Over the past year, fewer blogs have been open to accepting guest posts. Kristi Hines talked about this shift in the blogging world early this year in her post entitled, “Guest Blogging in 2013: The End of Unsolicited Guest Posts?” and why it is happening. Bloggers can still guest post, but these opportunities are not as abundant as they once were, especially if you’re not well connected to others in your niche.
As someone who manages the guest post emails we get here on the NMX blog, I know how crazy some potential guest posters can be. Posts are poorly written with little to no “meat” on the bones. They’re fluff. Or they’re stuffed with keyword links and self-promotion. Or the grammar is so bad that I would have to rewrite the entire piece to prepare it for publishing.
I’ve even had potential guest posters be rude or downright nasty to me when I’ve asked for changes or decided not to publish. Word to the wise: if you want to have a guest post relationship with someone, don’t speculate on their mother’s weight.
But the silver lining is that working with guest posters has made me a better blogger. Here’s why:
- I’m pushed to raise the bar on my own posts.
It isn’t fair for me to ask of guest posters what I don’t do myself. When someone is interested in guest posting, I typically send them a list of directions to follow, which include things like, “link back to relevant posts from the past” and “use headers or bullet points to make the text more readable.” Having this set of rules sets the bar for posts on the blog, my own included.
- Editing makes you a better writer.
Like many people, I’m a horrible editor of my own work. But I think I do okay editing others’ posts, and practicing this skill makes me a better writer and self-editor for my own posts.
- Guest posts give you a break.
Although I do subscribe to the notion that you should only blog when you have something to say, I also know that post frequency does affect your traffic. With guest posts, a weight is lifted because you’re not pressured to produce X number of posts per week. Editing and preparing a guest post is still a lot of work (sometimes even more work than writing a post yourself), but you don’t have to be wearing your creative writing hat when doing it. You’re less likely to burn out if you allow guest posts on your blog.
- Guest posts can inspire future content.
I’m always inspired when I read other blogs, and the same is true of guest posts. Even when a post isn’t well-written and I ultimately say no to publishing it, the topic can help me brainstorm future ideas for my blog posts. And, if I do publish because the guest post is up to par, I can link back to it in my own post. One of the great things about blogging is that you can build off each post to tell a comprehensive story. I like to think of blog posts like stories in an anthology. They all work together on some level, despite being stand-alone.
Accepting guest posts isn’t for everyone. Some bloggers don’t want to make time to deal with the copious number of poor requests. Others worry that guest posts will lead to a weaker brand. But before you say a blanket “no” to guest posts, think about the advantages as well. I believe guest posting can make you a better blogger, despite the extra work you have to be willing to do if you accept them.