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Editing guest blog posts

Accepting guest blog posts for your blog can be a win-win-win situation if they are good quality posts.

Sometimes you will receive guest blog posts that are pretty good but not quite at the standard you want for your blog.

I know I have read blog posts that have great ideas and tips but are poorly written or posts that seem good but don’t quite develop the ideas enough to be useful.

The temptation is therefore to edit the posts so they also read well or make their intended point.

Is it ok to edit guest posts?

Yes and no!Adapting blog posts to suit he blog

If the guest blogger has made a simple error or two (for example you instead of your, busniess instead of business, or copywrite instead of copyright), then I would fix it for them.

A good writer would prefer you to fix that (or ask them to) then let them have public errors. And may not realise you have made the changes if they don’t go back to their original.

However, it is still polite to let them know you edited their work.

On the other hand, if the post has numerous and/or more serious issues, it is not ok to edit it without the author’s consent.

Remember that the guest blogger’s name will be with that piece so they have the right to know it is in their words – and you also enter into legal issues for what is called moral rights.

I think there are three ways you can get an edited post:

  1. Return it to the author with an explanation of what is wrong and ask if they are happy for you to edit it – offering to get their approval before publishing of course
  2. Edit it and return it to the author for approval before publishing it – make sure you introduce the subject nicely as some people will be offended at you doing this
  3. Ask them to edit it (and ideally explain why it needs editing so they have an idea of what to change)

Some blogs have a policy stating that they can edit the post before it goes live. Even with such a policy, I would not advise doing heavy edits to someone’s work without giving them the power to accept/reject those changes.

If you submit a guest post, how would you like the host blogger to deal with your work if it contained errors?

15 Responses to Editing guest blog posts

  • anotherspaceman says:

    To be honest, I’d be happy with most changes a reasonable editor would make.

    Typos speak for themselves, though I try not to submit any of these in the first place.
    But when I’m paid to write, it’s the guy paying the bills that calls the shots.

    With contentious political pieces, I wouldn’t want my name being associated with anything that clearly wasn’t what I intended, say leaving out the word NOT from “I do NOT love political party X.”

    But most of my pieces aren’t on such topics. And I like to think I’ve been hired because my work doesn’t need editing.

    • tashword says:

      Being paid to write a post is a bit different – I agree that if someone is paying, they can choose the final result especially if your name isn’t on it anyway.

      It is that small change with big implications (like the word not being accidentally deleted!) that probably make me nervous about agreeing to my work being edited without my approval.

      • onlinebusinessgal says:

        If a blog post has my name on it (such as in cases when i am paid to post), I would not want edits to be made without my knowledge. When I put my name to something I want to know what is written. I would not mind if a blog owner corrected a spelling or grammatical error I made as long as they did not change anything else.

      • tashword says:

        I agree that very small changes would be ok. I guess I am nervous because I have seen clients change my work and made it grammatically incorrect without knowing it so I’m not sure my guest posts would be edited correctly.

  • Anna T says:

    I don’t mind if my guest posts are edited as long as the original intent of the article is still clear.

    I have also taken some guest posts that have required editing, but I try not to alter much because I want the writer to still recognize it as his or her work.

    I explain to guest posters before I accept a post that minor edits might be made, and so far everyone has been OK with that. If major edits are required, I usually just will not accept the guest post.

    • tashword says:

      I guess it all comes down to trust doesn’t it? Trust that someone will edit the work responsibly and not change the intent or feel of the writing.

      Not accepting a poor post is good – the exception is a great post poorly written as that can sometimes be tempting to edit.

    • UmiNoor says:

      I think before inviting a blogger to post on your blog, you should first look at how the blogger writes and if the blogger doesn’t produce good work then an invitation to write shouldn’t be given.

      If you’ve invited a blogger to write on your blog, it’s assumed that you like the way he writes so editing shouldn’t be an issue except for correcting typo or grammatical errors. If major edits are required then it’s not the blogger’s fault but that you haven’t actually looked at his previous work.

      • tashword says:

        I like you’re thinking there, UmiNoor – don’t invite a someone to guest blog unless you trust their writing is up to scratch.

        Editing is more of an issue if someone sends you a post without being invited or if you want someone’s expertise even if they can’t write very well.

  • onlinebusinessgal says:

    I like the first suggestion. I think it would be perfectly acceptable to send a post back to the writer with suggestions of changes that need to be made. They can either approve the changes or decide that they would prefer that their post be removed.

    • tashword says:

      I think it is the fairest solution – everyone gets the chance to control the final post.

      • godric says:

        I totally agree with onlinebusinessgal, the best solution is not to edit the post without the knowledge of the poster. Also, in cases of edits, I think it is ethical to only correct grammatical and typo errors.

      • tashword says:

        As a guest blogger, I absolutely agree – I don’t want my work edited! Especially not changes to any of the content itself.

  • Anna T says:

    I can certainly see the benefit of simply sending a post back to the writer with suggested edits. This might make the writer feel more in control.

    If the writer did not make his own edits, he might be concerned that the blog owner changed the intent of the article.

    As someone with a blog, I normally make minor edits myself. But if anything major is required, I reject the post. Perhaps in the future I will send the post back for edits instead.

    • tashword says:

      It always nice to have options, isn’t it? This way you can still get a good blog post (i.e. not reject it) without stepping not eh blogger’s toes.

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