Tag Archives: blog guidelines

The latest spammy blog query

Kenton washing carStop spraying the spam

I love it when a good example of a bad query falls into my lap. You betcha I’m gonna blog about it.

I got this email the other day – only the name has been changed to protect this “professional blogger.”

Her email to me

My name is Spamela and I’m a Professional Blogger. I have more than 3+ yrs of experience writing for the web and have covered plenty of interesting topics.

I came across your blog and was wondering if you would be interested in allowing me to write relevant & useful topics on your blog at no cost.

At this point of my writing career, I simply want to get more visibility for my writing and I will write for free as long as you are fine with me adding a small author bio section following the blog post about myself.

Please let me know if you are interested and if you’d like for me to submit a sample blog post for your approval.

Spammy and generic

Spamela’s email – she could have sent it to a hundred different bloggers.

Nothing specific – no mention of any of my blog posts or even what my blog is about, no specifics on what she’d like to blog about for my page or how it would be helpful or interesting to my subscribers.

Stop speedingKenton and boys

Don’t be in a speeding hurry to pump out 50 emails (all the same email) to 50 bloggers. Slow down, do a little research on a few specific blogs at a time, make a few considered comments on these blogs.

Specifics of landing a guest blog spot

Found your blog – Explain, if you can remember, how you came across the person’s blog; i.e., you were looking for editors or proofreaders, you were looking for examples of blog guidelines, you were looking for word origins or vocabulary.

What do you like about the blog? – Add a few blog headlines from the host’s blog and say what you liked about those blog posts.

Relevant and useful topics – Explain the “relevant and useful topics” you’d like to blog about and how those topics apply to the host’s audience.

DSC01656Spamela asked for a bio spot – If she had visited my blog and looked at a few of my guests’ posts, she would have seen that I make this a habit – I always post the guest’s bio, a profile photo, and the guest’s social networking links.

Compliment – One compliment for the host blogger goes a long way – I love your Shark theme and design, I loved your portmanteau blog, I loved your Poetry Week – include a comment or two to indicate you have actually looked at the host blog.

My guidelines – Spamela did not mention my blog guidelines. Did she read them? Would she be willing to work within those guidelines?

See also my How to play well with others series – blog guidelines, hosting a guest blogger, the guest blog query, your guest post.

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I can live for two months on a good compliment. ~Mark Twain

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How to play well with others – the guest blog query

DSC01656I know that the word “query” is a red-hot-icky word for many writers. Faggitaboutit!

A great way to expand your exposure and make new friends is to guest blog. But what about the mechanics of a blog query, the acceptance, or the dreaded turn-down?

Your blog – Take a critical look at your blog (and your FB, LI, Twitter). Are you someone that another blogger would welcome? Are your blogs about helping others, sharing experiences, sharing knowledge?

Before the query – Say for instance you find a way-cool blog. You like a post or two and think, “I’d love to be a guest on this blog!” Before you query…

Guidelines? – If the blogger has guidelines, read them. Follow them.

Research – Read a bunch of the blogger’s posts, including posts made by guest bloggers. I suggest at least a dozen. What is that blogger’s focus? How are the posts presented? How are guests presented?DSC01651

Where to send query – If the blogger wants you to send queries via an online contact form, use it. If the blogger wants you to send it to his email, use the email.

Form letters – Ick. Don’t do it. Most experienced bloggers can spot a form letter query from a mile away.

A blah query – “I’m a blogger, and I want to guest blog for you! I love your blog.” Blah and blech. Be sincere, not spammy.

A brilliant query – 1) Mentions a couple of the blogger’s posts and why you liked them. 2) Mentions one or two of the blogs in her blog roll. 3) Mentions the blogger’s book (if applicable).  4) Mentions what you’d like to blog about 5) Provides a brief preview.

Fear of rejection – Get over it. Send your brilliant query.

DSC01676Pace yourself – Don’t send out 50 queries on the same day – you might just get 50 “Yes, I’d like to have you on my blog” and then you’re scrambling to write 50 blogs at quantum-leap speed.

No, thank you – You send your query. You think it’s stellar! The blogger turns you down. It’s his blog, his decision. Remember, it might be timing. Make a note to query this blogger at a later date.

Temper, temper – If the blogger turns you down, don’t blast him on FB or Twitter. Send a basic thank you and let it go.

Resubmit – Try again in a few months. Consider subscribing to the target blog and leaving a comment on occasion.

See also Blog guidelines and Hosting a guest blogger.

Have you sent a query to another blogger? Was your query specific and personal or spammy? What tips would you add to my list?

“Panic at the thought of doing a thing is a challenge to do it.” ~Henry S. Haskins

Quote Garden

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How to play well with others – hosting a guest blogger

Kenton and boysHosting a guest blogger can be a rewarding experience. I learn, I find new friends, and I expand my reader base and exposure. Variety is the blogger’s spice of life. And it’s fun!

