guest post dos and don'

Guest Post Etiquette

The Dos and Don’ts of Guest Posting

Guest posting is one of the most effective ways of gaining an audience, but there are definite rules of etiquette.

Start with producing quality content

A good post will:

  • Be well-researched: While you likely aren’t getting paid, you need to treat this assignment with the same care as you would any paid work. This post is a marketing tool. Whatever you post, will reflect on your brand. Make sure you are not throwing together garbage to get something on the page. Do your research.
  • Provide new insight on a known topic: You should already know not to just cut and paste articles together. Make sure you are expanding on what is already available. Create a unique angle, or relate how the information has changed your writing.
  • Cite sources: Not linking to original sources is just lazy, and you will be missing an important part of your post’s SEO.
  • Not plagiarize: Do I really need to explain this?
  • Use good SEO practices (no stuffing): These three letters aren’t a terrifying as they seem. Google’s algorithm is not doing a reasonable job of determining the usefulness of content. Write your article like you would an academic paper and remember to link to your sources. This will get you a good start for decent on page SEO.

If you are guest posting, here are a few guidelines:

  • Follow the conventions and tone of the hosting blog. (Ask if you are uncertain.)
  • Match the topic you are given, (likewise, stick to the topic you proposed)
  • Ask about linking to your social media or book
  • Ask about re-posts vs original content
  • Ask about posting the same article elsewhere. Is there a time restriction?
  • Promote your post via your social media accounts

If you are hosting:

  • Set clear expectations for tone, word count, etc.
  • Inform guest’s about editorial changes
  • Promote guest’s post via social media
  • Inform guest about your policy on links to guest’s blog, book, social media accounts etc.
  • If the article will have featured status, inform guest of the duration.
    Give guidelines for images, size, copyright, etc.

How do I find Guest Posting opportunitites?

If you are looking to gain more exposure by guest blogging, the best place to start is by approaching bloggers you read and offering to do a post. Treat it as a query with a proposal for the article, estimated word count, and a short bio. Many bloggers have links to their email accounts on their contact page. Keep it brief and professional.

How do I find bloggers to write for me?

Bloggers looking to advertise for guest articles can begin with social media. Writing related Facebook groups, Google+ or even Twitter are good options. You could even add a page to your website with a link in your menu. Be sure to include a link to your guidelines for prospective guest bloggers to review even before they query.

Need to create your own guidelines? Use mine as a template and edit them to meet your needs.

Do you have any experiences are a guest blogger or host? Share them in the comments

Know a writer who would love this? Share it on social media or pin one of these images. Thanks!

M.L. Keller is a freelance writer and editor. Her blog "The Manuscript Shredder" is focused on helping emerging writers hone their craft.

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