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If You Build It, They Probably Won’t Come

There’s a myth about the Internet that if you put up a website people will just magically visit it. There’s another myth about guest posting. That if you write an article for another website, people will just magically gravitate to yours.

Neither of these is reality, and there are a lot of reasons that guest posting fails. But today I’m going to focus on what I believe to be one of the main reasons: you’re stingy with your Internet loving.

If You Build It, They Will Come

Just because you are published on a website as a guest author, doesn’t mean that site’s readers will come to your site. And depending on how you behave, that site may never ask you to guest post again either.

I love the Internet because I believe it is, at its heart, an egalitarian place. All sorts of people can offer each other all sorts of opportunities, and there is space for the “little guy” to build his way up to being a “big shot.” There really is no cap on traffic, audience, readers, or whatever you want to call it. And by helping each other out, we can all contribute to the success of each other. Everyone actually can win on the Internet.

True, some people try to make it otherwise. They want the Internet to work just like Walmart. But most of us can spot those sleaze balls miles away. We know that the stuff we love best is the stuff that’s about giving. It’s about free information and free cross-promotion based on genuinely good people and genuinely good products and/or services.

And when I run into an authentic and generous person or entity on the Internet, the irony is that I’m more willing to pay him/her/them than the person who’s overtly trying to sell me, anyway. You know how it goes: “Wow, I’ve read twenty articles on this site that are awesome, so I’m totally going to buy her eBook when it comes out.”

If You Build It, They May or May Not Care

So what does this have to do with your guest post and why it failed and why no one wants you to guest post again?

If you build something, you’ve got to tell people about it.

The “everyone wins” ability of the Internet is based on generosity. And generosity on the Internet looks like sharing. So if you want your guest post to amount for anything in terms of your own success, it’s got to be a successful experience for the website hosting you, as well.

Spelled out – it means you need to do the following:

  • Post on all your social media about the site you’re guest posting for, even if it’s not the day your guest post goes up.
  • Follow that site on all your social media accounts.
  • Share some of their other posts by other authors (Hey, maybe they’ll follow you back and share your stuff! Wouldn’t that be cool?)
  • Share your own post when it goes up. Do this promptly, frequently, and on all your social media outlets. You’d be shocked at how few people do this. It actually hurts my mind to think about how commonly overlooked this step is.
  • Make the experience of working with you an overall net positive for the hosting website.

Remember, everyone can win, but you have to be interested in others winning and trust that the Internet is not a zero-sum game.

If you approach every guest post with the question, “How can I make this experience awesome for the website hosting me?” then you’re on the right track and they’ll show up to the table with the same question in mind. The result? We all do win, every time.

Breakfast time (7560191024)” by Berit from Redhill/Surrey, UK – Breakfast time. Uploaded by russavia. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Becca Borawski Jenkins
Writer & Editor
Becca Borawski Jenkins is an editor, writer, and writing coach. She is currently the Managing Editor at both The Whole Life Challenge and StrongFirst. She specializes in building authority and readership through high-quality content. She also coaches private clients, does developmental editing for non-fiction book projects, and ghostwrites for a variety of story-telling projects she can’t tell you anything about (but that are super, super fun).
Published inWriting for the Internet
  • Fantastic points, Becca. As a social media manager, I cannot tell you how many people I would like to have read this. Hmmm…maybe I’ll share it now! 🙂

    • It seems like much of it is common sense, yet I find most people don’t do these simple steps that can make a big difference when it comes to their success. Would be great if you shared! Thank you!

  • Ben Myslenski

    Great Article!

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