Before telling you what you need to do to ensure your post is high-quality, it’s important to talk about your goal for the post.
In order to be successful, your content first needs a strategy and a target.
The goal of a guest post is twofold.
- First, to provide the blogger’s audience with a piece that interests them.
- Second, to provide an article that’s relevant to the blog.
These two elements will spur engagement for both you and your host.
Guest posting is a mutually beneficial relationship.
This is an opportunity for your content to be read by different people, not a challenge to see how many new readers you’ll get and it’s a really simple thing to get into. All you need to do is to reach out to bloggers or a site like Big Guest Posting and go from there.
Take the opportunity for what it is: a learning experience.
Stretch yourself so that you can grow.
Now, how do you write a post that accomplishes this goal?
1. Do your research.
You wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) go to a job interview knowing nothing about the company.
Why? Because you want to display genuine interest to the person giving you the opportunity. The same goes for guest posting.
If you have been requested or accepted as a guest poster on someone else’s page, you should first get to know what their brand is about.
Here are three simple steps to getting to know a brand:
- Get a feel for what type of content they post.
- Note the structure of their typical posts.
- Assess their target audience.
This is beneficial for both parties. It will allow you to produce a post that attracts their following and makes a positive contribution to their page… and it will also shine some attention on you. 😉
2. Lend something new.
After you have assessed their dynamic, reflect on the ways that your topic of choice intersects with theirs. As a guest poster, you want to provide something new.
You are a guest. No one expects you to be a clone of the blogger they follow. In fact, if you were just a clone, you wouldn’t be that appealing to the audience. They’re looking for something new, unique, and relevant.
There is a line between fresh and irrelevant content, and it’s a boundary you don’t want to merge. To help, I’ll provide some examples that illustrate the ways to brainstorm a sound topic for a guest post.
- If the blog is in the fashion niche and the host typically focuses on outfits that are seasonal, you could write a post about clothes that concentrates on a particular season.
- If the blog speaks about inspiring pieces from famous figures, you could write a post on your favorite piece of inspiration from a celebrity, drawing reader engagement by asking their thoughts on the quote or the person.
- If the blog is about how to make compost, you could write a post about the best way to store or use the compost they make.
The most important thing is that your post contributes to the community, which is why it is so important to do your research first.
3. Stay true to your style.
While conforming comes naturally in the guest writing process, please resist! You still can, and should, maintain enough of your own style that readers can recognize you. Brand identity is pivotal and essential for you as a blogger.
Your name is your brand, and you never want to lose it.
Once you start writing, you have a unique style for representing ideas to others. Even if you have to adapt the structure of your post to match the blog’s aesthetic, the content should sound like it’s coming from you.
One way to make sure that you stay true to your style is to confidently identify what your style is. If you don’t already know your style, it’s relatively easy to evaluate.
Look at your previous posts. What’s the general tone you take on? Maybe you are a more comedic writer, or perhaps you tend to be more matter-of-fact. Maybe you ask a lot of rhetorical questions throughout, or your writing style is more concise and direct. Answer these questions and evaluate what they mean for your style.
A simple analysis of several of your posts (not just one) will help you both to understand your writing style and improve it.
4. Be a respectful guest.
In order to write a successful guest post, you need to avoid potential controversy with your host.
You don’t have to agree with everything the owner believes to be true to your own niche.
However, if there is a specific area you disagree with, don’t choose it as the topic of your post.
- The experience of being a guest poster should be a unifying one, in which the community is able to share ideas and support each other.
If you choose to only discuss topics the owner of the blog finds controversial, the exact opposite will ensue.
- The second thing to remember when being a guest poster is to not be obnoxiously self-promoting.
Yes, you are trying to reach out to people who you think might be interested in your content. But you want to invite them to join your blogging venture with subtlety and elegance.
It is not necessary to continuously mention the things that are going on in you blog.
This is not an ‘about me’ page aiming to sell yourself to the audience.
THE CONTENT OF THE POST SHOULD SELL ITSELF.
Your goal is to build a good relationship with a fellow blogger in your niche so that you can support each other in the years to come.
Get guest posting!
I want to see you follow these guidelines so that you can refine your guest posts to be relevant, engaging, unique, and beneficial to both you and your host.
Chole Southern is a senior at Wheaton College (IL) studying Philosophy with a minor in English Literature. After graduating her goal is to move to South Korea to teach English as well as start her own full-time blog.