As a marketer, your time is valuable, and if you’re like most of us, it’s in great demand. With all the other day-to-day tasks you have to take care of, finding time to write is sometimes just a distant dream. Yet, without fresh content on your blog, you’ll lose your readers – and they’re too hard to win to risk losing them.
Consistency is key when marketing online, and one aspect of that is presenting regular blog posts. There are a few different methods of getting new content without robbing time from your other activities. One way to do that is to build relationships with trusted guest bloggers. This needs to be handled carefully, though… you’re looking for someone that will offer the right quality of writing and the sort of content that you want to present to your readers.
Establish Clear Guidelines
If you’re going to accept guest posts, you have to establish clear guidelines for your contributors. For instance, outline what type of linking is acceptable. Guest posters want to post on your blog for two main reasons – brand building and traffic. Normally, they want to use your higher traffic blog to get traffic back to their own site. So they’ll want to add links to their post that will direct your reader to their site.
You need to be very clear about how many and what type of links are allowed, so your guest posters don’t end up driving away your readers away or hurting your standing with the search engines.
You’ll want to be very specific about things like no affiliate links, no link shorteners, and only links to pages that are highly relevant to the content of the guest post and your site. Of course, you’ll also want to check out their site, to ensure your blog won’t be linking to a site that will put you in a bad light with Google or your readers.
Obviously, you’ll want to retain editorial control, so you can be certain that the post is correct in its grammar, spelling and punctuation. You’ll also want to stipulate that the content must be unique and never be re-used elsewhere.
While you’re crafting your guest blogging guidelines, don’t forget to require that the guest blogger provide a link from their own blog to their guest post on your site. They should also be required to respond to comments or questions on their post for a reasonable amount of time – a week is normally sufficient – after that, you can handle it.
Once you’ve established your guidelines, put them to use. You can post them on your site if you like, but I’ve found that sometimes invites a flood of spammy applicants. I prefer a subtle notice somewhere that mentions you sometimes accept guest posters. Whether you post them or email them to a guest poster before they submit, they should definitely be a part of your process.
Choose your Guest Bloggers Carefully
Whenever you let someone guest blog on your site, think about whether it will benefit you. Fresh content is, of course, vital, but so is the quality of the content. Does that writer have a good following and will their presence on your blog be in line with your marketing goals? Does the blogger serve a similar niche or offer relevance to your readers? Basically, will the blog post make your blog look good? If not, you may want to thank them for their interest, but turn down their offer.
Handling the Posts
It should be obvious that you’ll need to carefully screen the posts, the authors and their sites. Never publish ANYTHING on your site without you or someone you trust checking them. Anything that doesn’t add value to your site doesn’t belong there.
When I accept guest posts, I always stipulate that I, and only I, have the right to re-use the post, but that they will always be credited as the author. I’ve never had an author balk at that yet.
Don’t Be Afraid of Conflicting Views
While you want your guest posts to support your brand, sometimes having someone guest post who disagrees with you can be advantageous. By presenting a different view, you can spark conversation and even promote some social shares that will draw more traffic to your blog. That doesn’t mean you should subject your readers to extremist views, but don’t be afraid of offering something a little out of the ordinary now and then.
Guest posts can relieve the pressure to create new, relevant content, while still providing your readers with fresh content they’ll enjoy reading. If you craft some guidelines and offer guest posting on your blog, the time you save will be welcome on other tasks.