Guest Posting: Common Questions Writers Have

Welcome to Day Seven of our series on Guest Posting, a look at some FAQs many have. We have three posts to go before this series wraps up. If you missed Day One through Six, here they are again:

Landing a Guest Post Gig
Stacking the Odds in Your Favor
Throwing Away Your Chances of Success
Feedback Red Flags to Watch Out For
Finding Motivation for Guest Posting
When Guest Posting Overtakes a Blog

Now it’s time to look at some common questions on guest posting and our opinion of the answers. Enjoy.

Does guest posting really help grow a blog?

Take a look around you at our blog. We grew this blog from nothing but guest posts, social media and blog commenting. Do blogs really earn business? Well, it worked for us; it can work for you, too.

Most guest posters do admit to seeing results with each guest post they write. They receive traffic, exposure, credibility, new readers and new business.

Of course, the success is subjective – one person might feel guest posting is a failure unless readership boosts by thousands overnight. Another guest poster might be happy to have ten new faithful readers. It all depends on your measure of success, honestly.

When should I start submitting guest posts to other blogs?

If you’re brand new and just out of the gate, forget guest posting. Build your own blog and grow it a bit before asking others to highlight your work. Give people a nice site design to look at and build up content for visitors to read.

However, do keep an eye out for unexpected opportunities to submit a guest post. A blogger who mentions feeling run down, overworked or ill might appreciate the extra help – and that can be very beneficial for you.

Be ready to offer a helping hand when you can. It just might be the boost you need.

Which blogs should I target for guest posts?

Look at the health and vitality of the blog. Are there posts going up on a regular, consistent basis? Do readers drop by and comment? Does the blog have a credible image? Is it very new and struggling or more established and growing well? Are there a handful of readers or a good base that offers traffic potential?

It’s a good idea to know which readership you are trying to attract via your guest post, too. There’s no point in submitting your post to RockYourDay if the topic of your content is better suited for CapturingFantasy. Find blogs that have the readership that you want, and find readers who want what you offer.

Blogs that have RSS subscriber numbers that are similar to your own, slightly above or slightly below tend to offer the best return for your time and investment. Don’t limit yourself by avoiding bigger blogs, though, and use the power of small blogs too.

Should I submit my guest post to an A-list blog?

Ahh, the A-listers. They have thousands of readers and enjoy wonderful celebrity lives. A guest post on their blog would be seen by all those people – what fame! What glory!

Well, that’s great and yes, having your name figure on an A-list blog does feel pretty good. But is it the best thing to do? Often, no.

A-list blogs receive hundreds of guest post requests in any given week. Everyone wants a piece of the action. You’re competing against all these people and your odds aren’t the best.

A-listers are busy people, too. You may not receive a reply to your submission request for some time, if at all. Do you really want to stress about potential approval for a few weeks?

What are your expectations of that coveted publicity, too? Are you looking for huge spikes of traffic and thousands of new RSS readers? Good luck. That won’t happen. A-list readers aren’t known for visiting guest poster blogs.

Do you expect to amaze readers and become the next Maharaja of the blogosphere? Good luck with that too. There’s nothing new under the sun, no matter how original you think you are. But you can create great content that gives your blog a boost.

Looking for credibility or a reputation boost? Well, that’s a possibility. “I posted on Copyblogger/ZenHabits/Lifehack/Techwhatever! ! I am great!” No, I’m sorry, you’re not.

Yes, you get bragging rights for that single post. Yes it can improve your reputation. But unless you are invited to return, approved for future submissions or become an overnight success story from the exposure, one A-list guest post does not a star make.

Sooo… There’s no point in guest posting, is there.

Of course there is. Each guest post puts your work in front of readers and increases your chance of being seen and heard. That’s what you want.

Play your cards right and take advantage of the opportunities you have. It’s crucial to make guest posting work for you. Here are some tips that help:

  • Submit guest posts frequently – at least one a week is great
  • Submit guest posts to various blogs – spread out and share the love
  • Choose your targeted readership wisely – pick the right crowd for your content
  • Analyze blogs for leveragability – know realistic potential returns before you submit
  • Be smart – how many readers does the blog have? Ten isn’t worth your time
  • Interact and participate – don’t just post and run. Answer comments and questions

Should I ask to retain copyright of my guest posts?

Unless you have sold or transferred all rights to your content, you retain full rights to your work. You wrote it, it’s yours, free and clear. You can theoretically do what you want with the post unless you and the blog owner have agreed otherwise.

However.

Guest posting is, in essence, content that you give away. You are giving someone a gift, and generally speaking, gifts shouldn’t come with strings. “Hey, I bought you this great shirt! I’m gonna wear it every now and then, though. Hope you don’t mind.”

Of course, these views are my opinions only and generally based on my personal values and beliefs. Other people feel differently, and that’s cool, too.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, in which we’ll discuss some common questions that crop up about your guest post. Discover the secrets of linking effectively, the responsibilities of a guest poster – and what to do when the crowd hates your work.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.