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Friday, June 20, 2008

Killer Campaigns: Guest Blogging

I'm adding to my initial list because I forgot to add: Guest Blogging. That in itself is a whole post.

There are singular blogs, group blogs and then guest blogging. A guest blog entry is when you write a post for a blog where you have no ties. You are a visiting blogger.

Guest blogging is a nice way to introduce yourself to new readers. It's just as beneficial to the blog host because s/he is liable to get traffic from your regular readers too. It's a win-win situation.

But guest blogging has the same responsibilities as any other blog post and one extra obligation. You must always remember that you are a "guest", so it would behoove you to be polite, interesting and genial. You have the option of being a jerk on your blog, but when you're a guest in someone else's home, you should be on your best behavior.

Whenever I've been asked to guest blog I always ask what they want me to talk about. I prefer to be given an assignment. If it's in my sphere of experience, I'm open to any topic.

The other reason I prefer to be given an assignment is because the blog host knows his audience better than I do. Ask what he thinks would be of interest to his readers.

If the host gives you carte blanche, study the blog's past entries and see where he's had the most comments. This might give you some indication on how to slant your topic.

While guest blogging at its core is a good vehicle for marketing, blatant promotion is BORING and in poor taste.

I am far more likely to buy if the author comes across as interesting, witty or funny. If it starts out with an advertisement, my eyes glaze over and I'll move on to something else. On the other hand, if the author hooks me with a great story about how he got stuck in a Moroccan harem, I'm going to sit up and pay attention. When he closes by saying how that experience relates to his book, that's when he's got my full attention and possibly my credit card.

A blog post should reward the reader first.

Tips for being a good guest blogger.

• Bring your joie de vivre. Nobody wants to hear you whine.

• Talk about something you know well. Blogs have a bad reputation for spewing a lot of garbage. Be an expert on your subject and no one will accuse you of talking out your butt.

• Be available. I've been on blogs that don't get a single comment and others that are jumping with activity. Either way, make yourself available to comment or thank people for stopping by.

• Which brings me to acknowledgement. Whether it's your own blog, a group blog, or a guest blog, always acknowledge people when they leave a comment on the blog. People took the time to write you. The least you can do is say thank you, or add to the conversation. Don't act like you've been raised in a barn. (Gawd, I sound like my mother. LOL!)

• Always thank your host, post links on your blog to your host's site and mention your topic on any of your loops.

• If it's a high traffic blog or you have books to spare, offer to hold a giveaway to one lucky winner who comments on your post.

• Announce an upcoming guest blog a few days before it airs and then on the day it goes live.

• Have fun. People can tell when you're enjoying yourself. And a good time is infectious. It makes people feel good about themselves.

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Lindsey said...

Great blog, Maria! These suggestions seem so simple (basic good manners in a lot of cases), but I'm surprised how many authors don't really take advantage of what guest blogs have to offer by doing their part. Sure, just getting your name & book info up on a new site is good exposure, but not making the most of it is throwing away a great promo opportunity - and wasting readers' time.

Maria Zannini said...

Hi Lindsey!

Yup. Like any good networking, it's not what potential new readers can do for you, it's what you can do for them. And it's good karma too. :o)

Thanks for stopping by!

J.K. Coi said...

Great advice Maria, I'll have to remember all these when I come blog with you in July, LOL.

Maria Zannini said...

Oh, that's right. You're guest appearance is coming up fast.

Considering the wackiness over at your blog---I am expecting nothing short of fire engines and the riot squad. LOL!

Sounds like fun to me. looking forward to it.

Tia Nevitt said...

Thanks for including something about commenting! When I have guest bloggers at Fantasy Debut, I usually turn over the comment-answering duties to them. But sometimes, they don't answer comments. It can get awkward.

Maria Zannini said...

I realize that sometimes people forget, especially if it's a post that was written days ago, but I think it's a sign of respect and courtesy to the host blog owner to check back at least within 24 hours and see if there were any comments that need answering.

Not only does the commentator feel acknowledged, but the host feels that his blog was valued.