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Selecting the ideal guest blogger

many places to search on a beach

Where to start searching?

Inviting someone to be a guest blogger in your blog has advantages for everyone concerned so you may be excited at finding someone to be your guest blogger.

Of course, those advantages disappear if you use a guest blogger who doesn’t work well in your blog and results in you loosing readers and subscribers. So it is important to select guest bloggers carefully.

If you have found a potential guest blogger or been approached by someone wanting to post in your blog, here are my ideas on what you need to consider:

  • does your guest blogger have some expertise in a relevant field? It may not be the same area as you blog about but it must be related. For example, if you are a car mechanic your guest blogger may be a motorbike mechanic, a panel beater or a car detailer, while a business coach may invite a professional writer, accountant or lawyer to post some business tips from their perspective
  • can your prospective blogger write well? They don’t have to be Shakespeare but it is important that any posts they write can be easily understood by your readers – and that includes someone who will write without a lot of jargon your readers won’t know. Reading their blog is a good first step in deciding if their writing is appropriate
  • is the person reliable, as best you can judge? For a one off post this may not matter but if you are promising your readers a guest blog post every week for 4 months, you want to be fairly confident they will deliver
  • does the person’s style suit your blog? An ideal guest blogger will match their style to your blog (to some extent – it doesn’t have to be identical or it may as well be you posting!) but if they don’t do that you need to be sure their style is acceptable. For example, if they swear in their own blog but you want a family-friendly blog, you need to be sure they will tone down their language

Depending on the arrangement you are putting in place, you also need to be sure you totally trust the guest blogger before you give them any passwords or access to the backend of your blog. There is less risk in getting the posts sent to you and posting them yourself, but it takes time and may defeat the purpose of why you are getting a guest blogger.

Personally, I would want to see some potential guest posts from anyone before I let them post onto my blog, and possibly insist on knowing all topics in advance of them being posted.

Is there anything else you would do to check on a someone before selecting them as your guest blogger?

Finding a guest blogger to suit you

Having a guest blogger write in your blog has advantages for you and your readers, but how do you find the right person to do some guest posts for you?

You may be lucky and have someone offer to do some guest posts for you when you are ready for them, but if you want a guest blogger without any leads for one, here are ideas for finding a guest blogger:

  • do a blog post announcing you are looking for a guest blogger! If you want to be a little more subtle, add this information to your about us page or your blog policies
  • do some research on your regular commenters – those that contribute constructive comments may well be suitable to do some guest posts for you. In fact, their comments may inspire the guest blogging idea so they can expend on something useful they have written as a comment
  • look at your suppliers – do any of them have a blog that showcases valuable information for your audience? If so, ask them for some guest posts – they get increased exposure and they are helping a client (you!) so are likely to be agreeable
  • ask for guest bloggers through networks (both real life networks, online forums and social media) but be aware that you may get a lot of responses and not all will be of value
  • look at your favourite blogs – would any of those people have anything to say that is relevant to your blog audience? You already know they can write blog posts that attract readers!
  • do a search (in a search engine or through a blog directory of some sort) of blogs in your industry
  • ask any of your suppliers if they know of anyone who could provide relevant expertise – if they supply you there’s a good chance they’ll supply related businesses
  • advertise in unusual places and see who responds. For example, if you run a blog on parenting or helping children with homework, put an ad in a school newsletter as you will reach many parents

Good luck – and let me know which of these ideas worked for you in finding a guest blogger for your blog.

The value of guest blog posts

A few days ago, I raised the question of reading guest blogger posts in a favourite blog.

I think there are a number of reasons to value a guest post in a blog, although I do agree that too many guest posts could detract from the person I visit that blog to hear from.

If the guest blogger is filling in for my favourite blogger so that I continue getting content, that consistency and committment is of value to me. Of course, this is of less importance if the blog is erractic in providing content anyway, but we’ll ignore that for the moment!

Assuming that the blog has carefully selected any guest bloggers and the topics they post on, then the guest posts could provide me with an alternative point of view which can be really useful. It could also provide me with a new blog to read and gain information from.

A different person writing may also inspire different people to comment on my favourite blog which again can lead to new conversations, ideas and leads.

And on a more superficial level, if I comment on a guest blogger’s post, that guest blogger may then know of me and my blog…

While there are obvious advantages for the host and guest bloggers, I think guest blogging also holds advantages for the readers. What do you think?

Why read a guest blogger?

Many blogs use a guest blogger from time to time, some use guest bloggers all the time; in fact, Matt Coddington suggest that just about every blog will include a guest blogger at some point in its lifetime.

A guest blogger simply means someone else writes a post or series of posts that are published on another blog. For example, I have done some guest blog posts at The Study Gurus. Sometimes it is one or two posts, sometimes there are many posts in quick succession and sometimes a number of guest posts are added over a longer period.

