Welcome!

I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy! Tash

Email updates

Refer to older posts…

Blogging services

Australian Women Bloggers Directory by Blog Chicks

guest post

Give ideas time to develop

plant_time_light_bulbLR

Ideas & plants take time to grow

Last night I read a blog post on guest blogging (or SEO outreach) as it is something I am interested in and enjoy doing. There were some great tips in this blog post, but there were also a couple of points that I reacted to.

Post ideas can take time

Researching blogs to offer posts to is obviously an important step in guest blogging, but I disagree with the following statement:

If you don’t have any ideas for articles the first couple of minutes of scanning the website, better spend the next minutes looking for another website to scope out.

Many people will never find a host blog if they used that criteria!

A couple of minutes may show the blog is not suitable for you (eg the wrong topic or demographic) but it often isn’t enough to get ideas. Sometimes I get ideas from the first sentence I read in another blog, but other times I have to read a few posts to get a feel for that blog and allow inspiration to strike.

Creativity is in all of us, and I believe it can be developed, but even so that’s a lot of pressure to state you need to find ideas so quickly while also assessing the blog overall.

Fast fix or quality results?

There’s a business concept about giving clients a choice of two elements – well done, fast or cheap. They can’t have all three options in the same project.

I think that’s true for guest blogging, too. You can do it well – quality writing on well researched blogs to build relationships with bloggers and their audiences – or you can work at getting a lot of posts online in a short time frame.

It’s that old quality vs quantity argument, I guess.

And to be frank, if you give me the impression of trying for maximum posts rather than quality the chances are I won’t accept your guest post. So I would never tell people to only spend a few minutes researching  a potential host blog – it looks fast rather than in-depth to me.

Developing ideas

How do you develop ideas, whether for a blog post or anything else?

Do you give up if no idea hits within a couple of minutes?

* Images courtesy of 123RF

Why link internally when guest blogging

Last week in a twitter chat, I gave the tip of linking to relevant posts at the host blog within your guest blog posts.

interconnections between and within blogsThe question, of course, is why that is important.

  1. some may call it sucky to do something nice for the host blog, and I can see why they would, but I see it as building a relationship of doing nice things for each other – it greatly increases your chances of being asked to do another guest post and being remembered for other opportunities
  2. linking to other posts in the host blog shows you have sent some time on that blog which increases the chances of the host blog accepting your post but also has the potential to impress loyal readers of that blog
  3. many hosts want internal links in every blog post so will actually add them to guest posts – if you add them yourself you  have more control over the placement of such links and can choose which posts to link to
  4. having more internal links can help the SEO of the host blog – and the more traffic your guest post has, the better results you can expect so it helps both of you to include the links
  5. if the host blog shows track backs (ie the comment area shows incoming links to each post), the internal links you add give your post additional exposure
  6. by linking to another post, you are endorsing the content of that post to some extent, which adds weight to the host blog’s credibility. It also supports your ideas if the host blog agrees with you. So internal links build credibility for you both and increase the authority of the host blog, making links back to your blog worth more
  7. I’ve added it as number 7 but this could possibly be the most important reason of all – to build your reputation and credibility. The purpose of any good link in a blog post is to provide extra information or resources for the readers, and links to your host’s blog are no exception to that. By linking to relevant information, you are showing a generosity and desire to help your readers which builds a positive impression.

What do you think – have you ever noticed links to the host blog within a guest post? Did they add value to you and the blog?

 

Being nice with your guest post refusals

handwritten note of no thanksWhether or not you want them, as your blog gets older and more popular it is extremely likely that you will be offered guest posts for your blog.

And assuming you want to maintain a certain standard (in writing quality, content value and staying to a style and topic range), you will need to reject some, if not all, of those offers.

I’m not going to cover why we should reject posts nicely – or reject them at all rather than just ignoring them – that’s a topic for another day. And I’m ignoring obvious spam for this post, too.

Rejecting with respect

The key to refusing a guest post nicely is to be polite and respectful.

Even if the guest post is irrelevant to you or low quality, someone has taken the time to write a post and submit it to you. If they have really tried, they will have an emotional attachment to the post and your response.

