Last week, we talked about the stupidest mistakes people make when guest posting—specifically, the biggest errors they commit when pitching articles. This time around, we’d like to focus on the mistakes people make when writing and publishing guest posts. After all, getting the go signal from a site owner is just the first step. While it’s great that you were able to get your foot in the door, you have to make sure that you won’t get kicked to the curb.
Below are 6 mistakes people make when producing guest posts. Avoid these errors and to stay in the good graces of the blog owner and their audience.
1. Writing a self-promoting article
Avoid any form of self-promotion in your post. Resist the urge to plug yourself or your company. Instead, focus on providing value. Write an article that readers can actually learn from. Remember, when you’re guest posting, you won’t get people to check out your site by plugging yourself. Rather, people will click through your site if you provide content that’s valuable, compelling, and relevant.
So does this mean that adding links to your own company is off-limits when guest posting? Not at all. There are proper avenues to do so (like the author bio, for instance, which we’ll discuss in a bit). You can also throw in a link in the body provided that you’ve disclosed it to the blog owner and their readers AND you have a very good and relevant reason for doing so.
Say you want to tell a story to illustrate your point and it’s related to your business. Or, perhaps you want to talk about what you did for a client—that’s fine, as long as it’s directly related and valuable to the article.
Don’t force yourself to add a link or example about your site or your company. This will reflect on your content and turn off your readers, or worse, your post may not get accepted at all. Again, focus on being helpful. Give away useful information and valuable insights, and let the content—not your self promoting links—drive visitors back to your website.
2. Not disclosing possible conflicts of interests
Always, always be upfront about your professional (heck even personal) interests and relationships when you’re guest blogging. Threw in a link to your website? Add a full disclosure. Did a client hire you to submit the article on their behalf? Be transparent about it. Have an affiliate link? Be forthcoming about it. Failing to do so will ruin your credibility not to mention your relationship with owner of the site.
Chances are, the site owner would actually be cool about your interests. And if you say so right from the get-go, they’ll even appreciate your honesty. And if they don’t allow you to add affiliate links or mention your clients? That’s fine, too. At least you tired. And you’ll get to stay on their good side.
3. Not having a call to action at the end of the post
So you’ve written a top notch post with some valuable tips and a full disclosure about any personal or professional interests you may have. Is it time to hit send? Not so fast. Be sure to wrap up your article with a nice conclusion and a call to action at the end. Doing so will increase the sharability and engagement of your article.
Most people associate the concept of call to action to “buy now” buttons or sales pages. And while CTAs are certainly common in sales, they’re also essential when you’re writing blog posts.
So what should your call to action be? The simplest blog post CTA would be to ask a question. Pose a question at the very end of the post and invite readers to comment. A quick, “What did you think of this post?” is a good start, but if you want to beef up your CTA, ask a question that’s specific to the article.
For example, in our previous blog post, 5 MORE Email Types That Can Drive Up Your Site’s Traffic And Engagement, we ended the post by saying, “Do you have any other suggestions when it comes to sending messages to subscribers? What email types work best for your audience? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.”
Such CTAs prod the readers to weigh in and share their thoughts. It’s a good way to generate comments.
Aside from questions, other CTA ideas include asking users to tweet you their thoughts (hint: Use Click to Tweet to do this) or even inviting them to get in touch with you via email.
4. Missing the mark on the bio
When you’re writing a guest post, you usually only get one shot to plug your site, products, or services, and that’s in the author bio. So it’s critical that you make it count. While having a canned author bio that you submit to every blog you write for is common, and actually quite efficient, see if you can take things a step further by personalizing your bio for every website.
For example, if you wrote a blog post about productivity and submitted it to a site for entrepreneurs, then you should probably customize your bio to highlight what you can offer to businesses. But if you’re writing a productivity blog post for a site that focuses on personal development, then you should tailor your bio for individuals rather than businesses.
Another way that guest posters miss the mark in their bios is by failing to put a call to action in their author description. Again, this is your chance to promote what you have to offer. Don’t blow it. What do you want readers to do after reading the post? Do you want them to visit your site? Sign up for your newsletter? Give you a call? Whatever it is, spell it out for them and add a link.
5. Pulling a “post and run”
Some people think that their job is done once they get their post live on a blog. This simply isn’t true. A big part of your responsibilities as a guest blogger is to stick around and respond to comments, so don’t just “post and run”. Engage with the blog’s audience. Respond, ask questions, and generate discussions. The blog’s readers and its owner will greatly appreciate it.
Also be sure to share the post across your social media channels. Blast it out on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other social sites to increase traffic and exposure.
6. Failing to keep in touch with the blogger
One more thing. Once your post is out there, don’t forget to circle back to the blogger and thank them for the opportunity. It really is just a simple step that’ll take five minutes, but it’ll go a long way in cementing your relationship and generating good vibes.
Have you committed any of these mistakes when writing and publishing a guest post? Weigh in and share your thoughts!