The Secret Power of Guest Posting

by Emily Wenstrom
published in Community

It’s easy to learn about the basic benefits of guest posting—articles about it are all over the place (including this particularly excellent one from DIY MFA, not that I’m biased).

Guest posting is a great way to give your blog a boost in traffic and grow awareness for a website, book, or other project. These are exactly the reasons I started guest posting a few years ago, shortly after starting a blog myself. After all, if I was going to bust my booty to write quality content a few times a week, I wanted to make sure it got read.

But there was an additional benefit to guest posting that I hadn’t heard discussed before. At the time, I didn’t even realize I was gaining it—I was too busy geeking out that I was able to be a voice in the blogging community I’d come to love so much, to realize it was happening.

But almost like magic, it happened anyway. And when my published novel released in March, there it was, waiting for me … and it made all the difference.

Guest Posting Builds Good Will

When done well, guest posting doesn’t only help the guest poster—it also helps the blogger the post is for. This good will is the secret benefit of guest posting. It can lead to some amazing relationships with thought leaders within an online community.

Bloggers share guest posts because they need quality content on a regular basis, and sometimes that’s to keep up on your own. So when you are pleasant to work with, create quality content, and deliver it on time, you’re helping that blogger out, sometimes tremendously. Bloggers remember people who help them, and this can lead to some really awesome relationships.

Do these criteria sound pretty basic? Good. Professional behavior, quality content, and on-time delivery aren’t as commonplace in real life as you’d think.)

What the Benefits of Good Will Look Like

My involvement with DIY MFA is a great example of how guest posting can lead to much more.

I started reading DIY MFA a few years ago, when it was still pretty young. I was fairly new to writing fiction and struggling through my first novel’s rough draft. The blog’s approach resonated with me, and I quickly became a megafan. So naturally when I started looking for guest posting opportunities, DIY MFA was one of my early pitches.

Because I already knew the website, I was able to offer relevant and fitting post ideas, and managed to get my foot in the door—they gave me a chance to write for the blog. I crafted the best post I could, and when the post went live, I did all I within my power to make sure the post performed well by sharing the link on my own blog and social media, and responding to comments.

It must have worked, because when I came back with another pitch, they accepted me again. Rinse and repeat.

When I heard they were looking for columnists a little over a year ago, I basically leapt out of my chair, waved my arms wildly and shouted “Me, me, pick me!” In, you know, a professional way.

When Bess emailed me to tell me I’d been accepted, she specifically mentioned the quality guest posts I’d provided in the past as a major factor in the decision. Since then, I’ve only wiggled my way into DIY MFA even more.

And this isn’t an exception—I’ve also gotten regular contributor roles with The Write Practice and The Write Life using about the same approach.

More Than One Way to Reap Rewards

You don’t have to pursue columnist roles to benefit from guest posting relationships. If you ever think you might have a book or blog or anything at all to promote, guest posting has benefits for you, too.

Even though I knew guest posting was advantageous for me, even though it’s led to some awesome opportunities for me, I didn’t have my true “aha” moment about all it had to offer until my first novel released in March.

I wanted to do a blog tour the week of my launch, so I reached out with pitches to a few blogs, mostly ones I’d written for in the past. What floored me was this: Two of the bloggers went out of their way to make room for me to post the week of my launch, just because we had a good working relationship from past guest posts

It was a huge help for me at a major juncture, and they seemed happy to give me something back for my contributions in the past. It totally blew me away—I’d been building these relationships for years, and I hadn’t even realized it.

Eyes Off the Prize

This all might sound pretty straightforward and simple, and it is—mostly. There’s one caveat to all this that makes it a little wonky. The trick is, you can’t go into guest posting digging around for what you’ll get out of it—eyes off that prize.

Simply put, be a person, and treat the bloggers you pitch as people, too. Focus on being helpful, and offer only the best work you can create.

You don’t have to push hard to grow these relationships. I didn’t go into guest posting seeking them out—I offered guest posts for fun, to learn, and to build my own blog. When you are kind, professional, reliable, and helpful, the rest falls into place on its own.

Start Guest Posting Now

There are a number of benefits to guest posting on other people’s blogs. Although building relationships with thought leaders isn’t talked about as often as some of the other perks, I’ve found it to be the most valuable perk by far.

To gain the most from this, start guest posting long before you think you need it. When the time comes to hit the blogs hard, you may be surprised to find you have a supportive network already in place!

ew_007_lowrezBy day, Emily Wenstrom, is the editor of short story website wordhausauthor social media coach, and freelance content marketing specialist. By early-early morning, she is E. J. Wenstrom, an award-winning sci-fi and fantasy author whose debut novel Mud was named 2016 Book of the Year by the Florida Writers Association.

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