Considerations for sharing your content elsewhere.
Guest blogging is a mixed bag for most of us — we don’t mind providing the occasional well-written article to another website in a bid to procure a nice juicy backlink to our own site. On the other hand, when accepting a guest article for a blog or website, not a few times we’re challenged with finding content that not only shines, but adds value to our sites.
I recently finished writing more than two dozen articles that I purposely gave away as content for other websites. Those articles ranged in length as well as in depth of research, and were picked up by bloggers and website managers for sites of varying degrees of significance. I used MyBlogGuest to market all but five of these articles, sending the remainder to a website owner I was in contact with directly.
Over the past two years, I have also posted well over 200 guest articles to various blogs and websites that I manage. Each article has to meet certain standards and those requirements vary from site to site. Still, there are some essentials I require before an article can be posted. Read on and I’ll share my guest blogging basics regardless of website:
1. Articles must be relevant — If I am sourcing articles for a college and career website, then those articles must appeal to my readers. No reader wants to read a rehash of some “how to decorate your dorm room” article. What they are interested in is where you help them to solve a problem or at least make them aware of a problem such as campus security. Fluff pieces, even if well written, are basically useless.
2. The writer must know his/her stuff — I like to think that I can write about most any topic. However, there are some subjects I avoid. For example, a number of years ago I was approached by someone who wanted me to write about hair extensions. Now, I could have completed much research and come up with some basic information, but I told the inquirer that I believed that she would be best served by a woman and one familiar with hair extensions. I’ve had to reject several articles where the writer’s knowledge about a particular genre was lacking, inaccurate or both.
3. Give it some length – One writer proposed submitting an article that was just 250 words long. I turned him down. My minimum word count is 400 words or just enough to form an idea and to make a point. Ideally, articles of 500 words or more are better suited, offering detailed information and assistance. I routinely write articles ranging from 600 to 800 words with articles exceeding 1,200 words not too uncommon. Forcing word count is not what I am advocating as clarity and brevity trump are of importance.
4. Follow style guidelines — One website I manage has detailed style guidelines as it is primarily a news website. My contributors also follow the AP Stylebook with an occasional Chicago School of Manual article accepted for academic works. Why? Because I have set a threshold to discourage random bloggers and to encourage articulate writers. It has worked too as this site is often cited and attracts the highest caliber writers. For my other sites, general writing rules apply and I make that known before I encourage anyone to contribute.
5. Make a pitch, please — I mentioned MyBlogGuest earlier as a great way to find bloggers. If your site is established, has good traffic and is considered authoritative, then you’ll get inquirers too. This is what I want people to do when they make a pitch to me: know my site. Read my articles. Get a feel for what other guest writers contribute. Come up with an original story or at least an original perspective. I am not interested in “5 Ways You Can Lower Your Car Insurance,” a subject that has been exhausted. I might be interested in reading about current insurance scams if that story is fascinating and the information is verifiable. Oh, yes, include citations for me to fact check especially for any information supplied that requires such.
Are there other requirements that I have? Yes, use your spell check and carefully go over your article and make grammatical corrections. I may edit behind you, so don’t be offended. You’ll still get the links you want back to your site and you may come away with an article that is polished, interesting and citable.
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