Monthly Archives: June 2013

Who Are You Guest Blogging For?

Who is your audience?

Who is your audience? Image republished with permission from seegjy0304

Every blogger needs to write with their audience in mind. This is a big discussion that Anne Lyken-Garner just raised on Onibulsi Bamidele’s new website Writers in Charge. Anne said that there is no point in writing an article that your audience won’t be interested in.

Importance of Finding Your Audience

She is absolutely right. Every blogger needs to know who their ideal audience will be. This can be challenging for any writer, because every audience’s needs are unique. The challenge is two-fold for guest bloggers, because they need to:

  • Identify an existing audience
  • Find a way to tie the needs of that audience with the theme of their own blog or their client’s product

The more effort you make to understand the needs of your audience the more successful your post will be. How do you do that?

Identifying Readers on the Guest Site

You are probably submitting your guest post to a well-established website. You will want to take some time to learn who the active readers are before writing your guest post. Here are some different ways you can get a read on them.

Ask the Publisher

Any good publisher is going to know who their readers are and what they need. They want to make sure that your guest post will appeal to that audience, so why not ask them for input? I always ask this information and also propose a few topics that I think will fit the blog’s niche. The publisher will usually tell me which post they think will work best for them.

Read the Comments

Most popular blogs receive at least a few comments. I always recommend participating in comments with other bloggers before submitting a guest post. This helps you build a relationship with the publisher and their other readers. You should also read the comments that the other readers have submitted. This helps you understand more about them and what they are looking for.

Check Out their Own Blogs or Social Media Sites

Many readers link to their own blogs or social media profiles in the comments. You can learn more about them by “stalking” a few of them a little bit. You may find a number of other sites to create guest blogging opportunities with in the future or build social networking relationships with in the process.

Check Out Analytics Sites

There are a number of sites that share information on the demographics of the visitors of different websites. Some sites that you can use for free are Alexa.com and Compete.com. You may want to check these sites out to find out more about the site’s visitors.

What Do You Need to Know?

There are a number of questions that you will need to answer when you are sizing up the blog’s readers. Here are some that you will want to keep in mind:

  • What country do most of the readers come from?
  • What lifestyle preferences do they have?
  • What general personality traits do they have?
  • How much knowledge or experience do they have in the niche (i.e. are they newbies on the topic or seasoned professionals)?

Of course, every reader is going to be different. You can’t write an article that appeals to every single one of them and encourages them to visit your site. However, you can at least get a general sense of what they are looking for and write your content accordingly.

Why Rude Guest Post Inquiries Are Never Read

Deleting rude outreach emails.

Deleting rude outreach emails.

Many bloggers receive dozens of emails from people who want to offer guest posts. Many of them don’t have time to read all of the emails that they receive. They have to filter out any guest posts that are clearly a waste of their time. They won’t believe that you have an awesome guest post if you don’t write a professional outreach email.

I have received a number of email submissions on my site Online Rookies that were so bad I didn’t bother to open them. The people who wrote them were pushy and demanding.

I am not the only person who has had this issue. Melissa Fach of Small Biz Trends recently shared her own experience with this.

Do yourself a favor and make sure that you come across as polite and legitimate. Here are some of the things that you will need to avoid so you don’t offend the publisher.

Setting Your Own Terms

Some guest bloggers try to dictate the terms of the arrangement. This is exceedingly arrogant and won’t get you very far. Here are some of the problems that I picked up on in an excerpt from one of the emails Melissa received:

  • A guest blogger insisted the the post be published within two days.
  • They said that the post would need to have at least three links in it.
  • They used very bossy language such as “I require” and ”needs to be published”

You need to remember what the term guest blogging means. You are a guest. Do not demand the publisher follow your terms. They set the terms and if they aren’t acceptable to you then you will need to publish elsewhere.

Sense of Entitlement

Other bloggers don’t owe you the opportunity to guest post on their site. Don’t let your email pretend otherwise. Here is an excerpt from an email that I received for my other site.

“Hi Kalen, I saw that you didn’t publish the post I sent a couple of days ago. Can you let me know when it will be published ASAP?”

