Blogging Is More Fun When You Get a Little Bit of It on You

List of guest posting opportunities

Combine a gallon of guilt and a pound of procrastination and you have the recipe for today’s post.

You know the saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”? I’m guilty of laying more than a few miles of pavement on that hell-bound highway.

For the longest time (you know, like forever), I’ve been meaning to share a list of guest posting opportunities with you. Just wipe off all the moss it’s gathered on my hard drive, along with the dust particles and cobwebs, and it’ll be good as new!

Before I dive in, I should let you know my list of guest posting resources is for you IF:

  • You’re blogging for business
  • You’re looking to get your name, your brand, your biz, and your blog out there in a bigger way
  • Taking the seat of honor on someone else’s blog is one of your key online marketing activities/strategies
  • You’re an experienced blogger who’s been publishing posts for longer than a few short months

If you fit the bill, that’s great.

If not, you’re probably a newbie blogger who needs to pay some more dues in the blogosphere before branching out. (Bookmark this post for future reference)

Dear Seasoned Bloggers:

Ever feel like maybe it’s time to up the ante and spread your wings in this blogging-for-business thing? One way to satisfy that yearning is to cast a wider net by writing guest posts.

A note of caution:

THERE ARE RULES and SPECIFIC GUIDELINES you must follow in guest blogging. Not to mention disappointments (and beer to cry into) if your submissions are declined.

Guest posting is not for the faint of heart.

Honestly, being a podcast guest is easier and a very powerful way to showcase your voice and your personality — whereas writing requires long hours at the keyboard and loads of creative thinking. Tricky business figuring out how to share your personality via the written word, isn’t it?

But, hey, writers gonna write, right?!

Beware: Those who accept guest posts command your BEST work and your BEST writing. I think their expectations are exactly where they need to be … on the ceiling. After all, it’s their blog and they have a reputation to uphold and a treasured audience to serve.

For the love of everything holy, PLEASE proofread and edit your guest posts before you send them off! Otherwise, expect some doors to be slammed in your face, followed by the sad sound of silence and the icky feeling of rejection.

One more thing and it’s a BIGGIE …

Don’t abandon your guest posts. Once your thing of beauty is published on someone else’s blog, remember to take accountability and reply to comments.

Nothing irks me more than guest authors who vanish in the night.

You’re not a “ghost” blogger — you’re a “guest” blogger! So mind your manners and be a gracious guest.

Ready to bang out an engaging, educational, entertaining, enlightening guest post?

Find opportunities here to strut your best stuff:

Slow Marketing

Elle and Company

Freelancer FAQS

My Kind of Monday

Agency Nation

Scary Mommy

Words on the Page

The Write Practice

Kuno Creative

The Work At Home Wife

Simply Stated Business

Shoestring Marketing University

She Owns It

12 Most

Shareaholic

Be a Freelance Blogger

My Social Game Plan

The Mogul Mom

Write to Done

Home Notion

Heartspoken

Mark it Write

Wondering how much guest posting pays? Uh, that would be $0. The compensation comes in other forms, like broadening your reach online, garnering networking opportunities, and creating a list of writing clips for your website. Not to mention a way to improve your writing skills.

If you’re looking for paid writing gigs, be sure to subscribe to Brian Scott’s Morning Coffee eNewsletteryour daily cup of fresh freelance writing jobs.

Your turn:

Nothing trumps a good story. If you’ve had some experience in the world of guest blogging, head to the comment box and lay the fun times and the faux pas on us. Tell all!

And if you offer a guest posting opportunity on your blog, please share the details.

Makeness Media Bravery Blogging Project

You Can’t Make a Living from Disjointed Thoughts and Sloppy Grammar

To earn new business, good storytelling and writing skills matter

It’s my job to beautify your web copy so you can look sharp and on top of your game. As a copy editor, my take on this topic may differ from yours.

Here’s my [totally biased] perspective:

If I had a nickel for every time a blogger asked me THIS, I could be living in a castle by the sea (with a maid, butler, chef, hairdresser, chauffeur, and personal stylist):

“Is proper grammar all that important in blogging for business?”

Inevitably, these questions follow closely behind:

“The messages in my posts are a lot more important than any writing mistakes I make, right? If everything isn’t grammatically correct on the page, my target audience won’t really mind, right?”

WRONG. (Spoiler alert)

I’m a fun-loving soul so I turn the next part of the conversation into a little game.

I ask the blogger to imagine she’s approaching the entrance to a new local bakery when she notices the word, bakery, is misspelled on a sign in the front window. Apparently someone is dyslexic. (Happens to the best of us)

Then I ask her to give me her immediate gut-level response to the glaring boo-boo.