How to reject professionally

  1. be polite
    • use their name with a greeting –  “Hi Sam”
    • thank them for their submission
    • don’t use derogative or insulting words
  2. show respect
    • show you have a reason for the rejection – it doesn’t have to be in detail but adding ‘we don’t accept guest posts’, ‘we only use posts on this topic’ or ‘your post doesn’t suit our style/audience’ makes the rejection less personal and lets them know how to avoid the same mistake
    • don’t be insulting, rude or patronising
    • write a proper response – a single ‘no thanks’ looks lazy and disrespectful so use proper sentences
  3. be positive where possible
    • if you list faults with the submitted post (such as if you like their information but want the writing improved before you could use it), start and finish with positives about the post

The rejection note doesn’t have to be long as long as it is respectful and makes sense – a greeting, one or two sentences and an ending is enough.

Example rejection notes for a guest post

Hi Sam,

Thanks for submitting your “how to treat frog fungal infections” post. It was well written, however, my blog only accepts posts on business related topics.

Kind regards,

Tash

Hi Mary,

I received your guest post yesterday, thanks. I won’t be using your post in my blog because it doesn’t meet the guidelines for guest posts.

Cheers,

Tash

Thanks Phoebe.

Your guest post, Measuring your social media ROI, was fascinating and well suited to my blog. However, I found it a little hard to understand at points and a couple of sentences seem to stop mid-idea. The questions you posed were thought-provoking so I would be interested in seeing a revised version.

Hope to hear from you soon,

Tash

Hi Bob,

While I appreciate you sending me a guest post I don’t think it suits my audience so I have removed it from my inbox.

Regards,

Tash

 

* image courtesy of 123rf

Help others help you

I do a bit of guest blogging, and I believe it is a mutually rewarding experience if done well. I certainly don’t think the host blogger is doing it all for the sake of guest bloggers as they also benefit from the arrangement.

Maybe the host blogger likes updating the blog without writing much themselves, maybe they like the traffic guest bloggers can bring or maybe they are basing their blog on a team effort to give a broader picture. Whatever the motivation, the host blogger benefits.

Accept posts graciously

Email arriving from a laptopI think it is plain good manners and a strategic decision to be nice to people who offer posts upon request.

Recently, I saw a blog request blog posts through BloggerLinkUp. I looked at the site and the topics covered, decided it was a good fit for me and emailed the blog with a post idea.

The response received left a sour taste in my mouth and I didn’t bother writing a blog post for him. The issues with the email:

  1. he didn’t bother using my name or a greeting of any description
  2. he told me to read his ‘write for us’ page to see the requirements – he didn’t link to it or tell me how to find that page. At a quick look in his site menu and footer, I can’t see any related links so I left the site. It would had been easy to give me a link. It would have been easier to include such a link and requirement in the original request for blog posts
  3. he didn’t use his name to finish the email – it made it all very impersonal and showed no attempt on his part to build a relationship. I no longer felt comfortable with him or his site, and certainly didn’t feel it was somewhere I wanted to regularly contribute posts to
  4. this one is perhaps more personal, but I didn’t like his comment “I would publish your post if it meets the standard of this blog”. I felt he assumed I wasn’t up to the standard rather than assuming I am (sort of ‘capable until proven incapable’ is my usual approach). He didn’t acknowledge the topic I had suggested – who knows if that even met his unstated standards?

So if you want people to provide guest posts for your blog, or articles for your website or newsletter, try to build a relationship with those who offer you their writing – or at least send them a nice email response.

What sort of responses have you received from sending out or offering to write guest blog posts?

Editing guest blog posts

Accepting guest blog posts for your blog can be a win-win-win situation if they are good quality posts.

Sometimes you will receive guest blog posts that are pretty good but not quite at the standard you want for your blog.

I know I have read blog posts that have great ideas and tips but are poorly written or posts that seem good but don’t quite develop the ideas enough to be useful.

The temptation is therefore to edit the posts so they also read well or make their intended point.

Is it ok to edit guest posts?

Yes and no!Adapting blog posts to suit he blog

If the guest blogger has made a simple error or two (for example you instead of your, busniess instead of business, or copywrite instead of copyright), then I would fix it for them.

A good writer would prefer you to fix that (or ask them to) then let them have public errors. And may not realise you have made the changes if they don’t go back to their original.

However, it is still polite to let them know you edited their work.

On the other hand, if the post has numerous and/or more serious issues, it is not ok to edit it without the author’s consent.

Remember that the guest blogger’s name will be with that piece so they have the right to know it is in their words – and you also enter into legal issues for what is called moral rights.

