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How to Handle Guest Post Rejection

This guest post is by Tapha Ngum of MyAppTemplates.com.

So, you agreed on a topic to write about for a blog with the blog owner or editor, and you’ve just spent eight hours writing and editing it. You’ve done all the right things—read the submission guidelines, and double-checked your post for spelling mistakes, and you’re sure you’ve done a good job. You’re confident and excited, though a little apprehensive about sending it over. Because, after all, it could still get rejected, right?

But you send it out anyway.

Two days later you get an email back from the blog, and it tells you that the post has been rejected. Inevitably, you feel terribly deflated.

I know this feeling—and if you’ve been guest blogging for a while, then I’m sure you know it too. It’s really frustrating.

People don’t often talk about this aspect of guest blogging. But it’s a very real part of the equation. The fact is, you can spend hours working on a post and just like that, it can be rejected—deemed useless by the site you wrote it for. All that blood, sweat and tears for nothing. Even after you have discussed your post idea with the editor!

So what do you do?

Well, in most cases, that post that you wrote would probably end up locked away in some random folder on your computer. And with your confidence dented, you would probably not be too eager to write another guest post for a while, let alone make any revisions to the current one. But this, in my mind is the worst possible way to deal with guest post rejection.

The right way to deal with guest post rejection is to treat it as a stepping stone.

Guest post rejection, just like any other form of rejection, has within it the seeds of an equivalent benefit, if you know how to spot and effectively use those seeds. In each case of rejection, there will be some variability, and the benefits that you can take out of the situation will differ. But in the main, there are some key benefits that I have seen and used to good effect every time one of my guest posts has failed to be accepted.

I specifically mentioned the word “seeds” above, because the benefits that can be gained from guest post rejection are not always immediately apparent. A lot of the time you need to dig them up for yourself.

So, to help you along with that process, here are the three steps that I take when a post of mine has been rejected. You can use them to help you unearth the benefits for yourself and ultimately get more of your posts published.

Step 1. Get specific feedback from the person who rejected your post

Getting your guest post rejected is a brilliant opportunity to find out how you can improve your guest posting approach. Was it the way you wrote it? The lack of references in your article? In some cases you can even find that it was the way that you approached the person in the email that put them off and caused them to reject you.

Don’t be afraid to ask why your post was rejected. More often than not you’ll get useful feedback that will help you in your future guest posting endeavours. When you’re armed with this knowledge, your future attempts will only be more successful.

Quick tip: In your first email with the person who accepts the guest posts, let them know that you are willing to make revisions as necessary. This makes it easier to request a second submission later on if the post is rejected.

Also make sure that you do your research and find out how the blog that you’re dealing with likes to accept submissions. Often, you will find that your post has been rejected because you failed to discuss the ideas with them first. ProBlogger, for example, prefers bloggers to send their pitches over to them before you go ahead with your guest post.

Step 2. Try to resubmit the guest post

Once you have had a chance to analyze the feedback that you have been given and implement it into your post, send the guest post in again. Try your best to make sure that you have incorporated as much of the feedback as you can.

I’d also suggest you read the last ten guest posts that were accepted onto the site, to get a feel for what they like to publish.

Step 3. Try another blog

If you have really made an effort to make the post great, but are still not getting through with it, then maybe it is time to see if it can be placed on another site.

You should understand that every objectively well-written post is an asset, and even though it may not be valued by a particular site, it still has a lot of inherent value if it is used. So don’t let it end up on a folder, unused on your computer just because the rejection of it decreases your perception of its value. Not all posts are necessarily the right fit for all sites. So you have to accept that in some cases, your post will just not work for a particular site—and move onto another one.

A rejected post is not a useless post, although initially it can feel that way. In fact, if you have gone through the first two steps outlined above, and you’ve edited the post and submitted more than one revision, the chances are very likely that you will get accepted by another blog of similar standing.

Quick tip: Again, make sure that you know how the blog that you are dealing with likes to accept submissions. If you have to discuss the pre-written post with them before you send it in, make sure you do that. In the end, you want to make sure that you give yourself the best chance of having your guest post accepted and published. So complying with the host blog’s guidelines is a must.

Rejection can make your post better

A lot of people who have experienced rejection of their guest posts end up thinking that it’s just not worth the effort—it’s just too risky for them to put in the all that work for a chance that it may not even pay off.

