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: