Guest posting is one of the best ways to grow your blog because it gives readers of other blogs a taste of your writing style, approach and philosophies even if they’ve never visited your site.
There has been lots written about getting your guest posts accepted, but if you’re a blogger, do you have practices in place for getting more guest posts for your own blog and deciding which guest posts to accept, what your requirements are, how you’ll share your editorial guidelines, etc?
If not, you should, so let’s take a look at each aspect of accepting guest posts on your blog:
1. Getting More Guest Posts
If you’re just starting out, you probably don’t have a lot of bloggers asking for the chance to guest post on your site, and that’s okay! But you may still feel like you’d like to take a break or grow your audience by bringing in someone to guest post. Here are a few ideas for finding guest posts:
- Invite people to guest post right on your blog. You don’t have to write a whole post inviting guest posters to submit a post, but you can include information about guest posting on your contact page or in the footer of each post. Here’s how Problogger does it:
- Offer to swap with someone. One of the reasons so many people got excited about the Ultimate Blog Swap is that they were able to guest post for someone else and receive a post for their own blog so that they didn’t feel like they had to write “extra” content. Reach out to bloggers in similar niches and ask if they’d consider swapping guest posts with you. You’ll both benefit!
- Just ask. If you are part of a blogging group or community, reach out to them before your next break or sabbatical (it pays to do this well in advance) and offer them the opportunity to guest post.
2. Deciding Which Guest Posts to Accept
As your site grows, you’ll get more and more unsolicited offers for guest posts, and you’ll have to decide which to accept. Here are a few things to consider:
- Does the post go against any of your core values? Although it can be good to present alternative viewpoints to encourage discussion, remember that your readers come to your blog because they appreciate your values and philosophy. A frugal living blog probably won’t be posting a guest post about the 10 Diamonds Every Girl Should Have, and a simple living blog probably won’t post one about Benefits of Keeping Your Stuff in Self-Storage.
- Is it well written? There’s nothing wrong with editing a guest post for formatting or even minor grammar issues to make sure it fits the style of your site. However, there’s no reason you should have to spend an hour editing a post just to be able to publish it. That’s a waste of your time!
- Is it being submitted for link bait? A growing trend across the internet is for sites to submit guest posts to blogs simply for the SEO benefit of having additional links back to their site. Although these posts are often well written, I’ll admit that this strategy doesn’t sit well with me, and I only post guest posts from people who are looking to build community and who are already an active part of the blogosphere.There’s no reason that you have to share my view on those posts, but it is important to think about why the guest post is being submitted and if it fits with your blogging philosophy.
- Is it redundant? Hopefully any potential guest poster has already done their homework and is submitting a topic or post that fills a gap on your site rather than something you’ve already talked about extensively. If they haven’t, though, be careful about accepting a guest post just for the chance to take a break if it’s just going to bore your readers.
- Do you think it will resonate with your readers? Finally, taking all of those things into account, do you think the post is something that will get your readers talking, make them think and draw them back for more? That’s really the ultimate goal when you accept guest posts, and it benefits everybody involved — you, the readers and the guest poster.
3. Putting Your Guidelines in Writing
To be honest, I don’t have written guest posting requirements, and I’ve had a lot of success with just handling guest post requests on a case-by-case basis. However, there are plenty of bloggers who do have written guidelines, which has a lot of benefits as well:
- Share your requirements upfront. When you take the time to put together guest posting guidelines, people know what to expect upfront. This is especially useful if you require original content, pre-formatted posts, a certain word count, the inclusion of pictures, etc.
- Decrease the number of guest posting requests you receive. If you’re being inundated with requests from potential guest posters, stringent guidelines is an effective way to decrease the number of emails and requests that come in. Of course, if you’d like more requests, then the opposite is true as well.
There are a couple ways to put your guidelines in writing. Many people post them directly on their blog and either link to it in a prominent place (like Problogger in the example above) or share it with people by email. Others send them directly in the body of an email when requested.
4. Requirements to Consider
When putting together your guidelines, here are things you might consider including:
- Original content. Should posts be original content? Is it okay if they’re taken from an older post and reworked?
- Format for sending the post. Do you want guest posts sent in a Word document with formatting? In a text document with HTML? Through Google Docs? In the body of an email? By logging into your dashboard and submitting it for review
- Style & formatting. Do you want guest posters to add headings, bolding, bullet points, etc., or will you add those yourself? Do you want them to introduce themselves in the first person, or will you add an introduction in the third-person?
- Links within the post. Do you have guidelines for how many links a guest poster can include back to their site? What do you consider excessive? Do you want them to look for appropriate links on your site first?
- Pictures. Do you have a standard format for the pictures you include in posts? Do you want guest posters to include an appropriate picture with their post?
- Bio & avatar. Don’t forget to request a bio with any guest post. If your format for bios includes a picture, do you need them to send an avatar as well?
Accepting guest posts can often be a lot more work than you expect, but having guidelines and a process in place can make it easier on you!
Would you like to guest post at Life Your Way? Send me an email at [email protected]!
Do you accept guest posts on your blog? What other tips would you add to the list? As a guest poster, do you prefer detailed guidelines, or does that make you less likely to submit a post?