The Do’s and Don’ts of Guest Blogging in 2018

April 26, 2018

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Guest blogging is a proven link building tactic, but it can be a disappointing waste of time if the right planning and preparation are neglected. It’s no surprise that Google has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to sketchy guest blogging practices.

Some content marketers think they should just churn out multiple average pieces of content and blast them out to every publication and blog they can find. However, not only will your response rate be dismal if you do this, but also your website will be at risk of a penalty from Google (and other search engines, too).

Submitting your work to blogs and news publications in your niche is time consuming, so you need to have a system that is as efficient as possible. Follow our straightforward do’s and don’ts so you don’t accidentally sabotage your guest blogging efforts.

Do: Make publishers’ lives easier

You and your team of content marketers are experienced writers who can help make a publisher/reporter/journalist/ blog author really happy by making their jobs almost effortless.

When you follow the exact guidelines provided for prospective guest contributors, attach the content in the correct format, and offer to make changes as they see fit, it’’ll be tough for publishers to turn down your work (granted that it’s well-researched and well-written).

If you can communicate clearly with the publishers/editors from the get-go, there’s a much higher chance that they’ll want to work with you. This means that starting with the pitch, you want to be brief, concise and valuable to the publisher.

You also want the structure/format of the content to match exactly what they were asking for. It might help to look up examples of the types of content that get the most attention.

Don’t: Generically blast out the same exact content to multiple blogs/publications

This doesn’t mean it has to be Forbes or the Huffington Post or a super well-known blog in the SEO space like the Moz Blog. However, it’s not worth it to invest your time, energy and money into creating high quality content to be featured in a digital space that hurts you more than helps you.

One way to test if the publication/blog you’re contributing to is well-regarded (and properly vets its contributors) is to investigate whether or not they have a defined process for guest bloggers to apply and submit their work.

Another important thing to confirm is that the blog/publication has a consistent voice and overall goal. The larger and better recognized the publication the more likely this is the case.

It would be a waste of your time to contribute to a website/online publication that doesn’t help prove the value of your content. In the worst case, content marketers who are desperate for backlinks settle for low quality blogs that actually ends up delegitimizing their own blog’s work.

You might think that almost any increase in online visibility is a positive thing, but unfortunately less authority sites featuring your content could hurt your site. You need to make sure the links from your guest posts aren’t getting devalued because the website/publication isn’t closely related to your business niche.

Do: Offer examples of other impressive pieces of work you’ve published

Without being pushy, you can also share other work you’ve done that could be a good fit for the website or publication. As long as it’s high quality and relevant, it can’t hurt to at least mention it.

Also, when you show examples of other articles you’ve published that have been particularly successful with your target audience (which is also hopefully their target audience), it boosts your credibility automatically. Just because the timing doesn’t work out for them to accept one of your pieces of content right away, it doesn’t mean that they’ll never be interested.

Due to the highly competitive nature of guest post contributing, it could take several tries before a publication/blog accepts or even pays attention to your work. This is not necessarily a testament to the subject matter that you wrote about or your quality of work: there is inevitably an element of timing and luck.

Don’t: Ignore content length requirements

Too many content marketers who want to be guest contributors on blogs take the contribution requirements as loose recommendations. Especially if you’re an experienced content marketer, it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you know what’s best even if a blog or publication is requesting more or less from you.

However, if you want to make the best use of everyone’s time, it behooves you to closely adhere to their guidelines. It would be a shame if your content wasn’t considered simply because you didn’t follow the instructions.

Also, if you’re dead set on contributing a piece that’s much shorter or longer than what they want, you can always mention it to the publication separately. If they like what you contribute and want you to make the article more in-depth, or include infographics, etc., then it works out perfectly. If not, let it go.

If you don’t talk to the editor/publisher about it in advance, then it seems over-the-top and creates more work for them to review something they didn’t ask for.

Do: Research and stay on top of your target blogger/publisher’s social media presence (particularly for younger websites/publications)

If you can convince the publisher of the guest blog that you are not only an expert in their selected field but also you’re a fan of the content they produce, you’ll have an automatic advantage. You don’t have to be disingenuous and claim you’re a huge fan of the blog if you’ve only read it a few times. However, it definitely helps your case if you can convey that you have a firm grasp on what makes their publication/website different. All it takes is doing your due diligence. Follow them across social media platforms to identify their approach to user interactions and user experience. When you understand their tone/communication style, you can better create a guest blog piece for them that requires less editing on their part. They want their guest bloggers to seamlessly integrate with the rest of their website. Ask yourself what signature style sets them apart from their competitors. See if you can pinpoint the exact methods, techniques and approaches that enable them to succeed in resonating with their target audience (which is also your target audience). Try to replicate the formula they use for successful articles and content and it’ll create less revision work for them.

Don’t: Badger publishers/blog owners and editors as if they owe you a guest blogging opportunity (they don’t)

Following up and reaching out again after not getting a response is great (and necessary) in a digital world of short attention spans and short term memory where everyone’s inboxes are oversaturated.

However, there is a fine line between tactful persistence and downright obnoxious badgering.

Do: Remain 100% transparent

Be as clear as possible about your position, your company, and the reason for your interest in contributing a guest blog post. The more transparent you can be about your intent and your affiliations, the more trust you’ll gain right away. Avoid being vague and speaking in sweeping generalizations (the more specific the better).

When you preface your communications with full disclosure, you instantly make yourself easy to work with. Publisher don’t have time for surprises and they don’t want to have to read between the lines to figure out exactly who you are and what you want.

If you included a link or two to other pieces of content on your own website within your article, disclose that and explain why you included them to add value.

The less cryptic you are about your motivations, the better. Publishers and bloggers respect contributors who lay all relevant information out on the table with courtesy, honesty, and humility.

Don’t: Send your content to blogs and publishers who don’t have a legitimate reputation.

You can scour the backlink listings using free or paid tools that identify and help you match with guest blogging opportunities.

However, you have to careful that you’re striking the balance between quality and quantity when you’re weeding through these requests.

Although these tools connect people that need sources (bloggers and journalists) to people that want links and exposure, the tools are so popular that the competition could get very stiff.

To Wrap it Up…

Guest blogging is still a thriving link building tactic even though it’s becoming exponentially more competitive and challenging. If it’s something you and your team want to give a shot, don’t approach it in a haphazard way.

Develop a cohesive strategy with steps for a plan of attack where everyone is on the same page. It’s in everyone’s best interest to make the most efficient use of your time.

If you want to integrate your link building efforts and content marketing campaigns with your company’s other cross-channel efforts, our team here at Chainlink Relationship Marketing can help you.

Using our proprietary platform, the Chainlink Marketing Platform to ensure success based on data tracking and reporting, we can manage your overall marketing efforts and ensure they produce measurable results.

As experts in SEO, content marketing, and link building, our team can help you make sure you’re implementing strategies that deliver measurable results and produce the highest possible marketing ROI for your business.

Reach out to us to learn more about how we can help your business grow online. We’d love to give you a free consultation.

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