So you’ve decided to be a guest blogger. Whether you just want to write a couple guest blogs on one site or you want to establish long-term working relationships with a number of bloggers, it’s important to make a good impression, from your first inquiry to the final product.
Here are some typical guest blogger mistakes and how to avoid them:
We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Research
Where you want your blog posts to appear? If your answer is “anywhere” or “I don’t really care,” slow down, cowboy; you’re nowhere near ready to start sending those e-mails.
Do your research. Use keywords to find blogs that might be a good fit for your writing. Make a short list of your favorites. Don’t just read a post or two and then pitch your idea. Read enough to really have a good idea of the nature of the blog. Understand what makes this blogger different from the others you are pitching to. Take notes and keep records.
Also, check if you have any connections to the blogger. A personal connection can be a great way to get your foot in the door.
I’ll Decide What To Write Once I Get the Gig
You must have at least one idea ready before you write your pitch. Now that you’ve read your target blog: who are its readers? What topics have already been covered? What’s the feel of the blog? Casual or formal? Technical or conversational? Where can you fit in?
Flubbing The Pitch
If you start with “Dear Sir” or “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Blog Manager,” you might as well just toss your pitch in the trash folder and save yourself the trouble. Why should a blogger waste their time with someone who hasn’t even bothered to look up their name?
Like any pitch for writing, your note should be short and to the point. Do not wax elegant for paragraphs about the blogger’s prowess. This isn’t to say you can’t tell them you like and respect their work, but be specific (what do you like about their blog? Why?) and keep it relevant (how does your writing fit in?). In other words, this isn’t the place for a fangirl scream.
Finally, show them what you have to offer. “You’re blog is so awesome and I really would be so happy if you let me write a post and get some links in cuz I need linx bad” is not going to win you any friends. Make sure your spelling and grammar are 100% correct, and tailor the pitch to what you can offer the blogger. Include your blog idea and attach writing samples; just 2-3 of your best. Don’t even bring up links – save that for later.
Poor Execution and Delivery
Don’t get sloppy just because you’re in the home stretch. Write on the topic you’ve discussed, following all guidelines you’re given. Do your best work, keeping true to the style of the blog. Check other guest posts for byline format, links, and formatting; ask if you have questions. Finally, send your entry in on time, give yourself a congratulatory pat on the back, and start working on your next pitch.