When I’m not glued to Tumblr like the addict that I am, I can be found editing the entertainment section of Paper Droids, a geeky-themed blog for women. Part of this role means I’m constantly getting new applications regarding guest blogging. Accepting a guest blogger can be beneficial to both the blog and writer, but that also means collaborating with someone you’ve never worked with before. With that in mind, here are some helpful suggestions of what not to do while guest blogging!
Don’t submit a bad proposal
There is nothing more annoying than opening my inbox and seeing a really generic proposal for a post. Research the blog you’re sending your proposal to, even if it’s only reading a few recent posts. Get a sense of what the blog is about and send a proposal related to those topics. Don’t send something totally unrelated. I once got a proposal for an article on plastic surgery and celebrities… and I’m in charge of the entertainment section of a primarily science fiction and fantasy-related website. Do you see where this could be a problem?
If you’re having trouble writing a guest blogging proposal, check out these tips here to learn how to properly structure your ideas before you send them out.
And please, please read through everything at least once for typos. I figure this is sort of obvious, but you’d be surprised how many silly spelling mistakes can slip through without you even noticing.
Don’t ignore the blog’s rules
Everyone has their own writing style, and sometimes those styles don’t mesh with certain blogs. I know I’ve had guest bloggers in the past who insisted on putting in as many wisecracks and sarcastic comments as possible, and on the other end of the spectrum, bloggers who were so serious they were downright mechanical. Every blog will have its own way of doing things, it’s own rules for tone, acceptable language, even what kind of English they prefer. Many blogs will have guest blogging guidelines or a style guide that they can send you to help you out.
Don’t get me wrong, your own voice should always show through, and if the editor is erasing that, you need to speak up. Just remember that every blog is looking for something different and be respectful of that.
…And I mean everything.
I think when people hear plagiarism, they automatically assume that it means deliberately passing off someone else’s work as you own. That’s not the case at all, and it’s really easy to steal someone’s work by accident, especially online (and especially with images!). Quoting something incorrectly or too much paraphrasing can still get you in a lot of trouble. Provide sources for anything you’re unsure of, and maybe even some of the things you are sure of. Even if it winds up being unnecessary—better safe than sorry!
If you want to be really sure, look up a good plagiarism checker. It won’t be 100% accurate, but it will give you a good idea if anything in your blog post needs to be looked over.
If you have any problems, any at all, tell someone.
This is a problem that can come up when email is your primary form of communication: if a guest blogger doesn’t respond to emails, there’s very little the the editor or blog admin can do about it. Nothing stops me from going back to a blogger writer quite like having them drop off the face of the earth for weeks at a time with no explanation.
Deadlines don’t go away just by ignoring them and hoping for the best, and in most situations, the editor or admin will understand that sometimes life gets in the way of guest blogging. If you can’t make a post on time or are having any other problems, let your contact know. Trust me, it’s better for everyone involved.
Don’t act like a child
I realize this pretty much ties in to all of my other points, but behave like a rational adult. Even if you’re volunteering and not getting paid for guest blogging, even if you’re having disagreements with the editors who run the blog… try to behave like a professional. For example, I cannot stress enough how much you shouldn’t complain about the blog or editors on social media if you’re having a disagreement. Trust me, it will be found, and it will make you look bad. It’s a cliché thing to say, but it’s a small world, and I’m always surprised by how my bloggers and fellow editors are connected to other blogs. You just never know who will hear about your childish behaviour.
Blog admins, do you have any tips on how to be awesome at guest blogging? How about any horror stories? Feel free to share them in the comments below!