Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Guest Post conundrum

I was working my way through a guest post (I'll link to it later in the week) tonight, remembering all the time a conversation that I'd had recently with Sister C:

C: "I read your guest post at [insert name of fabulous blog] today," she said. "It was good. But..."

Me: "But????" (There may have been a hint of defensive paranoia in the tone. Maybe.)

C: "Your guest posts never sound as 'you' as your blog posts do."

Me: "Hmmm." Ruminations. "I think it's because I'm writing in someone else's space. So it feels more like a column or an article. So I immediately switch to a more professional voice. A magaziney voice, I guess."

C: "Like a broadcast voice versus an intimate voice."

Exactly. When I write here, I feel as though I'm writing in a room. One part of me is aware (always aware) that it's a public room, but it feels like a live, unplugged gig. As soon as I step into another room, I'm more aware of the audience, so I step up a little, put on my stage face and plug into some electricity.

On someone else's blog, I feel like the support act, warming up for the show that everybody really wants to see (the blogger that they love), singing my heart out to a room full of people who are all talking amongst themselves and trying to time their toilet breaks so as not to miss the main act.

One of the first things I learned about blogging, via my endless, obsessive reading in the first few months, was about the importance of guest posting in helping to build a blog. It makes sense. A guest post introduces you and your style to a whole new audience. One that, hopefully, will like enough of what they see to follow you home. For that reason, I always say yes when I'm asked to guest post. If someone is kind enough to put me on their marquee (and offer M&Ms (red only) for my rider), I'm going to say yes, thanks for having me, and do my best to deliver them a show-stopping post.

But I won't say that I don't get stage fright about it.

How do you feel about guest posting? Do you love it or do it because you feel you should?

[image: button by BuyTheLightOfTheMoon/etsy}


  1. I'm the same. It feels like a first date that I need to impress, rather than a comfy pizza in front of the teev.

    That said, I love sending guesties out there occasionally - it's nice to dress up in a nice frock occasionally, rather than being fixed in my trackies.


  2. I have only been asked to guest post a couple of times (which probably says lots about my woefulness as one) BUT I like having guest posters on my blog. I like have a different voice to listen to. I hadn't thought about it from another perspective. So is this is a good time to ask you if you want to? I don't think you could top your previous one about finding a clitoris on a map TBH ;)

  3. I like reading other people's guest posts but considering Im new to all this sometimes I don't get the etiquette of it all - I feel like its high school and I cant work out who I can approach and who I cant?? I'd love people to write on my blog to see if I can capture different perspectives of the topic I tend to write about ...I write really quickly on you lose that sense of comfort when you're visiting elsewhere??

  4. I've only done it once. I was flattered to be asked, but the whole thing made me feel a bit anxious, really.

  5. I worked so hard on my first "proper" guest post, felt it needed to be just perfect. I sweated more over it than over any other post I'd written.

    But it was worth it, I got heaps of traffic from it, not necessarily long term followers, but I can see how guest posting strategically and frequently can grow your blog.

  6. I've never done one... but just asked another blogger of I could and she's said yes... and now I need to write it - yikes!!!!

    And I realise I need to take photos specially for it... but when!!??

    And the cat needs to go to the vet/son needs haircut/ must do twins' club newsletter/ need to write blog posts/ do washing/ tidy up whole house.... I've put off thinking about it all weekend and I think you've just explained why...

  7. I get lots of emails from people wanting to guest post on my blog, and I knock them all back (politely).

    And I wouldn't dare do a guest post anywhere else!

    A great old pal of mine says "you're not a joiner, are you?". Nope.

  8. I've done it a few times. It was fun, kind of like having a sleep over at someone's house, but it's also a little nervy because you're always on your best behaviour.
    It's something I don't do often for all the reasons that Seana mentions. Some weeks it's hard enough to find the time for my own blog, let alone spreading myself around (thinner, as it were).
    Does this mean sister C is warming up to the idea? I tried to talk her into it a few weeks ago.

  9. Oh, I'm sort of with Jamie. I have knocked all offers back so far. Why? Just didn't feel right. Hmmm, maybe I should get some guts. A-M xx

  10. I love reading other peoples blogs whether it is on their site or a guest post. I admire those of you who are so good at it. I am too new and insecure to guest post since I am not a professionally trained writer. I just write what I feel in my heart and it doesn't always come out the way I want it to. I love learning from you and others.

  11. I haven't actually guest posted yet but I have been asked to:) However I'm procrastinating because, well yes I think I have to be more professional or something. You have me thinking, I should be more me (taking note Sister C;)
    Why am I doing it, well I'm so darn honoured, sincerely floored to be asked and since I have been asked I'm certain it will be great growth as a writer to be a guest poster. (well I can hope that I will grow)

    And yes I would agree that your guest posts have more of a professional tone and your blog posts have a more chatty tone, but both are really you, two sides to the one coin;)

    Just write and write, write about what you are passionate about and over time you will 'find your voice' and discover you have improved as a writer.

  12. I always feel so honoured when I'm asked, but, like you, spend ages crafting it and honing it. And yes, it may be my journalist background, but I tend to have a more professional voice on too - trying to sound like 'me' but my 'best me'...

  13. Something that can be difficult for me (not that I've done a ton of guest posts) is to keep my voice while also keeping in mind the tone of the blog for which I'm posting. For example, on a blog that is more humorous, I'll try to really incorporate a bit more irreverant tone than I use on my own blog, but still sound like "me." It's a tightrope :)

  14. Hi Al,

    I know this feeling.

    Once you get to the big blogs you have to adapt your writing to suit their style, niche and readers. There's still room to share your personality and personal stories within those parameters though!

    It's fun to write in a few different styles though and I do it on my own blogs too.

    Some posts are how tos, others crazy stories. It depends what I'm writing and for who!

  15. I do enjoy visiting other blogs as a guest, but have more fun hosting visitors on my own blog - I think there's a frustrated journa lurking somewhere deep inside!

    I too suffer from the 'have to perfect if I'm on someone else's blog' stress and that makes a visiting post a whole lot more hard work... But then it stretches me in other directions and that's a good thing.

    And I love Lucy's analogy of dressing up instead of staying in a comfy pair of trackies :)

  16. than kyou. I knew there was something I didn't like about certain guest posts I'd done, but couldn't work out what. sometimes I have started writing something for my blog but ended up deciding it fit better somewhere else, those I'm usually happy with. my 2 cents

  17. My recent stint as a guest postie was terrifying. I missed my blog! x

  18. I've guest posted twice and I must not have done a very good job on the first one cuz I never heard from her again. The second one was better, but I completely understand what you're saying. Totally feel like you have to up your game. I wonder if it makes us lose our voice a bit?

  19. I've never guest posted. I have hosted a few guest posters and would love to host more. I like seeing what other people write for me.


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