The Art of Guest Blogging: What Do I Blog About?

Filed as Features, Guides on August 10, 2007 10:26 am

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Graphic - Copyright by Lorelle VanFossen - What do I blog about when asked to guest blogI’ve been getting a lot of questions about guest blogging on the subject of: What do I blog about?

You would think the answer would be self-evident. You blog because of the reason you were considered as a potential guest blogger in the first place: your expertise.

If you are an expert in WordPress, a guest blogging gig isn’t the time to start blogging about car racing or your favorite pet – unless you are asked to do otherwise.

Here are some other tips for helping you decide what to blog about when asked to guest blog.

Blog What You Are Told to Blog

A good invitation to a guest blogger should say something about the intention of the host blogger’s request. Is it to continue their subject matter with a new voice, or to get the “expert” to chime in with their thoughts on the subject, or is it a chance for a change in blog subject matter?

There are many reasons why bloggers ask guest bloggers to blog, be it vacation, wanting a change, or wanting to stir things up on their blog, or maybe none of those reasons. The guest blogger still needs to know the intent, the reason behind the request, to help them narrow down their blogging topics.

Recently, I was asked to blog about blogging tips, based upon my new book called “Blogging Tips”. While the book has only 100 pages, each page is stuffed with dozens of tips, on a variety of subjects, all covering the art and techniques of blogging. Blogging tips on SEO? Blogging tips on starting a blog? Blogging tips on writing a blog? Blogging tips on comments? Blogging tips on marketing? Blogging tips on…so I fired back with “be more specific”.

Asking a blogger to blog on a vague subject can elongate the time between the request and the guest blog post. If you narrow the field of options, the blogger can then make a faster decision.

You can be told what to blog about without limiting the options. If he had asked for blogging tips for genealogy blogs, I would have delivered the guest post in a day or two.

Blog Your Expertise

There might be a very specific subject you are an expert on, which is why your guest blogging presence is requested. If you are the expert, and they want that expert, that’s the time to turn on the expert blogger on the subject.

However, “expertise” might not be the subject upon which you blog about. In choosing those who I want to blog next month on my blog about WordPress Tips, I’ve contacted some bloggers who are experts in WordPress tips, techniques, tricks, security, and customization, but their blogs are not about WordPress. Their expertise comes from my familiarity with their work in WordPress and their expertise on the subject, not for their blog content.

My readers might have trouble equating an expert in online gaming as an expert in WordPress, but they are, and that is why I’ve asked them to blog. For the expertise you rarely see but that which is known to those who matter.

In most cases, though, a blogger is asked to guest blog because they have shown themselves an expert on a subject, thus the blogger wants that expertise on their blog shared with their readers. So if you are an expert, and asked because of that expertise, blog that expertise.

Blog Your Resume

This tip on guest blogging does not mean write your resume to the world in your guest post, bragging about how you came to know what you know and how you know it better than anyone else. It means blog your best work.

Your guest blog is a resume to the world that says, “Here’s proof!”

Your guest blog is a resume to the blog’s reader that establishes your writing ability, communication skills, presentation skills, marketing and advertising skills, networking abilities, and many other skills and abilities. This billboard invites readers to visit your blog and potentially become new fans, telling others of how wise and wonderful you are.

At a conference recently, I had a blogger tell me that they shuffled the stuff they wrote but didn’t want nor need on their blog to their guest blogging gigs. I was appalled. “Don’t you consider guest blogging an honor? Don’t you want your guest posts to be their very best?”

“Nah,” he said. “Why should I give away my best stuff?”

I think you can come up with the answer to that, can’t you?

Blog A Tip Based Upon Your Expertise

When you blog your expertise, don’t blog a whole book. Find a tip based upon your expertise to blog about on a guest blog.

Again, that brings us back to the giant circle of “blogging tips”. Which tip to choose?

Head to the guest blog and check out the content and categories, as well as the level of writing and readers.

