Guest blogging is a well loved method of getting fresh content on a site. Blog owners will often seek out temporary or occasional posters for new perspective or voice, to draw in new readers, to get more free time or just to to give a boost other writers who might need a leg up. It is so popular that whole websites have opened up that feature guest posting ads or people offering their services.
On the part of the guest poster, it is a great way to get noticed. New readers will often flock to their own blogs after seeing the link in their byline. It can generate a whole new dedicated fan base that would have otherwise never found their site. It can also establish the poster as an authority in any given subject, as their articles are posted more frequently in more places. This is very good for business.
But just because you write a guest post doesn't mean it will be accepted. It is a common misconception that because they are free bloggers will use any post that comes their way. But most will wish to maintain a certain level of professionalism, and so that won't be the case. If you commit one of these offenses you will be more likely to see your post rejected, or your request to write ignored.
1. Template Letters
Have you ever been on a webmaster forum or website that hires out to freelancers? If you look at comments - or posts advertising services - you will have seen companies that promote an entire group of cheap writers. They take pennies on the dollar, pay their writers peanuts and provide shoddy work. When these groups enlist blogs for guest posts, they are almost always doing it for cheap or free backlinks back to their own site. It is a shady SEO trick that lowers the credibility of the blog hosting the content.
If you send a template letter with a request or blog post, you will almost always be seen as one of these groups. It doesn't matter that you aren't, the assumption will be there and will lead to your email being ignored. Since it appears generic and uninteresting (not to mention unoriginal), it isn't hard to see why they think your posts would be the same.
Instead of using a basic, pre-made format for your letter - even if it is one you made to use for applications - personalize each one. Describe your strengths, what you want to do and give a specific pitch for one or more posts. This means a headline and content overview. Also, provide samples of past work.
2. Ignoring Guidelines
(Image via: Guest Post By-Lines: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly)
Certain rules set forward by blogs are hard to follow without further explanation. Most are willing to give a little leeway when it comes to things like format and tone, and will work with you on any edits necessary before posting. But these are based on smaller mistakes, and some are such sticklers that they won't accept anything less than perfect adherence to every rule, even the difficult ones.
Now, when this will be rare. But either way, you will never know if you don't make sure you understand the guidelines before beginning. Read through them - you can usually find them on the blog itself under the guest posting section - and feel free to ask for clarification when needed. Go through them a few times before you start writing, and then once after to make sure you followed them.
Luckily, the majority of blogs have easy-to-follow, user-friendly guidelines for guest blogging. Just be sure you know them.
3. Affiliate Links
It should come as no shock that blatant advertising on someone else's blog is sleazy. When you provide affiliate links to products or companies that you are then paid for is the definition of this underhanded behavior. It is also something those writer groups mentioned before often do, and which they are constantly cited for.
That doesn't mean you affiliates will see no benefit to your guest posting. If traffic is drawn to your own blog, and you have affiliate links there, then there is some exposure. But it should never be included in a guest post...ever.
4. Unedited Content
Any post is probably going to need a little bit of tweaking before being posted. Usually this will be posting any necessary links that the blog owner chooses, adding pictures or formatting. Titles might also be changed, or tiny shifts to keep the tone similar to other posts on the site. This is to be expected and is not a testament to the abilities of the post writer.
But if a lot has to be changed, things have to be added or the post has to be significantly rewritten in order to provide informative and entertaining content the blog owner is not going to bother. Why would they have someone else write a post they could have written themselves in the time it took them to fix it?
Make sure your post is well written and edited before you send it.
5. Unoriginal Content
(Post image via SEOmoz)
Let's say you write a really great post that has gotten a lot of positive reactions on your own or someone else's site. You really want to use it for further promotion, so you send it to someone else's blog...after all, it brought I traffic for you, so it will for them. Right?
Having a post already used somewhere else will not do anything for the other site. Unless you are asked by someone specifically to reblog an article, it isn't a true guest post. So don't try it. That can result in the duplicate content issue.
Getting The Posts Every Time
Want to see your content on other blogs? It isn't that hard if you know where to look and where to ask. Just make sure you are professional, friendly and original. That's it. If you follow by those three little guidelines you won't make any of the mistake above. That means your posts will be accepted and your name will be spread around.
It is as simple as that.
Ann Smarty is a blogger and SEO consultant and professional blogger. Check out Ann's personal project My Blog Guest - the forum meant to connect guest bloggers to blog owner for plenty of mutual benefits. Ann also provides guest blogging services.