But in my mind, that’s where the value in guest posting lies. If you learn to deal with this uneasy part of the guest posting process, then it will become an asset, not just to you, but to your business as well.

Have you ever had a guest post get rejected? How did you deal with it? Let me know in the comments!

This is a guest post from Tapha. Founder of MyAppTemplates.com, a site that provides custom iphone app templates to people who cannot afford to spend $1,000′s on their iphone app design.

How to Bore Your Readers to Death and Scare them Away

This guest post is by Jack Samuelson.

Blogging is no joke. There are millions of blogs, probably hundreds of millions of bloggers, and billions of articles online. Still, that does not mean everybody can blog effectively and run their own blog with success. So what about all those unsuccessful bloggers? Is the lack of popularity their own fault? Check out this short manual and find it out for yourself…

If you’re a successful blogger you might think you don’t need to read this. You couldn’t be more wrong. What if you got tired of doing the right thing and all this pesky, worthless success? Huh? You will definitely need my advice to kill your blog and scare away your readers. So, read and don’t forget to take notes.

Research? I don’t need no stinking research!

“I can write about any topic you want! Give me a subject and I’ll get back to you in just a few moments, perhaps an hour or so, with an already finished text. Try me! I’m writing off the top of my head and my head is full of great ideas. I can produce like ten valuable posts every day. No problem!”

Yeah right. You are probably one of millions of bloggers out there saying the same things. And I’m sure you are all misunderstood by the society of bloggers, which is why they reject your posts and ignore your blogs! Poor fellows.

Let me put it bluntly:

No research = no valuable content = no readers. Period.

Dear diary…

“I have such an exciting life! I just need to share it with you! With all of you. I don’t care that this is a tech blog, and I am writing about what I ate yesterday. I want to share all my experiences with you—tell you about my day, my adorable pets, my ex-girlfriend (ok, I’ll admit it—my imaginary ex-girlfriend).”

Now, listen. There is your personal diary where you can write whatever you want, and there is a blog where you should write what your readers want to read. Got it?

I’m the Pablo Picasso of blogging

“I am an artist! What I write is like a stroke of brush on a canvas. I never change what inspiration and muses bring to me. And you wouldn’t try to improve a piece of art would you? That’s why I write, finish and immediately publish my work, so people can enjoy and appreciate it (and bask in the glare of my genius!).”

Yup. That sums it all up. You are so attached to your words, you just can’t give them up. Every sentence is sacred and perfect. And then you wonder why no one reads your blog? You want to know why? I can help you with that: your articles are full of nonsense. They are simply unreadable. There you have it. It’s not marketing skills, but basic writing skills and modesty that you lack.

The word is the word!

“I’m a writer so I don’t add images, photos, videos or anything that could distract my readers! I also write long paragraphs so I can express myself the way I like. My articles are like short parts of a novel, of an epos. I am too great to care about the readers—they should care about me!”

Are you familiar with this new thing called the Internet? Where everything speeds up, where you are bombarded with millions of images, videos, pop ups, flashy lights, and more, every moment? Where every possible blog reader has literally millions of distractions?

And do you honestly believe that all you need is black “ink” and white background? Good luck with that. Let me know when you are ready to join us in the 21st century.

I’m a grown up and I don’t laugh or dance!

“This is blogging we’re talking about! That is a serious thing. Don’t be talking about jokes, funny pictures, sarcasm, and other childish plays. When I write on a topic, I’m dead serious! Regardless of the topic. Why would I want to laugh at iPhones and the Siri application? Because Siri sometimes answers question like “Where should I dump a dead body?” with specific directions? That is not a laughing matter. You should be ashamed of yourself and concentrate on serious writing—then maybe someone will appreciate it!”

Calm down, blogger… Everything’s going to be all right. Just breathe.

You know what? I’m not going to explain this one for you. If you don’t see it, just put a “joking forbidden” sign on your blog. I’m sure no one will connect it with totalitarian systems and George Orwell’s 1984.

There you have it. The complete manual for boring your readers to death and scaring them away. My advice? Use it at your peril.

Jack Samuelson is a contributing author who writes articles on numerous subjects, interested in issues of personal rights, online privacy, network security and anonymous surfing. He has been an insightful observer of new technologies (such as tools to hide IP) and their relations with the problems of internet privacy, freedom and independence.

When You Don’t Have “One Reader”: Writing for a Diverse Blog Audience

“Write for one reader” is advice we hear often in the blogosphere, and it can be a useful way to get a consistent voice going on your blog.