Never tell a blogger that they have to publish your post. They will probably end up in the recycle bin. I still gave the blogger the benefit of the doubt and read her post. It wasn’t very written well and I made that clear to her in my rejection.

Normally I try to be polite when I tell somebody why I didn’t publish their post. I was a bit harsher with her because she was so pushy.

Don’t do that – it’s unbecoming.

Annoying Followups

Many bloggers are very insistent that their content be published within a few days. They don’t seem to understand that many bloggers have to schedule articles weeks in advance. I got a number of followup emails from one guest blogger that got kind of annoying. Here are the emails that he sent:

Dear Sir,

Please see the attachment for the article and an image. Kindly review my article and if you can publish my article as soon as possible, then it will be appreciated.

Okay so far he is being pretty polite.

Hi ,

Sorry to bother you, can you tell me the status of my article which I sent you for review. Waiting for the reply.

Thanking You

Okay it’s only been a couple of days. Relax.

Dear Sir,

Can I know the status of my article. If you cannot publish it then kindly confirm as soon as possible. We cannot hold the article for so many days.

At this point I am a bit annoyed. I had been traveling and didn’t have access to email for a week. Although I understand him trying to confirm whether the post will be published or not I think he got a bit impatient.

There is no need to email me three times in the space of five days. People often get a lot of submissions and often reply to nonessential emails once or twice a week. Sending this many followup emails is a bit of a turnoff.

More Flies With Honey

Many linkbuilders use a formulaic process to do guest blogging. They forget that the person they are emailing on the other end is an actual person. They are not going to be very open to publishing your post if you try to bully them around.

You need to be respectful when you send your outreach email. Remember, the blogger is the one with the power to reject your post!

The Value of Guest Blogging in Different Niches

You should consider submitting guest posts in different niches.

You should consider submitting guest posts in different niches.

Many guest bloggers focus exclusively on guest blogging for sites in their own niche. This isn’t necessarily a bad approach to take, but you may miss out on some great opportunities. You may want to consider securing some guest posts on other sites. The trick is making sure that your content is relevant to both sites and gets results for you. Here are some things that you will want to think about.

Benefits of Writing for Other Niches

There are a number of reasons you may want to do a guest post on an unrelated website. Here are some advantages you may want to keep in mind when you secure a guest post:

  • The readers on the other site will appreciate a fresh perspective.
  • You won’t be competing for a spot with many other bloggers in your niche.
  • You can reach a much broader base of potential subscribers and customers.
  • You may find that many people in the other niche have an unsatisfied need that you can fill.
  • Google likes to see links from a number of different websites.

Writing for other niches can be a great approach to take. You may want to consider brainstorming different ways you can create overlapping content between your site and other sites that you hope to guest post on.

Finding Common Ground with Other Niches

Guest blogging on sites in different niches can be a great idea, but it’s also a bit trickier. You will need to refine your guest blogging strategy when you are posting on websites that revolve around other topics. Here are some things to bear in mind.

Find Common Ground

I once had someone write a guest post for my Internet marketing blog on photoediting software for bloggers. The topic was a good fit for my site, but the guest author wanted to link to a doctor’s website. What are the problems with this practice? I can think of a few:

  • You can get off on the wrong foot with the publisher, because it looks like you are using a distracting advertisement to promote your site.
  • You will get very poor conversions with readers who read the post.
  • You can damage your search engine rankings by creating too many non-relevant links (Google and other search engines may think that you were buying links).

You will want to make sure that the content is going to be relevant to the page that you are linking to.

Think About the Readers

Make sure you understand the demographics of the readers before submitting a guest post. You need to make sure that you are choosing a website with readers that have a need for your services.

Writing a guest post to promote your stress management ebook might be great for a website on entrepreneurship. The niche may be completely different, but the service you are offering would be greatly appreciated by the readers.

On the other hand, you would probably want to try guest posting on a green site to promote your blog about oil futures. The readers probably wouldn’t visit it unless they wanted to send some hate mail your way (assuming the publisher would even let you submit a guest post).

