Featuring guest posts on your blog can provide you with fresh content, SEO growth, and blog traffic. The challenge is finding quality contributors whose content your audience will love, and understanding which submissions may not be right for your blog. These are the top five pitfalls to avoid:
#1: Accepting Every Guest Post
If you accept every guest submission that comes your way, you’ll compromise the quality of your blog. While it’s flattering to be pitched, and tempting to add fresh content, not every submission will work for your blog; accepting them all can dilute the value of your content and confuse your readers.
That means you’ll have to pass on some contributions. To feel less bad about turning someone down, I suggest submitting some of your own guest posts. Like me, you will likely be denied by at least some of the people you pitch. But if you submit valuable content often, some of the prominent blogs within your niche will accept your guest blog posts.
#2: Avoid Over Promotional Bloggers
Let’s be real about guest blogging: people often write guest posts with the intent of getting more traffic, building credibility, and including a backlink. And I don’t mind that as long as someone is providing my readers with valuable content.
But I do mind content that is overly self-promotional. There aren’t any specific warning signs, so you’ll have to make assessments on a case-by-case basis. It’s important that the post provides value, and that any attempts at promotion are subtle and relevant to the topic, seamlessly woven into the overall content.
#3: Not Owning The Content
Guest posts should be original and not seen anywhere else on the web. You may face a SEO penalty for publishing content that exists elsewhere on the internet, which will compromise your efforts.
Guest blogging benefit the blogger as well as the blog owner (but only when the owner is the exclusive provider of that content). No matter how great the content, always deny contributions that may have been published anywhere on the web. To be considered, all submissions must be fresh and original.
#4: Content Mismatch
I recently received a guest blog post submission that I was eager to approve (I was making Mistake #1 and approving everything I got). However, I felt a little uneasy about the submission and sent it to my editor. She told me the post was not the right fit because the content was outside of my specific niche.
Why would a Twitter-related blog accept a guest blog post about Facebook? While it’s true that both Twitter and Facebook are social networks, dedicated blogs focus solely on content related to one or the other, not both.
If you find yourself looking for ways to make certain content work so that you can publish it on your blog, it’s probably a content mismatch. Contacting relevant contributors is a much better use of your time than trying to rework a mismatch.
#5: A Weak Submission Form
A weak submission form will make it significantly more difficult to receive quality contributions. Don’t expect bloggers to guess which content is most appropriate for your blog. Smart bloggers will spend time reading your past content, but a bad form makes everyone’s job more difficult.
Be sure to provide guidelines, examples and ideas before encouraging submissions. Here are the requirements for guest blog posts on my own submission form:
- Your guest post must be at least 1,500 words. The more words, the better, but don’t sacrifice value.
- Link to three of my blog posts.
- Include at least three images.
- You have the option to promote one of your blog posts, but not landing pages. You CAN promote your landing page in your bio.
- All content must be original and not published anywhere else.
Since I don’t always link to three of my blog posts or include three images, I can’t expect a guest blogger to do the same without asking.
I also mention something about the benefits of writing for my blog such as exposure and credibility. These benefits give guest bloggers more reasons to want to contribute to my blog.
The only thing left for you to do is encourage guest bloggers to write content for your blog. As your blog gets more traffic, more guest bloggers will submit their content through your form. But in the beginning, you’ll have to do most of the legwork.
You’ll have to advocate for your blog and entice guest bloggers to contribute. But finding guest bloggers is actually easier than you think. All you have to do is find a prominent blog in your niche that accepts guest posts. Then start contacting past contributors one by one.
These guest bloggers prequalify themselves since they’ve already written for a prominent blog within your niche. If you can present the guest bloggers with benefits that justify the effort, they’ll write content for your blog.
I like to contact at least three potential bloggers per day. As I get more guest bloggers to contribute to my blog, I’ll hire a freelancer to conduct outreach. Some of the most successful blogs hire freelancers for contributor outreach.
When I wrote a guest post for Crazy Egg, Neil Patel didn’t reach out to me, and I didn’t submit my post through a form. An individual from Crazy Egg’s outreach team contacted me and invited me to write the guest post. A few weeks later, my guest post showed up on Crazy Egg.
This individual reached out to me through Twitter (which was a smart move since I’m more active on Twitter than any other social network). You can reach out to potential contributors through email or social media. While I personally prefer email, social media conversations have made some of my contributions — and podcast interviews for that matter — possible.
Never rule out a method that works.
Accepting guest posts for your blog is exciting and adds value. You finally get to learn from your own blog, and your content will reach more people.
But you want to make sure your guest blog posts are valuable. If you say yes to every submission without thinking about your audience, you risk sacrificing your blog’s value or creating a content mismatch that confuses your readers.
What are your thoughts on accepting guest blog posts? Are you a guest blogger? Have any questions for me? Sound off in the comments section below. I’ll read them 🙂