Guest Blogging to Jump Start Your Career

September 22nd, 2010 | Shonali Burke | 14 Comments

If you’ve been following Waxing UnLyrical regularly, you’ll have noticed a slow but steady influx of guest bloggers.

These include Narciso Tovar, Bryce Keane and…

you’ll have to read on to see who else is coming on board (as well as the tips).

“Why guest bloggers?”

you might ask. And you’d be well within your rights to do so.

After all, isn’t Waxing UnLyrical supposed to be “personal, possibly poetic, musings on public relations, media, communications, and everything in between”?

Yes, it is.

However, I didn’t say these were just my personal, possibly poetic, etc. musings.

“Seriously, Shonali, why guest bloggers? And WTF are the tips?!”

Wait, dear reader.

It was how I started blogging, and I will always give Kami Huyse (now a dear friend) a thousand blessings for asking me to do so.

Before that, I figured I was a decent enough writer (EGO ALERT!), but the whole blogging thing didn’t take hold with me for a long time.

My training as a PR pro was to put my clients first and stay in the background (something I still try to do as far as clients go).

Also, I asked myself, WTF would care what I thought about things?

Apparently, you do.

In the short time that I’ve been at this, I have learned that there is one common factor to successful blogs (there are others, but I’m focusing on one for now):


Yes, you should blog when you can.

Yes, you should blog as often (or as little) as you like.

No, you shouldn’t care what other bloggers say/think.

It’s what you think that’s important.

But I have come to realize that until you are able to meld the “when you can,” “as often as you like” and “what other bloggers say/think” in one, your blog will be the proverbial tree that fell in the woods… if you’re worried about such things, that is.

Because if you don’t blog often enough, no one will know, and then, why should they care?

I completely agree that “often enough” is a relative term.

So it completely depends on what that means to you.

You, as readers of this blog, define what “often enough” means.

I learn what you think through your comments, emails, and Google Analytics.

And what I’ve found is that when there’s decent content here, day in and day out, you stay with me.

Not only that, when it takes your fancy, you share this content, talk to me on Twitter and Facebook, and help share what I’m thinking with people I don’t even know.

That helps grow my circle, put me in touch with folks I might otherwise not have come across and, yes, grow my business.

To date all – yes, all – my clients have come to me because of something that I’ve said on the Interwebs, most often my blog or Twitter, though sometimes disseminated via LinkedIn or other networks.

So is there a business angle to this?

Yes, and anyone who tells you otherwise about their blogs is lying.

A while back, it struck me

that bringing on guest bloggers was one way to help with frequency.

So in a way, it’s a selfish motivation, but it’s also to try and give people I think are smart and different an additional forum, because that’s what Kami did for me and I will never forget it.

That’s why I participate in initiatives like JOTW and HAPPO.

You never know when it might help them, and Bryce’s recent post is testament to that.

To that end, I am very excited that Herwin Icasiano is joining the Waxing UnLyrical guest-blogging team effective immediately.

The Herwin story is a funny one.

I came across him just last week on Twitter.

I don’t even remember what it was that intrigued me about him, but he said something that struck me as very smart, so I followed him.

Next thing you know, we’re having extensive chats via DM and then email (this dude can write until the cows come home, and he’ll teach them to moo, to boot), and then he’s agreed to guest blog.




Herwin will bring (I believe) a great perspective on communication to this blog, not just as a recent graduate and Millenial, but as someone as fascinated with cross-cultural communication as I am.

So watch for his posts. I’m pretty sure you will enjoy them.

And now, the tips!

If you want to get started guest-blogging, here are five things to do right now:

1. Comment

Subscribe to interesting blogs in your RSS Reader (I use Google Reader), and comment on them regularly.

This is something I’m not very good at doing, but I’m trying to get better.

As you keep commenting (and try to keep the comments to original thoughts and perspectives, as opposed to the OMG I LOVE WHAT YOU WROTE/WON’T YOU BUY MY MALE APPENDAGE ENLARGEMENT PRODUCT kind), bloggers will start to take notice of you.

Next thing you know, they may ask you to guest blog.

2. Share your thoughts

via Google Reader or anywhere else that you can.

Herwin is a great example of this. Right now, he doesn’t blog anywhere (well, other than WUL, but that’s a day away).

Still, I got a sense of his thought process by looking up his Google profile and reading his notes on items he shared via Google Reader.

I sez to me, “This is one smart dude. I should get him to guest blog before anyone else does.”

3. Write for trade publications

such as PRWeek, Ragan, IABC’s CW Bulletin, et al (you might have to log in to view the articles).

