How to Fail at Guest Blogging: Please Stop Making These Blogger Mistakes
You would think that guest bloggers have this down by now, but there are still many things they do that drive me up a wall. I have been a guest blogger on many websites and also received guest post pitches from writers. At this point, I can’t help but scratch my head at some of the things bloggers are still getting wrong.
You don’t need to be perfect, but you do need to know the basics. If you don’t, you will likely get your guest post pitch rejected before you even get a chance to showcase your expertise. You will also need to nail your presentation once you have a pitch accepted. Getting accepted to post an article and then not delivering quality is worse than having a crappy guest post pitch. If you know how you might fail at guest blogging, you can then correct your course.
If you want to be successful at guest blogging, here are four things you need to stop doing immediately.
#1. Stop Sending Crappy Guest Post Pitches
Before you can sell yourself to readers, you need to sell yourself to the webmaster. Your guest post pitch is one of the most important steps in guest posting as it is the first impression you are sending out. Make it a good one; you will get a platform to showcase your material. Make it a bad one; get ready to wind up in the deleted folder.
So how can you ensure you have a good pitch? Incorporate the following:
- Address the webmaster by name – don’t send generic “to whom it may concern” email.
- Mention specific content about the website you enjoy – don’t just tell the webmaster you enjoyed their website – prove it by providing a link and quick comment about what you read.
- Pitch relevant topics – don’t pitch an article about “used cars” to a website with a niche for “kid’s clothing”.
- Provide samples of your work – don’t just provide links, provide relevant links specific to the topic you are pitching – this shows your worth.
- Read the contributor guidelines – don’t just blanket pitch – pitch the way the guidelines tell you – if it says provide four topics for consideration, provide four topics, not three, not five.
#2. Stop Targeting Crappy Websites to Share Your Guest Post
Normally my advice on guest posting is reserved to helping out the site owner; however, this piece of advice is just for you. Stop guest posting on crappy websites. After all, you should get a benefit out of guest posting just like the website you are posting on (and not for links – see #3 below).
If you are not familiar with domain authority and page authority, you’d better start reading up. Targeting the wrong blogs will get you nowhere.
If you want to showcase your expertise, guest blog with sites that are considered the authority in the field. For example, you want to pitch websites such as Content Marketing Institute if you want to talk about content marketing. If you pitch to a blog that has no visitors, you may as well write your content on the wall in a public restroom (you will probably find more readers there than on a blog with little to no traffic).
It also makes it more difficult to find guest posting opportunities when all your samples are from blogs that have very low domain authority. Why would I want to let you post on my website when you are only writing for lower quality websites?
#3. Stop Guest Posting for Backlinks
Matt Cutts said it years ago, but guest posting for backlinks really is dead. If your sole purpose of guest posting is to acquire a backlink, you are not using the right link acquisition methods.
Guest posting takes time. You need to craft a pitch, follow-up with the blog, write the article, copy edit, submit, and share once posted. Why do all of this for a backlink when there are easier and quicker ways to acquire a quality backlink?
If you aren’t going to guest post for backlinks, why do it? Simple.
I receive emails from people all the time asking me to ghost write content for them. They enjoy my writing style and are willing to pay me to write content on their behalf. I don’t get these leads from backlinks. I get them from my writing profile.
The emails I receive often start off with “I read your article on XYZ.” So, they enjoyed my writing and used my profile to find me. So, you should focus on guest blogging for branding (using your writing as proof of your worth and your profile for your contact) and not guest blogging for backlinks.
#4. Stop Writing Just to Write – Give Quality
Stop writing because you want people to hear what you have to say. In fact, you need to start telling people what “they” want to know, not what “you” want them to know.
People do not read a guest post and blindly follow the advice. They are there because they want the answer to a question. If you answer it properly, you will have more people reading, sharing, and following the advice you give.
When you generate content, it must be of quality. The term “quality” has numerous meanings when it comes to content, but generally means it provides the reader with what they want to know.
So, stop being selfish and write the answers to questions people are looking for. People are more likely to read and share your content. Plus, you will be rewarded with a higher rank in search results.
Stand Out From the Other Guest Bloggers
Yes, you are one of the millions of grains of sand on the seashore. You need to show people why you are unique among the others. In order to do so, stop engaging in horrible guest blogging techniques.
While I am not an expert, I will tell you this (not rubbing it in, just proving my point): My author bio is attached to this article. Where is yours?
What are some other techniques that you hate to see from bloggers? Any horrible guest post pitch examples you want to share? Tell me about the pitch that got you your first guest post opportunity.
Mike Wood is an online marketer, author, and Wikipedia expert. He is the founder of Legalmorning.com, an online marketing agency that specializes in content writing, brand management and professional Wikipedia editing. He is a regular contributor to many online publications where he writes about business and marketing. Wood is the host of the Marketing Impact podcast and author of the books Link Juice and Wikipedia As A Marketing Tool.
Great post, Mike!
I absolutely believe that allowing someone to guest post on your site is the digital equivalent of saying, “Hey you guys, you’ve GOT toe hear what this person is saying about the kind of things we’re all interested in!”
Smaller websites with less content often haven’t figured out who their “friends” are or what interests them, so bringing in a guest blogger simply adds more speakers without any listeners.
I will add one caveat though, the process of getting featured on a blog for the first time can be very daunting. I advise my clients to find a blog in their industry to pitch even if it is a low-traffic blog, simply to build their confidence and allow them to experience the full process for themselves. Whether they use the backlink for SEO or not, they now understand how it feels to pitch and publish a guest blog.
Everyone has to start somewhere!
Thanks again for your post.
Great point: start small and work your way up. Then you have a portfolio of work to show more popular blogs! Thanks for reading.