But the longer you blog, the more likely you’ll be to get to know your readers, and the more diverse their needs may seem. Or perhaps you’re blogging in a niche whose readers, while they’re united on some fronts, have deeply divided opinions on certain aspects of your topic.

Difference

Image courtesy stock.xchng user mzacha

This kind of diversity can be particularly common among readers of blogs in the religious, political, and “cause” niches—areas where people feel really strongly about the topic, and have a deep appreciation of what can be the many complex aspects of the topic.

That said, I’d guess that plenty of blogs would reach audience segments with differing—perhaps conflicting needs. Meeting the needs of those segments is a challenge that every blogger faces.

What if you don’t have “one reader” that you can keep in mind as you write? What if you have three, or four—or more?

Today, I’d like to talk about a strategy you can use to meet the varying needs of a diverse blog audience. It has three key steps:

  1. understand
  2. match
  3. meet.

1. Understand

The first step—and perhaps the most important—is to understand the different audience segments you’re writing for. Have a think about your readers, and note down the ways you think they vary.

For example, if you’re writing a travel blog, you might be juggling the needs of armchair travellers who want a vivid story and glowing shots from around the globe with those of pragmatic travellers who really need practical advice and inspiration to help them get out there and see the world.

You might have more segments than just two—that’s fine. Once you’ve worked out what basic factor differentiates them from other readers on your site, it’s time to delve a bit deeper. Look through your blog comments (or those on other blogs or forums in your niche) and try to track down some key facts about each segment:

  • Their attitudes: Consider their motivations or reasons for holding certain opinions.
  • Their media preferences: Your blog may in fact unite readers who might not otherwise come together online. But even if it doesn’t, different segments will likely use different media within (and beyond) your niche. It’s a good idea to make a little profile of their media usage habits, as far as you can work them out, as this can give you insights into other opinions, preferences, or expectations they may have.
  • Their post format preferences: There may be little difference between segments’ preferences for different formats, or there may be a lot. Do certain segments prefer list posts, or vlog posts, or opinion posts? Does your podcast subscription list equally represent your audience as a whole, or has it attracted more readers from a particular segment?

All you’re tying to do here is get a feel for what makes these different segments tick—what interests them, and why.

2. Match

Once you understand each segment a bit better, you can consider how your brand serves the needs of each one.

You might be able to see, for example, why different reader types respond in certain ways to particular topics you’ve covered on your blog, or why they react in certain ways to your interactions on social media. Ideally, you’ll be able to point to actual examples of posts on your blog that work—and don’t work—for each segment within your audience. I’ve visualised that matching of your brand, your blog topics, and your segment’s needs in the diagram below.

A diverse audience

Don’t just look at posts on your blog, though—it’s a good idea to also at the other media you know this segment’s readers use, and do the same there.

Hopefully, this exercise will help you come up with a list of topics and messages that your brand can use as a basis to form deep, lasting, loyal relationships with the readers in this particular segment within your niche.

3. Meet

The last step in this process is to make sure you meet each segments’ needs through your activity on and around your blog.

You created a list of topics above, you know what aspects of your brand resonate with each segment, and you also know how they like consuming your content. The trick now is to create a list of potential posts that look at the topics of interest through the lens of your brand.

Now you can drop those post ideas into your content schedule, so that you can make sure you’re meeting the needs of the important segments within your larger audience. If you want, you can probably come up with some more targeted, specific ways to address them through social media, through your current (or new, targeted) email sequences, and perhaps—for large segments—through your product strategy too.

This way, you can make sure you’re diligent about meeting the needs of each subsegment within a diverse blog audience, without undermining your blog’s brand or making any group you want to serve feel left out or forgotten about.

Celebrate diversity

I think that perhaps the best way you can go about addressing sub-segments of your readers very specifically is to get excited about the diversity your blog has attracted!

One of the most enjoyable aspects of blogging is how it opens up doors to connect with people we’d probably not have met otherwise. Those relationships can be so rich and rewarding—don’t miss the opportunity to connect with key segments in your broad audience.

Does your blog have a diverse audience, with a few—or more—different segments? Tell us about them, and how you’ve tackled them, in the comments.

5 Simple Online Services for Checking Content Plagiarism

This guest post is by Kimberly Nilson of writemyessay4me.com.

