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Good Manners While Guest Blogging

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With all the recent changes around Google’s search algorithm lately a lot more people are starting to do guest blogging. The trouble is that no one has told these new guest bloggers what it means to have good manners as they blog. Think of me as Miss Manners for guest bloggers (well, Mr. Manners, but that’s not my point).

Here’s my story: I recently launched a website that has a lot of useful information on it, but it doesn’t have a lot of unique content describing what the figures and graphs illustrate. There was no way I could write enough articles myself to fill-in my nearly 1000 page website. “This is a good time to tap into guest blogging,” I told myself.

So, I submitted a call for articles to a couple blogger-outreach services. I had used both of these services before, only as someone with content to post. This time I would be asking people for content themselves. I took some time, wrote up a brief, yet specific, description of the content I would need and posted it on these services.

Although I did get some great articles, many of the people who approached me with content didn’t use good guest blogging manners. For example:

Always Read the Requirements

Although I took time to write up some specific requirements from what I would need, it was clear that many writers did not even read them. That is bad enough but some didn’t even take a look at my website  before they contacted me. That felt rude- like a street vendor walking up to me on the street assuming I want their product because I happen to be walking past their stand.

Don’t Start by Asking for a Link

I’m not naive here: I understand that I am “paying” for this content by giving the person a link back to their website. From my perspective, that is a reasonable exchange. I was offended, however, when people first asked for the link before talking about the content. It’s like someone showing up to a job interview and asking about how much they might get paid even before they sit down.

With this new world of inbound marketing it is hard to get out of the “I need a link” mindset- I completely understand. When we approach guest blogging in this way, however, we are missing some of the benefits of blogging over just any old link we can get. Blogging has many advantages over conventional link building including brand recognition, establishment of authority, social sharing, fresh content and much more. If you are just doing guest blogging for the link you are missing this. In other words- the link is no longer the final goal.

Don’t Just Promote Yourself

I did receive a good response from people who had not only read my requirements but clicked around a few pages on my website before contacting me. For their efforts, I was grateful. Still, some people only wanted to talk about their business. It was kind of like that guy you meet at every networking event- you know the one- who brings every conversation back to himself. Who wants to talk with that guy? Who wants to post an advertisement in their blog?

In the same way it didn’t seem like some writers wanted to think creatively about the opportunity. While they didn’t explicitly promote themselves or their company, they were almost too honest. “I am a writer,” they told me, “and I want to write about being a writer.” I know they say, “write about what you know,” but there’s only so much content about being a writer that I can use. If one of the writers could have written from the perspective of someone else in their organization, I wouldn’t have turned them down.

Don’t let my stories of a few rude bloggers discourage you from participating in guest blogging. The fact is, most people were very friendly and willing to help. I received some interesting and unique articles that I couldn’t have written myself- whether from my own lack of time or because I have no idea about the topic.

If you have recently started adding guest blogging to your repertoire then I hope you will benefit from the mistakes some of these potential bloggers made and have better success than they found. After all good manners will get you far in your online marketing life.

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