Guest blog posting is one of the best ways to increase your visibility online. By providing valuable, interesting content in your area of expertise, you can not only gain visibility from real readers in your niche, you can also enjoy the search engine optimization benefits of having other blogs and websites in your niche linking back to you from your guest blog post.
While guest posting is a great way to build your brand and increase traffic to your site, it’s not an easy strategy. To get quality guest posts, you need the tact and sensibility to negotiate with busy bloggers/webmasters and also create awesome content that they want to share with their readers. In attempting to achieve this aim, newbies to guest posting often make critical errors that reduce their success rate and prevent them from getting the guest posting spots they desire.
Here are 5 of the most common guest posting mistakes –
1. Sending Out Cut-and-Paste Emails
Any blogger worth his/her salt gets multiple guest post requests daily. Some will get dozens, maybe even hundreds. If your email looks like something you put no effort or thought into, why would a busy blogger consider your offer?
Instead of sending out cut and paste emails in bulk, focus on quality over quantity. Find something unique in the blogger’s content that you can connect with and mention it in the first paragraph, or even in the subject of your email. If you’re not willing to put in even the mildest effort to show your interest in what the blogger is doing, why would they pay you any attention? You’ll also want to convey the benefit of your post to the blogger’s readers.
[Note: This doesn’t mean that you can’t use a basic template to craft your emails. But what it does mean is that if you can’t answer the question “does my content benefit this blogger’s readers” after clicking “Send”, then you’re probably making a mistake.]
2. Targeting The Wrong Bloggers
The web is a big place. The reality is that not everyone will be interested in your guest post offer, no matter how good your content is. Perhaps the blogger is too busy or perhaps you don’t offer enough value. Maybe your content doesn’t fit the niche of the blog, or the blogger simply doesn’t like to have anyone’s view but their own on their site.
Each email you send out takes time. Instead of indiscriminately throwing out your net, learn to pick your spots for contacting. Try a Google search for your niche + “guest posting”, “guest submissions” etc. to find sites in your niche that are accepting guest posts. Beyond that, make an attempt to at least skim the blog abit before shooting off an email. You’ll quickly get a sense of which blogs are worth contacting if you just pay a little attention.
3. Not Keeping Good Records
If you’re doing guest blog posting in any volume, you’ll find that you need to contact lots of bloggers in order to get a good response rate. If you’re not tracking your communications, you’ll soon find yourself confused and lost in a sea of back and forth emails with hundreds of different bloggers and webmasters.
It’s important to keep an organized log of communications and outreach, whether it’s with a simple excel spreadsheet, a Google doc, or CRM software. Some good and extremely popular CRM tools for guest posters who contact bloggers in large volumes are Raven Tools or Buzzstream. Spreadsheets are perfectly fine when you’re starting out, but CRM software makes it easier to keep tabs on communications.
4. Not Pitching Topics First
One especially time consuming mistake is not contacting webmasters/bloggers before writing your guest post. Even if you find a page on a site asking for guest posts, it’s prudent to reach out and pitch a topic idea and get approval before actually writing the guest post. You’ll be surprised how often emails get ignored, even when the blogger or webmaster explicitly asked for guest post submissions. If you send in a guest post tailored for a specific blog and don’t get a response, what do you do then? You’ll save a lot of time if you ensure that you’re sending your content to someone who’s actively engaged and interested in what you’re creating.
5. Stuffing Your Links
Quality blogs won’t want your content if it’s stuffed with your own self-serving links. Getting over zealous with links is a great way to get an otherwise fantastic piece of content rejected. Be sure to find out beforehand if there are any specific guidelines in regards to the amount of links you can include in your guest post.
A good tip if the blog/site doesn’t have explicit guest posting guidelines is to look through previous guest posts (you can do a site search with “guest author” or “guest post” to quickly find these) and see how links were previously inserted. If links are inserted naturally in the body, stick with this. If they’re only available in the author byline, make sure they stay there.
Are you making these mistakes? Please let me know.