So you want to write a guest blog post? Read this and be enlightened. Unless, of course, you’re a professional blogger, then you can just read this for the giggles. If you are active in any blogging communities (I’m a member of the amazing Blogcatalog.com) then you will undoubtedly see many references to “guest blogging opportunities.” These ubiquitous advertising and promotional tactics are a win-win situation for all involved – provided the post is of the quality and type needed. Check out the list I’ve put together below to make sure your post makes the cut!
Style ~ An important aspect of any blog post, this is especially important when you are writing for someone else’s site. Make sure that your writing is at least similar to the normal posts on the host’s site. If they usually write in a conversational tone, don’t format your post to MLA research paper standards, you’ll bore everyone to death; even your mom won’t like it.
Attitude ~ It’s vital to impart a sense of confidence to your readers – without losing the personal bond that’s needed for a reader to really connect to your post. Write so that you make your readers feel as if they’re the only ones that are being targeted by the message. “Date” your reader, if you will. You want that special “spark” to set off a long term relationship with your reader, make them want to hear from you in the future. Don’t make them take a fake phone call to get away from the table.
Consider your host! ~ You want to make your post as accommodating of your host as possible. Just like a good guest, you want to come in and accept the hospitality offered, but you don’t want to take advantage of it to the extreme. One of the goals of a guest blog post is to increase the readership of both the host’s blog and the guest’s. You don’t want to try to hog more than your fair share of the credit. The host should give you a proper introduction and tell the readers a bit about you and your blog. You, in turn, shouldn’t reference your blog every time you take a virtual breath. Say something nice about your host’s blog while you’re at it, it’ll give them the warm fuzzies inside.
Grammar and Spelling ~ This should go without saying, but I’ve seen perfectly credible people write fantastic posts that contain terrible technical errors. Most casual readers won’t care, but there will be those few who will catch you using the wrong form of “their” or “its” and their train of thought will be derailed for the rest of your post. If you don’t do anything else, paste your post into Word or another text editor and run spell check. If you’re horrible with grammar and deem yourself hopeless, then I recommend getting a friend to review your work. I swear Iran spell cheque on this post! Its just so aggregating.
Topic ~ Normally considered to be the most obviously important part of your post, I beg to differ. In reality, a topic is only what the author makes it. The most boring of topics can be made entertaining by a good author who engages his or her readers and connects with them. It can be difficult, but if you use the correct vernacular and style, you can write about anything. Just tie the subject back in to host’s site somehow. Never blog about the benefits of Windows on a Mac fansite though, that’s just suicide.
Most importantly, be yourself! Especially if you’ve been chosen based on prior writings. The host wants your input because he or she likes your writing or feels that your voice is valuable. Make sure that your post fits with the site, and that it’ll not stick out like a giraffe in a pigsty, but still use your own voice when you write. You want to be the pearl in the box of glass beads. Make your host proud to have your post on their site! Now, go write a blog post! Do a good job too, make me proud.
Until next time,
EDIT: It was pointed out to me by a blogger with much more experience than me (TimeThief at onecoolsitebloggingtips.com) that I hadn’t mentioned anything about policy. This being promptly and duly noted by myself, I decided to put a little blurb in this post about it. Having then undertaken this quest to post my blurb, I want to remind all of my lovely readers that many blogs will have guest posting policies. These policies should be read and understood by yourself before you begin to write a post. If you don’t agree with the policy, then don’t even try to submit an article! For an example, see this link:
Thanks For Reading! (And a special thanks to TimeThief!)