When you’re asked to be a guest blogger or offer your services as such and get the okay from a company blog’s editor, it never fails to be anything but exciting. Knowing that your expertise in a specific field will not only be live on another website, but also (usually) Tweeted and included on their Facebook accounts means that a wider audience will be reading what you have to say and even following you back on your social media outlets. Yay! (See what I mean about guest blogging being exciting?)
No blogger ever made it out of the gate with nonstop “perfect posts” without making a few mistakes first. And while mistakes are all a part of the learning process, if you repeatedly make them time and time again it’s tough to figure out whether the guest blogger really knows what they’re doing. Whether you’re a first time guest writer or a few entries deep, into finding your footing on the site, avoid these 10 faux pas in your blogging.
1) Don’t Self-Promote
How excited would you be to go onto your favorite blog and see a new guest post there only to begin reading it and discovering that all they’re doing is plugging their own product? Telling stories about lessons learned or how you worked your way up the career ladder are great but 500 words of you discussing a product and why it’s so great don’t bring in the readers unless you have a reason behind it. If you’re going to be self-promotional and talk about yourself, don’t forget to relate to your audience. A reader will be more inclined to finish the post (and maybe buy the product) if you show them why they should, whether it’s a quick how-to video demo or interview with the product’s founder.
2) Always Include Tags
Most bloggers are fairly adept at doing this for SEO purposes and to bring in a wider audience to their site. The most critical part of including tags? They need to be about the post. Including a tag for “Ryan Gosling” on an article that has nothing to do with the actor may make you think you’ll draw in a wider audience and get an instant explosion of page views. Your editor will put the kibosh on that one fast, I promise.
3) Use Proper Spelling and Grammar
For the final draft, your editor will probably take care of any loose ends here if needed, but don’t give them a reason to revamp your entire blog post. Take it seriously no matter what platform it’s going on and put your best blogging foot forward with a spell check and fragment revisions. Also, don’t abbreviate words that don’t need an abbreviation like “please” into “pls” because UrbanDictionary says it’s a valid term to use.
4) Don’t Be Boring
Let your excitement and passion show in whatever you write up. The nice thing about being a guest blogger is that usually you are writing about what you love and are good at so show it off!
5) Make Sure to Include Pictures
Pictures will make your story come alive, particularly if you’re writing about something that needs photos to illustrate it like if you met President Obama at a conference. The most important rule of thumb about using a picture on these types of sites is being sure that you have the rights to use it. Try to avoid including a picture that you clearly did not take for any major websites - plenty of royalty-free pictures can be found on Shutterstock and iStockPhoto if you need one.
6) Remember Your Twitter Handle!
You never know just who might be reading your post, so always include a means of contact at the end of it so readers can find your online. Twitter handle, blog URL, and e-mail addresses are all great (and necessary) inclusions to make.
7) Try to Include Two Links
This is great for traction, whether it’s back to your own website or to the site of a place that you’re referencing in the blog post. It’s also good to include as a citation to a reference from a news article you read online.
Circumstances will always crop up, but try your best to submit all of your work in on time, particularly if you’ve known about the deadline for awhile or have an agreement to post on specific days. This might mean burning the midnight oil sometimes but for most writers, this is seldom a complaint made.
9) Make Sure to Share
Share it on Facebook and Twitter and appropriately tag or @ mention the site back. You’ll want to plug the post of course, but @ mentions also help in getting a response back from the website – and in some cases, a follow back too!
10) Offer to Contribute Again!
Don’t let your first post be your last. If you’re interested in writing on that outlet again and enjoyed it enough the first time around, you might want to inquire about submitting another post. You might wind up becoming a contributor because of it!