As a blogger, one of the best ways to get exposure, develop a brand, and build search engine authority is through guest blogging. Guest blogging allows you to showcase your work in front of a targeted audience, as well as build backlinks from high authority, relevant blogs in your niche. When it comes to improving your online visibility these days, there are few methods as effective as guest blogging.
While guest blogging is a simple, straightforward way that you can build traffic and increase search engine rankings, it also takes a significant amount of time and effort. In addition to producing awesome content, you’ll also need to reach out to popular bloggers in your niche and convince them to publish your work. The challenge here is that the popular bloggers in your industry get dozens of requests to publish guest posts every single day. If you want to reap the benefits of guest blogging, you’ll have to stand out and convince busy bloggers that you have something unique to offer – over the hundreds of other eager would-be guest bloggers.
Fortunately for you, many bloggers cripple their chances of landing coveted guest posting spots by making some extremely common mistakes. By avoiding these guest posting mistakes yourself, you’ll greatly increase your chances of landing guest posting opportunities on awesome blogs in your niche. Here are 5 of the most common guest blogging mistakes:
Mistake 1: Not Following Guest Posting Guidelines
While it should go without saying that you follow the blog owner’s guidelines when you’re submitting a guest post –– many bloggers still make the mistake of submitting guest posts or proposals without paying close attention to posted guidelines. The reason blog owners post guest posting guidelines is because they’re inundated with requests and posts as it is – posting guidelines is a way to streamline the publishing process. If you can’t even take the time to follow simple requests, why would a blog owner take the time to review your proposal or guest post?
While guidelines will vary tremendously from blogger to blogger, some common requirements set out by blog owners include:
• Min/Max article lengths
• Specific topic areas
Where/how to submit an article or proposal
• Whether to include a picture
• Where to include your links
• Specific style of writing
Often, this mistake arises because the would-be guest blogger is also making another common guest posting mistake – spamming blog owners.
Mistake 2: Spamming Blog Owners
Another frequent guest blogging mistake is to write up a standard email and simply send it out to as many bloggers as possible. While in theory, this allows you to quickly reach as many bloggers as possible, there are a couple of very good reasons why you don’t want to be spamming bloggers with your guest blogging pitch:
1. No matter how well-crafted you think your emails are, bulk emails inevitably sound spammy. Blog owners will simply throw out your obvious form e-mails.
2. Even if your email doesn’t get immediately moved to Trash, your pitch won’t be convincing if you don’t know who you’re targeting. You don’t know their audience, you don’t know what kind of articles they publish, and you don’t have an understanding of their subject matter.
Rather than simply bulk emailing blog owners with your guest blogging pitch, focus on quality over quantity. While it’s certainly ok to have a basic template to base your emails on, take the extra time to look over each blog, identify areas of interest, and craft proposals tailored to each blogger. You won’t reach as many bloggers as you would by spamming, but your response rate will be exponentially greater.
Mistake 3: Not Pitching Interesting, Relevant Topics
It’s important to take the time to pitch your guest posting ideas before actually writing the article. If you simply send in your guest post without confirming with the blog owner, there’s a good chance that it won’t get published. Even if a blog has a guest post submission page, you can’t be sure the blog is still actively taking guest posting submissions, and more importantly, you don’t know if the blog owner will be interested in the subject matter of your article.
Take the time to reach out to the blog owner beforehand, and be sure to pitch guest post ideas that would be of interest to the blogger’s readers. Avoid topics that have already been covered on their blog. If possible, include some URLs of your past writing, either from your own blog or previous guest posts.
Avoid simply asking the blog owner what you should write about. While in rare cases, a blog owner might request a guest blogger come onto their blog and write about a certain topic, this really only happens if the guest blogger has a particular expertise that the blog owner wants to share with their audience. If you can’t think of any interesting ideas that might interest a blogger’s audience, don’t bother asking for a topic to write about. Successful blog owners will recognize that if you can’t come up with a good topic idea on your own, then you’re unlikely to have anything interesting to write about, even if you’re assigned a topic.
Mistake 4: Submitting Proposals To “A-List” Blogs
Everyone in the tech industry would love a guest post on a blog like TechCrunch or Mashable. Everyone in the financial world would love a guest post on a blog like TheStreet. And everyone in the SEO world would love a guest post on SearchEngineLand or the SeoMOZ blog. But the reality is that – unless you already have a fantastic reputation in your industry – you’re unlikely to get published on the “A-list” blogs in your industry.
Rather than pitching your guest blogging ideas to the busiest editorial teams on the internet, look for bloggers in your niche who have a solid readership base, but aren’t in the mainstream spotlight. Not only will you be able to speak with the blog owner directly, these blogs often have loyal audiences that can translate into loyal readers for your blog as well. Your chances of getting published will increase dramatically if you target the right blogs with your guest posting proposals.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get published on the top blogs in your industry, but spending too much time getting rejected or ignored by the “A-list” blogs of your industry will take away precious time you could spend actually getting published.
Mistake 5: Not Delivering Top Notch Content
In essence, guest posting is an exchange – the blog owner offers the guest poster access to their readers and a strong back-link – the guest poster is offering their knowledge, experience, and writing ability. If your guest posts can’t engage, entertain, inform, or enlighten, then why would a reputable blog owner post your content on their blog? Even if you could get mediocre content published on someone else’s blog, why would that person’s blog readers click through to your blogif your guest post is anything short of outstanding?
Never forget that the building block of successful guest blogging is great content. Your content needs to bring value to the blog owner’s readers, whether that’s in the form of entertainment, inspiration, or knowledge. Write content that you would be proud to post and share on your own blog, take the time to craft great proposals to the right blog owners, and you’ll soon be writing your way to guest blogging
Nat is a blogger and SEO for WhoIsHostingThis.com.
Nat’s writing focuses on search engine marketing, social media, and technology.