Six months ago I wrote 8 Mistakes I Have Seen Guest Bloggers Make: As a Publisher & a Business Owner here on Copypress. I am editing for several large sites and each of these 8 mistakes still applies, but I am going to discuss some more mistakes or issues that are common problems.
To Be Clear…
Guest blogging can be a great thing if it is done right. There are many benefits on both sides, for the writer and website. However, there is an unfortunate trend of people jumping on the “guest blog” bandwagon and providing nothing but junk. In fact, they are pumping out this “junk” at record speeds and submitting these posts everywhere.
EXTRA TIP: No one likes, wants or reads junk. If you are going to guest blog do it right!
I want you to be successful, so here are some mistakes to avoid and some things you should know.
1. Not Understanding an Editor’s Job
What most people do not realize is that an editor’s job takes a lot of time! For each article there is checking for plagiarism, reviewing for validity, fixing grammar/spelling, adding images, creating a readable layout/format and making sure the HTML is clean.
When an editor has to spend an hour or more to make your article ready for publication you quickly become a writer that an editor wants to avoid or dreads dealing with. So here are some tips to make things faster and easier for your editor:
- Triple check for grammar and spelling errors and ask a friend to read it after that.
- Check for proper flow. An article should flow and make sense.
- Give credit to images (so the editor doesn’t have to email you and then add it).
- Don’t send an article to an editor that has been published elsewhere.
- Don’t spin an article that has already been published.
- Make sure all claims are valid.
- Don’t just send 10 paragraphs. Use headlines.
- Make sure everything is right in your bio.
- Have an email address ready that is associated with Gravatar (for image display on many blogs).
- Don’t send “junk”. Sifting through “junk” is not fun and is a waste of time.
- Make sure all links in articles are correct and working.
The goal here is to save the editor as much time as possible! If you are an easy writer to work with (and provide quality material) you can become someone that the editor wants more articles from.
2. Creating HTML Hell for the Editor
If you are creating an article in Microsoft Word or any other word processor there is no reason to add lots of sizes of fonts, different fonts and different colors. These can’t be used online anyway. All this does is create a copy and paste nightmare for an editor. Every time you add different sizes or colors or spaces you are essentially adding HTML to your article that has to be cleaned up, and this can take FOREVER!
For those of you that copy and paste into a CMSs for guest blogging I suggest you check out the HTML tab and see the coding nightmare or lack thereof you could have left with copy and pasting. Also, if you have done a presentation in PDF form/Power Point or anything else and copied the text to a word processor and then send it or paste in a CMS you are easily adding a massive amount of time for HTML clean up.
If you don’t have a lot of links and embed codes editors can paste in plain text and then reformat the whole article based on the file that was received. This is a bit a bit irritating, but it is faster than cleaning up HTML. Still, an editor’s time is wasted.
- Don’t create all kinds of color and font excitement in your word processors.
- Most word processors have “heading styles” that will allow you to add bigger headlines and not create code for clean up. Use them.
- Don’t copy and paste stuff into word processors unless you use a function like “Paste Special > unformatted text” (Microsoft Word).
3. Not Being Open to the Possibility That Suggested Changes Are a Good Thing
Editors know their audiences. They know what their audiences want, don’t want and how they evaluate articles. If an editor contacts you and suggests some changes or recommends that you add something do not be offended. Just consider the possibility that the editor wants your article to be successful and wants to avoid negativity from the audience for your benefit and also the website’s/blog’s.
However, there are times when I have seen really bad advice from editors. I recommend you be open to possible changes, but go with your gut. Talk with the editor and see if you can come to a solution together.
4. Not Giving Anything. Readers are Gathering So PROVIDE!
Readers are often looking for something. They need a solution, information and a variety of other things. You have to give, meet a need for your target audiences and educate them at the same time. Information, needs that are met and educational data is almost like a gift to a reader seeking knowledge, so give!
While your opinions are obviously fabulous they don’t’ really “do” anything for a reader unless you provide several of the following:
- Actionable tips, suggestions and/or tips – SHOULD BE IN EVERY ARTICLE!
- A solution
- An answer
- Recent industry news with explanations (and suggestions).
- How to information
- What not to do information
Opinion pieces are alright sometimes, but for many blogs they are just not enough. Something solid and meaningful must come with an opinion.
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5. Not Responding to Emails
Again, editors are very busy. They have schedules, a lot of planning to do, a lot of reading and many writers to work with.
If you submit an article please pay close attention to your email for a while. You may need to check spam just in case. I would say I need to contact writers about something small about 80% of the time. Often it is a bio question or something about their image or authorship. I can’t publish without an answer and it is shocking to me how many times I get no response.
Watch for emails and respond as fast as you can. Use this communication to get to know the editor on a friendly basis.
6. Writing an Article in a Language the Writer is Not Familiar With
I will make this one fast and simple. I see writers weekly from countries that do not speak English. Their articles read terribly and there is no way I have the time to fix everything and make sure that it reads well and makes sense in English.
If you are going to write an article in a language that is not your own you need to run it by several people that speak the language you are writing in before you submit it. The rejection rate for these types of articles is very high.
So in Conclusion…
If you are going to get into guest blogging you have to set yourself apart from other writers. Being an easy writer to work with sets you apart. I hope you can avoid the above mistakes and guest blog more successfully. Make sure to read 8 Mistakes I Have Seen Guest Bloggers Make: As a Publisher & a Business Owner as well.