How to guest blog

We’ve written before about how blogging can be a great way of helping your career. It gets you known by people who work in the industry you’re targeting, it helps improve skills such as writing, PR, communication, marketing and it’s a platform to show-off the interesting things you are doing (an online CV in effect).

But you should also think about guest blogging – i.e. writing an article for somebody else’s blog. And there are two great reasons for doing so:

  1. If you haven’t got your own blog this can be a good place to start. It gives you a chance to test out your blog writing skills and doesn’t require the consistency of posting as having your own blog does.
  2. If you do have a personal blog, it’s a great way to advertise yourself and connect with other people.

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Many bloggers (both individuals and organisations that run blogs) are glad for the extra content, as long as it’s up to standard. As part of my role in the Careers & Enterprise Centre I often have enquiries from people wanting to write for us, so here are a few of my tips if you are thinking of guest blogging. Many of my points are also echoed by Ideas Tap, so take a look at their website for more great tips on writing, blogging, pitching etc.

Choose the sites you want to write for carefully

A blog that has hundreds of followers might bring you great exposure, but is it in any way related to your career (or personal) interests? If not, you might struggle to write something of quality. On the other hand, it’s good to think outside the box: if you have an interest in science, for instance, you could approach a foreign policy blog with an idea that connects the two subjects.

Take time to think of a good idea

…or a couple of ideas. Giving the person two or three things you’d like to write about gives them more choice. Don’t expect them to come up with ideas for you. Also try to make your idea original. Read the blog to see what has been written about in the past and then try to think of something that would fit in but that is also different enough not to repeat what has already been said.

Pitch yourself as well as your idea

What knowledge or experience can you bring that makes what you have to say worth reading? To illustrate: my team is made up of people who have years of experience in careers and employability and often professional qualifications to go with it. So if somebody pitches to me to write something for our blog the first thing I think is ‘can someone else in my team write about the same thing and can they write about it better?’ If they can, it’s unlikely I will need the person’s work. But if the pitcher works in a certain industry, is a recruiter used to hiring students, or perhaps a student/graduate who has done interesting things, then they might have opinions and insight that my team don’t necessarily have. So I look at the person as much as the idea.

Give some writing examples

If you are trying to write for a well-known blog/organisation, make their job easier by giving them some examples of other blogs you have written. If you haven’t done any blogging yet, try and send other writing samples, but nothing too long and preferably something in the appropriate style and on the same subject.

Listen to instructions

If the blog owner likes your pitch and agrees for you to write something, listen to any instructions they give. If you need more clarity ask questions. If they ask for more information then give it. If there is a word limit, stick to it. There is nothing more annoying than explaining what you want someone to write about, only for them to write about something different. Some people might be nice and give you a chance to re-write. Some, however, might just decide they don’t want you to write for them after all.

Remember…

Guest blogging should be a reciprocal arrangement, allowing you the chance to reach a wider/different audience and allowing the blog owner to get interesting, quality content. Writing a blog post can be hard work, it takes time and thought and effort. So can managing a blog, particularly a professional, shared blog where you are in charge of quality control, have to review, comment on and edit other people’s work. Understanding this will help you when it comes to pitching your guest post.

Heather Campbell

Information Assistant, QMUL Careers & Enterprise Centre

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