Publishing guest posts as part of your blogging strategy
What I mean by this is that you get other bloggers to write guest posts for your blog. Many people do not consider this as a strategy because it feels a bit like delegating! Common excuses I often hear are:
- I don’t have the time.
- My writing will be better.
- I’ll have to correct their mistakes.
- I’ll be shown up if they do too good a job.
However, like delegation, when it’s done properly the benefits can be great in terms of saving your time. You’ll have someone else producing useful content allowing you to focus on other aspects of your blogging or business.
So why have guest posts?
- Gives you extra content – as you may already be aware coming up with original content can be tough. Guest posts take the pressure off and you can sometimes hit on a great idea for a series of blog posts on a particular theme.
- Recruits additional expertise – you don’t have all the answers or expertise. Someone else sharing their experiences and wisdom reflects well on you.
- Provides a different voice – I often used to do long training events with another tutor because after a week the sound of one voice can get tedious and tiring. Having someone else pitch in changes the tone and rhythm and is a welcome change to get people interested and involved again.
- Helps you build relationships with other bloggers.
- It showcases you as an expert connected to other thought leaders.
- New visitors and your guest post bloggers will share content with their audiences on social media and link to you.
What you need to do to make it work
Many people cannot write for toffee! Some may be natural writers but haven’t written for the web before. Writing for the web is different. You need to be more conversational, informal, and make your writing simple.
There is certainly no sales pitch involved!
You need to make sure they don’t give you an advertorial. It’s not about pushing their product. It should be about providing valuable content that your readers will find useful and share with their contacts.
Make it easy for them by sending them some specific questions to answer. That way you can also control the content to a certain degree.
Check their blog out or ask to see some of the posts they have written. You’ll find that you can eventually sift the wheat from the chaff.
You’ll need to maintain editorial control and be vigilant about the quality and tone of the post. It’s your blog after all so don’t get bullied or feel that just because someone has written something for you that you must post it.
It amazes me that people are willing to provide a blog post but do not bother to measure success. It might be something I add to my guidelines in the future. I make sure people have at least Google Analytics set up so there is a measure of traffic to the post in question.
If you use a social media posting tool such as Buffer or Onlywire you can get results on social media interaction too. How many people saw the tweet, liked it on Linkedin +1’d it on Google or made a comment on Facebook for instance.
Getting people to commit and deliver
Be clear about your requirements. Be brave in asking for a specified date for a draft and then for the final product. If you have a busy blog and you’ve scheduled a guest post for a particular date it’s annoying when someone lets you down and you have a gap.
Make sure they understand that the post must be original. You’d be amazed at how many people just scrape something off the web, use one of their existing blog posts or provide something which is way off target for your audience. You want to avoid duplicate content and make sure the post adds value to your blog and your readers.
Guest Posting Guidelines
It’s a useful discipline to have some guidelines for guest posts. it provides the boundaries to maintain control and allows you to challenge anything which drifts outside them. Here’s an example of what I use to keep the copy on track.
My criteria for guest posts is as follows:
- about 400 – 1000 words in length.
- provides well-written, useful information directly related to blogging and social media – no sales copy and not generic information easily accessible elsewhere.
- are original articles as Google penalises sites with duplicate content.
- contain a short bio, a link to your website and one to a social media account.
- include a photo of you or something related to your business. I will not use photos that you don’t own copyright for. For example stock photos bought from photo libraries.
- I reserve the right to edit the title to maximise SEO and visitors, and the text for SEO, typos, readability and relevance. I will retain your writing style and voice as much as possible.
Unsolicited requests for writing guest posts.
You may get emails from wannabe blog writers or freelance writers once your blog has built some traction. I have found that few who take this approach are worth bothering with. Send them your Guest Posting Guidelines and you probably won’t hear from them again.
So that provides you with a blueprint for making sure that you don’t miss anything when accepting a guest post. It’s up to you to decide when you want to include guest posts as part of your strategy. When you are ready you’ll know what to do.
I’ll be talking about doing guest posts for others and accepting sponsored posts to earn some money in my next 2 blog posts.
As always if you think I’ve missed something out about successful guest posts please let me know in the comments below.