Published on April 10th, 2013 | by Amy Edwards1
The 14 Dos & Don’ts Of Guest Blogging
By Amy @BubbleJobs
Thanks to Google’s infamous Penguin updates (beware: another one is potentially due any day now – and it’s going to be BIG!), these days link building is tougher than ever before. Forget directory listings, spun articles and reciprocal linking; in 2013 and beyond it’s all about creating quality content that people actually want to link to and attracting the most relevant links from the best sites possible.
Putting spammy techniques to one side for a second, there is one key link building technique which is enjoying a bit of a resurgence in the online marketing sector thanks to the Penguin updates – I’m talking about content marketing and guest blogging in particular.
Now, as we’ve always got our finger on the pulse of the online marketing industry, we’ve discussed the topic of guest blogging a few times on this blog before (it’s not really a new topic as such, is it?!), namely whether it’s worth it, how you can successfully pitch guest posts using Twitter and the mistakes you need to watch out for when offering up a guest post – but we thought we’d take a different approach today.
As owners of what we (and hopefully others!) consider to be a successful careers and digital industry blog and digital jobs board, we’re constantly being approached by online marketers and bloggers keen to show off their talents on our blog and earn themselves a nice little backlink in the process – and we’re not ashamed to say guest blogging is one of the many online marketing techniques we use to promote Bubble (come on, who hasn’t tried their hand at guest blogging these days?! :P).
As both a guest blog contributor and publisher, we think we’re in a rather unique position so we thought we’d share our experiences and create a list of the 14 Dos and Don’ts you need to follow when carrying out your guest blogging strategy.
Don’t: Use A Generic Email
Just like a generic link building email, sending out a generic email when it comes to pitching guest blogs is really not going to improve your chances of getting that all important ‘yes’. Why? Because it shows the blog owner you’ve put no effort into the email whatsoever and you’ve probably sent the same email to hundreds of other blog owners.
Do: Make It Personal
OK, so creating a specific, unique email for each guest blog pitch is laborious and time-consuming but, just like anything else in SEO and online marketing, the harder something is to do, the higher the chance of success. Take the time to find the best contact for each pitch and don’t be afraid to pick out a few posts that have already been published on the blog that you enjoyed reading.
Don’t: Offer Up A Random Post
As the main contact for our blog, I know there’s nothing worse than receiving a pitch for a guest blog on a topic that’s not even slightly related to the topics we normally cover. Offering up a random post shows you haven’t read the blog or done any research and is a sure-fire way to get your email sent to the spam folder!
Do: Offer A Post That Fits In With The Theme Of The Blog
This one’s easy – you’ve found the site already so you know what it’s about – just offer up a post that fits in with their existing style, topic and theme. It might sound obvious but taking a few minutes to do a bit of research and demonstrating this in your email can win you a lot of brownie points with any blog owner!
Don’t: Send A Complete Post Straight Away
There’s nothing wrong with being keen but sending a complete blog over when you introduce yourself is a bit OTT. Sending a complete post over before you’ve got a ‘yes’ from the blog owner is a bit presumptuous and suggests to the blog owner you may be over-confident – not good!
Do: Approach The Blog Owner With A Few Ideas
9 times out of 10 blog owners want to find out who you are and what your skills are before they accept a post so rather than sending over a complete post straight away, introduce yourself and pitch a few ideas – that way the blog owner still has the control and it shows you’ve taken the time to come up with a few pitches, rather than hedging your bets on just one!
Don’t: Be Arrogant
OK, so you might be the greatest writer on Earth but that’s no excuse for arrogance! There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance and it’s important you get it right! Confidence is admirable and impressive, while arrogance is anything but. Shouting about your talent and saying the blog owner should be flattered to publish your content is only going to rub the blog owner up the wrong way so is definitely not the right way to go!
Do: Be Personable, Confident And Professional
When it comes to pitching guest blogs, blog owners want to hear from real bloggers and copywriters with real-life experience – not robots! Make sure your pitch email is professional and confident but also personable – throwing a bit of personality in there shows you’re a real person and is much more appealing for any blog owner!
Don’t: Be Pushy
So you might be under pressure from your boss to get a certain number of guest blogs published within a certain time frame but that’s no excuse to be pushy and demanding! Remember, the blog owner is actually doing you a favour by publishing your blog – and they’re busy people – they’ll get back to you when they get time!
Do: Be Patient And Understanding
Rather than being pushy, in the words of Take That “have a little patience”. Now, as possibly one of the most impatient people in the world, I know how challenging being patient can be but it’s definitely worth it! OK, I’m not saying leave it for months until you chase an email up but do cut them a bit of slack if they don’t get back in touch straight away.
Don’t: Try & Stuff Spammy Backlinks In The Body Of The Post
Thanks to Penguin, it’s harder than ever to get quality links but trying to stuff spammy links back to your site into the body of your post is just embarassing for everyone – particularly when it doesn’t even fit in with the context of the post!
Do: Include Links In Your Author Bio
Rather than trying to stuff backlinks into the body of your post regardless, think about whether this link actually makes any sense and consider whether it would be better to fit the link into your author bio at the end of the blog. Remember; branded anchor text is better then keyword-heavy anchor text these days but don’t forget to mix it up!
Don’t: Take Rejection Personally
As we’ve seen from the X Factor, no one likes to be told ‘no’ and while it can be tempting to throw your toys out of the pram and announce you never wanted a guest post anyway, it’s really not the way to go!
Do: Keep On Polite Terms And Keep In Touch
Just because the blog owner doesn’t want to publish your blog now, it doesn’t mean they won’t want to in the future. If you get the dreaded ‘no’, be polite say ‘thanks anyway’ and keep on good terms with them – you never know when you might need them in the future!