Okay, stop panicking about guest blogging being dead. That is not what Matt Cutts said. However, let us hope that spammy guest blogging will die a quick and merciful death.
Publishing guest posts on other blogs is a highly effective way to expand your audience. Doing it right requires that you:
- Identify good blogs in your niche.
- Approach the blogger with a well-thought-out proposal.
- Create quality content.
- Interact with the blogger’s audience when the post is published.
Everyday, I get emails asking about guest posting on my blog. Usually, they read something like this:
Blogging is my passion. I am a professional SEO writer and i have been published on many blogs. I have read three posts on your blog and I want to send you my contents for your website. Please tell me how many links you will allow in the article and how much time you will take to publish my one article?
Where to begin with all of the things wrong with this?
Let’s start with something simple: There are obvious errors. In the second sentence, “i” should be capitalized: “I have been published…” The last sentence is not a question, and should not end with a question mark. Really. Read it again. It is a request, but not a question.
There is another error in the third sentence. “Content” should not be plural. This is something I see a lot from writers for whom English is not their first language. I have a lot of respect for people who speak and write in multiple languages. This writer’s English is much better than my ability to write in any other language. But combined with the other errors it makes me wonder what the quality of the final article would be. After all, this is the email s/he is using to approach me and get me to agree to publish his or her writing. This is supposed to be their best work.
A bigger concern about quality is raised by the line, “I am a professional SEO writer.” That means they are trying to place an article to promote one of their clients. Nowhere here do they say what site they represent or where the article would link. They just want to put some links to their client’s (possibly) spammy site on my site. Does the site they want to link to have anything to do with the topics covered on my site? What is the quality of the client’s site?
Where can I see examples of this “professional” writer’s work? The email includes no links to blogs or anywhere I can read what s/he has written. In fact, the writer doesn’t even include his or her full name, only a first name. All I know about this writer is what I see in this not-very-well-written email.
The information they ask for is about what is in it for them: how many links and how long to publish. They do not ask what my requirements would be for a post, such as how many words should be in the post, would I like them to supply an image, when would I need the post, etc. They do not suggest a topic or show any familiarity with my website and the things I write about.
In fact, here is a big clue that this is just a steaming pile of spam: Nowhere in this does the writer say which of my blogs s/he wants to write for. I have several blogs. That makes me think that this is random spam sent out to see who bites.
Although this is clearly just a junk email from a spammer, some “real” offers to guest post are not much better. How should you approach a blogger for whom you would like to guest post?
Looking at their blog can give you a lot of information about the types of posts they use, the length of posts, how they credit authors and link from posts, etc. Look for a link to something such as “Guest Posting,” “Write for Us,” or “Submit a Post.” Many bloggers will tell you exactly how to suggest a guest post.
If there isn’t an information page for guest bloggers, send them an email or fill out their contact form. Here are some points to include.
Start by showing that you know who they are. Address them by name, and spell the name correctly. (I get lots of emails for someone named “Kathy.” No, it’s “Cathy.”)
Show that you have read the blog you want to write for. Maybe you have been reading it for years, maybe you just discovered it. But let them know what you liked about their blog. If you didn’t like it, you wouldn’t want to write for it, would you? Mention a recent post that especially resonated with you and why. Don’t be phony and don’t suck up. Just tell them why you like their blog and want to be a part of it.
Suggest a topic or two you think would be of interest to their readers. Ask if they would like you to submit a post and what their requirements are. Let them know how long it would take to write and send it. Unless they say otherwise on their blog, don’t just write and send the post without contacting them. Some bloggers will want to offer suggestions on how to make the post right for their audience. Offer one or more images to go with the post, if you can. (Note: Although some bloggers want guest posters to provide images, I never accept images without knowing exactly where they came from. Unless the bloggers took the pictures themselves or can point to a legitimate source for an image, I will not use it. Images are covered by copyright and saying that I didn’t know my guest poster stole the image will not protect me from having to pay damages.)
Tell the blogger a little about you and where they can see examples of your work. Keep it short and sweet: “You can read my posts at myblog.com, where I have been posting about online business and technology since 2008. I have guest posted on sites including bigmarketingblog.com and bigbloggingblog.com.” Linking directly to your guest posts makes it easy for them to verify that you have guest posted on those sites and read what you wrote.
Suggest what you will do to promote the post when and if it is published. Don’t expect that the hosting blog has all of the responsibility for promoting the post. Tell them that you will tweet the link to your 30,000 Twitter followers, link to the post from your Facebook page, or whatever you can do to send traffic to their site.
Thank the blogger for their time and consideration. Popular blogs get lots of emails, and it takes time and effort for someone to go through all of them. Finding a great guest post proposal in there is a little like finding a gold nugget in a pile of rocks.
Give the blogger at least a week before following up. At least. Make your follow up polite. It helps to include a copy of your original email so they don’t have to hunt for it.
When a blogger says yes to your proposal, get started on the post as soon as you can. Make sure it is your best work before you send it off. This may be the first time the blogger’s audience learns about you. Make a great first impression with quality content.
When a blogger says no to your proposal, just move on. You might be able to submit the same idea, with or without a bit of tweaking, to another blog. And you might be able to approach this blogger again in the future with a new idea.
Once the post is live, send a quick thank you to the hosting blogger. Subscribe to comments and respond when readers leave comments on the post.
You might think that you are doing someone a favor by offering them a post. In fact, you are asking to borrow their audience. Be respectful of the blogger and the blogger’s audience by submitting a thoughtful and thorough proposal. You will stand out from the dreck and spam and have a much better chance of having your guest post proposal accepted.
What do you want bloggers to do when they approach you about guest posting?