As recently as this year, there has been rampant speculation about whether guest posting is still a viable content marketing strategy. These kinds of kerfuffles happen all the time in marketing circles: Google’s algorithms change all the time, and as they do so, there are always people who wonder if it’s some kind of death knell for older, established marketing practices.
You can debate the merits of guest blogging until you’re blue in the face, but here’s what we know: Aside from SEO considerations, guest blogging is an incredible way to get your company’s name and message out there in front of readers who have never heard of you before. That’s it. Guest blogging offers an incredible chance to boost your business’ exposure, which is reason enough to do it.
To do it, though, you’ve got to do it right. At Grammar Chic, Inc. we make guest blogging a primary component in all of the content marketing services we offer to clients, and we know full well that successful guest blogging always comes down to the pitch. When you’re approaching a blogger with an idea for a guest post, you’ve got to make a positive first impression—or else, you’re unlikely to receive the opportunity you need.
And frankly, there are some guest blog pitching styles that are just never going to work out. Take the following list.
Don’t Be These Guys: 4 Guest Bloggers Destined for Failure
1. First, there is what we call The Overconfident. Imagine: You’re a blogger whose blog focuses on issues related to small business ownership and administration. You get a request from a guest blogger that goes something like this: “Hello! I’m writing on behalf of a carpet cleaning service. I have an excellent idea for a post regarding the best carpet cleaning methods, and your readers are just going to LOVE it!!!”
Um, no, they’re not, because the blog is about small business ownership. Carpet cleaning just isn’t relevant; the guest blog pitcher is so overconfident that he or she has totally forgotten to tailor the message to the medium. As you pitch guest blog ideas, don’t fall into the trap of just assuming that your content is going to prove winsome to anyone and everyone.
2. Second, there is The Ping Pong Player. Interactions with a ping pong player typically go something like this:
Ping Pong Player: Hello, I would love to submit a guest post to your blog!
Blogger: Ah, okay… any particular idea?
Ping Pong Player: How about an article about how to market a company on Facebook?
Blogger: We already have about a thousand articles on that topic.
Ping Pong Player: Oh, okay—well, how about a 500-word article about Twitter marketing? I can send you the article in the morning.
Blogger: All guest posts have to be 800 words or more, and we need to see an outline before you write the article. Did you even bother to look at our guest posting guidelines?
The moral here is probably pretty obvious: Do your research and have a solid game plan before you pitch an idea. An idea you’re formulating on the fly is not going to be very good or well organized anyway, and bloggers are going to know it.
3. The third guest blogger who’s not going to get far is The Novice. The Novice is someone who sends a guest post pitch along these lines: “Hello! I have just started out in content marketing, and would love to share some tips about what I’ve learned thus far…”
Let us stop you right there. Bloggers want someone who can prove their industry expertise and thought leadership—not someone who is still green and inexperienced. Hard pass.
4. The fourth type of dubious guest blogger on our list is The Excited. The Excited is someone who is simply pumped to get his or her message out there to the world—and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, except that a guest blog is submitted without being properly edited and proofed. Bloggers don’t have time to edit your sloppy work, no matter how excited you may be about it—so this can lead to a blown first impression.
The bottom line: You need to be guest posting, which means you need to be pitching ideas—but you can’t afford to be any of these guys. Put some thought and some strategy into your posts, but also into your pitches.