by Nate Hoffelder

After a decade of running The Digital Reader, Nate is a veteran web publisher with experience in design, maintenance, recovery, and troubleshooting. What little he doesn't know, he can learn.

May 14, 2020

How to Not Waste Your Valuable Time When Submitting Guest Blog Posts

Guest blogging ( aka “writing for exposure”) puts your work in front of a new audience, giving you the chance to find new readers or clients. It can be a great way to get attention, but that is only true if the host blog has an audience in the first place.

It can be useful, but when was the last time you stepped back and evaluated whether a given blog post was worth the time you put into it?

I’m going to let you in on a secret: I had to find out the hard way that some of the blogs I have written for did not actually have an audience that was big enough to be worth the effort.

I don’t want you to repeat my mistakes, so here are a few questions you should ask before sending anyone your hard work.

1. How many page views does the blog get each month?
2. How many subscribers does the blog have?
3. How are newly published articles being promoted? What about older articles?
4. What is the blog publisher doing to grow the blog’s audience?
5. What is the blog’s policy on exclusivity?

I want you to ask these questions so you can find out two things: the size of the audience, and whether the blog owner is publishing a blog, or is simply blogging. (Also, you need to know about exclusivity because you might want to reuse a post on your own blog.)

The difference between blogging and publishing a blog is akin to the difference between writing a manuscript and publishing a book. Writing is where you create a brilliant work, but it’s the publishing activities that determine how many people read that work.

Furthermore, this point is important because while one can have a lot of success blogging, long-term success is dependent on the blog owner (or whoever is running the blog) acting like a publisher rather than a blogger. It doesn’t matter how good the writing is if no one reads it, and without promotion and audience development (two “publishing” activities) no one is going to see your brilliant work.

You only want to work with blogs where you will get the most return for your effort, so before you decide to submit a blog post, you should first ask these questions. I would create a file where you track the responses from all the blogs you have submitted to, as well as your own perception of their reach (whether you see a blog’s posts being shared a lot, for example).

You should rank the host blogs based on the size of their audience, the degree of professionalism, and whether you are catching the attention of new readers. Every so often you should look at the rankings, and ask yourself if the blogs at the bottom of the list are worth your time. While that sounds cold, your time is finite, and the time you spend writing is time not spent getting paid, so you should spend it where you have the most to gain.

You should also consider whether a given blog serves your desired audience, but I am assuming you had already done that before you even considered submitting a blog post.

Oh, and one final note: You should ask about how posts are promoted if only because you will learn new tricks you can use for your own blog.

Happy blogging!

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