DISCUSSION: Writing Guest Posts

One of the fun things to do as a blogger — and a great way to reach out to other audiences — is writing guest posts. Sure, you may have your own blog and your own audience, and you might wonder why you should bother writing for someone ELSE’S blog when you’re perfectly fine writing for your own, but here are some reasons WHY you should guest post:

  1. It’s fun. Really!
  2. It helps you step out of the box and think about new and unique topics.
  3. Like I said, it helps you reach a different audience, bringing both new traffic to your blog and new traffic to the blog you’re guest posting on.
  4. It helps you network with other bloggers.
  5. YOU help another blogger add unique content to their blog.

I’m sure there are MANY other reasons and these are just a few!

But first things first, you’re probably wondering how to guest post on another blogger’s blog. This can come from a few ways:

  1. You ask another blogger.
  2. Another blogger asks you.

Yes. It’s as simple as that. I think we all enter the book blogging world thinking that other bloggers in our niche are so intimidating. Bloggers who may have been there for years, while we’re just starting out seem like famous people who know everything about blogging while we’re just starting out at the bottom of the barrel. But when it comes down to it, bloggers are all people. We’re all alike and we’re all here to share one thing: our love of books.

For me, my journey to guest posting (and featuring guest posts) came about just as I said above: I was asked, and I asked others. Was I nervous when I sent out emails about guest posting? YES. But you know what? It’s healthy to feel like that. Sure, some bloggers might say no, but you might be surprised by how many will say yes. 

So you want to ask someone to guest post: 

Before I get into how to write a guest post, let me give you some advice on asking others to guest post for your blog:

  1. Don’t just ask ANY blogger to guest post. That could be awkward. I went about it by asking for either certain THEMES or by asking bloggers with whom I’ve forged friendships. I wanted to know what I was getting into, so I asked friends whose writing I was familiar with.
  2. Be friendly. Just because you talk with certain bloggers on Twitter doesn’t mean you fire off a one sentence email about a guest post. Be professional about it and be nice. Think about authors who may send you review requests — personalize it and be sure to proofread.
  3. Unless you have a certain theme in mind, leave the topic open. Personally, I like to come up with some ideas for topics on my own and provide them if the blogger I asked is struggling to come up with one on their own. Other than that, I’ll let them think of something.
  4. Don’t be afraid of someone saying no. People are busy and life gets in the way. Sometimes people are just too busy to come up with content for someone else’s blog when they may be struggling to find content for their own.
  5. Keep in mind that you will be the one formatting all of these blog posts for your blog. If you’re asking for guest posts for an event or a feature, be sure to make note of how much you are able to do for the event. Don’t ask too many people to guest post if you know you’re not going to have the time to properly format their posts, or the time to promote their guest post.

For me, getting the courage to ask someone was always the hardest part, but then I realized that others like to share their blog, just like I like to share mine. Bloggers also like to lend a hand to their fellow bloggers and it can be quite fun to do this with a guest post.

When you have someone guest post on your blog, be sure to include links to their blogs! What I like to do is write up a blurb about the person, include their picture or blog button, and include links to visit and follow that person on their blog, on Twitter, and on Goodreads.

So you’ve been asked to guest post on a blog: 

I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been asked to guest post on other bloggers’ blogs and it’s very EXCITING! Of course, then panic mode sets in and I wonder what I’m going to write about. Should I step out of the box? Should I write something that I’d write for my blog? Should I ask for help on a topic?

For me, I’ve found that writing comes naturally when I don’t force it. I need to be myself. This is when my little notebook comes in handy. Whether it’s a discussion idea for my blog, or an idea for a feature, I’ll write down that idea as soon as it comes to mind. Maybe I’ll even jot down a few notes next to the idea so that when I come back to it when I want to write it out in full. This way, if someone asks me if I’d like to guest post for their blog and I say yes, I can go to my list of things and pick something to write about, rather than feel like a deer caught in the headlights.

When it comes to topics to write for someone else’s blog, the possibilities are ENDLESS. For me, I prefer to stick to bookish topics, but I still want to keep ME in the writing. Just because I’m writing for someone else’s blog doesn’t mean I have to change my personality to fit their blog. Remember: the blogger asked you to be on their blog, so they must like what you post on a day to day basis and the personality you put forth to your readers. If you’re really stuck for a topic, ask that blogger if they might accept a guest review on their blog. Seeing as we all read different genres of books, sometimes a blogger might be looking for something different to feature on their blog once in a while.

