No More Spam!
Anyone who runs a website with a blog has probably received a spam letter inquiring about guest blogging. I received such a letter for my blog, Wining Wife. The email was from someone selling a particular clothing item that would only be marketed to a very small audience – definitely not to an audience reading a blog primarily concerned with wine, food, and domesticity.
In fact, the audience targeted by her products does not drink alcohol of any sort, let alone wine.
This isn’t the only problem with guest blogging. Some people will write articles that are on-target for the blog’s intended audience but contain several spam-like links. Moreover, some people will even pay for guest blogging post slots. It’s easy to see why guest blogging has received a lot of criticism.
Not All Guest Blogging Is Bad
Guest blogging is still a good way to build a solid reputation – if you do it right. Doing it right means that you don’t send out posts that are filled with spam links, your posts are relevant to the audience, and you don’t have to pay to get your posts onto blogs. If you do it right, sometimes you may even receive payment for your post!
The best motivation for guest blogging is to establish yourself as an authority on a subject and to help foster a community of those in the industry you write about. If people like your content, they’ll check your website out. If they don’t, they probably won’t click through your well-placed links anyway and your rankings could be harmed.
With that in mind, what is the right way to guest blog?
1. Select the blog you plan to guest blog for carefully. You don’t want to choose a random blog with a small readership that’s also starting out. Instead, you should select a blog that has an established community, receives regular comments, and is shared on social media websites. You should also be sure that the blog owner is active on social networks and in relevant communities. That way, you’re more likely to be read.
2. Offer useful information to your audience. If you want to guest blog, you should have something valuable to share with the audience of the target blog. If the audience won’t find it useful, you should target a different site. For instance, it would be odd to write a guest blog for The Kitchn that talks about Shakespeare unless…
3. Make sure your post is of interest and tailored to the blog’s audience. If you can find a way to tailor Shakespeare to a bunch of home cooks and foodies, then you might be able to suggest such a guest post. Likewise, while a post on auto mechanics could be useful to readers of The Kitchn, such an article probably wouldn’t be of primary interest.
4. Pitch the blog owner with a few ideas. Rather than just writing one post or asking the owner whether you can post, demonstrate that you’ve thought about the blog owner’s audience and how you and your unique knowledge can appeal to the blog’s readers. This is much better than a form letter asking to guest post. This way, the blog owner can choose what would be most appropriate to the blog readers.
5. Follow the site’s style. When writing your post, make sure that it is in keeping with the style of writing on the rest of the site. Use terminology that is familiar to the blog’s readers. If the site has a style guide, follow it exactly.
6. Only include links if they are to relevant information. Whatever you do, don’t link just for the sake of including links to information on your site. This reeks of spam. That said, do include internal and external links that are appropriate.
7. Make sure to participate in any comments your post generates. Be sure to follow up and respond to comments generated by your post’s call to action. Remember, you’re working to build a community, and not just rack up a large number of guest blog posts.
By following these practices for producing guest blogs, you can continue to build your reputation without hurting your page views or your site’s ranking.
Ronda Bowen is VP of Editorial Services at Creative Mindscape. She also provides editorial consulting services to a variety of businesses and individuals, runs a handful of blogs (including WiningWife®), and serves as Fundraising Director for JB Dondolo, Inc. In her downtime, she’s a distance runner, a foodie, a wine and coffee aficionado, seamstress and crafter, and board game enthusiast. Learn more about Ronda’s various projects on her website.