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The Golden Rules of Guest Blogging

So many people are guest blogging these days. It is almost a cliché to say that once the masses get a-hold of something, they cheapen it. Sadly, the cliché is often true. So it is with guest blogging. I regularly receive offers to guest blog from people who have no clue what they are doing …which generally is wasting my time and theirs. So, here are the Golden Rules of Guest Blogging:

Know Thy Blog

That’s right, take time to study the blog you want to guest post for. What topics do they cover? What topics do they avoid? (Hint, if there are subjects that would be obviously on-topic, but they haven’t touched in the past 341 posts, they probably do NOT want your take on the subject.) Are posts serious? Fun? Are posts mostly practical or philosophical or reviews or opinion? Are posts very professional or very informal? Very carefully worded? Or anything goes? Are posts one-sided (is there a theme to the opinions?) or well-balanced? Is the writing top-quality? (Hint, regurgitating an article-directory article won’t fly on a good quality blog.) Are all the posts long? Short? All different lengths? These are just some of the points to look for.

Don’t Bore Thy Audience

Keep in mind what you learned about the blog you wish to write for. Even if it is a very serious blog, you don’t have to be boring. At very least, use colourful analogies or some form of allegory. Jesus spoke in parables, politicians do so all the time, and you can, too. Look for a new way to express old thoughts. For instance, how to eat frugally has been written all over the blogosphere, but how animals can teach us to eat frugally has not been covered very much. Get creative.

Can’t be creative? Maybe guest blogging isn’t for you. Your creativity – your fresh approach to a topic – is one of the main reasons a blogger might want a guest post on her blog.

Bring Value to the Table

Why on earth would I want you to write for my blog? Well, there might be some good reasons. Here are a few that I would consider worthwhile….

  • You have an amazing idea that captures my imagination
  • You have superstar credentials, strong enough that my blog would be very impressive just to host your name on it
  • You have an amazingly strong account at Twitter or StumbleUpon or other places that can drive traffic and links to my blog
  • I can’t write for the life of me and I need good writers that will impress people with the quality of the post
  • I have a far too ambitious publishing schedule to cover it all myself

What do you have to offer? At the risk of sounding like a nag, study the blog; you’ll quickly learn what might or might not be worthwhile. For instance, on this blog you’ll see immediately that I write very well and that “ambitious” is an antonym of my publishing schedule. You will also note that I rarely take on guest posts, so you’d better be prepared to really “Wow!” me if you hope to escape my brush-off.

Approach Bloggers Who Welcome Guests

I am not the only blogger who ignores most offers to guest post. But there are many bloggers who hungrily invite guest bloggers Try searching Google for your keywords along with “guest post” or “guest blog”. Or head over to Ann Smarty’s guest blogging forum where many of the more eager hosts are already waiting for you.

Write Well

If you write trash, your post will be accepted on a trashy blog. You get what you pay for. Or what you write for. Or what you scribble for. This falls under the heading of “when is an opportunity not an opportunity?”

These are the Golden Rules, as I see them. There are also some guest blogging tips to consider at About.com .

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16 Responses to “The Golden Rules of Guest Blogging”

  1. emory @ clickfire (11 comments) Says:

    I like the bringing value part–the most important consideration for a publisher. I have to politely reject most of the guest blog submissions I get because of the lack of imagination.

  2. WorkHomeDad (1 comments) Says:

    Good timing on the post, David. I’m looking to increase my exposure through means other than SEO and organic traffic in 2011. I’ve been told my numerous folks to start guest blogging but I was unsure how to get started with it. Your resources and information in this post will be most helpful – thank you!

    Best,
    Scott

  3. Jim Rudnick (2 comments) Says:

    Absolutely spot-on David!

    We get those same idiotic guest post queries, all of which btw, have no idea at all about who we are and what we need to serve our own readers….sigh….

    Hopefully, this post will ‘rise’ in google et al and show to anyone who thinks that they maybe might like to write a guest post BEFORE they send out those idiotic queries, eh!

    :-)

    Jim

  4. Wes (1 comments) Says:

    Great Tips, David. Your points about getting to know the blog you are asking to submit a guest post for is key. Most articles recommending tips for guest posting seem to miss this extremely important piece.

  5. Ileane (8 comments) Says:

    Hi David, I take part of the blame for a lousy guest post I received recently because I haven’t spelled out a guest posting policy yet. I hoping to get a policy posted soon so people will know what’s expected.

    On the other hand, I’m really pleased with a guest blogger I found over on MyBlogGuest. Ann Smarty has done a terrific job with that site and the community.

  6. susci@Rowan DUI Lawyer (1 comments) Says:

    That’s true. Those Golden Rules I think would be very effective. Well, if you want to produce quality articles by hitting the point of a certain topic, the first rule would I think be effective. Why? How can you write something if you don’t have any idea about the usual topics that they cover? Second, writing is not just writing. You write to entertain your readers and that’s the role of the second golden rule. If you can’t satisfy your readers by your write-ups, well, I guess you need to find something interesting for them not to get bored in reading your story. In that case, you use your imagination. Then, write. It’s up to you how you are going to present your story in a way that readers will have an interest in reading it.