(Note: the outlets are mentioned specific to PR professionals; if you’re in another field, ask the editors of the influential publications in your field if they’d accept a guest article from you.

You won’t get paid. You might not even get accepted the first time around.

But if you keep trying, you will (get accepted, not necessarily paid), and that’s a great way to build your portfolio.

4. Write for a community blog

such as Women Grow Business (disclosure: client). Robin Ferrier (someone I know IRL) had a great post on this a while back.

The advantage with this is that you’re not committed to a daily (or weekly) schedule but, if you commit to somewhat of a regular schedule (once or twice a month), you will slowly build up an online portfolio (as in #3 above), not to mention contacts with Very Smart People who could help boost your career and business prospects.

5. Get smart about Twitter

Above all, hands down, bar none, I’ve found Twitter the most exceptional social network by which I meet new people and get engaged in conversations I might not otherwise.

What you should do: research relevant hashtags and start participating in the Twitter chats that most appeal to you.

You will also find interesting people to follow and start talking to.

By starting to build your relationships with them online, you will find guest blogging opportunities you might otherwise have been unaware of.

Those are my tips, based on what I’ve learned so far. What would you add?

Image: The Little Lady‘s Flickrstream, CC 2.0

Shonali Burke
Head honcho of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke is President & CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc. Based in the Washington, D.C., area, she loves helping for- and non-profit clients, both small and large, turn corporate codswallop into community cool™. She also loves ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

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Who are you and why are you following me? Actually, I wish there were a way you could write in your Brit-gal accent. That would be cool. It automatically gives you 37% extra intelligence! I always enjoy your posts - you have a gentle way of making us smile.

Frank Strong
Frank Strong

Sweet! Sign me up! Seriously, you offer some great advice for getting started in blogging and more importantly great advice for improving writing. It's one of many reasons why I do it -- to me, writing is thinking and blogging allows me to think through ideas, to work with words and to learn some things along the way. Best piece of advice I ever got? "Write something everyday." I do my best to stay true to that. Nice post, Shonali.

Jessy Troy
Jessy Troy

That's awesome advice. Guest blogging does work! I've been into the game for about 6 months now and it works wonders!

I am sure you would love this forum that makes it easy for guest bloggers to find powerful blogs to guest post for:

I am long-time member there and let me tell you it's an amazing place.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the site! Are you aware of any similar places?

Jackson Wightman
Jackson Wightman

You are very funny Shonali! Love this post - well done.

As to the tips, I could not agree more with all of them, but your pt re Twitter is particularly salient.

Twitter's beauty is that it is UNOBTRUSIVE. It makes connecting easy and does not require giving someone you don't know that well an 'all access' pass to your life. In terms of blogger relations (and in by blogger relations I mean people you may want to guest for) it is a superb tool. It allows you to quickly show you know someone's content, potentially help them better it and share it.

Tks again!

BTW - if you ever want to guest on Proper Propaganda, the Politburo wld LOVE to have you :)

Jason Keller
Jason Keller

Guest blogging is always a good idea. From a big-picture standpoint, it is about sharing ideas. Guests often offer different and unique insights and opinions that give a blog a change of pace. Also by offering multiple perspectives, a blog with guests can become an idea hub, which makes the blog that much more interesting.

Good bloggers are often credible professionals. They themselves are already professionally established, or were mentioned by someone who was. In that light, I think blogging always has a business angle as your listeners are going to be the ones that think of you as a credible source within your respective field.

Great post!

Kami Huyse
Kami Huyse

Having guest bloggers on is just smart. You learn something and they get a forum. I am picky about my guest bloggers, but you were an easy choice. I am really proud of where you have taken Waxing Unlyrical, but I am not surprised by it! ;-)

Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

You mean my Brit-isms aren't coming through, Alexandra? ;) Thanks for the extra 37% intelligence vote... now we just have to convince everyone else I have that!

You're so kind. Thank you.

Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

Thanks, Frank!

That old cliche is true, isn't it... practice makes perfect? I don't know if we'll ever be perfect (because if we were perfect, how would we stay human?) but it's a good goal to strive for.

Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

Jessy, I didn't know of this site, thanks for pointing us to it.

Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

Great point about Twitter being unobstrusive, Jackson. It's remarkable how deep one's use of Twitter can go, if only one chooses to use it.

And I would love to guest on PP. How could I turn the Politburo down? Bring it on!

Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

Thanks, Jason! I love the way you put it, an "idea hub." That's pretty darn perfect.

Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

Do you remember how nervous I was, Kami? I literally pinched myself when you asked me, and I was so excited when that post ran (still am). Thank you so much for your faith in me, and I'm glad WUL is doing you proud... we will try to keep it up!


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