Many of us have faced the problem of dealing with plagiarised content, either while reviewing guest articles by low-quality bloggers, or inadvertently using common phrases in our own writing.

Even the most skilled blogger cannot possibly be familiar with all the pages of content which are already online in a specific niche. When writing about a particular topic, it is very easy to use phrases which are similar to ones used on other sites.

If similar issues are being discussed in the blogosphere, it is not outside the realm of possibility that some similar content may inadvertently appear—even if the work was made by the blogger personally and not copied and pasted from someone else’s site.

For that reason, running a plagiarism check should be part of your standard procedure of checks and balances before accepting work from a blogger. These five online services for blog post plagiarism checking can help you weed out any duplicate content.

Copyscape

Copyscape has the advantage of being easy to use: simply paste in a URL or a section of text you wish to check for plagiarism.

This well-known service charges $0.05 per search. Sign up for an account at the site to get started. You’ll need to buy credits in advance, whether you end up performing plagiarism checks or not.

PlagiarismDetect

PlagiarismDetect is a premium service. Signing up is a quick and easy process, and you can check an unlimited number of pages once your account has been set up.

The cost per page is $0.50, and each scan will take a minimum of five to seven minutes to perform. If you are planning to perform a large number of searches, the costs will add up very quickly, so this tool probably isn’t the first choice for the amateur blogger.

ArticleChecker

ArticleChecker is a free online service which is very simple to use. Simply copy and paste the blog post you wish to check into the text box on the site, or provide the article’s URL and click “Compare.” You can choose to check your text using Google or Yahoo searches. And for extra protection, you can choose to run your search twice, once against each search engine.

If any matched phrases are found, the results will show the number of times that content appears online. While this tool is very easy to use, you have no way to control the level of sensitivity of the search you are conducting, so it can miss results that the other tools will catch.

Duplichecker

Duplichecker is a free online service which allows you to copy and paste your text into a box, upload the post file, or enter the URL of the website you would like to check.

Unregistered users can perform three searches per day. Registered users can perform unlimited searches. The service checks each piece of text on a line-by-line basis to look for duplicate content, which suggests it’s a bit more thorough than some of the other tools.

Plagiarisma

Plagiarisma has the advantage of supporting over 190 languages. This plagiarism detector allows users to check for duplicate content on Google or Yahoo by copying and pasting text into a text box, entering a URL to be checked, or uploading a file. Accepted file formats include .doc, .docx, .rtf, .txt, .odt, and .pdf.

Each query is limited to 5,000 characters if you are using the free version of the tool. If you have a long blog post you wish to check, you will need run more than one check on the text, or register with the site. Signing up is free and will give you faster and better results.

This tool will show you results from Google and Yahoo, which will allow you to determine whether the text was copied word for word, or simply contains similar phrases to the blog post you are checking.

Registered users are able to use the service up to five times per day, which may not be enough if you have a large volume of checking you need to do on a regular basis. To access all the features available through the service and do more searches, you will need to buy a premium membership.

Get to know your bloggers

Checking a blogger’s work is a good way to ensure that it is up to par, but there are some things you can do beforehand to increase the odds that you will be working with a good quality blogger. Most importantly, the person should have some experience writing for the web, even if only for their personal blog.

Make a point of checking references to make sure that the people you are working with are trustworthy. Someone who holds him or herself to a high standard in his or her personal life will likely carry the same attitude through to his or her work.

Take the time to ask writers some questions, either by email, phone, or Skype, to determine their level of knowledge about the importance of unique content and meeting deadlines. For your part, have a copyright and plagiarism policy that explains how you check and will respond to any copyright infringing content. Removing the temptation to copy text “just this once” because a blogger is rushing to meet a deadline may nip the issue in the bud.

Don’t underestimate the value of original content. Apart from its rankings potential, it’s probably the best way to manage your blogging reputation, so it’s worth it!

Follow this simple rule: better check twice than get penalized once. Make content checking a part of your daily routine.

This guest post is provided by Kimberly Nilson, who is deeply in love with blogging and inspirational writing. She is an editor at the website writemyessay4me and is now working on her debut book.

Find Your Voice: Blog Like You’re In a Closet

This guest post is by Brian Lund of bclund.

Writing a niche blog is all the rage these days, but they require a different type of content than is typical of a “mass audience” blog. And that content can be hard to come up with.

