Guest posting is an easy digital PR strategy that scales from bloggers and freelance writers to enterprise organizations. The basic premise: you write a blog post or an article that will be published on another blog or website — a great way to attract a new audience, increase your reach, promote your expertise, and build contextually relevant backlinks. Although this sounds relatively straightforward at first, there are some key things that you need to keep in mind, or you risk your hard work going to waste. We’ve brought together eight ways completely ruin a guest post – don’t even think about starting to type before you’ve read them all!
1. Not thinking about your goals
There’s absolutely no point thinking about writing a guest post for a particular blog or website before you have taken the time to think about what you want to get from it first – what is your goal? This will not only shape your writing and help you decide your messaging and topic, but also help you tailor your content to the right audience.
Decide whether your focus is getting backlinks, building your authority as a writer/opinion leader, generating traffic to your blog or website, or even making your first online sale. Staying focused on your guest posting goals will enable you to benefit more from this scalable strategy.
2. Choosing the wrong blog or website for your guest post
It’s really important to ensure that your guest post reaches the right audience. What’s the point of posting a perfectly written piece on the latest restaurant openings in your city on a site that’s in a completely different part of the country? Or writing a piece that closely relates to your products, and posting it on a blog with a completely unrelated subject matter? To make sure your guest post gets the reach it deserves, you have to make sure that the blog you’re targeting is the right fit.
The target site needs to be relevant, receptive to the idea of guest posting, and supportive of your specific idea.
3. Delivering a bad pitch
When you have established a suitable blog or website for your guest post, the next step is to create your pitch. Make sure you’re familiar with their content first, and also take the time to follow them on social media – sharing some of their existing posts on Twitter will help to show that you are interested in what they have to say.
When creating your pitch, remember to mention your value proposition – essentially what benefit your guest post will have for them. Make it personal, say why you think it will be of interest to their readers, and most importantly check for any typos before sending to ensure it looks completely professional!
4. Making it all about you
When you’ve got the go ahead to write your guest post, the next thing is to make sure that it sticks to the topic/messaging that you want to get across – the worst thing that you could do is make it all about you, your blog, or your product or service. This is a sure-fire way to lose readers! Your guest post should offer readers some value; it should be a source of information — this is definitely not the place for a hard-sell.
5. Duplicating content
Another important thing to check before you send you guest post to be published is whether the blog or website already has similar content? If it does, then you’ll need to make sure that your guest post takes a different angle to make it stand out and appeal to readers. You need to tell them something that they haven’t heard before – if not, they will switch off pretty quickly, and repetition can damage your online reputation and relationships.
Ensuring that content is completely original is also important when it comes to search engine rankings – you risk being pushed down the rankings if you’re caught posting copied content, so don’t let this happen to you. Always cite sources and don’t write when you’re tired and not focused on the task at hand.
6. Creating one with a short shelf life
If you don’t guest post a lot, try to focus on 10x content that is going to pass you traffic and authority for a long time.
It’s important to give your guest post as much longevity as possible so that it stays relevant for a good length of time. You want to be able to receive traffic long after it’s published, so make sure it’s a meaty enough post that has some valuable commentary and themes that people are likely to be interested in for awhile.
7. Not replying to comments
Once you’ve posted your guest post, don’t think that your hard work is now over, and all that’s left to do is to sit back and wait for the traffic to start hitting your own blog or website – that’s a big mistake! Instead, you need to make sure that you keep regularly checking back to respond to any comments that you receive – this is a great way to show readers that you care about their feedback and it can spark interesting conversations.
You should also interact with any social posts about your guest post — many sites expect this interaction from their guest writers.
8. Thinking one post is enough
Another rookie mistake is thinking that creating one guest post is enough. If you really want to raise the profile of your own blog or website, then you definitely need to do more than one – this will really show that you are passionate about your particular field/topic, and position you as a thought leader too, something that will certainly attract the attention of readers who will hopefully become your followers (and customers).
Guest posting is a fun and concrete way to share knowledge and spark conversations, but you need to spend time getting to know online etiquette before diving in. Editors and webmasters can be busy and demanding people, so be prepared to impress with your writing and subject knowledge!
Victoria Greene is an e-commerce marketer by trade and runs a blog in her spare time where she talks about content, SEO and blogging. She loves taking people’s ideas and making them into digital realities. Guest posting is one of the ways she does digital PR for herself and her blog.