The Five Unwritten Rules of Guest Posting on Blogs

If you’re a blogger, you may have been asked to write a guest post by another blogger. Or, you might have offered a guest post yourself to a blogger you admire.

Either way, writing a guest post opens you up to a whole new audience and can increase your own readership into the bargain.

Blog readers that may never have heard of you otherwise now have their eyes on you.

Add to that the credence that comes with someone else thinking enough of you to have you on their blog, and a guest post is a pretty big thing.

So it’s only fair that you follow the five unwritten rules when it comes to guest posting on other blogs.

Make It Great

This should pretty much go without saying, but the amount of guest posts I’ve read where you can see the author has basically just mailed it in is both surprising and disappointing.

If someone has taken the time to give you real estate on their blog and put you in front of their audience, the very least you can do is make sure that the post you provide is top notch. Before you send the post, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Would I be happy posting this on my own blog?
  • Is this the best this post can possibly be on this topic?
  • Am I being relevant to the audience of the blog I’m posting on?

Unless you can answer yes to at least two of these questions (the relevance factor may not come into play if the blog owner wants to mix things up a bit), then your guest post isn’t ready.

Research

What’s your guest post going to be about? Did you make the suggestion of the post, or did the blog owner ask you to guest? Either way, one thing you need to make sure of is that you do your research.

This could be of the blog’s archives, to get a feel for the topics that normally appear there. More than likely it’s going to be about the topic you’re writing about. Names, places, facts, statistics, references – all these and more need to be checked before you submit your post.

Let’s face it, you wouldn’t write a load of bull on your own blog, would you? So why even think about doing it to another blogger? Quote your sources and link to external references and sites and make sure the blogger you’re writing for doesn’t end up looking an ass as he or she tries to cover your mistakes in the comments.

This might seem a harsh view, but think of it as if it was your blog. Get the facts right; get the blog right.

Format

While content is often quoted as king when it comes to blog posts, the look and feel of a post can go a long way toward its readability. You can have the greatest blog post in the world, but if it looks like crap then readers will be put off from the start.

When you guest post for someone, provide the format you want it to appear in. Think of how you’d want it to appear on your blog, and then make sure you provide that information with the post itself:

  • Header(s) and sub-header(s).
  • Bullets or numbers.
  • Hyperlinks to external sources or sites.
  • Images with accreditation to the source.
  • Author bio.

If you’re unsure on the formatting side, take a look at the blog you’re going to guest on and go with the formatting that blogger uses. Or, simply ask them.

Don’t Be Self-Serving

Okay, so we know that guest posting on another blog offers you new eyeballs and therefore potentially new readers of your own blog. After all, if the readers of the blog you’re guesting on like what you have to say, it’s a pretty safe bet they’ll check out more of your own stuff too.

So why ruin that by pimping yourself shamelessly throughout your guest post?

If you’re using resources and links to external articles to back up your guest post, don’t make all the links to older posts on your own blog. You (probably) don’t do that on your own posts – instead, you highlight other great content and thoughts elsewhere (or at least should be). So why should that be any different on your guest post? Having great content is one thing, but linking to no-one but yourself is just a lesson in narcissism. And you can be sure the readers of the blog you’re appearing at will notice that too.

By all means, link to a post of yours you think might be relevant – but let the readers find out for themselves how great your other stuff is too. Because if you write a great guest post and it’s not self-serving, you can be sure folks will check your stuff out as soon as they’ve finished reading your guest post.

Remember to Visit

When you write a guest post, where do you stop? Is it the moment you finish typing and hit the Send tab on your email, or is it a quick visit to see how popular your post was?

Or are you a blogger who genuinely cares, so you’ll follow up your guest post much like you’d follow up a post on your own blog? After all, it’s still your name on the post, so why should you act any differently just because it’s not on your own blog?

  • Respond to comments made by the readers of the blog you’re guesting on.
  • Promote via social networks, much the same as you’d promote your own stuff.
  • Connect with commenters online and continue to build the relationship started on your guest post.
  • Write a post on your own blog, expanding the discussion started in your guest post and link to it, offering more traffic to the blogger who’s giving you real estate space.

While you don’t have to follow these unwritten rules when guest posting on another blog, they help you stand out as someone who actually gives a damn.

After all, if you can’t be bothered to offer anything but your best when taking over another blogger’s baby, should you even bother at all?

How about you – what would you add as an unwritten rule when guest blogging?

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