However, there is a simple, though not necessarily obvious trick you can use to help produce consistent, quality, personal content that people really want to read, and which will eventually garner your blog a much larger audience. It took me five years to figure it out, but you are going to learn about it in the time it takes to read this post.

Learning from experience

Way back in 2006, I decided that I was going to start writing a blog.  It was free, seemed easy, and all the cool kids were doing it.

The subject of the blog was ostensibly the stock market and my original idea was to have it act as an online journal highlighting the stocks that I traded. I worked very hard at it, making sure to make a post every day, and supplementing my commentary with charts and graphics.

And it was horrible. I mean really, really bad.

As a novice, I was unaware of resources like ProBlogger, or important blogging concepts like actually writing coherent content!  In retrospect my blog was literally unreadable, filled with monolithic blocks of unformatted drivel.

It was flat.  Sterile.  Uninspired and lacking personality or character.  Too structured.  Too stiff.  And worse than that, there was nothing about my blog that set it apart from the thousands of other traders who were writing similar (and better) blogs. 

It was the written equivalent of beige paint.

After about two years, I finally gave up.  Over that period of time I think I was only able to attract two subscribers to my feed, one of which was probably my mom, and the other a psycho ex-girlfriend who wanted to cyber-stalk me.

Don’t try to find it now because I took it down, deleted the files, and crushed the actual hard drives from the company that hosted my site to make sure no trace remained. I wrote blogs off as “stupid” and “a waste of time” and continued on with my life, angry and bitter that the public at large failed to recognize the obvious brilliance of my writing.

Blogging in the closet

Fast-forward to the fall of 2011.

For the first time in years I seemed to have some extra free time, and the thought of devoting that time to watching television did not seem very exciting or worthwhile to me.  And for some reason, the idea of trying to write a blog again kept popping back into my head.

At first I hesitated because I feared that the same thing would happen as before: I would spend a ton of time and effort and get little in return.  But then something occurred to me that I had never seriously thought about when writing my original blog: who was I writing it for anyway?

I pondered that question for a while until I realized that I was really writing my blog for me, and only for me.  The problem was that this attitude was not reflected in my writing style, which was why my content was so awful.

Though the blog was for me, I wrote it in a way that I thought other people would want to see it written, based upon what I thought their sensibilities and expectations were.  I limited myself to what I thought they wanted to read about, and in the process lost any part of me in my blog. That is when I decided to play a little trick on myself.

I decided to write my new blog as if I was in a closet. 

Okay, to put it more clearly: I decided to blog like nobody would ever read any of my posts except me.

That small shift in my perception was at once liberating and exhilarating.  I began to sense a ne0-found freedom to write in a real and at times emotional way that I had previously refrained from for fear of what others might think.

I now felt free to write posts that were humorous or sad.  Posts that resonated or missed the mark completely.  Posts that were honest.  That bled.  That showed who Brian Lund really was.

I immediately wrote my first on-topic post, “10 Golden Rules To Blowing Your Trading Account Out” and tweeted it into the StockTwits network.   It was a raw, risqué, but funny list post that I would never have attempted on my old blog, and it got a reaction right away.

Comments, those strange creatures unknown to me previously, started to come in.  I suddenly had new followers on Twitter and even got emails from people telling me how much they enjoyed the post.

This “success” fuelled me and I started to write on a regular basis, always reminding myself of the virtual closet I was in.  Whenever I started to question what I wrote, I’d say to myself, “What does it matter? You are the only one who will ever read it.”

After a while, I got confident enough to write an off-topic post entitled “How To Bring A Loved One Back From The Dead.” This was my most personal post at the time, and it got an even greater response than any before it.

Then one day, out of the blue, I got a call from the executive editor of the StockTwits Blog Network.  Not only had he been following my blog, but he liked it and asked me if I was interested in joining the network, where my blog resides now.

Being the real you

In the first three months of my renewed blogging efforts I got more pageviews than I could ever have imagined during the two fruitless years I spent on my old blog. They have continued to climb ever since.

But more important than that, by “blogging in a closet” I was eventually able to find my natural writing voice, which has allowed me to connect with readers in a way that has created trust, loyalty, and an honest interaction that never would have been possible previously.

Have you similarly “come out” to your readers by getting into the blogging “closet”? Tell us how you connect best in the comments.

Brian is a active trader who blogs about the intersection of markets, trading, and life (with some punk rock, pop culture, and off-beat humor mixed in) at bclund on the StockTwits Network. You can also follow Brian on Twitter.

