Guest blogging can be an important part of your strategy for building an audience for your blog. It can also be an exercise in frustration when you consistently hear “Thanks, but no thanks” from other blog owners, or worse, hear nothing back at all.
In some cases, your guest blogging efforts aren’t paying off due to circumstances beyond your control. A blogger might already have plenty of content in the hopper, or just might not want to add guest posts to their blog. Sometimes, the timing isn’t right — a blogger may already have a similar post planned, or your pitch doesn’t fit in with the editorial calendar. More often than not, though, the reason that guest posts get turned down has more to do with the guest blogger.
If you’re consistently pitching guest posts that aren’t getting picked up, it may be time to re-evaluate your strategy and consider whether you are making some of the deadliest guest blogging mistakes. Any one of these mistakes can torpedo your guest blogging success — making several means you’ll be lucky if any of your guest posts ever see the light of day.
Mistake #1: You Don’t Do Your Homework
Every blogger would love to see one of their posts featured on a blog with a huge, loyal following. What many seem to forget is that building that following took time and a lot of hard work. Successful bloggers know their audience, what readers want to see, and the types of content that get the best response. So nothing is more annoying when another blogger pitches a post that is way off base in terms of subject or angle, on a topic that’s already been covered, or completely out of touch with the blog’s stated purpose.
Therefore, before pitching any blog post, you have to do your homework. This includes researching blogs to determine:
• The topic(s) covered
• The intended audience
• The appropriate blog contacts (never, ever send a blind pitch to “Editor” or “Blog manager”)
• Whether any posts on a similar topic have been published recently
• The types of content that are published. Are the posts image heavy? Are they mostly lists, Q&As, tutorials, etc.?
• The tone of the blog. Is it serious and academic? Are the posts heavily sourced? Or is it breezier and warmer?
When you do your homework, you can craft a pitch that’s not only relevant to the blogger’s audience, but you can better match the pitch to the blogger’s preferences and increase the likelihood of a positive response.
Mistake #2: You Don’t Make Quality a Priority
While we may be talking about your guest blog pitches, for now put yourself in the other site owner’s shoes. How would you feel if you received pitches and guest blogs that were of inferior quality? Chances are, you’d be disappointed, and would either turn them down, or refuse to publish anything from that blogger again.
If you’re finding that your posts aren’t gaining traction, or you aren’t getting any repeat invitations, your quality could be an issue. The quality of your guest posts should be at least as good as, if not better, than that of the posts you publish on your own blog.
Remember, the purpose of your guest blog is to drive traffic to your site, so you want to put your best foot forward. If you produce a post that doesn’t meet expectations, it may not even get published.
Before submitting a pitch or post, evaluate it for quality. Is it grammatically correct? Is it interesting? Is it well written? Does it make the style and tone of the host blog, and offer relevant, useful, insight? If it doesn’t pass that test, keep working until it does.
When fellow blogger, Jeremy Biberdorf of Modestmoney.com, was asked what the one thing that he feels is most important in content writing, he replied.
“Hands down would be an intriguing title. An awesome title alone will get way more clicks on search results and social media. Also ensure the post content delivers information that is useful.”
Mistake #3: You’re Difficult to Work With
One of the most common complaints about guest bloggers is that they can be hard to work with. Not only do they submit posts that don’t adhere to the site guidelines or that are difficult to upload (filled with links, special characters, etc.), but guest bloggers that are demanding before even receiving the guest spot aren’t generally appreciated.
Making demands about when the posts will be published, how many links, which links, and other details isn’t a way to make friends. Remember that the blog owner is the one in charge, and can decide when and if posts are published. That doesn’t mean you have to concede every detail, just avoid making demands before you have an established relationship.
When we asked Stephanie from Somewhatsimple.com what the one thing that she feels is most important in publishing, she responded:
“Be flexible on your deadlines and don't wait until the last minute and expect your content published right away. We have our content calendar scheduled a month in advance, so unless we have to postpone something (which does happen occasionally) we can't guarantee a publishing date until the following month.”
A successful guest blogging campaign is really no different than any other PR campaign: You need to be flexible, offer a quality product, and target your audience to ensure a mutually beneficial partnership. When you do, you’ll have less frustration and get the traffic you’re aiming for.