Monday, November 10, 2014

How to write a successful guest post

The dreaded guest post. If you've ever done a blog tour for a book you are shaking your head right now. If you just released a book and have never written a guest post you should be figuring out how.

Why should I listen to what you have to say?
Because I am F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S! And I am co-owner, along with Hot Diggity Katie Dalton, of the relatively successful review site  I Smell Sheep

Why should I do guest posts?
Guest posting on a blog is free promotion. Once it is up you can put a link to it on your author's site (because after reading this post you have one by now) and any future fans will be able to enjoy your witty self.

It is hard to get reviews if you are a new author, but many blogs will offer you a guest post. This is gold. Your name, cover, book gets in front of readers. Maybe only a handful will go check it out or buy it, but if they do and mention it on their social media or leave a review

How do I get a guest post on a blog?
Ask. Find blogs that feature your genre. Email them and include your blurb, cover and bio, links. In your intro let them know you will be happy to take any date they might have and you will provide them with exclusive content (this is important, will discuss later). Why? Because most blogs schedule posts at least a month in advance. The more flexible you are the more likely they will respond. Keep your email short and to the point! Seriously. Bloggers are doing this for free and on their own time so don't waste it. Seriously. Don't.

*Check to see if the blog has rules about author's contacting them. Look for their policies. Follow their rules. Seriously.

*Check the blog traffic. How many followers do they have? How many people enter the contests on the blog. Don't discount small blogs especially if they get lots comments. Comments mean the readers care, read posts, and will probably share. Also small or new blogs are more likely to give you a chance. Maybe even review it.

*Somewhere near the bottom put: Free review copies available on request. Keep this subtle. Bloggers get hit up with review requests daily and get irritable at some of the heavy handed ways it is done. By having a quick mention at the bottom, they only see it if they are interested in giving you a guest post. This means they are are already in a positive frame of mind and could increase your chances of snagging a review too! 
This is important people. Sending out mass spam email requests to inappropriate blogs will make you look unprofessional. 
Bloggers hate that shit. Don't do it.

I sent out requests and someone said yes! What do I do now?
Time to put that creative mind of yours to work. Bloggers want exclusive content (this is later folks). This means it can't be found anywhere else online. Don't write one guest post and send it to all the blogs. Bloggers hate that shit. Seriously. Don't do it. And yes, they will find out.

When you send out requests you can ask if they have any special features or topics, but if not, you are more than willing to come up with your own. If they have a guest post idea document (like the fabulous blog I Smell Sheep does) then you can choose from some topics and special features they have. If not, you have to come up with something. And here is where the experienced authors start shaking their heads. Guest post are hard to come up with after the 10th or 11th one you've done.

How do I pick a topic?
Check out the blog you will be visiting. Are there any themes to it. Do they post lots of naughty man candy pictures? Do they like vampires, shifters, monsters? Do they post lots of inspirational things? Check out the bloggers interests. Do they like shoes or first kiss scenes? Write a post about any of the topics you find. Because if the blogger likes these things then the readers do too. That is why they follow the blog. You want to connect to the readers. Take the time to research. Bloggers love that shit. Seriously.

I wrote my guest post! It is a thing of beauty. All 2000 words of it!
You just ruined a great opportunity. Readers have precious free time to check out blogs. If they see a long all text post they are clicking right out of there. This is bad for you and the blogger. And you guessed it...bloggers hate that shit.

And yes, I realize I am writing a whopper of a post, but it is informational and targeted at authors, not the masses.

*Keep your bio short and sweet for same reason.

*Keep posts efficient and tight. Use pictures when you can. Pictures of your cover, dogs, favorite pair of shoes, graphics you make. Break up the text somehow. That is why top 10 posts are popular. Easy to skim while the reader decides if they want to invest the time to read everything. So make it pop. 

*Do have a decent cover. If it is a photoshop hot mess the blogger will delete your request. (Shameless plug: check out Candid Covers over in my left sidebar. Get private, free cover feedback from bloggers)

 *Do be creative. People like to laugh and learn interesting or helpful information. That is why memes and info-graphs do so well.

How do I increase how many readers will see my guest post made of awesome?
Attach a giveaway to it. This can be anything. Your book is ideal or some swag. People like to win tangible things. Just an ebook won't get you as many entries. Make sure you tie entries to sharing your post. That way word gets out. The more spectacular/cool the giveaway the more clicks the post will get. Bloggers love that shit. Seriously.

*Do give the blogger a rafflecopter or other equivalent for the giveaway (unless the blogger tells you they will run it). You will be responsible for contacting the winner and sending out the prize. Giveaway widgets are easy to use. You'll figure it out, but I will be doing a post on how to use rafflecopter. This makes it easier on the blogger. Bloggers love that shit.

What should I send the blog?
You are sending what bloggers call the tour/post package. You send an email with the following things attached.The first four should be a document you already have saved to make your life easier (Just be sure to keep it updated):
*Guest post
*your social media links, buy links and any others you want included
* giveaway details and giveaway widget code/link
(all four of these can be in the same document)
*All images you want included like author pic, cover, graphics that go with your post.
*A big old THANK YOU to the blogger and telling them to contact you if they need anything else.

What now?
When the post goes live share that puppy! Make sure to respond to any comments left by readers. I shouldn't have to tell you why you need to do this. This helps you and the blogger. Bloggers and readers love that shit. Seriously.

*At some point leave a thank you email or comment for the blogger.

*Don't spam every social media you are part of multiple times every day. Readers don't like that shit. Seriously. Don't do it.

*Remember, developing a fan base and a trustworthy internet presence is a slow process. Keep building it quality post by post.

**And never use another blogger's exclusive guest post ideas or features on another blog. This is how bloggers set their site apart from other blogs. Seriously. Don't do it.

Okay, now you are ready to go out and guest post the hell out of the internet! If you have any questions or need a little help comment below.
And if you share my post I would love that shit. Seriously.

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