Write For Your Customers, Not Your Peers

This guest post is by Laura Roeder of LKR Social Media Marketer.

Think about your last ten clients. Did they hire you because they have the same level of knowledge and experience that you do? Or did they choose to work with you because of your expertise?

My guess is that they fall into the second camp: your customers look up to you because you’re farther ahead than they are. They expect you to provide them with advice and guidance to help them move forward in life and business.

Knowing this, why are so many blogs speaking to their industry and not their customers? You’ve seen it, and you’ve probably been guilty of it—posts filled with jargon and industry news. Maybe it seems like the articles your customers need are too simple: that information’s basic, it’s been written about before, and therefore, it’s not valuable.

Too many businesses err on the side of writing what they find to be useful or valuable, not what their clients need to know most.

Let’s use an example from my business, LKR Social Media. Our customers are people who learning the ropes of using social media for their businesses.

Because social media is our world, we know all the jargon, all the nuances, all the basics. It would be easy to gloss over some of the simpler setup details in our tutorial-style posts because we could make an assumption that everyone already knows how to do them. But, based on who our customers are, we can’t make that assumption!

We make sure that we always break down each topic to its simplest steps, making it easy for business owners at all levels to implement what we are teaching. We don’t assume that you already know how to set up a Facebook page, or mention someone on Twitter, or use RSS.

So, how do you ensure that you are writing for your customers, and not your peers?

1. Avoid jargon or technical terms

Use clear, concise language that everyone can understand. You do not need to use jargon or fancy terms to come across as an expert; simply blogging regularly and providing valuable information will accomplish that.

2. Break how-tos into action steps

Don’t assume that just because you know how to do something, everyone else does too. Break down instructions into simple action steps that someone just starting out on your topic can follow.

3. Write your posts for one person, not your entire audience

You might find it strange to think about singling one person out to write to in your posts. But the value in speaking to one person instead of a group is that usually, most people are sitting down, alone, to read your blog. There probably isn’t a huge group of your followers crowded around a laptop in a coffee shop all reading it together. For example, write “you” instead of “you guys.” The same goes for video blogs: speak to a single viewer, not to your entire audience.

If you find, after reading this, that much of your blog content was actually written for your peers (people at your level) versus your customers, that’s okay! It’s not too late to start. For your next blog post, keep these three pointers in mind to help you write content that will help your customers.

You’ll start to notice if this strategy is working by looking at a few key analytics:

  • how long people are staying on your site
  • how many articles they are clicking through to read in one sitting
  • whether you are getting more subscriptions to your email list
  • whether you are generating more sales.

Increased numbers in these areas are sure signs that you’re writing for the right crowd.

Laura Roeder, founder of LKR Social Media Marketer, is a social media marketing expert who teaches small businesses how to become welcome-known and claim their brand online. Follow her on Twitter or find her on Facebook!

Taking the Mystery Out of Ghost Blogging

This guest post is by Jennifer Brown Banks of Ghostess.

There’s no doubt about it. The thrill of a byline never gets old.

I’ve been penning pieces for publications for more than a decade, and every time I’m in a grocery store and see my name in a magazine, or have it grace the online stage, it’s still magical for me. Still.

I liken it to falling in love over and over again.

And, if you’re a serious writer, no doubt you feel the same way too.

But let’s face it: “love don’t always pay the bills”!

Enter, ghost blogging

Simply stated, ghost blogging is the practice of writing posts for others without name recognition. They get the credit, you get the cash. And sometimes, lots of it.

Ghost blogging affords today’s bloggers opportunities to expand their creative projects and their bottom line. Because more and more busy professionals are seeking “ghosts” to pen posts to increase awareness of important causes, promote products, and cultivate a connection with the public, it’s becoming a pretty popular field.

Aside from time factors, some businesses and individuals bring on ghost writers because they’re primarily “idea people.” These clients are excellent in terms of innovation and creativity, yet they lack the ability to write effectively and communicate concepts to an audience clearly.

Ghostwriters can save them time, headaches, money, and potential embarrassment.

Ethical issues

For some, ghosting practices pose ethical issues.

There are those, (both writers and readers) who sometimes perceive ghosting as dishonest, in that it misrepresents true authorship, and lacks a degree of credibility.

Maybe. Maybe not. It all depends on how you look at it.

It’s really not much different than a speechwriter penning a speech for the president, or a resume writer putting someone else in a better professional light through his skills.