I think there are three ways you can get an edited post:

  1. Return it to the author with an explanation of what is wrong and ask if they are happy for you to edit it – offering to get their approval before publishing of course
  2. Edit it and return it to the author for approval before publishing it – make sure you introduce the subject nicely as some people will be offended at you doing this
  3. Ask them to edit it (and ideally explain why it needs editing so they have an idea of what to change)

Some blogs have a policy stating that they can edit the post before it goes live. Even with such a policy, I would not advise doing heavy edits to someone’s work without giving them the power to accept/reject those changes.

If you submit a guest post, how would you like the host blogger to deal with your work if it contained errors?

Dealing with poor guest blog posts

Have you got some low quality guest posts for your blog? Hopefully you understand that quality content less often is better than frequent content that is not always very good.

Last week, I described some aspects of low quality blog posts so they are easier to spot even if you have little confidence in judging people’s writing abilities.

But what if you have accepted some poor guest blog posts or have a regular guest blogger who is providing low quality posts for you to use?

Your options as the blog host

The most important thing to remember is that it is your blog so only you can set the standard and make the rules.

  1. Reject the post
    If there is nothing good about the post, you don’t have much choice but to reject it. That could mean sending it back to the author with a ‘no thanks’ message or just deleting it from your blog or emails. It’s up to you if you give reasons or reject them from future consideration – having clear policies* can help you make and enforce such decisions.
  2. Request an amendment
    If the post has potential (for example, it has some great ideas but is poorly written or doesn’t explain ideas very well) it may be worth asking the author to change the post and resubmit it. If you request this, you will get better results if you make your expectations very clear.
  3. Edit the post
    Again, if the post has potential you could make some changes to the post yourself. This is simpler than asking for an amendment in that your standards will be met but there are other complications* – remember the guest blogger’s name is on the post. I believe this is perfectly acceptable if you are just correcting a typo or two but needs care for larger changes.
  4. Accept the post
    You obviously have this choice but it can damage your blog’s reputation so why risk it? If you feel you have to post it because of an agreement, make sure it is clear in your blog that it is a guest post (not the host owner or regular contributor) and adjust that agreement as soon as possible. If you have an ongoing or desirable relationship with the blogger this may seem tempting but it isn’t really doing him or her many favours either. Better for you both to let them know their posts are not at a suitable standard so they can learn from their mistakes.

How have you dealt with low quality guest posts you have received? What reactions did you receive?

 

* I’ll cover editing others’ posts and setting up your policies over the next few weeks.

Quality content for guest blog posts

Guest blogging can be a great tool for both the hosting blog and the guest writer, and helps generate more content in the blog community.

However, if the content of guest posts is only average, the benefits are reduced; if the guest posts are low quality they can actually do more harm than good.

I have seen a number of examples of poor guest posts lately and I end up frustrated with wasting my time reading them when I could have been reading some great posts elsewhere. Such posts on an otherwise good blog is even more frustrating.

As a host blogThe globe and people connected via computers and internet

Imagine if the first post I read on your blog was a low quality post by a guest blogger. I am busy so it is likely I won’t come back to your blog because I only want to read information that is useful and easy to grasp.

If I already trust and value your blog, I will be disappointed but will probably give  you another chance. And I certainly won’t share that post on social media and am less likely to leave a (constructive or positive) comment.

Whatever the reason for accepting guest posts in your blog, you want the post to be an asset in your blog, with the ultimate aim of attracting more readers. If you add in low quality posts, you are failing your readers and therefore your blog.

As a guest bloggerFingers at a keyboard and mouse to share information

Would you accept a low quality post from someone else in your blog? No? Then it’s safe to assume that a low quality post is more likely to be rejected by any host blog you may approach.

Especially if you are approaching a high-ranking blog that probably has many would-be guest bloggers to choose from.

Even if your low quality post was accepted, is it going to work for you?

As a guest blogger, I want to showcase my skills and knowledge to a broader audience – it builds credibility for me and SEO and traffic for my site. If you read a guest post and like it, you may visit my blog; if you think my post is poor, you won’t click through or share it and may even ignore future links or recommendations to me.

Make the posts you offer to other blogs some of your best posts and you will get results – low quality posts need editing or deleting.

* Low quality may mean the actual content is poor or the writing is poor and therefore hard to read. Worse, it could be poorly written and offer no value in the content either.