I usually get responses like these: “Eww, not cool” or “Pretty stupid mistake, isn’t it?” or “Why didn’t they pay closer attention or give closer inspection before hanging that sign?” or “It’s such an easy word to spell, I’m embarrassed for the owners.”

Please lean in and listen carefully, business bloggers …

The same holds true for YOU and your writing.

Pure and simple, it’s a matter of credibility and reputation.

That imaginary bakery will probably still sell some pastries today, even with a blatant spelling error in the storefront window. After all, they make the tastiest and richest double chocolate, chocolate chip muffins in town. (In my imagination, that is)

But they’ve opened themselves to criticism, bad press, and photos of their screwed up sign posted on social media … with silly, sassy, and snarky captions.

Ouch.

NOT the reputation they were hoping to establish as a brand new business — plus points and precious ground lost in building credibility.

Take this advice to heart, business bloggers:

Why not get your writing right and avoid having prospective clients or customers leave your blog thinking, “Eww, not cool”, and possibly never return to read another word.

A few typos now and then are no big deal. However, disjointed thoughts and sloppy grammar won’t help you seal any deals!

Your blog posts need to put you in a professional light and elicit trust and confidence in working with you. If your story doesn’t flow, your thoughts are not cohesive, and your writing contains spelling and punctuation errors, you’re running the risk of losing business.

To earn new business, good storytelling and writing skills matter.

Do you agree or disagree? Biz bloggers, let’s hear your take on this topic.

Makeness Media Bravery Blogging Project

I am Not a Rebel, Radical, or Revolutionary — Just Your Garden Variety Rule Breaker

#braveblogging | Sometimes it's okay to burn the rule book

Some rules beg to be broken.

People like me go out on a limb and break them — not to be cantankerous or confrontational but to simply navigate life differently.

I’m a gal who likes to write my own ticket, make my own rules, freelance my talents, and do a bit of messing with tradition.

Breaking away from the norm is my kind of fun.

I’m a small-town girl at heart, a recovering perfectionist, and a poster child for the introverted. I always cheer the loudest and proudest for the underdog and I love going against the grain.

Yeah, that’s about as radical as I get.

By the way, totally ignore that memo about introverts. We’re NOT anti-social and we’re great at organizing events, closets, presentations, projects, and groups of people.

We just happen to be most creative and do our best work flying solo.

And after we’ve been surrounded by large crowds of people, we need to decompress in a quiet, soothing, safe environment … alone. (With a stiff drink)

So now that I’ve hopefully cleared up some misconceptions, let’s take a stroll down my rule-breaking lane.

Sometimes it's okay to burn the rule book | #braveblogging

I Opted for a Ringless Engagement.

No flowers, no photos, no engagement dinner party, no formal announcements — no hoopla whatsoever and no ring.

What? Huh?! Yep, it’s true.

This summer my sweetie asked me to marry him. I said “Yes” … but “No, thank you” to the whole ring thing.

I’m not a jewelry person, for starters, and I think getting engaged is more about the heart-centered commitment and togetherness factor than a piece of jewelry.

When people ask to see my engagement ring (and they always do!), I tell them it’s really quite extraordinary — it’s invisible.

They usually giggle kinda nervously and respond with, “Oh, that’s different.” And they’re right. It’s different in that a ringless engagement is non-traditional and totally unexpected.

The dough my guy would have spent on an engagement ring could be much better utilized for everyday living and household expenses. You guessed it. I’m a practical-minded individual.

I Don’t Write Long Blog Posts.

GASP!

This is another area I’ve chosen to break a rule and travel off the beaten [blogging] path.

I know, I know. Posts that are 2000+ words get more social shares. If I read any more stats, facts, advice, and analytics about it, I’m going to vomit.

But guess what?

I don’t write for Mr. Google or for shares, I write to add value to my readers’ lives and to their businesses.

I’ve worked hard to develop my personal writing style over the past decade of blogging.

Short, sharp posts are my signature style.

I like to call them “Pigeon Hole” posts. I zero in and get to the punchline, quickly, and people appreciate the obvious absence of frivolous fluff and filler.

My beautiful readers are busy people. They don’t have time for 2000 words! I respect them by keeping my posts short, averaging 450 – 750 words which, as a matter of interest, they generously share.

I Charge an Hourly Rate for my Copy Editing Services.

OMG!! A unicorn just died.

Nobody in my industry charges by the hour, right?!

All the well-meaning, experienced biz coaches and mentors out there are probably rolling their eyes or heading for my contact form to offer their help and set me straight.

Don’t bother contacting me, coaches and mentors. Your colleagues have already knocked on my door with their pearls of pricing wisdom.

