How to Get Over Your Fear of Guest Posting


By Jessica Ann, {grow} Community Member

Hi. My name is Jessica, and I have a genuine fear of guest posting.

It all began in 2007, in Washington, DC. I had just finished interviewing Arianna Huffington for a series I produced for XM Radio called “Women Making History.” At the end of the interview, Arianna handed me her business card and asked me to write on her new site (at the time) called The HuffPost.

She wanted me…to do what?

You’d think that she had just asked me to  ski down the Swiss Alps while swigging chardonnay and singing showtunes.

Nope. It was just a guest post.

At the time, I was not a writer, not even a blogger. My work was mostly behind the scenes. Occasionally being heard, but never seen. The thought of writing for such a huge audience led to paralysis by analysis.

I should have been ecstatic, embracing the opportunity. But I wanted to crawl into a hole and hide. Here were a few thoughts that went through my head:

  1. What did I know… about anything?
  2. Who wants to read my words?
  3. I’m not a real writer.
  4. People will judge me.
  5. People will judge me.

Numbers four and five are identical – because that line went through my head endlessly.

I either had to face my fears or live with regret. I ended up living with regret…for years.

But because the Universe works in mysterious ways, Arianna and I re-connected at an event last year. Again, in Washington, DC, six years later. All of the “what-ifs” and “should haves” disintegrated the moment she invited me to write on her website again. I was overcome with gratitude. By this time, I had my own business, and I actually had thoughts and ideas to share with the world.

My fear was kicked to the curb, or so I had thought.

Six months ago, Mark Schaefer invited me to guest post on this website that you’re reading right now. And I’ve been avoiding this post. Wrestling with the right topic. Distracting myself. I’d need to provide more than my two cents. I’d need to share a story. And probably not wait another six years.

Guest posting is like being the opening act before the bigger band comes out to play. You’re on stage, in the spotlight. And it’s just you. Your words. Your voice. And while the audience may be hungry to hear you, you’re never quite sure if they’ll applaud or throw tomatoes until the performance is over; you just have to break on through.

Here are my 5 tips to help you get over your fear of guest posting:

1. Remember that you’re creating value.

Your audience is probably going through something similar to the stories that you share. So it’s important not to hold your experiences too close to your heart. Release your thoughts and ideas to the world. You may feel vulnerable. But when you let go of your own personal safety, you give your audience permission to overcome hurdles – so that they can grow.

2. Remove your ego

A meaningful guest post requires you to dig deep to share your personal experience. Removing your ego helps you to remove the stuff that stands in your way from sharing stories that resonate.

Remember that you’re a product of your experiences – experiences that are completely unique to you. So, when you think of removing your ego as a way to access your uniqueness, you shift your perspective. This makes it easier to share stories that your audience wants (and needs) to hear.

3. The only way out is through

Avoiding an uncomfortable thing is too easy. You can go above it. Below it. Around it. You’ll do everything to distract yourself from the truth of…what is really in your way. And the majority of the time, it’s yourself, in your own way. So, repeat this mantra along with me: “the only way out is through.”

Your relationship to change tells the best stories. So, when you expose yourself to change through your story, you shed your layers. This sets the frame for your paradox. It builds creative tension. And it creates context for your contribution.

4. Tell stories

Telling stories evolves your guest post into a more meaningful way to share snippets of your life. Stories allow you to reveal invisible lines of connection, which makes humanity happen. And it transforms your dictated list of “to-do’s” to a conscious collection of truths.

When you fuse your truth into stories, you give momentum to the everyday materials of life. This leads to more imagination, so that you can endlessly explore and evolve the stories that need telling – not just for you, but for your customers.

5. Make sure it’s real, and that it’s relevant to your audience

Overcome resistance by making your contribution real and relevant. The thing is, you’ll need to be seriously inspired. If your guest post is not flowing effortlessly out of you, give it time. Let your ideas gel. Allow your mind to wander, so you can seamlessly shape your story.

Learn to embrace the short-term discomfort of guest posting. You’ll reap the long-term benefits of finally kicking your fear to the curb. This is where fearless guest posting begins. And ends. Until next time…

Jessica Ann

Jessica Ann is the CEO + Creative Director of Jessica Ann Media, where she humanizes businesses with creative content and smart social. You can find her on Twitter @itsjessicaann, or you can read more of Jessica’s articles on her blog

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  • “Guest posting is like being the opening act before the bigger band comes out to play.”

    …I never thought of guest posting in this way, but it is an excellent analogy. I’ve been on the “I want to start my own blog” kick for awhile, but I tend to run into sustainability issues a lot. I’ve had a few opportunities for guest post, but haven’t capitalized on them as much because I wanted to have my personal blog primed and ready when it gets a guest-post traffic bump.

    But, when reading your line about being the opening act, I realize that the one guest post isn’t going to do anything (just like the first show a new band does won’t get them a record deal). Yes, I am hijacking your similie and running with it, but its because it totally resonates with me. Nice post!

  • feel free to run with my simile, Jason! so glad it resonates with you. thanks for this awesome comment!

  • Thank you for your thoughts. I only have had a few chances to guest post at various places, but yes, each time it’s nerve racking. I always think of one of my favorite quotes.

    “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it.” – Thomas S. Monson

    It’s okay to be afraid and have fears, but it’s what you do with your fears that matters. Like you said, the only way out is through.

  • Pauline Baird Jones

    Very nice and so true. I totally had a panic attack when asked to guest post. I am probably an outlier here, however. I’m a fiction author trying to learn about marketing, not a social media specialist. But yeah, panic. 🙂

  • love the quote, Barry! yes, how you channel fear…and transcend it is definitely a courageous act. it’s always worth working through your fears (even the silly, ridiculous ones)…to keep growing as a human. thanks for the great comment!

  • Jessica, your article hit a nerve; writing my own blog several months ago, I am now asking other guest bloggers to have input and, they want to ask me to be a guest blogger on their site as well. Oy vey! Fortunately, you were very calm and collected in your story which was very soothing for me. Bravo!

  • whether you’re a fiction author or a social media specialist, we’re all still human. and while I don’t recommend panicking, I think nerves can serve a purpose (if you don’t let them get the best of you). thank you for sharing your experience, Pauline!

  • happy to hear my story is soothing for you, Herb. guest blogging is truly only as big of a deal as you make it. good luck with your guest posts, and thank you for commenting!

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  • Great post, Jessica, that really gets at the heart of the matter. Though I love hosting guest bloggers, I’ve shied away from contributing guest posts for these very reasons. I also find the same fears when commenting on posts, which I’ve just recently started to overcome. I really like No. 2 – just get out of your own way. Thanks!

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  • great comment. thank you for sharing, Monica!

  • The opening act .. good one. My fear of guest posting is very similar to yours, with a few twists. I’ve got plenty to write and know I write well, to the audience.. except:

    1. that one time I guest posted and wrote a stinker? so that happened.
    2. omg people will judge it.
    3. omg that means people will actually read it? egads.
    4. will anyone care? crickets. In a way, that’s worse b/c you had a chance to be read and wasn’t.. even more years in therapy to wonder why.

    Happens that we get the chance to shine on a bigger stage and we freeze or totally tank; or every knows it’s the understudy stepping in, so no one bothers to show up or they go to get a beer, waiting for the real show to start. See, my thinking is very much like yours. As to what to do, I have a handle on it. Except the EGO; I want to write something really really good and even if I get over myself and the pressure and manage not to lay an egg — the voice in my head says “wait, that is good. shouldn’t I save that for my own blog?” Sigh.. maybe someday. FWIW.

  • thanks for this great comment, @davinabrewer:disqus!

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