5 Most Common Guest Blogging Mistakes

5 Most Common Guest Blogging Mistakes

Guest blogging isn’t just something recreational bloggers do for fun.  For professionals and businesses, it’s an opportunity to leverage your industry expertise for exposure to potential customers.  It’s also an opportunity to land a high quality, relevant backlink that can boost your blog/website’s position in the search engine rankings.

At its core, guest blogging is an exchange of value.  As a guest blogger, you offer free content to the blog owner in exchange for access to the blog owner’s readers, the opportunity to build your brand, and increased search engine rankings.  While this may sound straightforward, guest blogging can often be time-consuming and laborious if done improperly.  After all, successful bloggers are bombarded with requests everyday by would-be guest bloggers looking to land a coveted guest blogging opportunity.  In order to compete, you need to stand out from the hundreds of other would-be guest bloggers.

Fortunately, most would-be bloggers make common mistakes that cause blog owners to simply throw out their proposals.  These mistakes are easy to avoid, but yet they’re extremely common because most would-be guest bloggers are trying to do as little work as possible in order to get their guest post published.  While being efficient is important, it’s much more important to put in the extra effort to stand out, and avoid making these 5 common guest blogging blunders:

Error #1: Failing To Comply With Posted Guidelines

With so many guest bloggers looking to get published and so many blog owners hungry for fresh, compelling content, it’s common to see blogs with a “write for us” or “submit a guest post” page.  Here, the blog owner usually sets out their requirements for a guest post and also includes a contact form where guest bloggers can submit their proposals/completed articles.

It should be straightforward – if the blog owner has taken the time to post a set of guidelines, the guest blogger should take the time to make sure they’re complying.  Yet frequently, guest bloggers submit articles without taking the time to carefully read through the guidelines.  For a successful and busy blog owner who receives multiple guest post proposals per day, nothing is more frustrating than wading through submitted guest posts where the writer couldn’t even comply with a handful of simple requests.  Failing to comply with posted guidelines will almost always result in your guest post landing in the trash bin.

Error #2: Relying On A Template To Spam Blog Owners

Another common mistake that results from a “quantity over quality” mentality is over-reliance on a template.  These would-be guest bloggers will simply gather a list of blogs, extract the blog owner’s contact information, and submit a boiler plate form letter requesting a guest post.  Sometimes, they’ll modify each email slightly so that it mentions the name of the blog, thinking that this “personalization” will be enough to get the attention of the blog owner.

What they fail to realize is that blog owners see dozens of these emails every week – even every single day in some cases.  Successful blog owners are protective of their time and are extremely quick to discern genuine, personalized emails, from mass-mailed junk.  If you want to get the attention of a busy blog owner, take the time to actually craft an email that’s personalized for them.  Mention something you enjoyed in a previous blog post, and suggest post topics that you know their reader will enjoy.

You won’t be able to reach as many blog owners this way, but I guarantee your overall success rate will be significantly higher.  Landing guest posts on successful blogs takes time and attention.  This way, you’ll actually have the chance to land guest blogging opportunities on quality blogs with real editorial standards.  You wouldn’t expect to land a column in a newspaper by sending the editor a generic form letter, would you?  Take the time required to write a proper proposal that will grab the blog owner’s attention and you’ll be rewarded.

Error #3: Not Having The Goods To Back Up Your Ambition

There’s certainly something to be said for shooting for the stars.  Yes, everyone wants to land a guest post on an A-list blog.  What SEO doesn’t want to see their thoughts published on SEOMoz or SearchEngineLand, or what startup doesn’t want to land a post on TechCrunch or Mashable?  But if your blog is brand new, don’t waste your time pitching A-list blogs unless you have something exceptional to offer.

Instead, use the time you would spend trying to get the attention of A-list bloggers on landing guest posts on smaller, less-trafficked – yet respectable blogs where the blog owner doesn’t get hundreds of guest blogging proposals every day.  You might not get the instant flood of traffic and recognition you would get from landing a post on an A-list blog, but you’ll have a much higher success rate overall.  Once you’ve established your brand and developed a large following, then you’ll have a much higher chance of success when you approach the top blogs in your industry.

On the other hand, if you’re a professional or a business owner with real expertise in your field and an established blog, it might be worth your while to submit your guest post idea to the top blogs in your industry.  Even if you’re a newer blogger, you can certainly land A-list guest blogging spots if you have a once-in-a-life time story or technique to share.  Just don’t expect to land a guest posting spot on an A-list blog without something exceptional to offer.

Error#4: Failing To Include Compelling, Relevant Topics In Your Pitch

When you write a pitch or proposal for a guest post, one of the most crucial components is the idea (or ideas) for the guest post itself.  Requesting a guest posting opportunity without offering compelling ideas that will grab the attention of the blog owner is a recipe for failure.  No matter how well crafted your email, busy blog owners don’t want to waste their time responding to a guest blogger who promises great ideas, but can’t even be bothered to explain what those ideas are.

Take the time to think of compelling guest post ideas.  Look around the blog to see what others have posted in the past, and come up with ideas that exceed what is already on the blog.  A great way to come up with compelling guest post ideas is to go on Q&A sites like Quora and see what people in your industry are discussing.  For ideas on current news subjects, do a Google news search within your industry.  Blog owners are always looking for high-quality content on hot news stories within their industry, and because it’s a fresh news topic, you can be sure that the idea hasn’t been pitched or covered on their blog before.

Error#5: Delivering Mediocre, “Minimum Effort” Content

Probably the biggest failure of would-be guest posters is their inability to deliver exceptional content.  Blog owners are starving for content that’s fresh, engaging, and helpful.  They want content that their readers will read and share with their friends.  They want content that’s at least as good or better than what they usually publish.

If you as the guest blogger can’t deliver the content they’re looking for, why should you expect to get published?  No matter how well-written your pitch, no matter how great your post ideas are, the foundation of successful guest blogging is the content itself.  If your content doesn’t offer exceptional value to the blog owner’s readers, successful blog owners will have little incentive to edit and publish your work.  Take the time to craft content that will “wow” blog owners, and you’ll never have a shortage of guest blogging opportunities.

Adam Chronister is co-founder of Enleaf, an award winning Web Design and Internet Marketing Firm. You can find him on Facebook Facebook and Twitter.

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