Table of contents for Blogging success
Looking for your gold medal event for the BlogOlympics? Why not submit a guest post to a host blog? Read on to learn the why and how of guest blogging—and how to get the most out of your guest post.
Why should you guest blog?
Mostly because it’s totally fun! Okay, so there are other reasons: it helps drive traffic to your blog and helps to establish you as an authority on your chosen subject. In fact, it helped to get me my professional blogging gig (over on my work blog). Guest blogging also helps to build relationships with other bloggers, introduce you to new readers and increase your subscribers.
How should you guest blog?
Of course, guest blogging is only of benefit to the host and the guest if done properly. You must research the blog, write the post and contact the blogger. And yes, in that order.
The best place to begin looking for blogs to guest post on is in your feed reader—blogs you already know and enjoy reading. If you’re already familiar with a blog, that makes the research phase that much easier. You can also discover new blogs from commenters on your blog, your favorite blogs’ blogrolls, searches and other links.
To most effectively leverage your guest blogging, target a blog with an audience that’s similar to yours. Guest posting on a photography blog might not get you very many subscribers to your cat blog, but guest posting on another cat blog might. Guest posting on a blog about cat grooming might also bring in more visitors. (Remember, too, that it’s not about competition in the blogosphere—it’s about community building.)
Once you’ve selected the blog(s) you’d like to target, make sure you know what kind of post they’d accept. If you’re not already familiar with the “mission” and audience of a blog, look at the About page, the author bio and the categories to get a feel for the different areas the blog addresses. Read through at least three posts to get a feel for the blog’s style—is it personal, conversational, informal, professional, informational, preachy? You don’t necessarily have to write in the same style, but it’s good to understand what kind of blog you’re writing for.
Also look around to see if the blog already has a guest posting policy—no submissions, submissions via e-mail, queries first, etc. Be sure to follow those guidelines!
Write the post
Once you have a feel for the style and topics of the blog, write a guest post specifically for that blog. Unless the blogger has specifically stated otherwise, it’s generally poor form to cut-and-paste one of your old blog posts or a guest post that you’ve already posted on another blog.
As you write the post, look for ways that you can interlink the post with articles from not only your blog but also the host blog as well. Making that extra effort to integrate your post into the host blog will most likely impress your host and make the post act as a solid bridge between your blog and the host’s.
Add value to the host’s blog with your post. This is especially important if you’re sending an unsolicited submission: make your post as useful as possible to the host blog’s readers so the host blogger can’t cut and paste your submission fast enough.
Contact the blogger
When you’ve finished your post (or at least a draft that you’d be willing to share), contact the host blogger, via email if possible. Don’t force them to read through the entire post to figure out what you want.
In your introduction, tell how you found the blog (or how long you’ve subscribed, if you can’t remember how you found it anymore). Be sure to introduce yourself and explain how you’ve come to write about the topic as well. It certainly helps if the blogger recognizes your name from your frequent, valuable contributions to his/her blog in the comments. Mention a few articles or aspects of the host blog that you particularly liked, then say that you’ve written a post that would appeal to their readers.
Summarize your post, hitting the best points and making it clear how your post would appeal to the host blog’s readers. This is especially important if the blogger has a policy of taking only query letters first, but it can help get your foot in the door with almost any blogger.
Include your post either in the body of the email or as an attachment. (In my opinion, the body of the email is always a safe bet.)
Another way to make your post more appealing: contact the blogger at an “opportune moment.” Darren Rowse at ProBlogger (who doesn’t really need the exposure) posted today about helping a blogging friend out with a guest post when he saw that his friend was sick. Going on vacation, taking a blog break, moving, having a baby, and, of course, asking for guest bloggers are all examples of times that bloggers would appreciate the hand.
Leveraging Your Guest Blogging
Of course, I’ve already mentioned one way to leverage your guest blogging—include a link or two to a post on your blog. This is one of those times where you get to choose the anchor text of the link, so choose wisely (the anchor text, the underlined text that forms the link, is taken into account when calculating search engine rankings). “Click here” and “read more” aren’t descriptive or helpful to readers or search engines.
If your targeted blogger is amenable, you’re well on your way to getting the most out of guest blogging. Ask your host blogger to include your short biography at the beginning and/or end of the post. Provide the biography yourself to minimize your host blogger’s work load and make sure you get it all right.
Elements to include in your biography:
- Your name (duh)
- Your blog’s name
- A link to your blog (most likely your blog name; let’s not abuse the host blogger’s good graces!)
- One or two short facts that show that you’re qualified to write on the topic.
- A link to your RSS feed.
An example biography:
Ellodie McPherson has raised and showed Turkish swimming cats for sixteen years. She blogs about her experiences at My Cats Can Swim. You can subscribe to My Cats Can Swim to read more of her thoughts and experiences on cat grooming and cat shows.
If the host blogger agrees, you could include a picture of yourself in your bio. Maybe even with your cats.
Once your post is live, do your best to impress your host by driving traffic to the post. Link to it from your blog; encourage friends, family and readers to visit it and pass it along; and vote for it on social networks (StumbleUpon is a favorite of mine). If you guest blog often, you can do a weekly roundup post like Lorelle on WordPress does, reviewing her best posts on several websites.
Much of these tips were also covered in an interview I did with Create Business Growth last month.
Guest Blogging on MamaBlogga
A couple nights ago I dreamt that I received a blog comment that not only disagreed with my post, but went on to attack everything from my professional work to the layout of my blog, ranting that no one could possibly trust anything said from a site that looked so crappy. (It doesn’t look crappy, does it?) Perhaps this is a sign it’s time for me to back off a little bit. But rather than letting MamaBlogga lie fallow, I’m opening it up for guest blogging.
Interested? Here are the basic guidelines:
- Write a post of fewer than 1000 words on one of the main topics on MamaBlogga: fulfillment in motherhood, parenting, or blogging.
- Send it to me in the body of an e-mail (no attachments) to blog (at) mamablogga.com.
- Include your name (as you would like it to appear), a biography (with credentials, if you have any. Like, y’know, children), and links to your blog and your blog feed (if you have them).
I’m looking forward to helping you get the most out of guest blogging!
For more advice and tips from real moms, visit this week’s Works-for-Me Wednesday.