One of the most effective ways of increasing your online visibility and search engine rankings is through guest blogging.
Guest blogging involves reaching out to other bloggers in your niche and offering valuable, interesting content in exchange for a publishing slot on their blog.
Essentially, guest blogging is the exchange of expertise and content for visibility and SEO benefits.
The publisher gets fantastic content at no cost to themselves, while you the writer get exposure to the blogger’s readers, leading to potentially more readers and subscribers to your own blog.
Additionally, most guest posts contain a backlink to the guest blogger’s site, which can have substantial search engine optimization benefits – especially if the blog is an authoritative one within your niche.
While guest blogging is a straightforward and effective way to generate more traffic and build your online brand, it’s not always an easy strategy.
Popular bloggers get inundated with dozens of guest post requests a day, and getting a coveted guest publishing spot often requires an exceptional pitch and high quality content.
If you’re new to guest blogging, here are 5 common guest blogging mistakes you should avoid.
1 . Sending Out Cut & Paste E-mails
As mentioned earlier, successful and well-read bloggers often get multiple guest post requests every single day. Some bloggers will get dozens of daily guest posts requests, some even hundreds.
In order to stand out and get your pitch/article considered, it’s important that your offer to guest post for their blog stands out from the rest.
Yet many seeking guest posting spots often send out generic cut and paste emails to dozens, even hundreds of bloggers at a time.
The key to successfully pitching busy guest bloggers is not quantity, but quality.
It’s more important to send out a handful of carefully crafted emails to a small handful of authoritative bloggers than spamming dozens of bloggers with a generic email.
In your email, be sure to connect your proposed guest post with the blogger’s existing content and readership. If your email doesn’t demonstrate an interest in the blogger’s work, why would they allow you to post on their blog?
Take the time to send individually crafted e-mails that demonstrate that your work would be a valuable read for their audience, and you’ll get a much better rate of response than by spamming.
2. Failing To Submit Proposals
One extremely common mistake in guest posting that results in wasted time and energy is to submit guest posts directly before having any prior contact with the blogger.
This mistake is common because many blogs list their guest posting guidelines up front, leading newbie guest bloggers to assume that if they submit a guest post conforming with the guidelines, it will be accepted.
The truth is that even if you write an interesting, relevant guest post and submit it exactly in accordance with a blogger’s listed guidelines, there’s a good chance you’ll get a response rate of less than 25%.
The truth is that emails get lost, bloggers could be away, inactive, or simply overwhelmed with email volume, the topic might not be suitable for their audience, they might not like your writing style, or they might simply not like the subject of your post.
It takes a lot of time and energy to craft a great guest post – take the time to contact a blogger with a nice pitch and some proposed guest post ideas before you start writing.
You’ll not only save yourself a lot of time, but you’ll be able to create better content because you’ll know exactly what the blogger wants.
3. Stuffing Your Article With Links
Although you’re providing the blogger with content, don’t expect quality bloggers to let you stuff your articles with self-serving links.
Being overly enthusiastic with your backlinking will get your otherwise quality content rejected. If there are explicit linking guidelines, be sure to follow them to a T.
Many bloggers will explicitly list their linking requirements, but even if they do not, you have a much better chance of guest posting success if you stick to 1-2 links within the author bio, and only relevant links within the article body.
This is not a chance to pitch your services, it’s a chance to offer valuable content to the blogger’s readers. If they like your writing, they’ll naturally click over to your links to check out your blog/website/service.
4. Targeting The Wrong Bloggers
There are a couple major ways that newbie guest posters target the wrong bloggers. The first mistake is targeting bloggers in the wrong niche – based purely on the authority of the blog.
Submitting a guest post proposal to a blog just because it’s a PR6 blog if it’s a conservative Christian blog and your blog is about celebrating boozing and partying.
Beyond submitting to the wrong niche, perhaps an even more common mistake is when guest posters spend time pitching to bloggers that are simply too far out of their league.
While it may be incredible to get a guest post on the “A-list” blogs in your niche, if you’re a relatively new blogger, it’s unlikely to happen unless you have some truly incredible experiences to share.
If you’re a fairly new blogger trying to get established, you’ll get the best return on your time targeting bloggers who are well respected, but are not necessarily the very top blogs in your niche.
These blogs still have good traffic and a strong readership, but because they don’t get hundreds of guest post proposals every day, they’re much more likely to consider proposals from lesser known bloggers such as yourself.
You may love reading TechCrunch, but unless you have an exceptional story or you’re extremely successful in your own right, your proposal will almost certainly be filtered out by their ultra selective editorial process.
By setting your targets more realistically you’ll have much more success and perhaps even lay the groundwork for future “A-list” guest posts.
5. Not Delivering Fantastic Content
Guest blogging is about delivering exceptional content to the guest blog’s readers. If you want your guest posts accepted, they had better be up to the high standards of the blog you’re posting to.
And because it’s a showcase of your own writing and brand, your guest post should also be up to your own highest standards.
Create content that’s unique, interesting, and relevant to the blogger’s audience.
Ensure that your post fits with any formatting or length guidelines and ensure that you proofread for spelling and grammar.