This guest post is by Thomas Ford of www.123Print.com.
Whatever stage of development your blog is in, it’s useful to consider the elements that characterize a good blog writer. Perhaps you’ve recently begun accepting guest posts. What are the criteria that inspire you to publish or make the call to reject a post?
Even if you’re just getting started and authoring all of your own posts, don’t publish just anything. Learn to self-edit, and you’ll be far more likely to please future editors when you begin posting elsewhere and seeking other outlets for your writing.
If you get to the enviable place where an editor or blogger is paying you for your words, it’ll be due to both your insightful sharp wit and your ability to make their life as easy as possible.
To keep the paid work flowing your way (or even if you’re just blogging for yourself and slowly building an audience), stick to these tried-and-true rules of the road.
1. Don’t turn in typos
We all know that you’re working on deadline, but clean copy is paramount to pleasing an editor. Don’t push yourself to the wire, to the extent that you’re literally skipping the reread to get your copy in on time.
Once you’ve spent hours (or even days) with a piece, it can feel like a chore to read slowly through it, line by line, but it’s the only way you’ll catch the tiny errors that can chip away at an editor’s trust in your grammatical skills.
2. Try to sleep on it
This can be tough, I know, but do your best to arrange your writing calendar to allow yourself a day between writing a piece and posting it or turning it in. It’s amazing the clarity that a day can provide. Even when I feel like a post is perfect, revisiting my words the following day always turns up something I can improve upon.
3. Meet your deadlines
Being a professional writer or blogger often boils down to self-discipline and time-management. Design your schedule in a way that affords you the time to follow rules 1 and 2, while still always meeting your deadlines.
If you miss a deadline early in your relationship with an editor, you may have blown it already. Once you’ve proven yourself, most editors will provide you some leeway now and then, but being late should always be the exception to the rule.
4. Seek feedback
A good blogger loves to collaborate and offer input to writers working on a post for their site. Seeking feedback and direction during the researching and writing process is also a fantastic opportunity to build a relationship.
If you discover a new angle for a post, don’t hesitate to reach out to an editor or blogger before completing your writing. The perspective they provide may lead to more posts down the road, and will almost always strengthen the blog you’re working on.
5. Offer strong headlines
Often, bloggers will replace headlines by a guest poster with a phrase that better fits the direction of their site. Even if this happens to you on multiple occasions, don’t stop providing headlines with each post. Your title helps an editor understand the direction of your piece, even if they recreate it in their own words.
6. Answer follow-up questions quickly
Editors and bloggers are busy people. Even if they take a week to get to your post submission, once they do read it, they’re going to want quick answers to their questions.
Make a point to prioritize these emails and calls when they arrive, providing quick edits, clarifications, and rewrites as requested. The easier you are to work with and the more promptly you respond, the more likely it is that you’ll find repeat work with that blogger.
7. Be careful talking money
It’s amazing how some editors will reply within seconds to emails about content, yet any question about payment is met with silence. Work out your payment arrangement and schedule in advance, before writing your post. Give bloggers the benefit of the doubt when it comes to sending payment, and then some.
If you’re depending on payment from a particular post to pay the bills this month, you may need to seek out further employment and save some money before trying to make it as a writer. When you’re not dependent on fast payment, it’s easier to be patient, and editors will respond in turn with more work when you’re not one of the writers that’s always bugging them about money. Most of the time, they’re just busy—they haven’t forgotten.
8. Be a self-promoter
Whether you’re writing for your own blog or submitting a guest post, utilize all of your avenues and social media channels to promote your work. Once a post goes live, link to it and spark conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. If there’s a corresponding, compelling image, link to it on Pinterest.
When you utilize your own contacts to draw traffic to a site, editors will take note and appreciate your efforts, returning the favor with new assignments.
What other tips do you have for writers looking to increase their visibility with an editor or blogger? Have any of these ideas worked for you?
Thomas Ford is the Marketing Director of www.123Print.com, a leading supplier of business cards and a wide variety of business and office printing materials. Tom is responsible for the blog at 123print, and writes on a range of topics of interest to bloggers and business people.