Once you’ve written your guest post, think about whether or not you want to embellish it with any kind of pictures or visual stimulus. I like to keep my posts on the bookish side, but if I’m talking about certain books it makes sense to include a few book covers, or if I’m talking about books and music I’ll include book covers and maybe some embed codes for some YouTube videos. Maybe I need to include some links with a guest post I’m writing up. With any of these examples, be sure to include ALL THE INFORMATION YOU CAN! Remember that the person who asked you to guest post is busy and you want to make it as easy on them as possible.

Here are some pointers:

  1. Write your guest post out in a Word document. Personally, this is my preference (and other bloggers might have their own preferences) because it is so much nicer to look at than a guest post written in an email.
  2. Send any picture files you may want to include in your guest post. Format them into your Word document with your post so that the blogger who’s featuring your post can easily see how you would like things laid out.
  3. If you’re including links, either embed them into your Word document, or write them out as HTML. Don’t make the other person search through your blog to find certain links!

So you’ve posted a guest post on someone else’s blog. Now what?

This has always been the hard part for me. I wonder if I should promote it, if I should go to the post on this other blog and comment on the comments for it, if I should link it up on my blog somewhere, etc.

The answer to those is yes, yes, and yes.

The blogger who asked you to guest post is awesome. I can’t stress enough the fact that with you posting on their blog, their readers will come to YOUR blog and, with you promoting the post, your readers will go to THEIR blog, so it’s a win-win. Plus, I’m assuming that you like the blogger whose blog you guest posted on, so you should promote the CRAP out of it! Let Twitter know! Share it on your Facebook page! Just as you want people to visit your posts on your blog, you want people to visit your guest posts!

As for commenting on that post, I also say YES! In some instances, you can’t comment on other peoples’ comments (this has happened once for me), but if you can, go and visit that post a few times throughout the day and if someone commented on your post, REPLY TO THEM! Just as you would do on your blog, do it on the blog you guest posted on. It’s taking an extra step and lets that blog’s readers know you care about readers.

And yes, you should link up your guest post somewhere. I have my guest posts linked in my ‘About the Blogger’ page, and my guest reviews linked up in my ‘Non-Blog and Guest Reviews’ archive. This way, if anyone is searching around on my blog, they can find the places I’ve been in the blogosphere and visit them, which brings more traffic to my blogging friends’ blogs. Again, a win-win.

Do you have any advice for people looking to guest post, or for those looking for guest posters? 

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15 thoughts on “DISCUSSION: Writing Guest Posts

  1. I actually feel that having a topic left wide open is the most difficult guest post to write. It’s so much easier as the guest poster to be told, “Amanda, I’d like a post on your perspective about why it’s important to have someone edit your website.” And then write that, rather than sit there and come up with a topic on my own. (True story, my friend asked, and I wrote. It was hard enough for me WITH a topic.)

    I also think it’s important to make your expectations clear. When you expect the guest post to be finished by (or, alternatively, when you have to give the guest post to the host blogger). How you expect to have the guest post to be formatted. I like guest posts in email usually, just because Microsoft Word messes with the HTML when transferring it to WP, and you’d basically have to reformat it once you get it in your blog anyway. I once had a blogger who asked for me to compose my guest post as I normally would, and then email the HTML code of that, which I thought was pretty smart.

    Nothing makes me sadder than commenting on a guest post only to never get a response back. (Though I feel that anytime I comment on someone’s post. It goes back to fostering community.)

    • YES! I always try to check back on blogs where I’ve guest posted — I feel the same way if guest posters never comment back. I think that if the blogger is promoting your blog through a guest post, it’s only right to go and interact with their readers.

      It can be SO hard to come up with a topic, that’s true. Of course, I’m terrible at coming up with topics, but even the bad ones can get the ball rolling so that something good will evolve from it.

      Emailing the post as HTML is a GREAT idea. I never think to do that when I’m writing a guest post for someone, but I know I will in the future. It makes things so much easier!

  2. This is so informative! I love seeing guest posts. It adds a little dimension to a blog. The only thing that I have trouble with is that I have seen a few guest posts that are not clearly labeled as such. It can be a little confusing, especially if it is a blog that I don’t frequent.

    • You’re welcome! And you’re right — guest posts should be labeled as guest posts. I’m all about making sure people know what post is what on my blog — it’s just easier on readers that way.

  3. Crap! This post is brilliant! I love doing guest posts too because it is always SO DIFFERENT than what I do for my own blog. The topics are always so much fun and I get to be more zany than usual. Being asked to guest is also such an honor. I am always so happy when other people want my thoughts to reach their readers. It makes me feel less odd. 😉

  4. You know, guest posting is definitely a difficult topic for me. I always get nervous asking people to guest post, because I wonder if they’ll be all “I don’t have time” or (worst case scenario) “your blog isn’t big enough.” I don’t do it much, probably because of that lol. I would really like to do it more though 🙂

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