How to be a great guest blogger

Guest blogging is a smart book marketing strategy because it puts your ideas (and writing skill) in front of people you might not otherwise reach while it generates links to your site that are important to your site’s SEO (search engine optimization). It’s also an excellent way to connect with key influencers — the blog owners — and people in your book’s target audience.

You want the guest blogging experience to build bridges to the host, the blog’s readers, and other bloggers reaching your audience. The best way to do that is to be a great guest blogger.

When you want to be a stand-out guest in real-world social experiences, you go beyond what’s expected. To be a great guest blogger, make working with you an easy, pleasant, and rewarding experience for your host.

Tips that will help you stand out

Here are five tips that will help differentiate you from other guest bloggers:

  1. Ask the blogger for guidelines — then follow them. Some have them, some don’t. Some who do forget to share them when issuing an invitation to write a guest post. But ask, because if you don’t know what they’re expecting, it’s harder to meet — or exceed — expectations. Review them one last time before submitting the column to make sure you’ve incorporated everything.
  2. Study the blog’s content and format. How is the information presented? Does the blogger use long or short paragraphs? What about subheads and bullets? Make your post easier to work with by incorporating the blog’s structural elements.
  3. Name the blog post file for the blogger, not you. Put yourself in the blogger’s shoes — what do you need when working with material from someone else? As someone who accepts guest posts here and is the co-editor of an association blog, I always appreciate it when the file arrives with the blogger’s name and the topic. “Beckwith, book promo on shoestring” is more helpful to me than the generic, “guest blog post.”
  4. Provide a head shot labeled with your name. Getting a head shot named “Library shot” doesn’t help me find that photo of you taken in a library after I saved your head shot to my system, but “Meghan McAllister” does.
  5. Write a great post. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that since you’re not getting paid for it, you don’t have to do your best job. You’re not going to make a good impression with sloppy, rambling writing. Take every guest gig as seriously as you take any other writing assignment. You’re giving readers a sample of what you’re capable of — shouldn’t it be your best work?

To be the guest blogger who builds bridges, make connections, and expands your fan base, do your best job with every guest post.

What’s your advice for being a great guest blogger?


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Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Three groups have recognized her BuildBookBuzz.com site as an outstanding resource for authors, so you know her advice is author-tested. Download Sandra’s free “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources” and you’ll also receive the free weekly “Build Book Buzz” newsletter loaded with book marketing tips and advice.
15 Responses to How to be a great guest blogger
  1. Joan Price
    February 20, 2013 | 7:39 pm

    Such good tips. I would expand #2 to “Study the blog’s content, format, and style.” It’s a mess when someone wants to guest blog for my lively blog about sex & aging, http://www.NakedAtOurAge.com, and they send me academic, wordy, or dull, style.

    I’m happy to edit if it’s almost there, but if it’s not even close, that shows me that the “guest” didn’t take the time to read my blog.

    I do love guest blogs when they’re on topic and they give my readers something special. My allegiance is to my readers, and if you’ve contributed a post that educates and/or entertains them in a meaningful way, I’m happy to share these readers with you.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      February 21, 2013 | 1:46 am

      Great point, Joan. Thanks!

      Sandy

  2. Tina Gilbertson
    February 21, 2013 | 1:23 am

    Sandy, speaking of great guest bloggers… I borrowed one of yours: Heather Shumaker. Just over a month ago, Heather wrote a lovely guest post for you about her efforts to promote her book, “It’s Okay Not to Share … And Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids.”
    Her situation seemed similar enough to mine that I was inspired to write to her. To my surprise and delight, she accepted my invitation write a guest post for my blog! (You can see it up this week at tinagilbertson.wordpress.com.)
    Heather nailed every single one of the points in your post, and sure enough, she was an absolute dream to work with.
    I’ll definitely follow your advice myself in order to leave that same impression when I’m the guest blogger.
    Thanks as usual for the great tips!

    • Sandra Beckwith
      February 21, 2013 | 1:47 am

      That’s great news, Tina! I’m so glad to hear it! I really enjoyed working with Heather so I’m glad to learn you did, too.

      : )

      Sandy

  3. Mridu Khullar Relph
    March 2, 2013 | 11:59 am

    Great tips. I’d also add that blog owners love when you take the initiative of promoting the post on social media. Hopefully, they will too and it will bring both of you additional followers, fans, etc. So make sure to ask when your guest post will be published and then remember to promote it on social media.

    Oh, and respond to comments.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      March 3, 2013 | 2:19 am

      Great points, Mridu! I’m a little obnoxious — I send my guest bloggers a link to the post when it goes live and ask them to share it with their social networks. (Why leave it to chance, eh?)

      On the flip side, many bloggers don’t tell me when my guest post goes live, so I don’t know it’s up until I get a Google alert.

      As for comments, I don’t always remember to return to my guest post to respond to comments. Any tips for making sure I do that?

      Thanks!
      Sandy

      • Mridu Khullar Relph
        March 4, 2013 | 1:25 pm

        I just subscribe to the comments. That way whenever new one is posted, I get notified via e-mail and I don’t constantly have to keep checking in.

        • Sandra Beckwith
          March 4, 2013 | 2:15 pm

          I do that when it’s an option, but some of the blogs I’ve written for don’t have that feature so the burden is on me to remember to check back.

          Sandy

          • Mridu Khullar Relph
            March 4, 2013 | 2:17 pm

            Sure, I agree. I do the best I can, but then I let it go, too. I can’t keep checking back over weeks, so I check in for the first couple of days and move on.

  4. Joan Price
    March 2, 2013 | 5:06 pm

    I agree with Mridu. I love it when a guest blogger tweets and posts on FB. That motivates me to see what else he/she is tweeting and retweet some of those tweets. Social media is most effective when we join hands!

    • Sandra Beckwith
      March 3, 2013 | 2:20 am

      So true, Joan!

      Sandy

  5. Art
    August 17, 2013 | 4:17 pm

    I enjoyed the suggestions and comments from everyone!
    However, I get the essential idea, but how do you go about getting guests, and do I put the post on my site, or do I give them access? Conversely, how do I go about asking someone if they would like me to be a guest blogger? I know you’re answer will hit me right between my eyes when I see it, but I thought I would ask it anyway.

    Many Thanks
    Art

  6. Joan Price
    August 19, 2013 | 7:25 pm

    Art, to find guests, read other people’s blogs on your subject and contact the bloggers. Read books on your subject and contact the authors. Don’t wait for them to come to you.

    I wouldn’t give anyone access to posting on my blog — I have them send me the content, and I edit and post it with their name, bio, any links they request, and a photo.

  7. Art
    August 20, 2013 | 1:43 am

    Sandy and Joan,

    Thank you both for answering my question. It is an extremely interesting concept, and I look forward to giving it a try. I have a few different genres that I can use to write articles about, and I think I should be able to find a number of blogs I will contact. Religion: Looking for God within the Kingdom of Religious Confusion. PTSD: The demons of war are persistent. Both should provide a wide group of bloggers.

    Thank you again for the idea, and how to get started!

    Semper Fi!

    Art

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