After reading Jon Morrow’s excellent guest blogging case study, I had a few thoughts. The first was that I wanted to find a way to link to it so I could share it with you here. The second was that I felt like sharing my own guest blogging experiences because they turned out to be something truly positive.
First: A little background
I’ve been writing and blogging online for at least ten years now. The interesting thing about the freelance writing community compared to the blogging community is that we’re not supposed to write for free. We’re supposed to receive at least $XX.XX per post or article and anyone who doesn’t pay us is using us. It wasn’t until four or five years ago that bloggers who started out as traditional writers began embracing guest blogging and some of us were reluctant to do so. I was truly afraid to offer to guest blog because I didn’t want to be called out by my peers for writing for free – especially after I cautioned other writers against writing for free. Freelance writers aren’t supposed to write for exposure, yet bloggers are encouraged to do so. It’s an odd sort of situation.
I’ve come to change my tune a bit about guest blogging because it really does provide something in return. I’ve also decided that we’re all grown up enough to make the decisions that work best for us without having to follow the rules of a particular community. I hate throwing around the word “value,” but I find it fitting here. Guest blogging can absolutely provide value, even if it’s not monetary.
The first guest blog post: Reaching for the stars
My first guest post was a big, bold move on my part. In 2007, Darren Rowse mentioned that he was going on vacation so I shot him a note asking if I could guest post on his blog while he was gone. He agreed and I wrote about being a blogger for hire. Traffic flowed to my former freelance writing blog from that one post for years.
Something else happened after that post. People reached out to me asking me about my experiences as a blogger for hire. I was interviewed for a couple of websites and newspapers, received job offers and welcomed new members to my freelance writing blog’s community. My guest blog post paid off in spades.
Server crash and Twitter’s Top Trending Topic
I guest blogged quite a few more times throughout the years, but my posts at ProBlogger were the ones that provided the most interesting experiences. For example, thanks to the ProBlogger post, Guy Kawasaki linked to one of my blog posts and it crashed my server. Another time, one of my ProBlogger posts became Twitter’s top trending topic for the day. Clearly, this wasn’t about traffic anymore. It had to do with branding and reputation as well.
I also guest blogged for several smaller blogs and through these I was able to carry on discussions with other communities and many people followed me home to my own blog. There’s nothing more rewarding than learning people are interested in reading what you write every day.
A few things to think about
- Be sure to know the difference between guest blogging and giving away free content. It’s one thing to write a one-off guest post for other blogs to share your experiences and bring in new readers, it’s a whole different story to stock someone’s blog or website with a ton of free content. Know the difference between good marketing and poor businesses sense. By all means, submit a guest post, but if you’re going to be a regular contributor make sure you’re getting a fair deal.
- Sometimes another blog’s community doesn’t welcome you with open arms. Maybe the comments aren’t moderated or maybe they just don’t agree with your point of view. Always prepare yourself for the likelihood of unkind comments. Most bloggers have respectful communities, but a few don’t really care.
- Don’t forget to promote your guest posts. Even though you’re reaching out to a new community, the host blogger will appreciate the links in his direction as well. Cross promotion is a beautiful thing. If it’s a mutually beneficial situation, you’ll be asked to blog again.
Don’t be afraid to ask
Though bloggers do reach out to me for the occasional guest post, I also contact the blogs I like best and offer up posts as well. Don’t wait around for something that may or may not happen. Take the initiative, offer to write for your favorite blogs, and watch the magic happen in return.
Do you provide guest posts? If so, how did your experience come about and what did it do for you?