[Editors note: apologies – due to technical problems this post was missing from our series on Guest Blogging – here it is for your delectation]
Well done! You have made contact and been asked to write a guest blog post, or you’re about to connect with a site and you need an idea.
Have no fear. You’re not alone in feeling more than a little daunted by the fact that you have to write for another website audience. You just got used to the idea of writing for your own site, and now this?
Topics and themes for your guest blogging
You might already come to a site armed with ideas you want to write about. These could be useful topics you have explored on your own blog, or it could be new ideas you came up with in the shower this morning.
However, not all sites will want you to write about what you suggest. In fact, many sites that will accept guest blog posts specify exactly what topics they are looking for.
If you’re not sure and they don’t make it obvious, then it’s a good idea to look at past posts and make a note of the topics that were popular or most written about. Also make not of the pitch of the information in the posts – is it for beginners, middle-of-the-road or more advanced readers?
Another rich area to explore is the blog’s audience. What are they asking about in comments? What areas do they want clarification in? How have they responded to other posts. These questions and comments will help steer you to topics that will be of interest to your guest blog audience.
Keep suggesting new content
Once you’ve landed your first guest blog post, you’ve done the hard work. But don’t stop there. Suggest new content and contribute ideas to the relationship.
Keep track of all the places you get published and create a system for yourself to follow up with these sites at regular intervals – say every 30 days(ish).
This is how you build credibility and professional relationships as a guest blogger and as a productive and passionate persona in your industry.
How long should guest blog posts be?
Again, check the site’s guidelines for guest bloggers. Length of guest posts varies considerably and you don’t want to make the mistake of submitting something that is 500 words too short or too long!
If in doubt, ask the editor or do some research yourself and look at other posts on the site. What are their word counts? Is there an average you can find? If most of the blog posts and guest posts are 1000 words, then you want to aim for that number in your submission.
If you have chosen a topic that generates 1000 words, but the blog only wants a 500 word post, try suggesting a two-parter of 500 words each. Write the first one and use the response to help you craft the second part in the series.
Finally, don’t take feedback personally. We mentioned this in the last post and let this be a reminder. Your editor (or site owner) wants your guest blog to be great, they really do. So take their comments in context and accept that they know their site and audience better than you do.
In the next post in this series, we’ll look at some of the tools of the trade that you can put to use in outreach, tracking, posting and writing guest blogs.