Guest blogging helped me to reignite my passion for blogging after I had become frustrated with my own personal blog. By getting a behind-the-scenes look at what successful blogs are doing you can gain a leg up on developing your own blog.
I started guest writing gradually by writing a sample article for one of my favourite websites. I optimised some original images to illustrate the article and approached the editor. After my first article was published online I got a huge thrill and then started to approach other websites which I knew accepted articles. My confidence soon grew. I suggest having some examples of your writing to prove your level of skill and to start writing on a topic area where you have some expertise.
Many editors are incredibly busy people so it’s not uncommon for them to take up to a month to get back to you. Some websites do not accept guest articles and you may not receive a reply at all.
Advantages of guest blogging
One huge advantage of guest blogging is that you can write an article whenever you have the time. There is no pressure to be writing several articles every week. You can receive feedback from the editor about ways to improve your writing or where to source good copyright-free images from. Often there are forums where you can discuss with other authors technical or ethical dilemmas you might be having.
You may receive access to the blogging platform so that you can see what templates the website is using and how certain themes and plugins work. I learnt how to use readability and SEO (search engine optimisation) plugins from one of the blogs I guest write for.
If you aren’t sure you have enough material to continually blog about a certain topic, then guest blogging is a great way to test the water. I have written for a number of different websites on a huge variety of topics ranging from technology, social media, marketing, relationships, craft, book and film reviews, events, food and health.
Leverage established audiences
One of the websites I guest write for is ranked in the top ten in the world for the subject. I love writing for a large website because you have a ready-made audience. It’s easier to approach public relations and marketing people to collaborate with you when you have an established audience. The only downside of writing for a popular website is that it can be hard to come up with an original topic that hasn’t been talked about already.
Most websites allow you to add a sentence or two about yourself so you can promote your own website or social media account.
Blogs can be a business
I discovered that successful editors run their website like a business. They often have a team of dedicated writers who write original engaging content with high-quality eye-catching photographs. The team might have access to an editorial calendar. They stay motivated by bouncing ideas off of each other and can proofread each other’s work.
You may receive a writer’s guidelines or a copy of the media kit. These can contain handy information about your target audience, their favourite subjects and general advice about writing for the web.
Problems with personal websites
Personal interests and hobbies can change over the years and so can our free time. This is why I recommend you start blogging for other people over starting a personal blog. It’s common to see people run out of steam after a few months when only their family and close friends are reading their ramblings. It’s easy to get discouraged when your visitor impressions and followers are low.
A successful blog might take several years to gain traction and hundreds of hours of unpaid work. It’s hard work to create awesome shareable content regularly and the blogs which succeed are often because the editors have a combination of having a wide range of skills (writing for the web, marketing, design, SEO, social media) and knowing the right people.
Guest blogging has many advantages like building confidence, networking with key people in your industry and exploring different topics, which is why I recommend it as a starting point over creating a personal blog.