One of the most powerful editorial tools we have as PR professionals is writing and placing guest blog posts on behalf of our clients or employer. And you don’t need a blog of your own to do it.
I’ve been running into one specific misunderstanding about blogging over and over this month – and I think it’s especially important to clarify.
When I talk about guest blogging, I’ve had multiple people chime in to say “oh, but I don’t have a blog.”
You don’t need to have your own blog to write for other blogs.
Zip. Zilch. Not a single post. You don’t even need any blogging experience. If you can write, you can do it.
In fact, as PR professionals, we DO IT ALL THE TIME. We just label it a byline article. It’s the same thing, basically, just placed in a magazine instead of a blog.
Same basic concept, different media.
Be forewarned, though. Once you get started, it’s a slippery slope. You can’t stop. Once you find out just how easy it is to land placements, you’ll be hooked on guest blogging. The results are too good and the process is way easier than you think.
What it’s all about
When you have a blog, you pick a topic and a target audience, then you publish posts tailored to both of those things. Blog is shorthand for a web log – it’s the equivalent of an online diary. The voice is intended to be casual, personal, and a the content is mix of opinion and education.
As with writing a byline, many of the same rules apply when you write a guest post for someone else’s blog. Write for its specific target audience. Make sure your voice and tone fit. Review past posts to see what they like.
A Few Do’s of Guest Blogging
- Go for niche blogs with existing traffic, instead of generic ones.
- Make sure your post idea specifically appeals to their target audience.
- Provide an exclusive. Re-purposed is fine, but not plagiarized.
- Look for writer’s guidelines before you write or pitch.
- Check to be sure they actually publish guest contributions. Otherwise, why bother?
- Keep your post between 500 – 1,000 words.
- Include an image, if possible, making sure you have the legal right to use it.
- Pitch them like you would a reporter. SELL them on why they want a post from you, or tantalize them with the great idea you have.
- Be sure and share a link to the post on ALL of your social media assets when it runs. Help them get visibility.
- Like their Facebook page, subscribe to their blog and comment regularly BEFORE you approach them. Be a part of their community.
Some Don’ts of Guest Blogging
- Don’t send a pre-written post if you haven’t reached out to them first UNLESS they have a submit form right on the site.
- Don’t forget to make the post – and the pitch – about THEM, not about you. Don’t be promotional.
- Don’t write a boring generic post that isn’t customized for their specific audience.
- Don’t write in a journalist style. Write in an educational, opinion or storytelling style.
- Don’t write for SEO – write like you are speaking to one person.
- Don’t forget to supply a one-sentence author bio and a headshot image.
- Don’t be afraid to close the post with a call-to-action of some sort. (It helps if you write the piece with that end CTA goal in mind.)
- Don’t neglect thanking them when it runs. Manners matter.
- Don’t forget to check back occasionally for comments. It’s your chance to start a dialog with the readers.
- Did you share a few of their posts? Be sure and share the love. They supported you, so support them right back.