Writing guest posts is like being the guest at a dinner party. There are a few rules of etiquette that you should always follow:
1. Follow the instructions on your invitation. Get the post to your “host” on time. Stay within their word limit (if one is given) and write on topic (if a topic is given).
2. Bring your BEST bottle of wine. Guest posting is your chance to impress a new audience. Rather than looking at it as a day off from your own blog, look at it as a day to meet new people and possibly gain readers. Put time and effort into your post and don’t rely on your “host” to edit for you.
3. Be yourself. I have heard others recommend that you should “blend in” to the blog you are guest posting for but I don’t necessarily think this is true. Your authentic voice should always shine through your posts. If your host’s readers like your style they will visit your blog and enjoy what they read. If you write something that goes against your normal tone they may visit your site and not recognize you in your posts. With that said, try to make sure your post works well with the general tone of the blog you are visiting (i.e. if you are guest posting at a humor blog don’t make it your goal to have readers reaching for tissue).
4. Mingle with the guests. Interact with the readers who comment on your post. Comment back and visit as many sites as you can, even if it takes you a week or so. Guest posting is not only a great way to gain readers but also to find new blogs to read.
5. Don’t hog the spotlight and be a gracious guest. The day of your guest post, put a brief post on your site directing readers to where you will be that day. Unless you have something that you must write about, avoid writing a long post on your own blog. There is only so much time to blog-read in a day, even if you are the greatest writer to ever blog, you can’t expect readers to read a post on your site and click over to another site to read more of your words. Use your normal avenues of promoting your posts to advertise your guest post (post to your facebook page, tweet the link, etc.).
Just like any dinner party, there are also a few rules for the host/hostess:
1. Make sure your invitation is clear and delivers all the details. Let your guest know when you would like their post by, if you have a topic in mind or a word limit and also the time and date their piece will be posted.
2. Introduce your guest to the rest of the party. Write a short introduction of your guest, letting your readers know who they are and why you feel they are worthy of their blog-reading time.
3. Let everyone know your guest has arrived. Even though someone else has written on your blog for the day you don’t have the day off entirely. Use your usual methods of promoting a post to bring your readers to your site.
If you haven’t guest posted before or hosted a blogger on your own site, get out there and ask! Don’t be afraid to ask your favorite blogger if they take guest post submissions or to approach someone whose writing you enjoy about writing on your blog. It’s a great way to reach new readers and connect with a different audience.
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