By Patti Foy
Anyone else out there new to guest posting on other people’s blogs? I just did my first guest post recently, and whew, it feels like I broke the ice. I felt pretty well prepared since I’d studied up a little about how to go about guest posting.
But things didn’t unfold exactly as I’d envisioned and I got to learn a few lessons along the way.
For illustrative purposes — or even just for fun — you can find the articles I mention here:
The “companion” post on my blog: How Warm & Fuzzy Can Be Potent Medicine.
What I discovered:
1) Writing a big honker may not impress your host.
My host said any word length is fine and before I knew it it was up to around 1800 words. When I sent it to her, I told her I’d be happy to cut it down or whatever she needed, but she took it upon herself to split it up into 2 parts and told me that after posting part 1. She seemed perfectly fine with that, but still.
Not only was it a little embarrassing but I wanted it all to be as easy as possible for her. Besides that, I would have structured it all slightly differently for two posts, done an introduction for the second, etc.
2) Many guest posts aren’t gotten by pitching.
I was under the impression that if I wanted to guest post, I’d have to approach someone and beg — er, I mean pitch my idea for a post.
But I was surprised to be invited out of the blue to guest on someone’s blog. I’d commented on her moving guest post and we developed a little rapport. I checked out her blog and although not my aesthetic, it had its own charm.
I’ve since found out that it’s very common, maybe even more common than pitching, to be invited to post on someone’s blog.
The moral of this story is to continue to get out there and get around, ideally with people you genuinely click with.
3) Your host’s blog topic may be very different than yours.
Especially in light of the fact that people invite you to guest post based on just seeing you around, you might find that their blog topic has little relation to yours.
This was the case for me but I was happy that her topic was something I’m passionate about. I easily figured out how I could post on her topic (dogs) and my topic (personal development) in the same post. That was fun.
Of course the reason to do this is so that some element of what you offer on your blog is there for your host’s readers to see, and thus attract them to your blog.
4) Once you hand it over, it’s out of your control.
After I accepted, my host said she’d like to put my post on her other blog that has more traffic than her dog blog. Well, more traffic’s a good thing, but this other blog was even a little less my aesthetic than the first one. (Just to be clear, I’m not claiming her aesthetic is “bad”, just different.) I wasn’t going to be picky because I have all of 14 subscribers and hey, it’s a guest post. And more traffic? Okay!
She asked for a small bio photo of me and when all was said and done, she used it as a full-sized image so it was all fuzzy and just looked bad.
I politely sent her a higher resolution in case she wanted to replace it. She removed it completely. Oops. It was a favorite photo (of me and my dog) and I was sad to see it go.
She arranged the other photos and text in an unexpected way. Let’s just say it’s not how I would have done it and it wasn’t apparent from her other posts that it would end up like that.
This was a good exercise for me to just lighten up. So, still good!
I’ve since learned that it’s common for hosts to edit their guest’s posts to some degree. Of course this makes sense, and even is to your benefit sometimes since hosts know their readers and what they want much better than you do.
Sometimes they ask, and sometimes they don’t.
I know one guest who was quite upset about some of the changes her host made to her post, feeling she ruined it. And I was shown yet another example where the host clearly dampened much of the post’s appeal by changing important parts (in this case, the title).
Still, just knowing all this will make the letting go much easier next time. (Oh wait, that’s this time! But it’s Carol — piece of cake!)
5) Posting about your guest post on your blog is good — if you can time it right.
I did a “companion” post on my blog the next day on both our topics (with an emphasis on mine, of course) with a thank you and links to her blog. This worked well because visitors from her blog liked my post and my blog and the crossover/combination approach helped make that happen.
Also, besides the fact that I wanted to, it only seemed right to do some back-linking to her blog (and magazine) as a thank-you, and I did it in that companion post.
6) It’s good to build the connection into a continuing relationship.
Besides that we genuinely like each other, she liked my post a lot and wants to also publish it in the next edition of her new online magazine. This is a good thing, it’s pretty snazzy.
If I were a bigger blog, or if my host’s were bigger, I’d be able to also share how it affected my stats. But alas, I barely saw a burp. So in the end, this exercise was good for practice and the nerves but not so important for traffic. Good enough for me. Maybe by my next guest post, I’ll be in a better position to benefit from the traffic to my blog.
Patti Foy writes about vibrant living through the use of practical vibrational tools and techniques at her blog Lightspirited Being.