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.