Or, think of it this way. How many of us in corporate jobs have worked for bosses who presented our ideas as their own? At least with ghostwriting, somebody is paying you to be a silent partner!

What does it take to be a good ghost?

Like other genres and fields of writing, ghostwriting is not for everyone.
But, if you’re straddling the fence on it, here are a few things to consider.

1. Confidentiality is a must

In this line of work, loose lips sink ships—not to mention that they can ruin careers.

Sometimes you may have the good fortune to pen posts for a celebrity or top-dog blogger, and you’re itching to brag about it. Don’t! Like any good relationship—personal or professional—once the trust is gone, so is the union.

It should also be noted that typically, ghost clients will have writers enter into a confidentiality agreement, stating that they will not disclose their identity, or the nature of their projects. You could be sued if you violate these conditions.

2. Good ghosts should have a wide knowledge base and a wide “speaking”range

Are you well read? Have you had multiple careers? Could you be a contestant on Jeopardy Game show? If so, it’s highly likely that you’d be successful in this field.

A broad knowledge base means that you will have a basic understanding of various topics, thereby allowing you to speak with a degree of authority and authenticity. It also means that the client has to do less hand-holding and feeding you information.

3. Good ghosts should have good people skills

As a ghost, you might be required to work with someone for whom there are creative or moral differences. Or perhaps you just lack chemistry. Suck it up. Remember, it’s their vision, and their decision.

Good ghosts know when to remain silent. If you’re not able to take directions from others, or to deal with a wide range of personalities and temperaments, this wouldn’t be the best type of gig for you. Do not pass go.

4. Good ghosts have the flexibility of a rubber band

To be a good ghost, you must be flexible.

For example, a client may change the direction of the project, or he may misplace files, or you may have to work around his schedule for the successful completion of the project. Keeping cool is crucial.

5. Good ghosts are good project managers

Writing skills only touch the surface of what effective ghosting entails.

Depending upon the type of client, and the range and complexity of the project, a good ghost might also be called upon to organize information, compile data, do research, and make recommendations accordingly.

Pay for your say

How much do ghost bloggers make? There isn’t a “standard” going rate. A lot depends upon the type of client, their budget, your experience level, and the length and frequency of the project.

To apply for opportunities, check popular job boards like Pro Blogger, Craigslist.org and Ghostbloggers.net

Have you ever been a ghost blogger? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.

Jennifer Brown Banks is a seasoned blogger and professional ghostwriter. Her work has appeared at various top-dog sites such as: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Daily Blog Tips, Technorati, and The Well-Fed Writer. Visit her sites at: http://penandprosper.blogspot.com/ and http://Ghostess2.blogspot.com/.

The Power of Personal

This week, we’ve got a couple of intriguing blog posts coming up that deal with bloggers’ personal stories.

Obviously, personal stories tend to do well with blog readers. But look around, and you’ll see that personal stories have become a mainstay of the media more generally.

Personal

Personal stories are big

We have reality t.v.—real stories about real people (admittedly in some pretty outlandish situations!). We have the social media explosion, where anyone and everyone has the opportunity to “go viral” and enjoy their fifteen minutes of fame. We even have a whole generation of people who are reputedly more self-assured—and self—promoting—than ever before.

Personal stories are big—and not just online, or among bloggers. So if you’re yet to experiment with the power of personal on your blog, now’s the time to commit to it across the board.

But blogging is inherently personal, right?

Blogging might have started as online journaling, but I think we’d probably all agree that it’s come a long way since then.

If you’re blogging as an employee for a company, you may not consider what you do to be very personal. If you’re running a news-style blog, you may feel that your job is to report facts objectively, not tell stories.

So, depending on the kind of blog you run, you may find it difficult to inject a personal element into what you do.

Personal isn’t always about you

What if you are writing blog posts for a corporation? Or what if you’re just shy about revealing too much of yourself?

How can you get personal without making it about you?

Simple: put the personal focus onto others:

Personality-rich post formats

Personal posts don’t just have to revolve around topics—certain post formats seem to do a lot to help us create a personal connection.

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • The personality roundup: A roundup of personalities within your niche—with images and links—is a great way to give a human feel to any blog.
  • The interview: I mentioned this above, but your interview could use video and audio too—and be the better for it.
  • The image post: Images do speak a thousand words. The great thing about them is that a good image will elicit emotions from your readers, so often you can say less about yourself and more about your niche—and still create that personal connection.
  • The irreverent post: Reporting the facts in chatty language is another good way to create a personal feel—provided it fits with the tone and thrust of your blog.

Are you using the power of personal?

Are you confidently creating a sense of personal connection through your blog, or is it something you struggle with? what techniques do you use? Share your tips and advice with us in the comments.

Set Up Social Media to Give You Great Post Ideas

This guest post is by Douglas Lim of The 10 Habits of Highly Effective Social Media Marketing People.

Finding articles and ideas for blog posts is an important skill for bloggers to master—and one that can now be leveraged through the power of social media.

High-quality content is tweeted, liked, bookmarked, and shared around. That’s why social media is fantastic for sourcing great content: we know even before we look at it that it’s probably of high quality, since people are sharing it with their friends and followers.

Spend just five minutes setting up your networks of choice to send you great content, and you’ll have no trouble translating and leveraging that inspiration to create your own blog post ideas.

Twitter

One of the nice features of Twitter is that it gives us the ability to create Lists of Twitter accounts.

For example, you can create a List, call it whatever you want, and then add to it all the Twitter accounts that tweet about a particular topic. It could be thought leaders in your field, or it may list brands that regularly write about your topic.

When you load that List in Twitter, you’ll only see tweets from thosepeople—it’s a perfectly curated suite of informationon your topic. Even better, Twitter allows you to subscribe to other people’s Lists. So you can get the benefits of someone else’s work—look especially to the Lists of thought leaders in your field, who know other people who provide great information.

Twitter lists

To create a List, simply go to your Twitter homepage and click on the head-shot icon as in the image below. To complete your List, follow the prompts as directed.


Facebook

Facebook is another fantastic social network for sourcing great content. Similar to Twitter, you can create an Interest list and include Fan pages in it. Then, you can view that list and only see page updates from Fan pages you’ve included.

Many brands are now on Facebook, so you can source some great information. To create an Interest list, go to your Facebook home page, and on the bottom-left side click on Add interests, as in the screenshot below.

Add interests on Facebook

Next, click on Create List and follow the steps to create your curated list.

Facebook list

Google+

Google+ also allows you to curate social content through its Circles. On Google+ you can create a Circle (of friends, colleagues, thought leaders, etc.), adding Google+ profiles and brand pages to that circle. Then, when you need inspiration for a post, go to the Google+ home screen, and choose only to view a certain Circle by selecting that Circle’s tab.

Google+ circles

LinkedIn

This is one of my favourite places to hang out and access great content. If you navigate to your LinkedIn home page, you can click on “See all Top Headlines for You” as in the screen shot below.

LinkedIn headlines

Here, you can customize your news according to what you want to read. You can follow industries such as Accounting or Entertainment, or sources such as CNN. LinkedIn will also send you email containing content from these various sources.

The great thing about these top news stories is that they are also tailored to you on the basis of what your connections, industry peers, and the wider professional audience are reading and sharing on LinkedIn. I have found that, with LinkedIn, you get a different spin on the content that’s shared, because most of your connections on LinkedIn will be professionals. This means you can find some real gems that you would not normally have found through Twitter and Facebook, which tend to have broader market appeal. I highly recommend LinkedIn.

Pinterest

At the time of writing, Pinterest doesn’t offer filtering of boards. But what you can do is set up a separate account, search for your blog’s topic, and subscribe to their boards through that account. Then you can view all their pins in a focused way.

Paper.li

This is a really fun way of tying all of the networks we’ve just talked about together. Paper.li is great for pulling in content from Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, as well as YouTube and your RSS feeds. Paper.li displays all your selected content in a newspaper-style format; you can also find other people’s papers and subscribe to them.

Curating inspiration

There’s lots of great content that’s constantly being shared on each of the different social media channels. This information will hopefully assist you with sourcing and organising this information so you can curate and share the most relevant content with your followers—and get great inspiration for posts on your blog. Best of all, it’ll only take you a few minutes to set up!

If you have any suggestions or other great curating tips and ideas, do share them below in the comments section.

Douglas Lim is a social media marketing and search engine optimization evangelist. He is also passionate about business and owns his own web design company servicing thousands of clients. Douglas regularly writes about these topics on his blog at The 10 Habits of Highly Effective Social Media Marketing People. Alternatively you can find him living on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or Facebook.