In the age of new media, where media and communication students are spoilt for choice with recently available careers in digital journalism, problogging, online community engagement, blogger relations, online photojournalism and more, leaving an online trail of your work is a great way to build a portfolio for the 21st century communications job seeker. Even if you’re not interested in the field of digital communications, here are some good reasons to start guest posting.
Why You Should Guest Post
Whether you’re into digital media or otherwise, a guest post is a published documentation of your knowledge and work as a communications practitioner.
It is also a great way to explore topics outside your blog theme. For example, if your blog is about life as a communications student, but you’ll like to enter the field of travel writing, why not guest post for a travel blog? How about writing a post for a visual communication blog on why good copywriting is important to sell a design?
Visual communicators can also showcase their technical skills by writing simple how-to guides for bloggers to improve their sites through simple photo editing skills, or step-by-step guides to better designs.
Learning How To Pitch
Similar to writing for a magazine or a newspaper, you most likely have to pitch for a guest post. The techniques and rules are similar to traditional media, as discussed in Getting Published and Before Publishing.
As communication practitioners, I believe that our jobs are selling ideas, stories, pieces of news, concepts, designs or strategies. So what better way to master the art of the pitch than to start pitching today!
Learning How to Write for Someone Else
Blogging is step one to building a writing portfolio but can you write in someone else’s voice or format? Many established blogs or online magazines have a specific style or format that they stick too and expect their guests to follow.
As journalists, public relations practitioners and marketing communicators, you are expected to write in a variety of styles, depending on your (clients’) stories and the publications you’re pitching to. Why not put yourself to the test right now? If you pass the test, you’ll also be rewarded with a portfolio of published guest posts for that future job interview.
Building Relationships with Liked-minded People
Writing a guest post for a fellow blogger can also be a great way to start or enhance an existing friendship.
When I wrote When Inspiration Leads to Unexpected Gifts for Chad Miller, we started exchanging more frequent emails and he has since been doing plenty of unsolicited shout outs for both First Comms Job and my personal twitter accounts.
Is there an online magazine, communications blog or a communications practitioner that you’ll like to build a relationship with? Why not send them a guest post inquiry?
Drive Traffic and Increase SEO for your Blog
While this is a huge reason many people guest post, it is really the lowest ranking reason on my personal list. Partly because many loyal blog followers are not easy converts, unless your host blog and you are very similar in styles and engage the same audience. Even then it’s not a guaranteed conversion. For example, for over 200 tweets of my ProBlogger guest post (excluding organic retweets and manually created tweets) and possibly tens of thousands of readers, I gained 20-30 visitors for First Comms Job via ProBlogger and around 10 new twitter followers, who may or may not revisit my blog in the future. A temporary surge in numbers does not equate a stronger following, which is important to remember if you intent to work in social media or blog for a living.
As for SEO, I don’t think it should be the focus of most student blogs and unless you are writing for established sites with high traffic, an occasional guest post will not make much of a difference to your search results ranking. There are also other easier methods to increase your blog’s SEO.
For communications job seekers, I recommend focusing on creating strong content and portfolio building for the initial stages, unless your blog is fairly established and your interest lies within digital marketing.
Because It Might Land You a Job
While this is uncommon, sometimes beautiful things happen when you put yourself out there. I invited April to join First Comms Job as a collaborator after reading her guest post submission. WPBeginner also offered me a community relations role after my guest post, How To Land a Job Using a WordPress Blog.
Every effort you make towards building a communications portfolio is a potential comms job opportunity.
Thanks for reading this post and I hope you’ve found it helpful!
Have you ever written a guest post? Why did you decide to guest post? Did you gain anything from it? How did it feel seeing your article on someone else’s blog? Please share your thoughts via the comments section below.
Also, if you’re keen to guest post for First Comms Job, check out our new Collaboration Opportunities Page!
Until the next post,