31 Oct 2016
Over the last few years, there were quite a few articles that spoke about the death of guest blogging and earning links at other people’s and company’s blogs. Once the hype wore out, and the smoke cleared, we were left with a different kind of reality – one where guest blogging still gets the job done.
If done properly, that is.
The New Guest Blogging
Before we get to the importance of tone in guest blogging, I feel I should say a thing or two about the “new” guest blogging, i.e. the kind of guest blogging that produces quality over quantity and that will not be smitten down the first time Google people take a better look at their algorithms.
This kind of guest blogging requires hard work, real connections with people and producing content that will not be just a 500-word rehash of something someone wrote a billion times already.
I like to think that this article of mine is a good example of what this “new” guest blogging is about – finding an already fantastic blog on a certain subject, working long and hard on finding a novel idea for an article and writing an article that would be of interest to the readers of the blog, but also other types of readers.
Or maybe I am overestimating what I had done here.
Basically, it comes down to respect. You respect the people you reach out to, you respect their readers and you respect yourself.
This will help you build real relationships and everything else will come naturally.
The Interpersonal Tone
Online communication etiquette is still in its infancy and we can all agree that people are all over the place when we are talking tone, approach and even spelling. Some people are overly polite to the point that they sound like automated emails while others think all online communication should be done in emojis and gifs.
If you want to be a successful guest blogger, you will want to hit the right tone when talking to people. This is perhaps best explained with a few examples.
For instance, you want to contribute an article on cybersecurity for a website where only experts in the field come to share their insights. These are all (for the most part) very serious people who do very serious work and who take this particular website very seriously. You do not open your first email with Yo, guyz!
You acknowledge their expertise and how they see their website. You find a respectful tone.
Conversely, if you are looking to contribute to a fashion/video game blog run by a hyper 16-old girl, you will be keeping things as simple and conversational as possible. If you are not 16 or around that age, you will also not force being cool and whatnot.
The Tone of Writing
All of the aforementioned can be translated to your writing. This time, however, you also have the readers to think about. All websites have their own readers and they know what to expect on such a website. There are plenty of websites where super-smart and educated people contribute on some very serious subjects, but which are still fun and even funny.
All websites have their own tone, or perhaps more tones than one (in the case where there are more regular contributors). Still, by spending half an hour reading their stuff, you will get the hang of it.
Of course, this does not mean you should not give your own flavor to the content you are contributing. You should never neuter your writing just because it might be slightly different from what usually gets published on the website. If the owner or the editor feels like your writing might be somewhat too different, they will tell you. Then, you will compromise.
Still, the tone is something you will probably not miss if you are at all careful and considerate.
The best way to approach this is to talk to the editors and the blog owners beforehand and see what they have to say about this. They will gladly share their expectations and some great examples. They want your content to be great too.
In the end, it all comes down to being respectful to people and not rushing things. Spend some time with the blog you intend to write for; read some articles; read comments.