Guest blogs can be a great way to get your name out there as a writer. Most blog hosts will allow you to have links to your various online accounts and are happy to include a brief bio and profile picture. Let’s face it, for the time and effort that it takes to write that blog post, you get free advertising. However, there are some rules that you should follow when it comes to pitching guest blog posts.
1) Do your research!
Just like in pitching a manuscript to an agent or publisher, you need to do your research. You have one question that you’re seeking answers to: is the blog somewhere you would be happy to have your work posted? Your name is going to be attached to an article on that blog, possibly for all time (at least until the blog host either takes your page down or the entire site down). As such, you need to ensure that you would be happy to have your name associated with that site. You might have other questions, such as site traffic, marketing, etc., however, it really comes down to the site and the blog itself.
Look at the site layout. Is it easy to find things? If your article was listed there, would readers be able to easily find it, or would it become quickly buried, never to see the light of day? Can you navigate the site? Is the site riddled with broken links? When was the last time any of the pages were actually updated? (Yes, you can get that information just from looking at a site.)
What about the site theme? Is it something that someone just slapped together with no thought of the reader experience, or has some time and effort been put into the site pages? Believe it or not, I’ve actually turned down a guest blog opportunity because the site used such a hideous theme and was poorly laid out — a sea of pink was staring back at me. I didn’t want my name anywhere near that site.
With sites such as WordPress.com and Weebly.com, there really isn’t any excuse for a website to have a horrid theme, however, I have encountered cases where the chosen theme was inappropriate and/or not customized to suit the blogger. This results in posts that are never seen and links to other online platforms that disappear. A little time and effort is all it takes, and it shows within the final result.
2) Read the blog first.
Say that you’re happy with the site itself, but what about the blog? Read through a few of the entries. You don’t need to read through the entire archive, but after reading a few posts, you should be able to determine the underlying theme. You’ll want to do this for multiple reasons:
- Is the content of the blog something that you would be happy to be associated with?
- Do you actually have something of value to contribute to the blog?
- Does the tone of the blog posts suit your writing style?
- Would readers of the blog actually be interested in your other work?
Look at it critically. Guest blogging is actually a marketing tool for your other writing. You need to ensure that every post you have out there will eventually drive the right type of reader to your other stuff.
3) Be mindful of any submission guidelines.
Let’s say that you’ve found the perfect blog and you know exactly what you could contribute. Now what?
Some sites openly advertise for submissions for guest blog posts — pay attention to ALL of the submission guidelines, just like you would for submission to an agent or publisher. However, submissions to blogs are not as tightly regulated and the process is much faster and often more laid-back. Some sites will offer money for guest posts, however, if they do, they will specify this on the site along with the submission guidelines. If no mention is made of financial remuneration, then it’s safe to assume that there isn’t any.
If the site you’re interested in doesn’t have submission guidelines listed, then you will need to contact the web administrator directly. Keep the initial contact professional. Give them a brief (1–2 sentence) description of the proposed post. DO NOT send a copy of the post until invited to.
4) Ensure that what you pitch is actually what you send.
You’ve done your research. You’ve found the perfect blog. You’ve pitched a blog idea to them and they’ve invited you to send them the full post for review. What you send them better be what you pitched.
It looks bad on you, and can be damaging to your reputation, if you had pitched a post about how to deal with rejection but sent a recipe for a chocolate cake instead (unless of course you’re making an analogy between that chocolate cake recipe and rejection). It doesn’t matter how well written that chocolate cake recipe is… They were expecting insights on how to deal with rejections. And guess what… You are now faced with having to deal with rejection yourself.
Guest blogging can lead to other opportunities.
I have written a few guest blog post myself for various websites. In some cases, I was approached by the blog host for the article and I happily wrote one for them. (My post about holograms on Dan Koboldt’s site was one of these, and an article that I loved writing.) My interactions on social media have led to invitations from various direction, including regular guest appearances on internet radio and now my own radio show. I have been asked to write about science, writing and editing, and the opportunities are endless.
Guest blogging is not something to be afraid of. You never know where it could lead.
Guest blogging opportunities on Black Wolf…
All of this being said, if you have an article on writing, editing, publishing or the trials that you have faced during your writing journey, I would love to hear from you. We do not pay for articles, but as mentioned above, you never know what opportunities will come from it. You can find out more about guest blogging for Black Wolf here.
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© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2017