Monday Marketing Bite: The Three Golden Rules of Guest Posting

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Whether part of a book blog tour or an occasional marketing strategy to reach new readers, guest posts should be an integral part of an author’s promotional tool kit. Why? First off, because of the promise of reaching a new audience. Meeting new readers at their usual hangout – book blogs and social media groups – is the best place for you to interact with them. It gets your name out there, along with your books, and some of them will follow you back to your own blog or social media profile/page. Secondly, there’s the very practical and immediate aspect of them wanting to know you better through your work – hence buying a book. Thirdly, it answers readers’ need to know more about their favorite authors, and that means deepening the bond you already have with your fans.

Guest posting might not seem very difficult—you sit down in front of a blank page and write a short post (about a page) on your work, your process, your inspiration sources, the characters in your latest novel, etc. More often than not, the blog you approach about a guest post won’t supply you with a theme, so you have free reign over what you post. So here are three golden rules to help guide you in your guest posting endeavors:

Golden Rule One: Always Offer Unique Content

Whenever you offer a guest post to a blog, it has the be fresh, unique content. Even if it’s on a matter you’ve discussed on the past, this cannot be something you’ve posted before. In author terms, don’t submit any previously published works.

Despite the obvious – recycled content does not provide the blog in question with anything special, there are other issues that can arise. Something called duplicate content might affect the blog you’re trying to be part of. Google (and other search engines) tends to frown upon just copy/pasting content from other websites. It sees is as less valuable than original content, and so will your readers (if they are long term fans who’ve read the same post before).

Golden Rule Two: Have Your Audience in Mind

Who reads the blog you’re writing for? Depending on their audience, you might approach a certain subject, or certain aspects of your craft. A blog for readers and one for fellow authors, for example, would require a different kind of article from you. Even two different book blogs would need you to adapt your style. You address new acquaintances in a certain way, while writing differently for a place that’s been constantly hosting you.

Golden Rule Three: Stay True to Yourself and Your Style

People accept you as a guest blogger because they are interested in you and your style. If you come up with something that doesn’t even seem like it’s been written by you, they will be disappointed. It’s like contracting a comedy act and ending up with a tragedy. Expectations should always be met. New approaches to writing the post, announcing new things, or revealing some new part of yourself are all fine, but your style should be genuine. Most times, this is an unconscious thing we do when writing, but sometimes, if we try too hard to match a blog or a writing style, our unique, distinctive voice might be lost.

Bonus Rule: Should You Antagonize?

Hot, sensitive topics will always generate endless conversations. Lots of comments, lots of interaction and shares, but is there a way to do it properly? There is. I strongly believe there is nothing you shouldn’t write about – in your books or in your articles. If it happens in real life, then it’s fair game. But, as it happens with writing stories, how you treat a certain subject matters more than the subject itself. Just think of the warnings publishers often help – rape for the sole purpose of titillating is a big no-no. Characters who have experienced it or deal with it throughout the story are perfectly fine though.

If you are a guest on someone’s blog, tackling a sensitive issue just to antagonize people and make sure you get lots of traffic and comments is something I’d advise against. If you want to shed light on a different, less popular side of the matter, to encourage healthy, intelligent, civilized debate, then, by all means, go for it!

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