General Blogging Tips
Monday, January 23rd, 2012
Guest blogging is a topic I’ve spent quite a bit of time writing about. I think it’s an important thing to talk about, because many people are finally starting to realize the benefits guest blogging has to offer, and they’re jumping aboard the bandwagon. That’s great, but you have to make sure you’re approaching guest blogging in the right way if you want to get the most out of it. More simply stated, you have to make sure you’re not a bad guest blogger.
How can you tell if you’re a bad guest blogger? Here are a few warning signs.
- You act like the blogger owes you something in your pitch—I’ve received pitches from guest bloggers who come across as alarmingly entitled. They pump themselves up and try to bully me into accepting their guest posts. It’s insane just how clueless some of these guest bloggers are. News flash: nobody owes you anything. You don’t deserve any guest blogging opportunities.
- You don’t take time to learn about the blog—A good guest blogger spends time researching the blog, reading old posts, learning about the blogger, and interacting with the readers in the comments before making a pitch. The better you understand the blog, the more able you’ll be to pitch a topic that’s a good fit.
- You write your guest posts as quickly as you can—If you’re just interested in cranking out as many guest posts as you can so you can build tons of links, you’re in this for the wrong reasons. It’s your duty as a guest blogger to provide the very best content you’re capable of creating. You owe it to the blogger who’s publishing your content, the readers, and yourself (your reputation is on the line!).
- You change the topic you agreed to write about—If you tell the blog owner that you’re going to write a guest post about a certain topic, that’s what you need to write the post about. You can’t change your mind without notifying the blogger and turn in a post on an entirely different subject.
- You don’t respond to comments—Don’t be the guest blogger who turns in a post and disappears. Part of being a guest blogger is interacting with the readers who respond by leaving comments. You need to stick around after your post is published and create meaningful conversations with the readers. And while you’re at it, help promote your guest post too.
- You don’t thank the blogger for letting your guest post—It’s common courtesy. Send over an email thanking the blogger for publishing your guest post.
Are you a bad guest blogger?
Saturday, January 21st, 2012
You might be sick of seeing them by now, but the fact remains—list posts work. People love reading and sharing good lists. A good list post contains useful or entertaining information in an easy-to-read format that promotes discussion.
Here are 5 easy ideas for list posts that you can create for your blog.
- Favorite people in your industry to follow on Twitter—I’ve written multiple “Top (insert industry) People to Follow on Twitter” posts on different blogs, and each time, the posts have been a remarkable success. Twitter is a very popular social networking platform, and your readers are always looking for new, interesting people to follow. Put together a list of some of your favorite industry people on Twitter.
- Best blogs in your niche—Show some love to the other blogs in your niche by creating a list of your favorites. Don’t be afraid to link out to “the competition.” If your content is great and unique, your readers aren’t going to leave you. They’ll enjoy checking out the other blogs, and the bloggers you link to will be grateful for the shout out.
- Most common mistakes your customers make—As a marketer, I often write about the costly marketing mistakes businesses make time and time again. These posts are effective for multiple reasons. They educate the reader, giving them information they can actually use and benefit from, and they increase the author’s credibility, helping to position him as a thought leader.
- Biggest myths related to your industry—Every industry is plagued by misinformation. This blog is focused on internet marketing and SEO. Think there aren’t a few SEO myths out there that need busting? Make a list of the biggest myths in your niche and set them on blast!
- Predictions for the future of your industry—It’s still early on in 2012, so you have time to make your predictions for the future of your industry in the coming year. Don’t be afraid to make some predictions. Just make sure you provide solid reasoning for each of your picks.
What are some other good ideas others can use for list posts? Share your best ideas by leaving a comment below.
Friday, January 13th, 2012
Blog comment spammers have been around as long as blogging itself. It wasn’t all that long ago that “blog comment marketing” was seen by some as a great way to build links and drive traffic back to targeted websites. Personally, I always thought it was a spammy tactic, and most people now agree with that sentiment.
That’s not to say that I don’t think there are any benefits to leaving comments on other blogs. On the contrary, leaving thoughtful comments that add to the conversation can be a good way to increase name recognition, build your credibility, and grow your network. But the way some marketers approach blog comment marketing (leave as many comments on as many different blogs as possible) is what irks me.
Are you a blog comment spammer? If you do any of the following, you might be one.
