How To Write A Guest Blog Post: Top 19 tips to getting your message out

I get approached by so many great filmmakers who want to share their story via the blog, and I really want to help, but it’s frustrating how hard it can be to get a great blog article from them.

From filmmakers to foley artists, funders to social media marketeers, I want to help get your news and insights out into the filmmaking community.

So I thought I would post some guidelines about posting to my blog, and I suspect other peoples blogs too.

It’s split into two sections, Content (how to write something that is of value to the blog readers and not just a bunch of words no-one will read) and Technical (that’s how things should be sent, and what they are).

Content

  • Have something USEFUL to say. No-one wants to hear your lengthy ‘I did this’ story anymore, unless it is in someway extraordinary. Making and surviving a film, while I know is extraordinary in itself, probably won’t make an extraordinary blog entry. It needs more. What did you learn? What three things? What seven? Can you make a list? And not generic stuff like ‘give your crew good food’, but up to date and hyper relevant stuff? Cutting edge ideas, new learnings, what problems did you overcome and how?
  • Having said I don’t want ‘give your crew good food’ posts, if you handled catering for a film, then I DO want your post about how to ‘give your crew good food’. ‘How’ and ‘personal experience’ being the active ingredients in that post. And keep it relevant, instructional and detailed.
  • Don’t assume you need to be a producer or director to contribute, I welcome posts from anyone at any level – studio exec to floor runner, and everyone in between.
  • Keep it short. In fact the article can be as long as you like, but get to the point. Say more with fewer words (but any length is fine).
  • Start with the big ‘point’ of your piece. Make that opening sentence cracking and people will be hooked.
  • Write like your life depended on every word. If someone stops reading, it’s game over, so make every word count.
  • Lists work really well. If you can do one, do it. Top ten reasons I shot on the XYZ camera or Top Ten Ways To Direct Actors In An Improvised Film. It doesn’t need to be a list and it doesn’t need to be ten. But lists and numbers do grab the reader.
  • Or break into logical sections with headings (think of great headings too, that grab the reader)
  • Contact me ahead of time with a brief synopsis of what you think you can contribute. And have more than one idea.
  • Please do not ask me to promote your crowdfunding campaign unless you have something useful and instructive to offer about how better to crowdfund. Again, use what you have learned and make sure it’s hyper relevant. Nine out of ten requests I get are from people wanting me to push their CF campaign. I get five a day.
  • A guest blog can make one point if you like, there’s no pressure for an opus. We just ran a load of simple ones on the LSF blog – example here.
  • Once it’s live, I will shout about it but you should too – get pimping on Social Media.
  • Do read other articles on my blog to get a sense of how I lay things out, my tone and what content works best.

Technical

You would think this is easy, but I would say nine out of ten people stumble here.

  • Send a word document. Not a PDF. NEVER a PDF.
  • Don’t use any fancy formatting. Just normal text, bold, italic, links and lists.
  • Don’t add photos to the word doc, keep separate.
  • Give it a killer title and add your name below the title.
  • End it with your full name (and job if relevant), social media links, webpages etc. And if you want a two line bio, add it here. Feel free to supply a headshot too (separate JPG).
  • Send ALL images separately as JPG or PNG and in high res (but not massive res – files should be under 1 mb, often only a few hundred kbs). Please don’t send postage stamp sized images.
  • Send links to relevant video clips, I don’t need embed codes, just the link – I will create the embed code. Append these to the end of the document.
  • Any other relevant docs? Maybe a script, or budget etc., send as a PDF. Name it clearly and make note of what it is and why it’s relevant in the email you send me.
  • Spell check and make sure there are plenty of paragraph breaks so it’s not one massive block text (I get this more often than you would think).
  • Don’t share stuff with me via Dropbox or Yousendit.com etc, EVERYTHING should easily fit in an email (with a few exceptions of course, but no ultra hi res images etc).

Finally, some of the guest blogs I have posted have been very well received and get HUGE traffic – good for everyone…

Here are a couple of recent and very successful examples…

How to make a DCP (Digital Cinema Package) on your own computer
http://www.chrisjonesblog.com/2012/06/how-to-make-a-dcp-digital-cinema-package-on-your-own-computer.html

Top Ten Microbudget Tips: With a crew of 2 and budget of £500… what can be achieved? Jaw dropping work…
http://www.chrisjonesblog.com/2012/05/top-ten-microbudget-tips-with-a-crew-of-2-and-budget-of-500-what-can-be-achieved-jaw-dropping-work.html

I look forward to posting your extraordinary work.

Onwards and upwards!

Chris Jones
My movies www.LivingSpiritGroup.com
My Facebook www.Facebook.com/ChrisJonesFilmmaker
My Twitter @LivingSpiritPix

Filmmaker (LivingSpiritGroup.com), screenwriter, author of the Guerilla Filmmakers Handbooks (GuerillaFilm.com), founder of Create50.com, CEO of The London Screenwriters’ Festival (LondonSWF.com) and certified firewalk instructor.

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Comments

  1. Lucy V says:

    Well said, Christoff. In the old days I’d accept everyone’s guest posts at B2W because I felt guilty otherwise, but since rebranding/repackaging it last year I have a very specific remit for guest posts, which I share with anyone who wants to write one, such as:

    1) Number in the title (5 Reasons/10 Ways/4 Things …) and/or linkbait title (ie. “How True Can A True Story Be? How Do I write A Great Character?” etc)

    2) 600-800 words max (no minimum word count)

    3) Anything writing-related, but also on themes affecting the industry/writers such as best use of social media; successful submissions; women in film; etc.

    I usually give feedback on writers’ posts and ask them if they need to make changes, though I never set deadlines. I still get “trigger happy” types who write random posts when I’m trying to enter into a dialogue with them, but this is less and less now.

    By the way, if any of your readers wants to write a guest post for B2W, they can pitch me their ideas via Bang2writeATaolDOTcom.

    LV x

  2. This is gold dust in itself – currently printing a copy off! Which shows content, content, content is key now in such a flooded market full of luke warm material!! Thank you!

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