What makes a good guest?
Is it someone who brings a bottle of wine worth more than $10? Or is it someone who doesn’t talk about cross fit from the moment they arrive until the moment they leave? No matter your definition, being a respectful guest is important to most people.
And this applies to PR, too.
Guest blogging is one of the best ways to get publicity for your business. Furthermore, many publications welcome guest contributors.
However, as guest blogging has become more and more popular, editors are now pitched endless ideas on a daily basis. Therefore, you need to have some sort of guest posting strategy in place.
Otherwise, you’re no better than someone who walks mud into your house and insists your party listens to Pitbull all night.
With this fear-inducing thought in mind, we decided to collect the four biggest things to avoid when guest blogging:
A successful guest posting strategy takes time. Here are just a few of the hoops you need to jump through in a (well planned) guest article strategy:
– Forming relationships with relevant editors or journalists
– Writing the perfect pitch
– Writing an article that is informative and valuable to readers
Imagine going through this long, sometimes arduous process, only to get a guest article published in a media outlet that none of your target audience reads.
I’m not one to overindulge in cliches BUT – when it comes to guest posting – fail to plan and plan to fail.
You probably have an idea of the kind of publications you want to target your guest blogs towards. Therefore, we think it’s best we touch on the publications you DON’T want to target:
Not all publications are the same. Yes, they may cover similar topics but they may go about it in completely different styles. Therefore, it’s paramount that you check the publication’s guidelines before pitching a guest blog.
Articles that aren’t formatted or written in the publication’s style creates more work for its editor. No one wants to pick up the slack because you didn’t do your homework! You get an ‘E -’ for effort and, usually, an ‘F’ for earned media results.
With this in mind, we’d recommend searching the publication’s name + ‘guest post guidelines’ on Google or having a dig around on their site beforehand.
This is a point we’ll stress again, and again, and again.
Guest posts are not promotional or sales content. The high-value, informative and, hopefully, entertaining article is itself the promotion.
There are two main reasons why you should avoid writing a guest blog in a salesy tone:
So why bother writing a guest article and going to the trouble of getting it published if you can’t plug your product?
Well, we get asked this a lot! The answer is, you need to look beyond just your product. A guest post may not instantly result in a ton of leads or sales, but it provides loads of other benefits including increased social proof and combined PR and SEO wins.
When done correctly, guest blogging is great for SEO.
We’ve already touched on some of the SEO considerations when it comes to guest blogging. However, we need to explain some common guest blog backlinking mistakes you need to avoid.
Firstly, please remember this:
A bad backlink strategy is no backlink strategy.
So if improved SEO is your objective, you have to include backlinks to your site! They give you the opportunity to build inbound links into your website and in turn, shoot up Google’s rankings.
As the below infographic shows, there are usually two places you can earn backlinks from a guest post: within your bio in the author byline and contextual backlinks within the main body of the article.
You’ll usually be given a backlink in the author byline whenever you submit a guest post, but inserting contextual backlinks into the article is down to you.
But this is where rookie mistakes can be committed. First off – check the publication guidelines with this specific practice, some don’t allow it, while others have very strict limits.
And even if it appears like you have carte blanche to insert as many contextual backlinks to your heart’s content, don’t overdo it! Too many are bound to ruffle editor’s feathers. Two or (maybe) three should be the limit.
Furthermore, make sure every backlink to your website is contextually relevant. By this, I mean that it links to a piece of content that provides further reading, data points, or references, on the topic being discussed. Otherwise, backlinks without context can appear spammy to Google’s algorithm.
We hope that these four big no-nos have given you a better idea of what to avoid when guest posting. These are all essential when writing a guest blog.
Avoid these pitfalls and you’ll become the belle of the ball in the eyes of the publications you write guest posts for.
Interested in finding out more about how we can design a PR strategy to support your business goals? Send us a note using the below form and our PR specialist will be in touch to arrange a chat.
Get our Ultimate Journalist Email List for Startups for free!