The Art of Guest Blogging: Blog Your Best Writing

Filed as Features, Guides on August 14, 2007 8:16 am

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I recently had a guest blogger tell me that he’d give me anything he came up with that didn’t line up with his own blog, any one-offs he wanted to write about that he didn’t want.

This told me several things about the blogger. First, he wanted the best for himself, which is fair. And second, he considered guest blogging of little benefit. Or at least that guest blogging on my blog wouldn’t give him much benefit.

Graphic Copyright Lorelle VanFossen - Reminder - a guest blog post is my resumeWhen you guest blog, your blog post is a resume you are putting out to the world that publicly states who you are, what you can do, what you know, why you are good at what you do, and why should people come to visit you for more.

If you don’t deliver your best, do you think people will follow? And what does that say about the relationship between you and the host blogger?

Guest blogging pushes your writing skills to the limit. It also pushes your communications ability, if you want to frame your blog post in a way to generate comments.

As part of this ongoing series on Learning the Art of Guest Blogging, let’s explore why and how you should give your guest blogging gigs your very best work.

The Blog Post Editing Process – Sifting For Success

I agonize over every guest blogging post I write. I go over it with a fine tooth comb, looking for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors with a magnifying glass. I have others read it, review it, and edit it if necessary, to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I talk it through carefully, to make sure it says what I want it to say, and makes the points that it needs to make.

By the time a guest blog post is published, sometimes I feel like I’ve cut the heart out of it through all of the filters I processed it through, but I know that I’m giving the guest blogger the best I can give. My guest blog post is a picture frame people can enter from another blog to mine. An Alice in Wonderland invitation to visit my blog.

Here are some tips to help you sift through your guest blog post to make sure it represents your best:

  • Check Spelling: Run the text through a spell checker but also manually check carefully to make sure that every “from” isn’t spelled “form”. Have someone else read it, or read it out loud to make sure that every word is where it is supposed to be and spelled correctly.
  • Check Grammar and Punctuation: Just as you would with a resume, make sure that every phrase is properly presented and no its are it’s. Commas are where they are supposed to be, and sentences begin with a capital letter and end with a period.
  • Clarity of Purpose: Is the point you want to make really clear in the post? Is it the point you want to make, or did you start running off on a tangent? Make sure it says what you want it to say, and nothing more.
  • Three Strikes, You’re Out: Check your post to make sure that you have made no more than three points. One point is fine, two is good, more than three and you might have a blog post that needs to be split in two. You don’t have to tell them everything. Leave them wanting for more.
  • Is This Representative of Your Expertise? If you want to make a name for yourself and build your reputation for guest blogging, does this guest blog post do that? Does it really represent your expertise or are you blogging about a subject you are not an expert in?
  • Is This Representative of Your Blog? When readers read this and decide to click through to your blog, will they find similar content or something totally different? Is this a good thing or bad? Does it work for you? It helps when a visitor’s expectations are met with like-content, so warn them in your bio if it doesn’t match, or say something in your post like, “While I’m known for blogging about video games, I’ve become quite an expert in customizing WordPress…”
  • Does It Match the Blog Content? Does your guest blog post match the overall content of the guest blog or is it radically different? Is this difference why you were invited to blog, or maybe you might be overstepping your bounds. Ask.
  • Is This Blog a Comment Blog or Not? If the blog you are guest blogging on is a comment blog, one that usually attracts a high level of comments and measures success by comment counts, does your guest blog post leave the door open for comments? If the blog isn’t a comment blog, then have you said all that you need to say to make your point without audience interaction?
  • Does It Match the Form of the Rest of the Blog Posts? Structurally, does it “look” like the rest of the blog posts? Do they use heading tags and you are using bold tags as headings? Then you use heading tags. Do they bold their links? Then you bold your links. Are the post titles all in caps or lowercase? Whatever the format and structure of the posts on the blog are, match it. It saves the host blogger from editing your post and fixing it.
  • Does It Open The Door for More Guest Blogging Gigs? Always think this is your one-shot chance for guest blogging, but never think it is the only chance you may have. If you guest blog well enough, you will get invitations for more guest blogging gigs, so blog for those, while blogging your very best now.

Having guest bloggers on your blog also gets you thinking about your editing skills. It’s up to you if you choose to edit or not your guest blogger’s posts, but I find it helps them and you in the long run. The nerves that can hit a blogger when they are new to guest blogging can make them easily mistake a “form” as “from” and simple errors like that. So clean them up if you want, which improves your editing skills.

Reading what other people write on your blog is different from reading other blogs. You have a vested interest in what these guest bloggers write, so you take more care to make sure they are writing well, thus paying closer attention to how they write and how they phrase their points, which improves your own writing.

Here are some articles I’ve written that may help you improve your blog writing skills and help you make your guest blog post its best and a resume for you and your blog.

The Art of Guest Blogging Series

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  1. By Mohsin | Blogging Bits posted on August 14, 2007 at 9:12 am
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    Excellent points Lorelle! Apply the same amount of attention to everyday blog posts and you are well on your way to become an authority blogger.

    Though, I think you have stressed the need to obsess over small nuances to the point that it really cuts the heart out of the flow of ideas. It’s advisable to pay attention to small details but a blogger must be confident about what he is saying, and let his filters do only minimal processing.

    Reply

  2. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on August 14, 2007 at 9:22 am
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    When I teach my blog writing programs, I make it clear that the “brain dump” method is best. Get it all out, no filters, then edit, edit, edit, edit. That’s when the details matter. Not during the first writing. That’s when the ideas come together or fall apart. Afterwards, you fix it.

    Good point, Mohsin.

    Reply

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