Congratulations! An influential business leader or publication has invited you to contribute an article as a guest blogger. You have a golden opportunity to share your insights, wisdom, and experience with receptive readers who may then seek you out when they need your products or services. There's only one problem: How do you capitalize on this opportunity instead of blowing it? You're an expert in your field, but what if your expertise doesn't include blog writing? Even if you do create content for your own blog, what do you need to know before you leap into writing for someone else's blog? Let's look at some important steps that can help you succeed in your guest-blogging venture.
Understand the Ground Rules
Different blogs maintain their own standards, from word counts and other formatting requirements to tonal and stylistic preferences. Ask the owner or manager of the blog how long your article should run, whether they want you to adhere to a particular style (Associated Press, Chicago Manual of Style, et cetera), and whether you should sound formal, casual, or somewhere in between. Refer to other blog posts, including those posted by other guest bloggers, and see if you can match their format and tone without abandoning your own unique voice. Last but certainly not least, make sure you know the deadline for submitting the article -- and make sure you can meet it.
Get Your Topic Approved in Advance
This point might sound obvious, but you'd be surprised how many guest bloggers assume that their topic will work for the blog host without actually confirming it beforehand. You can easily spend hours working on an article, only to get a note along the lines of, "Um, what we really needed was [something else]." At that point you can only start over from scratch (assuming you can still meet the deadline) or just give up. Avoid this pitfall by submitting your proposed topic for approval before you proceed.
Inform, Don't Sell
If you've been invited to guest blog, the blog host probably hopes that you'll contribute a thought leadership article that will impress and educate the blog's target audience. Don't take this opportunity to sell your products or services in a brash, transparent manner. Focus on the topic itself in ways that gently steer the audience in your general direction. For instance, a real estate agent writing about the latest trends in the residential market might present a wealth of relevant information while also mentioning the value a real estate expert can provide for buyers and sellers. Instead of dropping a firm call to action in the conclusion, simply wrap things up with a reminder that an expert in your field can help clarify this information and help the reader take the next step, whatever that may be. Since you're obviously the expert in question, who do you think they'll contact?
Even after you know exactly what to write about and how to write it to your blog host's satisfaction, you may find this kind of content creation too challenging, intimidating, time consuming, or just plain inconvenient to bother with. But that doesn't mean you should give up on the self-promotional benefits of guest blogging -- it just means you need assistance from a professional copywriter. Contact me today to find out how I can help you guest blog more easily and successfully!