Writing a guest blog post is one of the most rewarding and credible things a blogger will ever get the chance to do.
It can help propel you and your blog in front of thousands of new readers and followers. In some cases, it can also get you noticed by other publications which might be willing to pay you for your work.
As somebody who has had the honour of writing guest posts, there are some essential guidelines I follow before accepting an invitation to write for another blog. Likewise, these points also act as a reminder when thinking about inviting other writers to write a post for my blog.
Am I being put in front of the right audience?
If you’re invited to write a guest post for another blog (and are not familiar with it), check out their blog posts and ask yourself if you are putting yourself in front of the right audience.
For example, a guest post about cake decorating is probably not going to be appreciated by an audience who is used to reading blog posts about science-fiction or horror.
Likewise, if the blogger asking you to write a guest post writes about a subject you’re not interested in, then you’re likely to struggle to come up with something they will accept, or something that will go down well with their audience.
Don’t waste your time writing for blogs that you know won’t work for you or your writing. Never be afraid to turn down an invitation to write a guest blog post that you have any doubts about writing.
Ask your host if they have any requirements for guest posts.
Great! You’ve just accepted an invitation to write a guest post. However, don’t go off and write it before asking your host if they have any rules or guidelines about what they will and won’t accept.
For example –
- They may have a word count limit or may require you to write about a particular subject.
- Is the word count limit too high or too low for what you have in mind?
- Do you really want to write a guest post about embarrassing, personal, health issues or the history of lampposts in your neighbourhood?
- Do they want you to respond to any comments left on the post?
- Do they allow pingbacks in guest posts to any of your other blog posts or those of other bloggers?
- Do they allow affiliate links in guest posts?
- Is there a deadline to get your post to your host, and can you meet it?
- Do they expect you to return the favour and ask them to write a guest post for publication on your blog?
- What about the sharing of your guest post? Do they expect you to share it on your social media accounts or your blog?
- Do they expect you to supply images/photos with your post, or will they be providing them? If so, who has the copyright for those images/photos when the post is published?
Check all the requirements first, even before accepting the offer to write a guest post. And don’t be afraid to turn down offers that you know will not work for you.
Responding to comments.
For me, even if my host did not require me to respond to any or all comments left on my guest blog post, I’d still respond to all of them. Why on earth would anyone want to ignore the audience of another blogger/writer?
Like many others, I enjoy reading and leaving comments and questions on guest posts. These posts can not only be an entertaining read but often teach me something new.
I’ve recently left some comments and questions on guest posts and got no responses back. Not only did it make me feel like I was being ignored, but I thought how bad it made the host blogger look because his/her guest was ignoring his/her audience.
It doesn’t look good and can easily backfire on the host blogger.
If you’re a guest blogger, my recommendation is that you respond to all comments left on your guest posts. And this includes any questions or comments that come in months or even years later.
Don’t ignore them just because your guest post was written and published several weeks/months/years ago. That’s like closing the door on readers who may be interested in buying your books or following your blog.
If you’re hosting a guest blogger/writer, make it a requirement that your guest responds to all comments and questions left on the post. Why? Because time and time again, not responding to comments is the main reason why somebody may unfollow a blog or why a reader may not return.
I’ve gone as far as to take down the guest post of somebody who, despite me repeatedly asking them, refused to respond to any of the comments or questions left on their guest post. Don’t be afraid to take down a post.
How to treat your host.
Regardless of whether or not you accept an invitation to write a guest post, always thank the person who approached you.
You do not need to go into full details as to why you are not accepting an invitation, but it may help the host if you give them some information as to why you’ve decided not to write a guest post. For example, you may be too busy or have already reached your quota of guest posts.
However, don’t be afraid of giving them a reason so they do not keep sending you invitations. It’s better to be upfront with somebody than to keep turning them down again and again.
Never feel under any obligation to return the favour and believe that you must ask your host to write a guest post for your blog.
Although I’ve never had anyone be upset with me for not asking them to write a guest post, I have heard of incidents where a host turns into a troll because they were not asked to write a guest post in return.
And we all know how to deal with trolls, don’t we?
Sharing is caring
One way that I always find helps both my host and me when I’ve had a guest post published is to share the details on my social media sites.
When it comes to Twitter, I’ll pin the tweet to the top of my Twitter-feed, so it does not slip down as I tweet more. It remains there for at least a week.
I also ensure the Twitter username of the host is included in the tweet so that they are made aware that I’ve tweeted the post and how many times it gets retweeted.
Although I don’t always feel obliged to share my guest post on my blog, I always leave links to them on one of the pages of my blog (such as ‘My Books’ page).
If I do share the guest post via ‘Press This’ (I no longer reblog posts), I always give it at least a week after publication before I share it on my blog. This helps give the post a second boost after its original publication and stops duplication on the WordPress Reader and in the email boxes of readers.
Too much duplication of a post on the same day doesn’t look good, especially if it’s being seen by the same readers.
Although the post was originally published in April 2018, it went down well with my readers, some of whom had never read it before.
Republishing guest posts (after updating them) not only put them in front of a new audience who may have followed you since the first publication, but it can also help fill a gap you have in your blogging schedule.
If like me, you’ve written many guest posts, then you may have an archive full of hidden gems worth republishing.
Do you have any guidelines you follow when asked to write a guest post or when asking another blogger to write a guest post for your blog? Share them in the comments section.
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