As a reader of a blog, why would you read a guest blogger in a favourite blog? Or would you actively not read it at all?

Blogging when you’re not around

Even small business owners are allowed to take a holiday or some sick leave 🙂 Obviously that can leave a lot of tasks to be prepared for or done in your absence, but I’m just looking at your blog – what happens to your blog when you take some time off work?Relaxing on a beach, away from business

Running a blog and developing a readership takes time and effort; ignoring your blog for a while can undo much of that effort. So how can you manage take away from your business without letting your blogging efforts weaken or even waste away?

The following list gives some suggestions – the best approach will depend on your blog of course, and on how long you are taking off, and the best approach may be quite different next time you take a  break.

  1. do nothing 🙂 Just let your last blog post sit on the front page until you return.
    Very quick and easy solution but not so good for your search engine rankings and keeping any regular readers happy (unless your break is shorter than the gap between normal posts anyway)
  2. announce your intentions and leave your blog to sit for the duration
    Again, very quick and easy to do, but letting people know offers some customer service and keeps people informed. You may still loose some readers and search engines points, depending on how long you leave the blog. Letting your blog sit could give everyone a break or it could mean a lot of catching up posts when you return (especially if you rely non news and events as topics)
  3. Schedule posts so the blog keeps having new content without you physically being present.
    This requires preparation time in writing multiple posts in advance but is great for maintaining a blog presence, search engine rankings and regular followers. You may have a lot of comments to moderate when you return. Of course, this is less effective if your blog is based on breaking stories and current events as they are harder to write in advance and will need some catching up on when you get back.
    My tip if you like this method is to have some spare blog posts written throughout the year – these can then be scheduled during your break without having to write heaps of posts just before you go.
  4. Invite a guest blogger or two to post on your blog.
    Obviously this keeps your blog full and current while you’re away with less preparation time than scheduling many posts. The greatest time saving for you is if they have access to post directly to your blog but you get more control if they provide the posts for you to schedule before you leave. Giving a guest blogger access also means they could moderate and respond to comments, too.
    Guest blogging may add some new ideas to your blog which readers may like but it is a different voice which some readers may not like – if you know your readers and choose an appropriate guest blogger you can better gauge the likely response.
    While multiple guest bloggers adds variety to your blog and avoids issues around readers disliking one guest, it does involve more work on your part – finding and choosing guest bloggers, then discussing topics and setting up access/scheduling posts
  5. Maintain your blog from a distance – that is, write posts while you are away.
    The beauty of a blog is that you can access it from anywhere that has internet access so you can write posts away form the office.
    Writing posts while away solves all the issues of keeping your blog momentum going and comments moderated, with little preparation needed. However, it is not going to do much towards you relaxing on a holiday, building relationships with family while on holidays or allow you to recover if you are on sick leave. Taking a break is generally about giving yourself a change in routine to refresh your mind and body which isn’t going to happen if you keep working on your break.
    On the other hand, if you are away from your blog because you are travelling for work or doing something not about relaxing, this is a viable option to consider – and something to do in a hotel room each night is not always a bad thing either!
  6. Request readers to give their idea on a certain topic while you are away. For example, write a post asking a question and let it sit as your recent post for a few days. As readers answer, your blog is getting content and readers may get inspired in new ways.
    Very quick and easy to set up and it could be effective for a short break if you have readers who comment willingly. However, this will look out of place if left for very long and runs the risk of unmoderated comments – to work, you will have to allow all comments to be approved automatically which means all sorts of things may be posted…
  7. Use a RSS feed to fill your blog with external content.
    Once it is set up, this will take care of itself so it is a low effort option and could work if you choose the feed source carefully. However, you will still have comments to moderate when you return but you need to trust the feed source – of course, you could just use a news site and provide commentary later. The disadvantage is that your content will not be unique– in fact, duplicate copy can be a negative for search engines.

Guest blog or promotional article?

Recently I was asked if there is any difference between a promotional article and a guest blog post.

The short answer is definitely 🙂

Here’s the longer answer! A promotional article is 500 – 600 words of information that you make available for people to use on websites and in newsletters. At the end of the article is your bio which is how you get promotion by letting people use your article.

A guest blog post is a blog post you write for someone else’s blog. The length will vary depending on the blog and topic involved but is probably 300 – 500 words long. You may have a bio at the end of the post, a bio elsewhere on the blog or simply a link from the author line. Generally, the blog post is not duplicated anywhere else.

So the promotional article will potentially be used in many places while a guest blog post is generally used once. Guest blog posts give you exposure almost exclusively though blogs (ie attracts people who read blogs to read your blog) whereas promotional articles get broader exposure and don’t require you to have a website, blog or newsletter.

Which do you prefer to write and use?