May 15, 2013
As someone who is involved in blogging and all things related to it, you probably come across a lot of information from various sources. This would normally be a good thing, but the problem is that not all the information that comes your way is accurate or up-to-date. As with virtually everything related to the Web, there are a lot of misconceptions out there surrounding blogs and blogging.
There is also plenty of lesser-known bits of information that can affect the performance of your blog and your day-to-day activities as a blogger. I, therefore, thought it was a good idea to share some of these trade secrets in the hope of clearing up some confusion you may have.
Secret 1: A guest blog post is a team effort
If you are accustomed to blogging by yourself, one thing that might surprise you about guest blog posts is that it takes at least two people to accomplish. This means you will usually have to work with one other person and in some cases, even two or three others. Most sites will also have a content manager that you will to get approval from, but it is the site owner who usually has the last word. Guest blog posting really is a team effort, and you will have to learn to work in a team setting. In such a scenario, effective communication and flexibility are essential skills to have.
Secret 2: Research is a must with guest blog posts
Research is an especially important aspect of guest blogging. If it is your first time guest blogging, you will first have to determine the niches you will want to write in. After that, you will have to look for blogs in those niches. The next step is to figure out what type of content attracts the most comments. Of course, you also have to make sure that the content you post will be similar in tone and quality to the posts on the site.
Secret 3: Tracking your guest blog posts is a good thing
After you have started networking and have gotten your name out there, start up a record of all your guest blog posts. This will come in handy when you want to expand, and it will also allow you to reference your previous work if necessary. A record of your posts will also help keep you organized and let you know important details such as when certain posts are live and when you need to make a comment or promote your posts.
Secret 4: There is no magic formula for guest blog posts
There is no set of methods or a magic formula that will allow you to create perfect guest blog posts or help you accomplish your goals 100 percent. Sure there are clear cut rules, policies, and “must-dos” when it comes to guest blog posts, but that’s not quite the same as a magic formula. You simply can’t break it down to a formula such as: epic blog post + A-list blog = tons of traffic. The reality is that it will not always work that way for everyone. Think about it this way: if there was a magic formula for guest blog posting, everyone would likely use that same method, eventually making it worthless. As it is, the only really surefire way to success is through hard work, trial and error and a continuous effort to improve.
Secret 5: You need to have a strategy before you begin guest posting
The “shotgun” approach simply doesn’t work with guest blog posting. You will have to come up with a specific strategy and have a clear-cut plan in place before you actually start. This will also help you stay focused on your objective and increase your chances of achieving your goals. If you are really serious about guest blog posting, you simply must have a well-defined plan of attack.
Secret 6: Your work isn’t done just because your guest blog post has been accepted
Quite the contrary. In fact, in some ways, the real work begins after your guest blog post has been accepted. If you really want to become a successful guest blogger, you will have to put in the work in order to make the experience as beneficial as possible for everyone concerned. After the post has gone live, you will have to be proactive by actively commenting on the blog, promoting it on your e-mail list, and announcing it through social media channels. Don’t forget to write a “thank you” note to your host as well.
Secret 7: Guest blog posts work hand-in-hand with social media
Social media is a highly effective tool for helping you get in touch with a network of like-minded bloggers. You can use for it anything from following and retweeting posts to commenting on Facebook pages, or even posting something from your own blog. Social media also provides a great way to break the ice and let other bloggers know who you are. In fact, social media can help you start communication with other bloggers, helping you avoid the awkwardness of asking for a guest blog post. Social media will also help you promote your post once it’s published.
Secret 8: An eye-catching title can really sell a guest blog post
First impressions count when making a blog post, and making a good impression is often dependent on the title of your post. When pitching your guest blog post, you must have a catchy headline that makes people want to click on the post and read the rest of the article. Many site owners will actually use the title as the sole basis for accepting or rejecting a guest blog post. You might only have one chance at making a good impression, so make it count.
