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Complete Guide to Guest Posts for Authors

POSTED ON Feb 16, 2023

P.J McNulty

Written by P.J McNulty

Home > Blog > Writing > Complete Guide to Guest Posts for Authors

Have you heard of guest posting?

For writers and blog owners alike, guest posting provides a special opportunity to reach a wider readership than otherwise possible. 

Like many online trends, guest posting exploded in popularity a number of years ago and has since ebbed and flowed in popularity. At times, people have even declared that guest posting is dead, although that’s far from the case. 

If you’re interested in learning more about guest posting, the right way to go about it, and mistakes to avoid, you’re in the right place!

Selfpublishing.com not only has featured guest posts from some amazing writers, but I myself have guest posted under various author names for some of the biggest writing blogs out there. 

I have over six years of experience in this area and I’m happy to share my experience here. 

Ready to learn all about guest posts? Great! Sit back, relax, and be our guest!

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What is a guest post?

A guest post is a blog post or article contributed to a blog or website by someone who doesn’t regularly write for it.

Regular contributors are typically known as in-house or staff writers. Guest bloggers do most of their writing elsewhere. Often, they are bloggers or writers working within a similar niche as the site they are contributing to. Occasionally, they might be industry experts or other thought leaders who don’t regularly write their own content. 

Although a guest post is written in the voice and words of the guest contributor, it should still be a good fit for the blog it is featured on. We’ll delve deeper into what makes a good guest post a little later in this article.

It’s important to note that there is a difference between guest posts and sponsored content, although there is some overlap.

A piece of sponsored content is when a company or individual pays a price to feature on another website. To comply with Google’s guidelines, this content should clearly be marked as sponsored.

A guest post, on the other hand, is a post arising from an invitation from a website for another to write for them. The contributor should not have paid for this opportunity. In fact, they may themselves receive payment for their contribution. Other times, guest bloggers write for free in exchange for exposure to a new audience and the chance to point readers toward their own blog.

Now that you know the basic idea of what a guest post is, let’s take a look at why they’re worthwhile. 

Why should you write guest posts?

If you’re an author or writer you most probably have a blog or website of your own. If not, you definitely should! It’s a piece of real estate you own. Social profiles etc. are nice but can always be taken away from you. However, when you own your own web domain, that’s yours and no one can ever take it away.

If you are already writing regularly for your own website, you’ll know that getting new readers to check it out can be challenging. That’s where guest posting can play a valuable role.

There are two main ways that guest posts can help drive more readers to your blog:

  1. By getting featured on other websites, you are able to reach their existing readership that would otherwise not have encountered your work. Hopefully, a portion of these readers will begin to follow you.
  2. When you write a guest post, you often have the chance to include a backlink to a relevant piece of your own writing. This helps your content perform better on Google, thus attracting more visitors.

Aside from the benefit to your own author website or blog, guest posting is also a great way to build relationships. By offering something of value to another website owner, you build a connection. This can pay off in many ways further down the line should you need to promote each other’s work or help in some other way.

Why should you invite guest posts on your blog?

Contributing guest posts to other blogs is just one piece of the puzzle. 

You should also consider offering the chance to have guest writers contribute to your site. 

There are several reasons why featuring guest posts on your blog is a great idea:

  1. You get quality content of interest to your readers that you don’t need to take the time to create yourself.
  2. Your blog is elevated in prestige due to the presence of credible writers.
  3. You attract more readers as guest authors are likely to attract their own readership who might not have otherwise checked out your site.
  4. By offering a valuable opportunity to other writers you build relationships and increase the chance of being offered opportunities of your own.

If you decide to open up your website to guest posters, you need to go about it in the right way.

Sadly, many guest bloggers are spammers who are only in it for themselves. You therefore need to have high standard when it comes to quality control. Only accept legitimate writers with direct relevance to your readership.

It’s also essential to have some rules in place regarding the type of post you will publish. For example, you should reserve the right to approve topics and the links featured in the post. You should put a limit on the number of links you’re willing to accept in each post. You should also specify minimum standards such as the length of post, style of content and so on.

When done properly, featuring guest blogs is one of the best ways to inject new life into your site and keep your readers interested. Just make sure the right protections are in place from the start to keep quality high and your stress levels low. 

What makes a good guest post?

Regardless of whether you’re contributing a guest post to another site or featuring one on your own site, there are some factors that differentiate a quality post from a poor one.

A good guest post should:

  • Be directly relevant to the readership of the website it is posted on
  • Cover a new topic or a topic from a new angle – people don’t want to read the same old content
  • Be uniquely written for that site in particular with their audience in mind
  • Match the style that readers of that site are used to – if they expect long, in-depth how-to articles, and you try to contribute a lighthearted listicle, that won’t be a good fit
  • Internally link to other posts on the site it is featured on
  • Avoid being salesy 
  • Steer clear of excessive self-promotion – your post should focus on how the reader can benefit, not on making you look good

If in doubt, search for existing guest posts on a website. Read through them and get a feel for what works.

What are some guest posting mistakes to avoid?

Like any form of writing, getting good at guest posts is as much about avoiding mistakes as it is doing the right things.

You want to do due diligence on any website you wish to guest post for, or any writer looking to contribute to your site. Avoid contributing to sites that are spammy or seem to link out to anything and everyone. 

If you receive a guest post, run it through a plagiarism checker. Make sure it’s a unique post that hasn’t been featured elsewhere.

Finally, make sure to double check all links someone inserts in their guest post. You don’t want to link out to any website you wouldn’t be happy to endorse.

You now have everything you need to approach guest posting in a high-quality, mutually beneficial way. 

We hope you reap the benefits and have a great time in the process. 

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