Is the writing aimed at beginners, intermediate, or advanced levels? If it is aimed at beginners, novices, then narrow your tip to that level or bring it up just a notch. Don’t overwhelm the blog’s readers with advanced level information when they are not ready for it. Just aim at their level or a little above to keep them interested and challenged.

What topics have been covered in previous tips? Is there one you can expand upon or has been overlooked?

Just as I had to do with “blogging tips”, look for collections of tips to find a common theme and blog within that theme.

Check the comments of the previous tip articles. What are the readers asking? Are their questions being answered in that post or on others on the blog? Then that might be the tip worth writing about since readers have expressed an interest.

Look For Holes In The Host Blogger’s Content

We all have holes in our blog content. I often think I’ve writing about a topic when I never did. A new eye on my content will probably spot those holes because I’m too close to my subject matter to see the tree for the forest.

Look at the guest blog’s content by categories, keeping an eye out for holes that you could fill.

Someone recently spotted the fact that while I have written a lot about trackbacks and trackback spam, I haven’t written a “What is a trackback” post. I thought I had. I’m sure I did. But she was right.

Look for topics that are covered, but not explained fully.

If people are writing a lot of how to articles, are they writing the “why” that justifies the “how to”? Then write the why.

Dig around for a bit and you will find plenty of holes in blogger’s content. Consider filling them with your guest blog post. You will do the blogger a favor in the process.

What’s Hot?

What’s hot on the web or in the world today? What subject is getting the most attention? Can you find a way to tie that hot topic into a guest blog post?

Recently, the hot topic of WordPress and “sponsored” WordPress Themes has everyone talking, but also adding value to the talk. Many are taking that topic and using it as a chance to promote their WordPress Themes, offer tips and techniques, and how to information, attracting attention while staying on topic for their blog content.

I heard a blogger recently tell another that she was looking for a way to connect the Paris Hilton incarceration with a blogging topic on how a blog is like a cage. Why not?

Two years ago, I was able to use my blog on blogging and WordPress to feature a wide variety of blogs that sprung up talking about Hurricane Katrina. As one of the minor victims of the disaster, I was searching for these blogs, so why not showcase these blogs I was reading on a blog about blogging?

There are always ways to take a hot topic and make it your own, bringing a bit of jazz and excitement, without creating a riot, to a guest blogging gig. Or maybe the host blogger would want you to cause a riot on their blog. Ask first. :D

If All Else Fails…

And if all else fails and you cannot come up with a guest blogging topic, tell the blogger. It’s their blog. They know how it works, what they want, and what they expect from a guest blogger.

Ask.

The Art of Guest Blogging Series

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  1. Learning the Art of Guest Blogging : The Blog HeraldAugust 10, 2007 at 10:29 am
  2. By pelf posted on August 10, 2007 at 7:40 pm
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    You know, I was really grateful for the suggestions you gave me as I was too excited and thrilled to think properly. But yeah, I figured that’s what I do best — blog from my experience (I’m not exactly a storyteller nor an expert) :)

    Reply

  3. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on August 10, 2007 at 11:42 pm
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    You did fine, pelf. It’s like public speaking for the first time. You are more nervous than people ever see. You did great.

    The fun part of my guest blogging party on Lorelle on WordPress is that I’m allowing bloggers of all ages, experiences, and ilks to add their thoughts however they want. If they really screw up, I’ll fix things, but it’s a chance to do something different and have fun with the process.

    It’s a learning experience for me, as well as for the bloggers.

    All I expect is that my guests do their bests, and be on their best behavior, no different than they would at a business party.

    (Except that I’m the one dancing on the tables wearing the lamp shade!) :D

    Reply

  4. The Art of Guest Blogging: Should You Pay Guest Bloggers to Blog? : The Blog HeraldAugust 13, 2007 at 8:50 am
  5. The Art of Guest Blogging: Blog Your Best Writing : The Blog HeraldAugust 14, 2007 at 8:19 am

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