  7. Pete Carr (1 comments) Says:

    Hi David,
    Why this sudden trend to guest blog, like you say it seems everyone wants in on the act. Ok you might get a few extra readers and traffic for a few days, but is it worth it.
    I read a guest post the other day, happened to be a really good article on a subject I am researching, so I clicked the link to go to this guys site to get more of this great content. What did I find, an auto blog with re-hashed garbage on there. I was shocked. This guy had gone to the trouble of writing a compelling article and then linking to a adsense site.
    The state of guest posting today.
    Pete

  8. David Leonhardt (136 comments) Says:

    Good point, Pete. That guy obviously was investing more effort in other peoples’ blogs than in his own, and that is not the most effective strategy.

  9. Rick LaPoint @ Internet Marketing (2 comments) Says:

    Hi David,

    When I first started I wrote a few Guest Posts because I wanted the Backlink, pure and simple.

    Although my writing has been well received, I have found that Commenting has brought me more actual traffic, by far, than Guesting.

    It’s all becoming a mishmash of blog-hopping :-) I think of it as the Free Blogging equivalent of Swinging for geeks.

    How much of that is for SEO, traffic building, reputation building, etc, is difficult to say. Much of it I believe is more Fad than anything concretely strategic.

    That’s my opinion because it’s connected to this one: I think a lot of bloggers want traffic for its own sake, but don’t really know what to do with it once it arrives (beyond having fun with the comments.)

    Too many are asking around to GP and then pretty much just “phone it in” once accepted.

    Interesting subject, though. Thanks.

    Rick

  10. Margo Berman (1 comments) Says:

    Hi David,

    I just tweeted a link to this article. I’d like permission to quote from it in my upcoming book on copywriting. It’s my third book. The other two are: 1) Street-Smart Advertising and 2) The Brains Behind Great Ad Campaigns.

    I’m an advertising professor who would like to help new writers learn to write well for different media.

    Thanks, in advance, for your help with my research.

  11. Seo Оптимизация (2 comments) Says:

    David – what you think about – guest blogging vs article marketing. Forget about the traffic, tell me what`s better for SERP – article marketing in trusted sites as articlesbase,etc or guest blogging.
    Thank you!

    And another question : if i start guest blogging campaign – it should be all about linkbuilding and serp results, or about traffic from these blogs.
    Thanks for the answers, i subscribed about new comments, i want for some answers.
    Greets, Alan

  12. Sanyo Rice Cooker (1 comments) Says:

    I would also add another golden rule – which is to respect the agreement you have mutually agreed upon. When you offer to write a guest post for my blog on a particular topic, briefly mentioning your own site and including 2 self serving links in your post – don’t submit an post that instead briefly mentions the agreed upon topic and focuses on your own site along with 5 or 6 self serving links. Difficult for me to respond to something like that politely.

  13. Ian Evans (5 comments) Says:

    Hi David, Margo Berman mentioned copyright and research. Some things can be shared like a passion to blog, and personally I don’t attach copyright to most things I do. There is great satisfaction in learning something new that is helpful as well as insightful. My belief science is universal and we all share sunlight so why can’t conceptual matters be shared as well. David you are a wealth of information, keep up the good work!
    Take care, stay well, bye for now. ticboo(Ian E.)

  14. Keith Eneix (1 comments) Says:

    Great points on guest blogging David. Another point to add regarding good content. Writing good content means taking at least double the time it takes to write on good research.

  15. Peter Egan (6 comments) Says:

    David, first I’d like to say that your archive is the most impressive I’ve ever seen. New bloggers can benefit greatly from you by merely observing your consistency over time.

    I’ve never really invested a tremendous amount of effort into guest blogging. What experience I do have with it generally involved me on the receiving end of the content, and for years I really saw little need for it.

    Obviously, this is a new era of internet marketing from the time when I first met you online — the days when free, followed links that actually helped boost rankings could be found all over the web, with some offering powerful links at that (Mixx and Propeller just to name a few).

    In today’s world, sites build on the same model may help get a page indexed but the benefit ends there. Guest blogging is more important now than ever before, and newcomers to this game of online marketing are getting great advice from one of the best in reading your insights on how to get it done in today’s environment.

  16. qasim (2 comments) Says:

    Hi David,

    I do accept guest posts at my blog and I do really get annoyed when someone contact me with a pre build email telling me that he loves my blog, and the worst part that he is offering an article that has nothing to do with my blog niche. some of the guest posters so send me relative posts but you find links within those posts that has nothing to do with my blog niche. I think guest posters has to understand the importance of guest posting and how it should be done. Thanks for sharing this article.

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