Guest blogging is a tried-and-true strategy to help build backlinks and drive traffic to your website. It seems like everyone is trying to guest blog. And, if you haven’t noticed, it’s getting increasingly difficult to find a host for your guest blog. The reason for this is that website owners and bloggers are becoming overwhelmed with poorly-written requests. You’ll find greater success in placing your posts by avoiding these guest blogging mistakes.
Mistake One: Not Researching the Host’s Website
The old saying goes that you need to crawl before you can walk. The same idea holds true for guest blogging. Before you even think about pitching an idea, you must research the host’s website. Visit the host site to see if their content and ideals align with yours.
Guest blogging is all about positioning yourself in the search rankings and gaining additional traffic. Don’t cheapen yourself by not researching the host’s website. While you don’t need to agree with every fine detail, you want to make sure your belief system is in line with theirs.
Mistake Two: Failing to Review the Guest Post Guidelines
Blogs post guest post guidelines to help them discern whom they will allow to guest blog. They are approached by tens of guest bloggers daily, and these guidelines serve as a buffer between them and the very low-quality prospective guest writers. Once a spammer sees guest post guidelines, they frequently steer away and set sights on the next website.
In addition, it guides you in crafting a quality blog post that will be true to the website’s style and voice. The blogger keeps her domain authority high by consistently delivering quality writing, high word counts, a certain number of photos per post, and relating relevant information. That domain authority is partly why the host website is so attractive to both her followers and you!
Mistake Three: Ignoring the Importance of Keyword Research
Keywords are everything. All digital marketers know the value of conducting proper keyword research. Keywords drive content value. The higher the keyword ranking, the better chance a reader will be compelled to click over and read the content.
The same goes for guest posting inquiries. After you’ve researched the host’s website, you will have an idea of what type of content she likes. Find a keyword that’s related that she doesn’t currently have and suggest the idea to her. The chances are better that she will love the opportunity to fill that gap. Therefore, you will dramatically increase your odds of successfully placing your guest blog.
Mistake Four: Impolite Wording of the First Email
The first email you send to a blogger is usually the only impression he has of you. The chances are pretty high that she never read your blog. So, use your best manners in addressing the blogger during that very first interaction.
Use words like “please” and “thank you.” Ask them for a guest post opportunity rather than telling them that you’re awesome and need to place an article.
Instead of telling him why your post is the best post ever, tell him how your high-quality content with well-researched keywords will drive traffic to his website. Make it about how you can help his website–he already knows that he can help you!
Finally, keep your first email rather brief. Two or three short paragraphs with a brief introduction and perhaps a compliment of his website. Offer assurance that you read his guest post guidelines and will follow them to the letter. Give him the link to your website so he can review it to see if he thinks you are a good fit.
Mistake Five: Being Too Casual in Tone
Asking a blogger to host your guest blog is a business transaction. You are delivering a service (content) to them in exchange for their service (hosting a backlink). They aren’t your friend…yet.
Not all bloggers share all their personal information on the “About Me” page. Some do, some don’t. Super-casual language can come across as inappropriate in some cultures. I am sometimes guilty of this. As an American, we are pretty informal people. But when I am working for one particular client in Asia, I tone down my joking tone and stick to business. In his culture, it’s inappropriate to joke and chit-chat when he should be productive.
You don’t want to assume a tone that’s stuffy or too formal, but keep overly casual conversation out of the mix. You can always shift down a little bit as you get to know the blogger, but it’s best to treat it as all business during the first round or two of emails.
Mistake Six: Missing Deadlines
So, you did your research and found a great host site. The host gave you the okay to start writing your content, and you are stoked. The days slip by and life happens. The next thing you know, you’ve missed the agreed-upon submission date.
When you make a promise to complete the work (even if it’s unpaid work!), keep your promise! It is the professional way to do business. In fact, many bloggers work on publication schedules that are finalized weeks ahead of time. If you were included on that schedule and failed to submit your post, the blogger must scramble to create content for that day.
If you have missed a deadline, reach out to the blogger with a heartfelt apology. Let her know that you regret the delay. Don’t make excuses. If you ask nicely enough, and she was really interested in your topic, she might still accept it. If she does not, then you have content ready to send off to another blogger.
Mistake Seven: Forgetting to Spellcheck
Before you send off your content, remember to run a spellcheck and run it through Grammarly. After all of your hard work, it would be a shame to have your post go unpublished over something silly like typographical errors. Enough said about that.
Mistake Eight: Failing to Offer Social Sharing
When you submit your post to the blogger, offer to share the published post on your social media. This will send the blogger the message that you are proud enough of the work you submitted to share on your own social networks. In addition, it allows you to pinpoint a publication date. I try to offer to social share and ask if they have a publication date in mind so that I can share the post on that day. It’s a much more polite way of asking for an exact publishing date.
Be sure to follow through with the social share and tag your host so they know you did it!
Mistake Nine: No Follow-up
Life happens. Remember when I mentioned that you could miss a deadline? When the shoe’s on the other foot, a blogger can have things happen that prevent them from publishing your guest blog when promised.
You’ve written the post, submitted it according to the blogger’s guidelines, and now you’re waiting. And waiting. It’s been days, but the blogger hasn’t put up your post!
It’s time for a little gentle follow-up message to the blogger. Perhaps you ended up in the spam filter. Or, maybe the blogger had an emergency. It could even be a simple scheduling error. A short inquiry could alert the blogger that you are still waiting.
Here’s an example. I recently sent a guest post off to a blogger who was very keen on my topic, but she never published it. I waited a week or so, then I followed up. It turned out that when she scheduled it out, she clicked the wrong year. This meant it didn’t go live the day it should have and was a scheduled year out. She had been very busy and missed the fact that no content was up on that particular day. In fact, she really appreciated the email as she had actually done the same mistake on 3 or 4 different posts.
Long story short, send a polite follow up. While you will still find that some guest hosts decide not to publish or respond, most want the content if they told you to move forward with your submission.
Mistake Ten: Forgetting to Send a Thank You Email
Send your host site a thank you email after publication. It’s just good business practice. Plus, you never know what other websites he might own or whom he could refer you to for additional guest posting opportunities. Saying thank you is such a sweet, and often overlooked gesture. You can make a great final impression in less than 30 seconds, by firing off a quick thank you email.
You’ve Got This!
Armed with this information on guest blogging, you can now get back out there and start outreaching again. Find those like-minded bloggers who want to host your content and watch your business grow.