Here’s the thing …

I have happy clients that happily pay my standard fee, which makes me do the happy dance.

And so far, the sky hasn’t fallen because I’m charging an hourly rate.

I’m more than aware I’m breaking a cardinal rule of most freelance copy editors — those who would NEVER trade hours for dollars, not even if hell freezes over!

But it works for me.

And that, my friends, is all that matters.

Please don’t think of me as off-the-wall cuckoo or pig-headed. Just think of me as your garden variety rule breaker.

Break any rules lately? Spill the beans and give me the scoop. I’m all ears. (Introverts are really good listeners.)

Makeness Media Bravery Blogging Project

When Affiliate Marketers Shove Promo Links In A Blog Post Like They’re Stuffing A Turkey

Link stuffing can backfire on your blogging and marketing

Blogging and overzealous affiliate marketers can be an annoying combo.

I’ve seen them. You’ve seen them. Unfortunately, we’ve all seen them. The commission-driven, unattractive, undesirable blog posts stuffed and plump with affiliate links.

Talk about a prime time to put your cringe on and your cursor on the “x” to click away!

I get it, affiliate marketers. I really do.

You’re blogging to create sales from all the lovely items you’re peddling and promoting in partnership with the rightful owners.

Like the rest of us, you want to make some dough and cash in on your marketing efforts.

There’s not a blinking thing wrong with that goal EXCEPT

Do you think maybe, just maybe, it’s a better idea (a gentler and more digestible approach) to promote one, possibly two, items per post instead of a hefty bowl full?

Affiliate link after affiliate link after affiliate link is, well, not cool. You’re coming across as sales-y, pushy, and quite honestly, desperate.

Maybe you think we don’t notice what’s going on.

Here’s a newsflash:

You’re making it blatantly obvious. So please stop it. You’re giving blogging and affiliate marketing a bad name.

Some of the biggest offenders are affiliates for kitchen gadgets, workout videos and exercise equipment, books, electronics, cosmetics, and everything on earth related to infants and pets.

Most of us have been around the blogging block more than twice and we can smell a promotional link a mile away. Yes, we’re that good.

We welcome the pleasant aroma of one or two affiliate links but twenty-two really stink.

Instead of shoving affiliate links in till your posts burst at the seams, blow up, and spew debris over the rest of us:

1.) Share a case study.

Write about someone who’s put a product or service you’re promoting to the test. Be honest and thorough. Talk about the positives, negatives, and the end result. Include a testimonial. And please make sure it’s one that can be verified. Having your brother write a testimonial is … uh … not going to be convincing.

2.) Pick a product or service and share “why” you chose to promote it.

What’s the reason you wanted to partner with the owner/creator? What attracted you to this particular offering? For crying out loud, make certain you can speak with integrity and claim YOU actually spent money on this product or service and took it for a test drive yourself.

3.) Tell a story.

Everyone leans in on a good story and storytelling for business will never go out of style. Truth is, storytelling pays. Be creative in developing a storyline. What character from a Disney movie or sci-fi adventure can you use as the villain in your story? What fairytale or fantasy comes to mind in relationship to an item you’re promoting? How can you make your customer the hero of your story? Build on that.

4.) Interview a product creator or service provider.

Craft a short list of questions and have your interviewee answer those questions in a blog post. Share a product demonstration video. Record an audio interview and upload it to your blog. Design an infographic depicting little-known aspects, all the moving parts, or behind-the-scenes development phases of a product or service. Post interviews as SlideShare presentations or Haiku Decks. Interviews boost your credibility and increase the familiarity factor.

5.) Showcase happy buyers and/or ideal customers.

Ask your buyers to send you photos or short video clips using the physical products they’ve purchased. Selling books? Have fun and ask people to find an interesting or unusual locale to take a photo holding the book. Make it a contest to see who comes up with the zaniest or most unique photo. Selling kitchen gadgets? (I’ll let you fill in the blanks) Take the photos or videos and turn them into Pinterest graphics. Create a board devoted to satisfied buyers and/or your ideal customers and share your board on your blog and on social media. Make customers, not sales, your main focus.

Blogging and affiliate marketing can be complementary ingredients in your cookbook for success.

So affiliate marketers, stop stuffing turkeys and start crafting link-lean blog posts worth savoring. You’ll earn more commissions and we’ll put our cringe back on the shelf.

Next stop? Mission: Storytelling.

The New Year is bright with all sorts of new ideas, but in certain circles there’s still plenty of shady tricks and underhanded practices that we think should be called out. This month’s word carnival: Dirty Deeds and Due Diligence – what to watch out for in 2015!