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At Econsultancy we’ve always tried to share the knowledge of our community, which is far greater than our own collective brain.
We used to do this primarily through a weekly interview with an in-house e-commerce professional, where we’d try to ask the kinds of questions that would lead to some revealing answers. We’ve always greatly preferred actionable insight, rather than exclusive company news.
A few years ago we published the first post on this blog and shortly thereafter started to invite industry experts to contribute articles. The Econsultancy brand is heavily aligned to ‘learning’, and what better way to learn that to share first-hand insight from guest bloggers who are insanely knowledgeable in their field?
What’s in it for guest bloggers?
Guest blogging is a great way of putting yourself on the map. You do this through thought-leadership, by sharing know-how, and by being active within the community. Guest blogging can do wonders for your reputation if you do it right.
It can also help to extend awareness about what you do, your subject/s of choice, and the tools and techniques that you employ. That being said, blatant hawking sucks, so steer clear of that. If your post reads like a sales pitch then it won’t get published, or if it does, the readers will see straight through it.
Guest blogging can also be good for traffic. Our headlines are automatically pushed out onto Twitter, and with 38,000+ followers they naturally attract clicks (and retweets). A portion of that traffic will follow the scent trail all the way back to the guest blogger’s site, if the post is good.
The anatomy of an ideal guest blogger
Heart. Are you a sharing, caring type of person? Are you passionate? If you’re prepared to help others and love what you do for a living then you’re potentially a great guest blogger. And you can learn how to write for the web, so don't worry too much about that if you're a first time blogger.
Lungs. A capacity to contribute regularly is essential. We ask our guest bloggers to submit at least one post a month, and not to give up after one or two posts. Frequency matters...
Stomach. Do you have the appetite and capacity for guest blogging? Are you hungry enough for it, or is it just a passing fad?
Mouth. Opinion is what makes the world spin, and it’s important to have one. But it’s just as important to back up your thoughts with as much proof as you can muster, and to avoid long-term navel-gazing (soothsaying sucks).
Brain. Real world insight is the thing that makes a guest blogger stand out from the crowd. And you want to be remembered, right? Anybody can – and should – have an opinion, but it is much harder to shed light on difficult subjects, or topics that have been well covered elsewhere. The best posts on this blog are helpful, useful, practical and are full of takeaways.
Legs. Does your post have legs? Will it attract lots of feedback? Will it travel far and wide via social media platforms? Will it be picked up by other bloggers? Will it generate a bandwagon of retweets*?
Ears. It’s important to listen and to respond to the comments that your post will attract, whether they appear on the blog you’re contributing to or via the likes of Twitter. Good writers stay alert and don’t sign off once their posts have been published.
Eyes. It’s really important to look before you leap. Since I launched this blog in mid-2006 we have published more than 7,000 posts, so the chances are that we’ve already written that post you were thinking of writing about how brands should start using Twitter, or SEO tips for e-commerce managers. Duplication is a waste of everybody’s time, so it’s best to check in advance and to make your post sufficiently distinct from others that have already been published (or to think of an entirely new one).
Fingers. Well, they’re for pointing, right? We’re big believers in linking to other sources of goodness, so try to back up posts with supporting evidence wherever possible. Try to avoid pointing at yourself all of the time, as nobody likes a self-referential show off.
Spine. All bloggers need to have a backbone and a thick skin. Sometimes it can get a little personal. Don’t feed the trolls! Transform into a duck if necessary!
Soul. It goes without saying that all writers should have a soul, otherwise there’s little point in putting pen (finger) to paper (keyboard). I’m not sure where one’s soul lives on an anatomical chart, but let's not worry about that right now...
If you're interested in guest blogging for Econsultancy then please make friends with our editor, Graham Charlton. At this stage we're mainly on the lookout for client-side guest bloggers.
*Hat tip to Ged Carroll for defining the collective noun for retweets!
[Image by meddygarnet via Flickr, various rights reserved]