Guidelines – I have guidelines, mentioned in my post of How to play well with others blog post of a few days ago. I explain these are not hard-n-fast rules, simply guidelines. I like to enable my guests to use their imagination, their own voice, and their own sense of humor.

Reach out – I don’t wait around for people to invite themselves to guest blog. I go after people I find interesting. Reach out. Expand your horizons!

Background check – Before I invite someone to be a guest, I check out their blog, website, Twitter, Facebook… Do the same background check if a blogger approaches you. Is this someone you want on your blog?

Posting date clarity – Recently, I messed up. In correspondence with a prospective blog guest, my deadline was vague. The guest blogger thought I wanted her article in February (because earlier I mentioned Valentine’s Day), and I was talking about November!

Deadline – Give the guest a specific deadline. S.P.E.L.L. it out clearly. “I need your submission in my inbox on or before January 22.”

Wiggle room – I normally set deadlines at least a week before the scheduled day. Don’t rely on last minute submissions. What if you plan on posting a blog on Tuesday afternoon and you still don’t have it Tuesday morning?DSC01197

Back-up plan – What if your guest doesn’t follow through? Have a couple of your own draft blog articles simmering on the back burner for these emergencies.

Guest bio – I like to provide a bio and links for my guest’s online pages. So, in addition to the article, I ask for a 1) bio 2) profile picture 3) URLs for their social networking.

Maintain control – Indicate (in your guidelines and in conversations) that if you feel their article is not appropriate for your blog you won’t publish it or you might require edits.

Read the submission – Be sure to read the submission as soon as you get it; don’t wait until posting day. Is it well-written and free of typos? Do the links work? If you feel it needs to be edited, send it back to the writer or advise them that you will edit. Be clear about what you feel needs to be edited.

Just say no – I hate to do this, but I’ve had to say, “No, thank you.” If the guest has broken one of your critical guidelines, ask the guest to edit or tell them you feel it’s not appropriate for your blog.

Learn to say yes! – I have broken out of my blogging-box on numerous occasions. A few times, I have read a submission and think, “Eh, not really my cup o tea.” But I sit on it, give it a half day or so, read it again, and consider it on its merits.

Blogging love – If I have a guest, I ask that they share the link on their blog and/or their Facebook, Twitter, Fan Page.

Think big picture – Nearly every time I’ve had a guest blogger, I see an increase in my comments, and I occasionally get a couple new subscribers.

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Have you had guest bloggers? Do you have additional advice for hosting? What sticky situations have you been in with guest bloggers?

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If you are a host to your guest, be a host to his dog also. ~Russian Proverb

A visitor’s footfalls are like medicine; they heal the sick. ~African Proverb

Quotes from Quote Garden.

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I play well with (blog with) others – your guest post

I play well with (blog with) others. Guest blogging in four parts – Part IV of IV. You can see Part I, blog guidelines here, Part II, hosting a guest blogger here, and Part III, query another blogger here.

Your guest post –

Your blog host accepts your blog idea and gives you a deadline. You are scheduled to be a guest on another blog. Fabulous! Don’t simply walk in, drop the gift, and walk away…

…now the work begins.

Deadline – Your host tells you, “Please have your submission to me by December 31.” Make sure it’s in her inbox by that date. Better if you have it to her before the deadline.

Dress up – Don’t send a slopped-together article. Go in your best dress. Brush your teeth. Shine your Mary Janes.

Check the mirror – Proofread, edit for clarity, adhere to word count, include all the information your host asked for. In addition to the article, your host asks for your bio, a profile picture, and your URLs. Don’t make her come back and beg you for them. Submit these as attachments to the submission email.

The extras

BIO – Your host asks for a 50-word bio. Don’t send a two-page resume and expect her to edit.

PIC – A profile picture – Have one. Have a recognizable profile photo, not you amongst 37 cousins at your last family reunion.

URLs – I keep all my URLs in a list, so I don’t have to retype them every time.

Post Day

Share and promote – Make a post on your own blog that directs subscribers to your host’s blog. Go to the host’s blog page and click all the buttons to share it, tweet it, Google it, etc.

Socialize – Visit the host’s blog over the next few days and look for comments. Respond to comments. Be nice. Don’t embarrass your host.

A dud – It your guest post is successful, great! If not, don’t go off pouting or FBing “Why isn’t anyone commenting on my guest post?!” You posted it to your blog, FB, Twitter, and so on. Let it sit for a day. Then consider posting it to your Facebook again.

Send a thank you – Even when I thought Laura’s 10th birthday party was a dud, my mom made me send a thank you note. It’s the right thing to do. Send a thank you to your host.

When in doubt, remember what mom said. Sit up straight, mind your manners, say thank you.

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This is the last post in the series about Guest Blogging. Are you psyched to have a guest or be a guest?

“The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you.”  ~John E. Southard

“Praise the bridge that carried you over.” ~George Colman

“There is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed. If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old-fashioned ingratitude.” ~Robert Brault

Quote Garden

Photo from Photobucket, Rgljr69

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