Are You a Bad Guest Blogger?

Who doesn’t love guest blogging? You get to write about what you love. You can reach brand-spankin’ new readers. The exposure can’t be beat.

Not to mention, being asked to guest blog is an incredible honor. Someone is telling you, “I love your stuff so much that I want to share it with my readers.” What a huge compliment!

But you know how some folks take a compliment and throw it back in your face? There are some “bad bloggers” who (perhaps inadvertently) do the same thing. Because of their blogging missteps, they make themselves look bad, drive editors insane and cause all sorts of extra work (assuming the post runs at all.)

Here are 5 of the most common “bad guest blogger” types…

    1. The “My Muse took me in a different direction” guest blogger. It’s true that a writer’s Muse can be extremely fickle. One second, a post idea will sound absolutely fabulous. The next minute – not so much. It’s OK to be Muse-driven – but it’s not OK to switch gears and turn in a whole ‘nother post than what you discussed with the editor. Once you’ve decided on a post topic, you need to stick with that decision. Going in a different direction may seem like you’re “writing in the flow,” but the blog editor will see it as “changing your mind and messing up her editorial calendar.”
    2. The “nobody’s perfect” guest blogger.  Sure, we all make mistakes. Typos happen. But “making a mistake” doesn’t mean “turning in a blog post full of grammatical errors, disconnected thoughts and funky typos, costing the editor one hour of her life cleaning it up.” Just because you’re blogging for exposure doesn’t mean that you can turn in so-so work. If you know that your writing style can be a tad..challenging…hire an editor to check your work before you send it out. Or if you don’t have time to write a really good guest post, wait until you have the ability to focus and do it right. Besides, what would happen if the editor posted your article –  uncorrected –  just to teach you a lesson.  I wouldn’t take that chance…
    3. The “look at me” guest blogger. Don’t be too sexy for your own blog post. Like the slimy guy at the singles bar, every word this blogger writes is geared to gain attention…to his own stuff. There’s rarely a shred of useful information. Instead, it’s all about him – how smart he is. Who he knows. Other fantastic posts he’s written. The sad thing is that nobody really cares – and pushing a “look at me” post screams “I don’t have anything worth reading.” Here’s a tip – if your bio is longer than your blog post, you’re a “look at me” guest blogger. Dial it down, dude.
    4. The “share the love” guest blogger. This person thinks, “I’ve written such a fantastic blog post. Why shouldn’t I syndicate it everywhere I can, as soon as I can.” Yeah, that’s a bad idea. According to the super-smart Ann Smarty in her article, What Guest Posting Is Not: Getting It Right, “DON’T do it. You’ll just screw the relationships with powerful bloggers and influencers in your niche and achieve nothing.”
    5. The “deadline, what deadline” guest blogger.  This is the scariest type of blogger. This person promises “Yes, I’ll have your post by noon on Friday.” When noon on Friday rolls around, this same blogger is surprised that the blog editor is upset that there’s no post – and a big hole in her editorial calendar. If you’ve promised a blog post by X, treat it like you would treat a client gig and don’t miss the deadline. Remember, the industry is small – and people do talk. Missing deadlines is a sure way to mess up a valuable connection.

It’s easy to be a great guest blogger. Turn in your blog posts on time (or early, if you really want to impress an editor.) Slice the self-promotion. Write a fantastic article. With just a little work, I guarantee that you’ll have more guest posts that you can handle – and editors will love working with you.

6 replies
  1. Emma says:

    Great post and insight, but I’m a little confused about the self-syndication bullet. Wouldn’t getting the blog syndicated help bring more traffic to the original blog, thus making the guest an even more valuable asset? Perhaps there’s some finer nuance I’m overlooking here…

    • Heather says:

      Hi Emma!

      It certainly could – but you may want to check with the blog editor around the timing. Many editors want an “exclusive” on the post for awhile. It doesn’t mean that the writer won’t be able to syndicate the post, or do more with it later. But it does mean that the writer may need to wait awhile. :)

  2. craig wright says:

    How do you go about being a guest blogger? Another copywriter once told me he’d be happy to offer a guest blogger slot on his site for one in return, but at the time, my blog was inactive (still is, to be honest…due to start a new one soon). Sadly, I have to admit that I just panicked – the other copywriter is pretty prolific with his blogs and seems so well informed. I wouldn’t know what to write and would be worried about making myself look an ignorant fool!

    Isn’t there a risk in having potential rival copywriters guest blog on your site?

    • Laura says:

      Hi Craig! The best resource for guest blogging opportunities is Ann Smarty’s She is hands-down the expert on guest blogging, and devotes her site to helping guest bloggers match up with the blogs most suitable to their specialty or expertise. Ann wrote a great guest post for us back in December detailing 8 steps for landing guest blogging gigs:

      As for the risk in having potential rivals guest post on your own site…well, as the blog editor for Heather here, I am not at all intimidated by featuring other SEO experts because the niche is large and roomy, and Heather is in no danger of being over-shadowed by another SEO copywriter :) But if you feel a bit insecure about hosting potential copywriting rivals, then don’t do it. Wait until you’ve established yourself in your own right before directing your visitors to competing sites.

      Thanks Craig – hope this was helpful to you!


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