The practice of guest posting—writing articles for other people’s blogs—has become one of the most frequently recommended methods of bringing new readers to your own blog or website.
Why? It works for the guest, for the blogger and for the readers. I’ve been able to share with you articles by novelist Will Entrekin, self-publisher Michael N. Marcus, blogger Joanna Penn, author Susan Daffron, author mentor Laura Cross, and many others.
Here’s how this works as a win-win-win situation:
- It works for readers, because these articles bring different perspectives to the blog, offer expertise in areas I’m not that familiar with, and add variety.
- It works for the blogger, because it gives me a day off, and a chance to write for other venues.
- It works for the guest, since some people who respond to their writing will follow them to learn more.
Rules of the Road
In the interest of transparency, I want to make it clear that I welcome guest articles from any reader who would like to query me. Here are the guidelines I use for guest bloggers on The Book Designer:
- Original content only. This is part of my basic commitment to you. I don’t reprint articles from directories, from bloggers’ archives, or from other sources. You might find an article somewhere else that first appeared on this blog, but it has to be original to be considered.
- Authentic voice. I get a lot of articles submitted that are obviously turned out as production content. They have a bit of information in them, but are flat and uninteresting to read. You have to be engaged with the content to come across as authentic.
- On topic. Articles that are on topic deal with writing, publishing and marketing books, with typography and book design, and with personal experiences doing one of these things.
- Relevant backlink. Yes, I will go and look at the site you want to link to from your post. That’s another commitment I make to you. Even if the article is on topic, if it’s leading you to a site selling Florida vacation homes or online degrees, it gets bounced.
- Only two backlinks. You want to convince people you’re worth reading, not plant 10 links in your article all leading back to your blog. Only 2 “self-serving” backlinks, and one of those should be in your bio. Links to resources that amplify the article are fine.
- 30 day exclusive. Goes with original content. Please allow your article to remain in place here for 30 days before reposting it elsewhere. It’s your article since you wrote it, but respect your host.
- Answer comments. If you open a discussion, hang around and take care of your guests.
- Appropriate length. This is the most common question I get from guest bloggers, and here’s my answer: my articles run from 800 to 1200 words, which is long for most bloggers. Guest blogs should be 500 words to whatever it takes. If you can keep it interesting and informative, go for it.
- Resources. I’m partial to articles that give readers resources to pursue on their own. Take the time to treat your readers right.
- Make an approach. It’s easier to say yes to someone who suggests topics than it is to someone who asks “What should I write about?” Does that make sense?
- Format. Lots of bloggers like posts as attachments in Word. Since I work in the HTML window of the WordPress interface, I would prefer plain text. Provide the full URL of anything you want to link to, and if you can put in formatting codes then by all means do it.
- Break it up. It’s more interesting to read articles that are punctuated by lists, bullets, block quotes and subheads. Use them.
- Put yourself out there. There’s something that makes writing compelling, that draws readers to your work: it’s when you put yourself into your article. Make us feel what you felt, tell a story from your experience, be honest about things you did that didn’t work out. However you do it, find a way to make it personal and authentic and you’ll be a success.
As part of my launch for A Self-Publisher’s Companion, I’m also guest posting on a number of blogs starting next week. If you have a blog where writers congregate, would you like an article written specifically for your blog? I want to write for you!
I’d like to hear from you, since many readers here are writers, too. Do you want to guest post here? Got something you want to say? Let me know.
Photo by Erin Kohlenberg