Guest posts are an exciting way to enhance your exposure on a variety of sites. When you craft a guest post for a brand or blogger, you’re also building a relationship: You provide them with cool content and they provide you with a ready audience in your target niche.
Since guest posts diversify your link portfolio into authoritative (and often exclusive) sites, they are a valuable part of an organic link building strategy. Not every marketer does guest posting, but those who do often have a wider industry network.
Once you have a guest posting “pipeline,” you might even find you post regularly to a network of allied websites. This can add a steady stream of long-lasting organic traffic, since your guest posts are likely to be valid for a long time and your guest posts will be consulted regularly by new readers.
The thing to remember: As a guest poster, you are ... well ... a guest.
That means you need to take care to follow the rules and make things easy on your host.
Let’s learn the ropes of guest posting with five guest posting mistakes to avoid:
1. Don’t Repeat Topics on the Host Website and Blog
In general, websites looking for guest posts want to cover exciting new topics they can’t always reach with their in-house group of writers. One of the most basics steps in learning how to guest blog is to not repeat topics that they’ve already covered, with two major exceptions:
- You have something new that you can bring to the topic.
- You’ve been asked by the website leadership to cover it.
If you retread topics that the site has already used in its own base of evergreen content, it will be hard to find a place for you even if the team is sympathetic to your goals. In many cases, a site’s editorial staff will be glad to hash out ideas with you, so take the opportunity.
2. Don’t Ignore the Host Website’s Style (or Style Guide)
With a guest post, you’re contributing some of your own unique voice and perspective to a site. Still, you usually don’t want to sound so different that visitors feel like they’ve stepped into a totally unexpected corner of the web. How do you strike the right balance?
Again, it starts with inhaling as much of the target site’s content as you can.
Many sites with a journalistic bent have an established style guide they use to ensure content is consistent between different writers. They’ll almost always send this directly to you if they solicit guest posters regularly – if you approached them, it’s good manners to ask.
3. Don’t Be Overly Promotional
When you write a guest post for another site, there’s usually an understanding that a certain amount of promotion will happen. After all, you have to establish who the heck you are and why the heck the site’s audience will be interested in what you have to say.
In the old days, this almost always included a keyword-optimized link in the author bio provided on your article. Now, you shouldn’t assume this: Make sure you establish expectations and get clarifications upfront so you know exactly what will go down.
For example, you might want to ask:
- Can you expect a link back from the guest article?
- Will the post be promoted on email subscriber lists?
- Which social accounts, if any, will post the content?
In some cases, hosts might want to ask you to write blurbs for their social media or any email newsletters that will include a mention of your article, so be alert for this possibility.
4. Don’t Miss Deadlines
Many established websites are implementing mature publishing processes with a detailed content calendar and other editorial practices. With this in mind, you should definitely strive to hit any deadline that the host site requests from you.
You’ll usually know well in advance if a deadline is a factor, so add it to your own content calendar (you have one, right?) and stick to it! Give yourself enough time to write a draft, spend some time away from it, then edit and polish to perfection.
5. Don’t Forget to Follow Up
When it comes to guest posts, don’t “set it and forget it.” See if you can build a real partnership.
For example, if your post has been very popular, the host site might want to invite you on a live stream or podcast to discuss the topic in greater depth. However, hosts won’t always be super proactive about this. You should pitch your ideas, too!
And don’t forget, most sites will love you for promoting your guest post on social media.
Yes: These five tips are all you need to start firing up those guest posts! Start reaching out to publishers and guest posting can energize your content strategy fast.