6 Lessons From Publishing 7 Guest Blog Posts

Some say that the age of writing guest blog posts is over and some stand by it for growing a brand. Regardless of where you stand on guest blog posts — here are a few lessons I learned from publishing guest articles during the last year and a half.

You may disagree with some, agree with others, or even find something new to help with your strategy.

Guest Blog Post Length Can Vary A lot

The common knowledge is that the longer the post, the better. However, not all sites are alike when it comes to length requirements.

For example, Going Concern’s minimum is 500 words and Business2Community’s is 300 words. Does that mean you should write for the minimum? Not necessarily. These articles here and here that I published with them are around 600-700 words each.

That’s still pretty short, depending on who you talk to.

There are also sites like Content Marketing Institute that don’t have word count goals and prefer whatever engages best with readers.

Why It Matters

There are some major differences between writing long and short content. Being able to change gears and write both types effectively is really important if you want to maximize your brand’s reach. That means knowing how to get a point across in fewer words or continuing to interest readers consistently throughout a longer article.

No Two Sites Are Exactly Alike, So Pitch Accordingly

Arguably the most important thing when approaching guest posting is knowing that every site is different.

For example, ReadWrite and Sales Hacker both have articles about sales. However, the articles I have published with them are pretty different. Length-wise — they’re apart by about 1000 words.

Content-wise, the ReadWrite article is more statistic-heavy with evidence tied to the examples and advice. Those are things like screenshots of sales conversations on LinkedIn or links to lead gen videos sent with Wistia.

The Sales Hacker article is more anecdotal with stories of hard rejections and strategies to get over them.

The reason for the differences is really straightforward if you look at their guest posting guidelines.

ReadWrite has an audience of more technical readers in the AI and IoT space. The Sales Hacker audience, if you can guess by the name, is mostly salespeople. In sales, it’s about crafting a good story that connects with prospects on an emotional level, so that’s what they look for.

Why It Matters

Trying to pitch the Sales Hacker article to ReadWrite or vice versa probably wouldn’t work out well. Writing a custom pitch for each site is your best bet for success since sending the same one just doesn’t cut it.

Syndication is Your Friend

There are two kinds of content syndication that can benefit your site. One is getting your blog’s articles syndicated (or republished) by other blogs with a link back to your original.

The other is when the blog that you guest post with has syndication partners who republish that content. We’re talking about the second one here.

As marketing guru Neil Patel puts it, “Republishing lets you leverage the same content multiple times. Guest posting, on the other hand, is not scalable [unless you guest post for a site that has an awesome list of web content syndication partners!].”

Your best bet for finding out whether or not a site uses syndication partners is to look at their guest post guidelines. Both ReadWrite and Business2Community mention it very clearly in theirs.

Why It Matters

Guest posting on blogs with syndication partners can mean more bang for your backlink – or something like that. This strategy can really help you build a big backlink profile fast.

Lead Time Can Vary Drastically for Getting Published

Guest blogging takes patience, a lot of patience. You need realistic expectations to avoid frustration.

Posts could be edited and published in as little as a week like this Business2Community article. It could also take up to four months as this Localiq article did.

Plus, sending out at least one or two pitches per week will keep you busy. Focus on that volume to keep them customized but also to see something published about once a week after a few months of consistency.

Why It Matters

Knowing that lead time varies will help you avoid getting discouraged when something takes a while. A good mindset is crucial for long-term success.

Getting Your Guest Blog Posts Rejected is an Opportunity

Rejection might sting a little bit, but, it’s a lot better than being outright ignored. Embrace it when an editor is willing to email you to say “no” as a chance to start building a professional relationship with them.

Let them know that you appreciate hearing back and will come up with a better pitch. They might even be willing to give you some topic ideas.

The Sales Hacker and Localiq articles mentioned before are both results of a first-pitch being rejected. The editors of both blogs were really receptive to getting a re-write.

Why It Matters

The old saying “It’s not what you know, but who you know” will probably never go out of style. Building relationships whenever you have a chance will maximize your overall guest blogging efforts.

Avoid Self-Promotion and Focus on Giving the Audience Value

Two big things that all of these guest posts have in common are that none of them involve self-promotion. I’ve used certain past experiences as examples, but never any calls to action or anything that might remotely seem like an ad.

For example, these guest posts on Freelancer’s Union and Wordtracker both focus on very specific things people can do to start or grow a business on a budget. Some suggestions are as simple as working from home and others get into technical details like adding SSL to a site for SEO benefits.

Why It Matters

Most people don’t like reading an ad when they expect to click on something useful. Genuinely giving someone value will make them remember you positively – especially if it relieves a pain point.

So, is writing guest blog posts worth your time?

Guest blogging is still a great way to get your name out there. It may not have the same SEO benefits that it did in 2010, but it can definitely help you grow brand awareness and make a lot of noise.

Understand that blog post length and content can vary a lot from site to site, so it’s important to customize all of your pitches. It can potentially take a while to go from pitch to publishing, so be patient along the way.

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