- You use a keyword as your name—If you’re going to leave comments on other blogs, use your real name. Don’t be the guy who uses a keyword in the name field so that you can build a keyword-rich link back to your website. It’s spammy, and the link will carry little value anyway.
- Your comments add no value to the conversation—Comments like “nice post” or “this was really interesting!” are meaningless, spammy, and add no value to the conversation. If you’re going to leave a comment, take the time to come up with something that gets a conversation started. Share your real opinions on the subject. Respond to something specific in the post. Engage with the author and the other commenters.
- You blast the exact same comment out to dozens of blogs—Blog comment spammers are notorious for coming up with a few generic comments and posting them on every blog in their niche. Comments should always be specific to the post at hand. If you’re not addressing something that was brought up in the post, you’re more than likely a comment spammer.
- You pitch your products or services in the comment—The comments section on someone else’s blog is NOT the place to advertise your products and services. If you want to advertise on someone else’s blog, pay for an ad slot. Otherwise, stop spamming.
So, are you a blog comment spammer? What are some of the other things comment spammers do? Share your thoughts by leaving a (non-spammy) comment!
Wednesday, January 11th, 2012
Having goals for your blog is important. It gives you direction, and provides something for you to measure against. This prevents your blog from becoming stagnant, which is a guaranteed way to kill your passion for blogging.
Here are 5 good blogging resolutions you could have for 2012.
- Try new things—The more you blog, the easier it is to slip into a pattern of publishing the same type of content over and over. You probably tend to write about the same subjects in the same format. This year, mix it up! Try to incorporate new blogging styles. Maybe you can begin doing some video posts. Or perhaps you can find some new topics to write about.
- Update your blog’s appearance—Too many bloggers think that content is all that matters. Yes, your content is the foundation of your blog. If your posts suck, you’re not going to build a successful blog. However, looks are important too. When’s the last time you updated your blog’s appearance? A new design could help build credibility and keep readers on site longer.
- Become a better networker—Networking with other bloggers, social media influencers, and colleagues is important for helping your blog grow. The more known you become, the more popular your blog will also become. Take some time to use the social networking tools that are out there to start building strategic relationships so you can have a powerful network at your fingertips.
- Try a new method of promoting your blog—Want to build your blog? You need to promote it. Maybe you’re promoting it now, but you’re probably using the same basic methods each time you publish a new post. It’s time to try some new things. Promote your posts on websites and forums that you don’t typically use. Use blog carnivals. Build your email list. Maybe even use PPC to drive traffic to certain blog posts.
- Guest blog more often—Guest blogging is a great way to increase your name recognition, build credibility, drive traffic back to your blog, and grow your network. This year, make a conscious effort to guest blog more often. If you only guest blog once a month right now, bump it up to once a week. If you’re already guest posting on other blogs once a week, try doing it twice a week. Take your guest blogging efforts to the next level.
What are some of your blogging resolutions for 2012?
Monday, January 9th, 2012
Trying to land a guest posting opportunity on another blog? These opportunities won’t just be handed to you. You have to work for them. Bloggers are very protective of their websites, and they only want to provide their readers with the best possible content.
That’s where the pitch comes in. Before your guest post can be accepted, you need to pitch the blog owner. This means sending them a short email introducing yourself and telling them what you have to offer (your guest post). In essence, you’re trying to sell the blogger on your guest post. You want them to see that you have an understanding of their audience, and that you can provide them with content their readers will love.
What better way to do this than to show them the guest post you have for them?
Some writers come up with idea for a guest post, and then they pitch the blog owner on this idea. If the blogger accepts the pitch, they then write the post and send it over.
I prefer writing my guest post before I ever pitch it. Why?
- The blogger can see exactly what he will be getting—I’ve received some great pitches from potential guest bloggers, but when they turned in the post to me, it didn’t live up to my expectations. By writing the post before you send your pitch, you cut out the guesswork. The blogger can see the full post and decide whether or not it’s a good fit for his blog.
- The post is ready to go, making it easier and more appealing for the blogger—Bloggers are a busy bunch, and the easier you make it for them to accept and publish your guest post, the likelier it is that they’ll do so. A great post that’s already good to go is much more appealing than just an idea for a potential guest post.
- If the post isn’t accepted, it’s still mine to use—At the worst, the blogger will reject the guest post, and you’ll have a pre-written post on your hands. You could still pitch this to another blogger, or you could simply post it on your own blog. It won’t go to waste either way.
What do you think about writing the guest post before the pitch?