Guest blogging can be a critical part of blogging. Becoming a guest blogger on a more well known blog is a great way to gain more hits, and get your name out to your primary demographic. Likewise, better known bloggers can lend their voices to smaller blogs, with exclusive material, to help them get started. But, in spite of the potential gains to guest blogging, it needs to be done carefully and tactfully in order for it to remain effective. Guest blogging done wrong is more than just a waste of your valuable time and energy, but can actively hurt your blog. Here are the three biggest signs to telling if your guest blogging is helping or hurting your image.
Keeping an eye on the comments is the most basic way to gauge your audience response. Negative comments are normal, so just seeing one or two negative comments isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Hopefully you’re speaking to a diverse audience, and some of them are bound not to agree with you. However, if the comments are largely negative, you may want to take note. If you receive primarily negative feedback, it may be a sign that you’re posting on the wrong blog. Posting on the wrong blog means that the audience of that blog is filled primarily with people who are not your target audience and are unlikely to look kindly on your views.
This means that, not only will they be unlikely to visit your blog to read more of your material, but they may also speak negatively of your writing in other areas, spreading negative word of mouth. This negative word of mouth may turn off potential readers who would otherwise be more open to your ideas. For example, say you’re guest posting on a tech blog, and you have a low opinion of Apple. If the readership of that blog is primarily in favor of Apple (even if the blog takes no official stance itself), your posts are not likely to be taken well.
Readers may mention you in other tech based spaces, where there may be a mix of people who like Apple, and people who dislike Apple. Even those who would agree with your message may be turned off by the negative comments about you, reducing your potential audience. It may also turn readers off from the blog entirely, meaning the owner of the blog is not likely to recommend you to others, and may ask you to stop posting.
Specific things to look out for in negative comments include specific recognition of your name, or handle. This means that the readers have noticed that your content specifically differs from the content they enjoy. While they do know who you are, it’s not in a good way. This name recognition means that they will be ill disposed towards you in future posts as well. Just by seeing that you wrote the piece, their negative feelings towards your writing may carry over, even if you’re writing a post they normally wouldn’t mind. Another bad sign is if you comment on the blog yourself, and people respond negatively to your comments, based on your previous writings.
Another simple way to check if your guest blogging may be hurting you, check how many blogs you write guests posts for. Are they all relevant to your topic? Your first instinct as a blogger may be to write for as many sites as you can, to get your message out to as many people as you can, and to get as many search engine hits as you can. However, the old saying about quality over quantity is apt. The blogs you write for should be good matches to your content. They should be relevant enough to your topic that you’re still talking primarily to your target audience, but different enough that you’ll stand out, and show how your personal blog offers unique content. The more sites you’re writing for, the higher the chances are that you’re missing these criteria on many or all of them. If readers feel like you’re spamming sites for hits, it will reflect negatively on you, and cause problems for your blog.
Even if you are writing for the write blogs, writing for too many may stretch your abilities too far. Your writing as a guest poster may not exactly match your writing for your own blog. Your writing should be catered to fit the content of the blog you’re writing for. This means guest posting isn’t just a matter of writing a post, but researching the site you’re writing for, and trying to find material that fits. Again, it’s a search for a perfect balance between enough like the site it will be well received, and different enough that you’ll stand out. It may not be possible to put in that much work for too many sites at the same time while retaining quality, and your voice.
Guest blogging is best done regularly, and for a small number of highly relevant blogs. Check how many posts you’ve written for the blogs that are the best fit for your content. If it’s only a few, the chances are the readers haven’t gotten much of a chance to know who you are. Depending on how clear the site makes it that your post is a guest post, readers might not even realize you exist. The optimal way to guest post is to allow the readers of a blog to learn who you are, and want to read more of your writing. If you become a regular fixture on a blog, readers can gradually learn more about who you are, what your views are, and what sort of content you like. The better your readers know this, the more likely interested readers are to visit your blog. It also means it’s more likely that they’ll recommend your blog to interested friends, even if they’re not personally interested. Ultimately, not letting your readers know who you are is one of the worst things you can do, even worse than getting primarily negative feedback.
Again, imagine that you’re writing for a blog and get negative feedback. Those readers may spread negative word of mouth. But if that word of mouth is accurate to the content you offer, some parties may be interested. If someone criticized a film for containing too much action, a fan of action films may be intrigued, for example. It’s not optimal, but it may still draw in a few people. But if the readers have no idea who you are, and you don’t write often, they won’t be able to say what about your content is unique, or worth reading. It’s more likely that they’ll forget about you. All of your hard earned work will go to waste.
Worst of all, if you get a negative response, but you don’t give your readers time to know who you are, any word of mouth on you won’t reflect what you have to offer, meaning you’ll be pushing away potentially interested readers, without much hope of attracting anyone at all.