How To Write A Guest Post
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 20, 2013
What a last few days I’ve had! Social media is fun and interactive and, well, sometimes it can be good for your ego. Of course, you can’t take anything for granted, which means that I did end up putting a lot of work into the fun. This post is going to cover a number of things, but overall it’s going to contain some lessons in how to write a guest post.
True, I’ve fussed a lot about guest post requests, but this is something different. I was asked by my buddy Adrienne Smith to write a guest post for her eponymously named blog and it went live on Monday. I actually wrote it 3 weeks ago, and I titled it 11 Essentials of Social Networking. It’s an epic post if I say so myself because it was more than 3,000 words on, well, social networking, things to do and not to do to make better connections online. And it seems to have been well received, with at least 130 or more comments so far; that’s after 2 days.
But that was only the last thing that happened. Things actually got started last Wednesday when I had the opportunity to interview a lady named Meloney Hall of Big Uptick Social Marketing, who actually interviewed me and had me give some blogging tips to her readers via a YouTube video. She gave many tips on how to set yourself up for success in social media marketing, including supporting one of my major views that if you’re any kind of business or professional that you should be on LinkedIn. You can view that interview below:
Now, for most people that would be a steal and a nice grab for getting some success tips to help you and your business. But that’s not how I roll. I wasn’t satisfied with that, so I had a second treat for people. That treat was Ileane Smith of Basic Blog Tips, one of the top blogging sites on the internet and she’s one of the fastest rising internet stars we have. I’ve known Ileane for years and even wrote a guest post for her back in 2011 titled 5 Ways Your Blog Might Be Irritating People. That post actually had around 150 comments on it at one time, but Ileane’s been getting tons of spam on her old posts and she’s shut off comments, and for some reason it also had hidden all the comments that post had. Still, it was another pretty good post, coming in around 1,800 words or so.
In the interview I did with her I got the lowdown on how she got into blogging, why it will always be her first love but her second job, and her ideas for how to grow your blog and get people to help promote your posts without you even having to ask anymore. We also touched upon a subject that’s been on my mind for years, but you’ll have to watch the video to pick up any of that knowledge and let me just say that it’s the fastest viewed video I’ve ever had:
At this point, if you know any of the folks above, you’re probably saying “wow, that’s pretty good.” You probably also think it’s over already; nope. On Sunday I led the discussion for my Hot Blog Tips crew as I had the opportunity to interview one of the most prolific bloggers and writers on the internet, Kristi Hines of Kikolani.com, Search Engine Land, Mashable… you name it, she’s probably written for it. Once again, she has one of the highest ranked blogs online, and I knew that having her as our Sunday guest would be amazing, and it was. If you want to learn how she pulls everything together, as well as learn more about her new course on how to market and network yourself online (are you sensing a pattern here?), check out the video below:
See there? I didn’t hit the trifecta, I hit the… well, since I don’t watch horse racing, I have no idea what it’s called if you win 4 times in a row, but with the finale, for now, being the guest post on Adrienne’s blog, I’m thinking that’s some pretty stellar work in one week’s time. It also means that it was time to come back to my blog and put out something strong as well because I’ve played in everyone else’s spaces (well, two of those videos are on my YouTube channel but you know what I mean) and it’s time to come back home for a bit.
Guest posting; I’ve mainly talked about it in terms of having people coming to me or going to others asking if they can write a guest post for their blogs, and how the process often fails miserably, even though some guest posts do make it through. I can honestly say that every guest post I’ve ever written I was asked to write, and in doing so I’ve always followed guest posting tips that I wrote back in 2010 to a large degree. I’m glad I went back to share this post because it reminded me that I had written another guest post I’d forgotten about for my buddy Connie Baum of The Healthy And Wealthy You titled Internet Marketing Scams. I can’t say that one was epic, mainly because her audience was different than some of the audiences I’ve written for lately, and yet I did follow the commandments I wrote about back then.
This is now though, so it’s time to make the list of how to write guest posts just a bit more thorough. This is both for when you’re asked to write a post or when you want to write something for some else:
1. Know the blog you’re going to write for. For the one blog I get a lot of requests for, people write and tell me how much they enjoyed a post on the blog, yet it’s almost always the most recent post on the blog. Man, can we spot a fake request a mile away or what? You can never know what a blog is truly about unless you take a look at 5 or more posts. If you’ve been a long time commenter on a blog then you probably have a good idea of what might work but if not, do your research. After all, it should really benefit the blog owner as much as you hope it’ll benefit you.
2. Know your subject well. I have to admit that many guest posts I get for my finance blog are fairly basic on their topics. Yet I allow them because I’m figuring that many of the readers might not know what all that stuff is, since there are a lot of financial items where I know the terms but don’t fully understand. However, it’s always easy to tell by the writing style whether the person actually knows what they’re talking about or whether they’ve done some research and have basically put together a mini term paper. If you want to stand out and be able to give your post a personal feel, know what you’re talking about.
3. Do an outline; do it! I just can’t believe how many people are scared of writing outlines for what they’re going to write about. I don’t do it for most of my own posts but if I’m putting together something for another person, it’s critical to do. You want to know what you’re going to address and have the opportunity to put it into the proper order; sometimes you want everything to flow in a specific pattern while other times you want to make sure you start strong and end strong.
4. Unless it won’t fit with previous blog content, always try to write more than what you normally might. On my own blogs, I pretty much write like Mozart. That is to say that I write as many words as what my thoughts lead me to write and then I stop; no more, no less. But when I’m putting something together for someone else, I want to make sure I don’t leave anything out, and that every thought I have is thoroughly covered for each point; hence the outline. You can write more and if it’s consistent the blog owner will probably love to print the entire thing. If you’re asked to trim it down some it’s always easier than it is to try to add more.
5. Always give examples for the points you’re trying to make. In the post I wrote for Adrienne, I talked about how some people on Twitter are always posting links to their blogs or sales pages and it’s almost like they’re online 24/7, which means you know they’re automating everything. Yet if it was a TV show would you want to watch 5 minutes of a show and be marketed to 55 minutes to complete the hour? Things like that help to make your points memorable and people can relate to them.
6. Don’t write anything you don’t believe in with your whole soul. If you’re writing something you think people want to hear so you can appease them, you’ve already failed. Don’t ever be fake because everyone will know. If you hate chocolate, say you hate chocolate (and be prepared for me to come to your house to protest lol). If you like puppies proclaim your love for them and tell people why you love them (I love them because they’re just so innocent and cute and want to play). If you’re going to teach someone something teach it all to them, every single step, and don’t leave anything out. Don’t assume what people know; as Ileane said in the interview, everyone’s level of knowledge is different and you never want to leave anyone out.
I’m going to stop there before I make this one too long. Here are 5 tips, there were 4 on my other post, so I’m thinking you now have 9 total points from me and still have Kristi’s video and Ileane’s video to get more, since both of them have written guest posts. I mean, what more could you want? Well, I want you to read this, watch the videos, share all of it wherever you are on social media, comment here and on every video you watch, and above all send me chocolate chip cookies… wait, how’d that get in here? Please, let me know what you think below or somewhere; don’t make me hold my breath! 😉