If you’re a blogger, you know that maintaining a good blog takes energy and dedication. You also know that constant content production and marketing your blog are great big time sucks. In fact, you may have spent years crafting it, developing it and spreading the word.
But now you’re plum out of breath, and blog burnout stalks you like the boogeyman.
What You Need
It’s time for a break. And guess what? You’re not the only good writer in the world. Plenty of fine writers have interesting, well-informed views that would complement your blog very nicely. Plus, other writers can not only write content that reflects your blog’s style and point of view, they can bring in fresh new perspectives. A new perspective—especially if its controversial or a bit off the wall—will provoke comments and discussion among readers, and that promotes traffic.
What a Guest Blogger Needs
Writers who guest post are looking for several pay-offs: exposure, a platform to air their views or display their knowledge, a good clip for their portfolios, and probably backlinks. This means that if you want a good writer to guest post, you should give backlinks in exchange. One to three are normal. Typically, they appear in the byline, sometimes under the byline and at the end of the article.
Additionally, allowing the author to post a short biographical note at the end of the article helps the author to establish credentials in the blogosphere. Doing so is also good for your reputation; your readers will trust guest posters with solid credentials.
Host for the Most Impact
The management of hosting guest bloggers is work in itself, but inviting guest bloggers will still save you time, bring in fresh ideas and release your imaginative energy more effectively than if you try to keep doing everything yourself.
Hosting starts with your call for writers. Many blogs have a permanent tab labeled “Write for Us,” which makes a lot of sense. Your readers represent a built-in stable of prospective writers who may very well want to guest post. You can also post calls for writers in forums related to your subject matter.
The trick is to be clear. Writers who consider guest blogging want to know the topic area, whether you will give them backlinks and a bio note, and about how long a post should be. They also need to know whether they should submit an entire article to you or just a writing sample, links and a pitch. It’s a good idea, too, to mention your readership numbers. If you will want the writer to respond to comments, say so. Also let writers know that you will make minor edits for grammar, punctuation and typos as necessary, but that you expect strong well-written content that has already been proofread.
Chances are, you will have to do at least some minor tweaking on any article, no matter how well written. But you don’t want to heavily edit, so as you evaluate submissions, keep that in mind. Credentials, however, may not matter much at all if you find a terrific writer who has interesting, relevant things to say. On the other hand, if the writer is so-so, stellar credentials can compensate for the work you will have to put into editing.
Pick and Choose
Don’t be afraid to make reasonable line edits. But also, don’t be afraid to ask for revisions. When a point needs clarification or further development, you should ask for a revision. If a piece is stylistically poor, lacks insight, or is uninformed, reject with a very short, polite note saying that the piece is unsuitable for your blog. One sentence is enough. Those issues require writing lessons, not editing.
Even though it’s a guest post, you still want to create a buzz, so do the normal marketing tasks that you would usually do, such as tweeting the article and posting an excerpt on Facebook. But also, ask the writer to do the same things. Make it easy by setting up “like” and “share” buttons if you haven’t already. Most writers will be eager to help you show off their work.
Carol F. is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments. WriterAccess is powered by ideaLaunch.