The Sky-High Value of Guest Blog Posts

As a writer, you probably assume a lot of responsibility for your own success. YOU publish articles or books, run your website, and send out your newsletter. All of those things count. But did you know that one of the best ways to expand your blog and writing opportunities (and help other experts!) is to connect with others and do guest posts? These work in two directions — that is, you can either be the guest, or you can allow someone else to place their content with you.

money next to typewriter used for creating guest blog posts

Why guest blog posts are golden

If you own a blog, your readers are coming to you for a reason. But no writer is an expert in everything. And sometimes it’s nice to get a little variety, so long as that variety doesn’t veer too far into the weeds from the original expectations readers have. Pulling in a guest allows you to up the value you give followers while learning. It gives just enough novelty to the blog to keep readers feeling like it’s worth checking back in.

If you’re the guest writer, publishing on someone else’s site increases your exposure to their audience. You might gain readers because you’re more visible. But the implication also is that the blog owner has vetted you and found you to be worthwhile. You can link back to your own site as a guest, too. The stronger the network of backlinks is, the more authoritative and important your own website looks to search engines.

No matter which way you approach guest posts, the arrangement means you establish a good working relationship with others. When you have a need with your writing, you can go to these people for help. That support is practical and enables you to do more. But it also helps you cope with the stresses and loneliness writing can bring.

Guest post best practices

  1. Be mindful that the blog you’re guesting on has its own voice and reader expectations. If you’re the owner, make sure the writer you’re going to work with aligns with your goals, values, and style before you invite them to post. As the writer, read a few previous posts. Even as you maintain the unique author voice that gives you value in the first place, try to match the overall tone, length, and formatting. Say you want to write 1,000 words on something. The blog you’re guesting on usually maxes out at 500. In this case, try to shorten your content. Being able to mention previous posts and link to them in your content wins brownie points!
  2. Avoid being overly promotional. Whether you own the blog or are the guest, most readers will appreciate a relevant suggestion or option to dive deeper. They’re happy to have a link that lets them learn about a guest writer, as well. But they DON’T want links, ads, or other calls to action to be so distracting that they decrease the value of the main post content. Nobody likes to be sold to if they didn’t come to buy.
  3. Be on the same page. Guest posts are built on common expectation — the blog owner is going to expect a certain topic, length, etc., and the writer is going to expect a certain level of promotion of their post. So, never pull a bait and switch or act without consultation. Communicate clearly, and when in doubt, ask. Remember, you’re building a support network with every guest post. So, think long-term about the consequences of how you conduct yourself. Always have approval before writing anything.
  4. Consider each other’s needs. If you’re the writer, do everything you can to minimize the amount of editorial work the blog owner has to go through. If you’re the blog owner, offer feedback, potential resources, and a reasonable deadline.
  5. Be clear about money. Sometimes writers will guest post reciprocally and not expect payment. The goal is to work together to expand the audience. But compensation is appropriate if the writer has considerable clout or expertise. It’s always compassionate to financially support artists in your own field. It’s OK to have more of a bartering mindset and offer something other than money as a payment, too, so long as everybody accepts those terms. Services like being on a book launch team can count.
  6. Stay evergreen. Unless the post needs to be on something that is time sensitive, try to select or write about topics that will stay relevant. This practice ensures that the individual post and the blog as a whole appears active and valuable.

With guest blog posts, everyone benefits

Guest posts can be a win-win-win for the blog owner, writer, and audience if approached properly. But don’t make them all you do.

If you own the blog, readers need to be able to trust that the bulk of the content on your site will be yours, unless you are clear from the onset that your blog will be curated. Don’t have so many guest posts that your own voice gets drowned out.

From the writer side, remember that every guest blog post you do is meant to drive people to your home base. So, make sure your author site or other channel (e.g., Medium, Substack) is solid before you propose guest pieces to others. Stay picky about the invitations you say yes to. Always do your best to honor both your brand and the brand of the publishing blog.