I play well with (blog with) others. Guest blogging in four parts – Part II of IV. You can see Part I here.
Hosting a guest blogger can be a rewarding experience. I learn, I find new friends, and I expand my reader base and exposure. Variety is the blogger’s spice of life. And it’s fun!
Guidelines – I have guidelines, and I tell people they are not hard-n-fast rules. I like to enable my guests to use their imagination, their own voice, and their own sense of humor.
Reach out – I don’t simply wait around for people to invite themselves to guest blog. I go after people I find interesting. Reach out. Expand your horizons!
Background check – Before I invite someone to be a guest, I check out their blog, website, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. Do the same background check if a blogger approaches you. Is this someone you want on your blog?
Posting date clarity – Recently, I messed up. In correspondence with a prospective blog guest, my deadline was vague. The guest blogger thought I wanted her article in February (because earlier I mentioned Valentine’s Day), and I was talking about November! We had an internet chuckle about it, and she still wants to work with me in February. Whew!
Deadline – Give the guest a specific deadline. S.P.E.L.L. it out clearly. “I need your submission in my inbox on or before November 22.”
Wiggle room – I normally set deadlines at least a week before the scheduled day. Don’t rely on last minute submissions. What if you plan on posting a blog on Tuesday afternoon and you still don’t have it Tuesday morning?
Back-up plan – What if your guest doesn’t follow through? Have a couple of your own draft blog articles simmering on the back burner for these emergencies.
Guest bio – I like to provide a bio and links to my guest’s online pages. So, in addition to the article, I ask for a 1) bio 2) profile picture 3) URLs for their website, blog, etc. I post this information at the end of the article.
Maintain control – Indicate (in your guidelines and in conversations) that if you feel their article is not appropriate for your blog, you won’t publish it or you might require edits.
Read the submission – Be sure to read the submission as soon as you get it; don’t wait until posting day. Is it well-written and free of typos? Do the links work? If you feel it needs to be edited, send it back to the writer or advise them that you will edit. Be clear about what you feel needs to be edited.
Just say no – I hate to do this, but I’ve had to say, “No, thank you.” If the guest has broken one of your critical guidelines (like no bad language and their submission is rife with the f-word), ask them to edit, or tell them you feel it’s not appropriate for your blog.
Learn to say yes! – I have broken out of my blogging-box on numerous occasions. I might read a submission and think, “Eh, not really my cup of tea.” But I sit on it, give it a half day or so, read it again, and consider it on its merits.
Blogging love – If I have a guest, I ask that they share the link on their blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Think big picture – Every time I have a guest blogger, I see an increase in my comments. I occasionally get a couple new subscribers, too!
Have you had guest bloggers? Do you have additional advice for hosting? What sticky situations have you been in with guest bloggers?
If you are a host to your guest, be a host to his dog also.
A visitor’s footfalls are like medicine; they heal the sick.
Sources: Opening photo by mymilitarylife, Photo Bucket. Quotes from Quote Garden.