Learn the Niche

The content you write needs to be beneficial to the blog and its readers. This can be tricky if you are writing for a niche that you have never written before. You don’t need to know everything there is to know about the niche and the needs of the readers. However, you do need to make sure that you at least understand some of their needs and the basic communication style. You are an outside expert, but you still need to be able to relate to the readers on their own level.

Examples of Guest Post Ideas that May Work

There many ways to create an article that fits the theme of both sites. Here are some examples of guest posts that I have created on different niches:

  • I wrote a guest post on the benefits of using a powerful server for Forex trading. I posted it on a finance site and linked to a cloud computing company’s webpage.
  • I wrote a post on financing an auto loan. I submitted it to a finance site and linked to a car dealer’s website.
  • I wrote a guest post on tips for writers who are suffering from back problems. It was published on a site for people working from home and linked to a chiropractor’s website.
  • I created a guest post on a travel site on reporting crimes when traveling overseas. This blog linked to an educational site about pursuing a criminal justice degree.

You can open up your guest blogging options considerably if you think outside the box a bit. You will probably find a number of content ideas that may fit niches you never thought of before.

Consider Guest Posting on Other Sites

You need to consider all of your options when you are creating guest posts. You may feel most comfortable working with sites that are in your own niche, but you can leverage more opportunities by guest posting on unrelated sites as well. This can be a bit more effort because you will need to understand what they are looking for, but it can be well worth it in the long run.

Plagiarism is Not Guest Blogging People!

Don't use plagiarized content for guest posts.

Don’t use plagiarized content for guest posts. Image attributed to photoedkorvision

One of the biggest problems with guest blogging is that many people use it solely to build backlinks to their website. They should be focusing on building relationships and boosting their reputation first. Many practices guest bloggers use end up damaging their brand and don’t help their SEO rankings in the long run either. One of the biggest problems that we need to address is plagiarism.

An Example of a Branding Fail Due to Plagiarism

I have had “guest bloggers” submit plagiarized content to my sites before in the past. This practice happens fairly frequently so I encourage every blogger to run their posts through Copyscape or another plagiarism detection tool. Most of the companies that use these practices have freelancers using anonymous personas. They apparently don’t think it will ever catch up to them. They are sadly mistaken.

The particular writer who contacted me didn’t even bother to hide their identity. The writer openly called identified himself by first name and used an email with his company’s domain name. I can’t understand how anyone who is going to blatantly plagiarize content would be stupid enough to do it so openly.

I am clearly not the only one who has had this experience. Here is a more recent incident that was published on Business 2 Community that will probably cause irreparable damage to a company’s brand.

Jonathan Payne of Strategexe Consulting Group recently published a story about guest blogging plagiarism in Business 2 Community. Payne said that he received a guest post submission from a company called Guest Posting Submissions in the United Kingdom. Payne did a quick background check on the company and found that they had plagiarized one of his articles on their own website.

Payne said that he always screens companies quickly before accepting guest posts and is glad that he did in this case. He has serious reservations about the quality of the content that they provide for their clients and the sites they guest post on.

I can’t believe that a company that calls itself as a digital marketing agency would openly steal someone else’s content like this. That is just plain sad.

Payne’s post was mostly focused on plagiarism in general, but his point can be more specifically applied to guest blogging.

Importance of Avoiding Plagiarism with Guest Posts

Time and again I have found that many guest bloggers have no idea what they are supposed to be trying to accomplish. They are ruining things for themselves and other guest bloggers by treating guest blogging as a blatant linkbuilding strategy. There are several purposes of guest blogging:

  • Build your reputation (and your client’s if you are a freelancer) as an expert
  • Reach new audiences
  • Drive relevant traffic to your website
  • Improve your search engine rankings

Plagiarized content won’t help you in any way. Your content will be flagged as duplicate content with Google so any attempts to manipulate your search engine rankings will be wasted. You are also sadly mistaken if you think you will impress anyone by scraping content and using it on other websites.

Almost every blog insists that guest posts be 100% unique before they will publish them. You need to put some effort in if you expect your content marketing strategy to work. Stealing other people’s work is about the laziest and most counterproductive approach that anyone can take.