Secret 9: Building a solid portfolio requires a broad range of sites
I always hear of people starting off by targeting just the high-profile bloggers, most of whom are recognized authorities in a niche, or host blogs with high rankings. Although you do want to connect with these bloggers eventually, don’t underestimate the value of smaller blogs at the start of your career. Posting in such blogs will help you learn the ropes of guest blog posting and are great for building your portfolio. Most established bloggers won’t even consider hosting your guest blog post unless you have a respectable portfolio so get started with a few small blogs first.
Secret 10: A guest blog post is not a cure-all
Guest blog posts by themselves can be effective, but you really need to go beyond that. Guest blog posts alone won’t increase traffic to your site, raise your visitor count, or add to your sales. Of course, guest blog posts can help you build traffic, establish backlinks, and possibly even attract visitors to your blog. Just like everything else, however, it would be more beneficial to adopt a balanced approach. It is when you implement guest blog posts as part of your overall plan of attack that you will see its full potential.
Secret 11: Content is the driving force behind guest blog posts
When it comes to guest blog posts, the importance of content simply cannot be overestimated. You could have a quick pitch, but if your content is worth reading, many blogs will be happy to post it. Of course, coming up with good content is an ongoing process, and you will have to constantly figure out what sticks out and attracts readers. Don’t neglect the benefits of outsourcing your writing either. In some cases, this might help you generate new content or put a fresh spin on a familiar topic.
Secret 12: Never submit guest blog posts out of the blue
I would say 95 percent of the time, searching for someone online and getting in touch with them out of the blue won’t get you a response. “Cold submitting” to relevant sites is a common mistake that many newbies make, and it often leads to rejection and disappointment.
Secret 13: Getting guest blog posts accepted is hard work
Don’t let anyone tell you that guest blog posting is simple and doesn’t take much work. One oft-neglected aspect of guest blogging is that the harder you work, the more likely you are to reap the benefits. Sure it is easy enough to post in a few small blogs at the start, but things quickly become more labor-intensive and time-consuming when you work your way up to the mid-level blogs. This is when the demands of maintaining standards and doing research start to require more and more time and effort. Not to scare you away, but guest blogging is not easy and it will really take your all to make it work.
Secret 14: Guest blog posting only works as a long-term strategy
If you try guest blog posting only once or twice, you probably won’t see any significant results such as increased traffic, more sales, or even a higher ranking. The key to success is being consistent and formulating a long-term strategy. Start out by doing two or three guest blog posts per month and slowly increase your output if you feel you have the hang of it. The most important is sticking with it for the long haul.
Secret 15: There is no real guarantee with guest blog posts
An increasingly common and yet totally bogus claim is that guest blog posts guarantee results. The fact of the matter is, there is no foolproof strategy that will “guarantee” you specific results. Sure there are absolutes and tactics that are clearly better than others, but none of them will get you guaranteed results.
Secret 16: Think of others’ needs first when guest blogging
Don’t let others make-do with your leftovers; always give out only your best work. This means anything and everything from offering only your best posts to promoting other blogs as if they were your own. Also, strive to be as helpful as possible. Showing your gratitude and having the right attitude is just as important as the technical aspects when it comes to communicating with other bloggers, so always give before you receive.
Secret 17: Be persistent in guest blog posting
Building a solid guest blog post portfolio is going to take a lot of work, considerable amounts of time and plenty of persistence. You will also need to grow a thick skin, and don’t take it personally if you are asked to change something or if your work is rejected. You should also be prepared to provide more work if asked. On the plus side, you can take comfort in the fact that all your hard work will pay off.
Secret 18: No response isn’t necessarily a bad thing
I have had several occasions when I e-mailed someone and never received a response. Don’t be discouraged if you experience this scenario yourself, and don’t think that it means a “no” either. There could be many reasons for not getting a response. One approach that I found works more often than not is to give it some time, build up better credentials, and then try e-mailing that person again.
Secret 19: Follow all rules, policies, and guidelines posted
There is a reason for all the rules, policies and guidelines set up for that blog you want to submit to. Take the time to fully read, understand, and abide by all those rules. As simple or silly as some of them might be, you will have to play by the rules if you want your post to be published.
Mikhail Tuknov is a president of Infatex.com, a full service Internet marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) company offering results-driven services and exceptional customer support.