How to Guest Blog Efficiently

By Posted in - Social Media for Writers on December 5th, 2010 4 Comments

Guest posting for someone else’s blog is a great way to gain new readers, so long as the readership of the blog you’re visiting fits your demographic.

For instance, my Steampunk class teacher at Los Angeles Romance Writers invited me to guest post on the blog she maintains with a group of other Steampunk writers, Steamed!, and I’ll probably do that because I’m writing a Steampunk trilogy. While there is a romantic element to the plot, it’s not a romance novel. For that reason, I wouldn’t choose to guest post on a Romance blog. Make sense?

Beyond genre, the other factor to consider when choosing which blogs to visit as a guest blogger is readership numbers. You obviously want to aim for blogs with the highest number of followers whenever possible.

Having chosen a blog to donate a guest post to, your next job is research. You need to be sure your post fits their style and stance. So read as many posts as possible, as much to be sure it’s something you’d like to be associated with as to figure out how to write a post that will integrate seamlessly with their existing content.

There are interesting exceptions. I was invited to donate a post about books for YA boys to a book review blog, Reading Teen. They’d enjoyed a post on this blog and asked to repost it on their site. It wasn’t a book review, but it was about finding good books for boys to read, so it had cross-over relevance. I was flattered to be invited, it involved no extra work on my part, and it generated a really healthy debate on a site with over 1600 followers passionate about YA literature. What’s not to like?

Group Blogs

Getting together with a group of other writers to collaborate on a group blog, each one of you posting in turn, is a great way to extend your reach without giving yourself a lot of extra work.

For instance, I’m a contributing member of The Enchanted Inkpot, a well-known fantasy blog. I don’t have to post on any scheduled day, just volunteer when the moderator says there are spaces. There are different post types for different days of the week, so I can choose which type of space I want to fill – Topic of the Week (where I post a topic for discussion), Author Interviews, Fantasy Book Reviews, Librarian/Bookseller Interviews (for the latest trends in popular fantasy), etc.

As the Inkpot restricts contributing members to agented or published writers, the quality of the posts is high and each member expands the sales and readership of the others.

The other thing is that because the group blog is genre-focused, it has a loyal following of fantasy fans who return for each new post.

The internet is a fickle environment. The post that launches you into the stratosphere of popularity on the day it’s posted is gone tomorrow. How do you follow up? By being consistent.

I hope this gets your mind churning with ways to spread your reach to targets that are receptive to you.

Always think about targets. Shooting arrows and writing blog posts take effort. You want each one to hit the bullseye.

(4) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Cynthia Leitich Smit - Reply

    December 4, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    I learned the hard way about targeting. I had a book with romantic elements that's nevertheless more of a YA Gothic.
    I did a guest post on a romance blog and was surprised, when it went live, to see a post on the same page that featured a humorous photo of an attractive male bare bum.
    Even if we agree that teens won't be traumatized by such a thing, there's the fact that I also write for much younger children and teachers occasionally send, say, fourth graders to do reports on me on the Web.
    I'd looked at the blog before agreeing, but obviously not thoroughly enough. As someone who writes for very young kids, I have to be consistently aware of choosing venues that are age appropriate for them (or at least won't result in their teachers getting fired).

  • Lia Keyes - Reply

    December 5, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Oh, that's funny in a horrifying OMG sort of way! Yes, age-appropriateness is REALLY important when you write for younger readers, even for teens. Not everyone is ready for a bare male bum to pop up when they follow a link! Thanks for that, Cynthia!

  • Sheryl Gwyther - Reply

    December 5, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Interesting situation, Cynthia, I can see why you got a bit of a shock once the post went live. 😛
    Thanks for your useful advice, Lia. I must admit I hadn't thought too far ahead re which blogs to target – just grateful that someone wanted me to be a guest on their blog, lol.

  • Elizabeth Varadan - Reply

    December 6, 2010 at 3:32 am

    Thanks for such a helpful post, Lia. I haven't really thought much about who to guest post for. You are always raising such good points in your own posts!

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