benefit of spicing up their “routine” with a different angle.

And call me sneaky, but it’s a perfect way to introduce a little controversy (and therefore conversation and attention, which benefits everyone!). Be as respectful and ethical as possible, of course, but don’t be afraid to ruffle some feathers—both you and the host will be able to distance yourselves from a negative reaction, if necessary.

Later today we’ll look at two key aspects of guest posting to help you get ahead in this competitive field. First, we’ll present tips to help you get your post accepted so you can build your profile with others’ audiences. Then, we’ll see how accepting guests on your own blog can boost your traffic levels.

But for now, tell us: have you ever guest posted? Are you facing the challenges mentioned here? Share your experiences of guest posting in the comments.

Jaime is an avid hiker and skier who loves to write in her spare time for USBundles.com—home of USBundles.com.

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Comments

  1. Casey Palmer says:

    Why don’t we just build a list here of people willing to guest post for one another?

    I’d be happy to guest post on a number of topics – self-improvement, drawing webcomics, travel, etc.

    Anyone out there wanna get their swap on?

    • John says:

      I know! I would definitely LOVE to guest post. My only problem is my topic, World History, has no good blogs… http://www.historydata.tk
      Seriously, I can’t find a SINGLE blog on World History, with a Page Rank, above 6.

  2. Casey Palmer says:

    To more directly answer the question, though, I’ve had PLENTY of fun guest posting and getting guest posts. Last year I was trying to blog every day of the year, in a year where I was getting married and planning to be out of the country for nearly a month on honeymoon. So I needed to get guest posts in order to keep it going for a while. I found that a good number of friends had things they wanted to share, and it provided a great vehicle to do so :)

    I’d love to see more of that in the future, because everybody benefits!

  3. Good post, I guest posted once and the pay off was great, we gained a lot of readers.
    I see guest posting as doing overtime, it’s extra work but the payoff can be great. And when accepting guest posts it’s a bit like going on vacation, you have a bit of time to catch up on your own writing.

  4. Akos says:

    Good one Jaime!
    You pretty much rounded up all the issues a new person in the guest blogging field might have! Very nice! :)

  5. Adam Costa says:

    Nice post! It’s true you can bring your own flavor to other blogs.

    We’ve got over 50 guest posts going live today to promote our new site. Guest posting definitely works!

  6. Richard Ng says:

    Hi Jaime,

    A nice roundup of guest blogging.

    I’ve been hearing the benefit of guest blogging (especially from traffics perspective), I’ve personally done a few guest postings in a related blog, so far so good but the traffics effect is not as great as I am expecting but I guess it takes time.

    Cheers!

  7. Trung Nguyen says:

    Today, we start guest blogging for link building, building relationship and increasing authority. It’s all working for increasing SERPs.

  8. I think guest posting is great, it is fun. It is a quality link that is most likely to survive the penguine update. I think this should always be an option.

    I really ought to do more :)

    Thanks
    Dave

  9. Anne says:

    Guest posting a great way to start attracting readers and traffic to your blog. Let’s be honest,here. The web is full of any kind of blogs, forums, articles etc. That is great but also confusing for some readers that choose big,”famous” and credible blogs to get the information they need. So, a post in one of those blogs can be a career boost! You can increase the awareness about your blog and your writing and benefit your SEO, too. So guest posting has more than one benefits for you and your blog!

  10. Guest Posting is definitely a benefit for your blog but the real challenge is to keep all those readers as regulars. Many times it happens that I click on a site of the main guest post but this is it. When your site has nothing to offer, your most precious guest post won’t help you. People may click once but they may never show up again.

  11. I definitely need to guest post more often, the reason I don’t is the lack of time, not really any of the reasons above, it’s clear to me that guest posting is a great networking opportunity to get your website/product in front of more people.

  12. Joe Boyle says:

    It’s so confusing to see a blogger say they want more traffic, but not be willing to write guest posts. I’ve asked those kind of people why they won’t write guest posts, and they generally will give me the stock answer of, “I’m not well-known enough”. HELLO?! There’s a reason why you’re trying to guest post – to get more well known! You end up sitting inside of this vicious circle where nothing is accomplished.

    I’ve found that some of my best content I’ve ever produced (and best received) occurred during guest posts. It’s just this magical sense that kicks in when I’m writing a guest post. I naturally feel like I have to write better content. It’s free traffic and SEO value if you do it right. So why not do it? Great article.

  13. Good post, I guest posted once and the pay off was great, we gained a lot of readers.
    I see guest posting as doing overtime, it’s extra work but the payoff can be great. And when accepting guest posts it’s a bit like going on vacation, you have a bit of time to catch up on your own writing.

  14. Jaime,

    Great article. I really like how you illustrated that it can be a “meeting of the minds” between the guest author and publisher. So true, that there is a lot to be gleaned and relationships to be built through the process. I also really like how you highlighted common concerns and why they do not necessarily have to be concerns.

    -Deborah

  15. P.R. Chase says:

    Great post Jamie. I’m excited about the idea of doing guest posts. I think they bring a fresh voice to content I’m already reading, and an outsider perspective gives you a range of ideas you never would have thought of before.

    What you said about networking is especially true. I see the different communities of bloggers like the “get freedom guys” like Baker, Guillebeau, Ferris, Flynn and I realize the internet is just like real life, people gravitate to others they have things in common with. Friends help out friends, even e-friends

  16. Amy Hudson says:

    Great article! What are some typical ways you go about establishing relationships between guest bloggers and website owners?

    I’ve been blogging now for about a year and half and I’ve used different methods in reaching out to website owners. If possible I email them directly or contact them through social media, mostly Twitter. I’ve also used guest blogging networks such as PostRunner (http://www.postrunner.com/129….) which I have found very successful in several instances. I’m curious if you have any other clever suggestions?