Guest writing on blogs can help you reach a new audience, build a better profile, network and perhaps grab a powerful link or two. While it is a great opportunity you have to do it right. It’s a topic that has been on my mind recently after being invited by a couple of bloggers to step in and help while they are otherwise tied up.
Darren has written from the perspective of the blogger hosting the visitor, let’s consider the other side, the guest blogger.
It is clear there are advantages for both visitor and host. The audience in theory should also gain from the fresh perspective and variation. So what could possibly go wrong? Just off the top of my head:
- Getting the keys to someone else’s property can be dangerous, as any house-sitter could tell you.
- What the guest says can reflect badly on the host, particularly as many people will not notice the author attribution.
- Hosting guests for too long can alienate the subscribers, after all, they are here partly because they like the usual blogger.
- You are effectively writing another blog, for free.
- It can be difficult finding the extra time, something has to give. What are you NOT going to do while you are writing guest posts?
- If you find topics hard to come by, how do you decide what to “give away” and what to keep for your own blog?
- Your stuff had better be good or you will need a thick skin. Anything you post will be compared to the readers familiar blogger.
- Readers might not recognise you and think “who the heck is this guy?”. Rather than gaining a new audience you could leave people thinking “Who does he think he is?”.
- What works for your blog could go down like a lead balloon elsewhere.
- … better stop here before I depress everybody!
Keeping in mind I have yet to guest blog, here are my solutions:
- Prepare for the worst – Make sure the host has adequate backups and can be contacted if something goes wrong. Even better, email your stuff so the host can read through, edit and put into the system as draft or timed-release.
- Mix it up – mingle guest posts with the usual content that people are expecting.
- Know why you are doing it – go into guest blogging clear what the rewards are, more on this in a second.
- Spread the load - in most cases you will be given good warning so don’t try to do everything at once. If you have to step in suddenly there will be a good reason for the panic. If not, turn it down.
- Write to the audience - This is not your blog, write for the host bloggers readers. You will be able to find topics and a style that the audience can enjoy and it might help your creative process. Consult the host blogger for ideas also.
- Introductions - Either get the host to introduce you or if that is not possible introduce yourself. Say who you are, what you will write about, what you usually do and why you are there.
- Mind your manners - Your readers know what you are about and anticipate your style, language, in-jokes, idiosyncrasies, your hosts readers might not. Write like your hosts Grandparents are reading.
A lot of the tips come down to
It will be interesting to see if my tips help me avoid my own disaster guest spots. We shall see!
In the end a guest blogging opportunity must be win-win-win, the audience first, next the guest and last (but not least) the host. A bit of foresight can prevent disaster. Do it right and it can be fantastic for all parties.