When I first started guest blogging as a part of my strategy to build my personal brand as a writer, I had no clue what I was doing.
I thought if I could put together a fairly informative piece with no grammar mistakes, it should be eligible enough for any blog out there.
Boy, was I wrong!
But, lucky for my career, I have come a long way (long enough to manage guest blog contributions myself on my own blog) and learnt from my own guest blogging mistakes (and that of the guest writers who reach out to me).
Today, I’m going to share with you some of the common guest blogging mistakes writers make.
I am also going to share proven practices I myself follow when I reach out to high authority blogs.
You Think Guidelines Don’t Apply to You
Those guidelines that you skip over with no hesitation are actually really important.
They specify what the requirements of the blog are and why you should take them into serious consideration.
Whether you should pitch your idea first or directly submit the completed draft for review.
Whether you can include self-promotional links or what topics you can write on.
All these guidelines clearly state what exactly you should do to stand a chance to be featured on the blog.
Ignore adhering to them and you won’t have another chance to try your luck with the same blog again.
Just remember that high authority blogs get a massive amount of requests per day.
Although all of them might not adhere to their guidelines, they still end up with enough quality blog posts they can publish every day for the next few months.
You Contact the Blog Owner with an Email Example from the Web
When I go through the guest post requests I receive, often I wonder why I’m reading the same email more than once, only to realize they are sent by two different people who have apparently copied and pasted the same email example available on the web.
As soon as I realize this, I know the blog post attached at the end of the email is not going to be worth the time or effort it takes to review it.
If you can’t put together two words of your own to write an email, what would it prove about you as a writer to the blog owner?
I’m not trying to discourage you from referring to an email example (especially if you are new to guest blogging).
I’m simply trying to warn you that if you choose to copy the email example word-for-word, the (experienced) blog owner will sense you are not going to be worth their time.
Your email doesn’t have to be as long as the blog post itself; simply relay who you are, why you reached out, and what you have to offer.
The more to the point it is, easier it is for the receiver to go through.
You Choose to Completely Ignore the Target Audience
Here’s something us guest writers often tend to forget; it’s not about us, it’s always about them.
What do I mean, you ask?
The blog you reach out to does not care you have a deadline to meet, you need to build more backlinks, or that you need to increase traffic to your landing pages.
What matters to them the most is maintaining the quality of their blog and delivering to the satisfaction of their audience.
Not that they don’t understand why you reach out to them, but to them, their audience means everything.
And it should to you too, especially if you plan on getting featured on their blog.
If you already follow the blog in question and frequently engage with its posts, you’ll have an idea as to the type of audience it caters to.
You need to find out what the needs, preferences, and issues of the target audience are, for the blog post you write should address them.
Before you come up with a topic, stop and ask yourself, “Would this audience stop everything they are doing, just to read what I have to say?”
If you are certain they would, you are one step closer to getting featured on a high authority blog.
A Common Topic Everyone’s Heard of a Million Times?
Is not going to get you in.
Unless of course you have something original to share with the masses.
You can approach the subject, that everybody has dissected and examined a million times, from a different perspective and uncover something that is still little-known.
People always love new details about topics they are interested in!
It could be based on the results of a survey or research you personally conducted.
Mentioning about this when you pitch in your idea to the blog owner could get you right in.
In addition, you can also write about a recent research published by an expert in the field (don’t forget to give credit to the original source).
Or it could be based on your own personal experience or opinion.
Quick research on Google or Buzzsumo will reveal to you the kind of topics that have been covered so far.
And it will help you figure out what you should write about and what you should leave out.
But hold on a minute there!
Are you about to suggest a topic the blog has already covered several times before?
It’s the fastest way to convince the blog owner you haven’t done your research on the blog that they have specifically asked you to do in the guidelines.
It’s also the fastest way to get your pitch turned down.
Once you research a topic and find your unique perspective on it, you also need to make sure it has not yet been touched by someone else in the blog you reach out to.
The Headline Sounds Too Mediocre
The headline of a post could break or make it.
The first thing any reader comes across is the headline.
If it is not compelling enough, there’s more than a 75 percent chance that she wouldn’t continue to read the post.
Compelling headlines, that steals the attention of the reader and gets them excited, have two things in common; benefit and curiosity.
Not only should the headline reveal the benefit the reader would be able to gain by continuing to read the post, but it should trigger curiosity by not giving too much detail.
Creating such a captivating headline is not difficult.
With the power of power words, you can make any title look completely fascinating.
An Opening Paragraph that Loses the Reader’s Attention Swiftly
We often come across posts that have such promising headlines.
But make us roll our eyes before we get to the end of the introductory paragraph.
The intro of your blog post should be just as important and captivating as the headline itself.
It should briefly convey what the reader can expect to learn by reading the rest of the article and promise them that it contains the perfect answer to their query.
Personally, I have had great luck with posts that I tend to begin with:
- An interesting fact or a shocking statistic
- A question that gets the reader thinking
- A brief anecdote
- A quote from a book or an article.
To retain the attention of your reader, keep your introduction short, but interesting and informative at the same time.
Trying to Sneak in All Sorts of Links into Your Blog Post
Linking is a very tricky area in guest blogging and you need to tread very carefully.
Not all blogs allow links in the body of the article.
And not heeding to their warning will get your post rejected instantly.
Usually, when I write guest blog posts, I reserve the link to my site for the author bio.
Most (high authority) blogs allow this and it’s a decent approach that adequately fulfills the SEO aspect of your strategy.
Unless the blog specifically states you can have self-promotional links in the body of the article, always reserve them for your author bio.
By defining your guest blogging goal, you can decide whether to submit your post as a guest or a sponsored post.
If it is to grow your network and build your brand as a writer, reserve the links to your site, blog, or social media profiles in the author bio.
If it is to simply market your product or service, you can generate better results by going for a sponsored post.
You Think You Can Get Away with Plagiarism
Plagiarism is one of the biggest guest blogging mistakes.
It will be tolerated neither by high authority blogs nor by search engines.
In case you decide to refer to or quote another source, always remember to give due credits by linking to it.
If you find it too difficult to come up with your own words, stop and restart your research.
With thorough research, you will never fall short of ideas to write on.
Your Post Contains Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation Errors
Making sure your post is devoid of any grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors is crucial.
The slightest mistake could negatively affect your credibility.
Even though English might not be your first language, it will not be considered as an excuse by high authority blogs.
With the help of a software such as Grammarly, you can quickly check for any errors in your post.
I typically ask a colleague to read my article.
Then I wait a day and read it again from conclusion to the introduction.
Any error my colleague or I would have missed earlier will be instantly detected this time.
A Lot of Text, but No Images
Did you know articles with visuals get 94 percent more views?
Because human beings are wired to respond to visuals better (approximately 60,000x faster than text).
An image, video, infographic, diagram, chart will instantly draw the attention of your reader to the content.
When you include images (any type of visual) in your blog post, make sure that they:
- Reinforce the text they accompany
- Meet the requirements of the blog (dimension, pixels, etc.)
- Are legal and royalty-free.
Any Other Guest Blogging Mistakes that You May Have Come Across?
More often than not these guest blogging mistakes, that can easily be avoided, become the reasons why your blog post gets rejected by high authority blogs.
Have you come across any other mistakes?
Do share them in the comment section below.