As your blog matures you may be considering offers from guest bloggers to contribute articles to your site. There are a lot of reasons that make inviting others to guest post attractive.
First of all, they are a great way to afford you some free time, as hosting a guest post can give you a day off from content creation. It can also provide your blog with some variety, a fresh twist in voice and tone and can expand your digital reach. Additionally, a guest post can provide your readers with some expert insight into areas within your niche that you are not too keen on.
In any case, when deciding to offer guest posts on your blog you should answer the question why? and let the reasons act as your north star. Determining your end goal is often the first step.
One of the cons of allowing guest posts is that it will take some time on your end to review pitches and drafts. Eliminate the tediousness of these tasks by organizing your opportunity to be as detailed as possible; the more specific you are, the better chances you have of receiving relevant, concise pitches.
Detailing your preferences for formatting, word count, internal links and your editorial policies are imperative. Let other bloggers know what styles are accepted (i.e. how-tos or lists), what youre not interested in (i.e. opinion pieces) and what topics (if any) you are currently giving preference to.
The Submission Process
You might also consider adding a tab to your site that highlights the opportunity with headings like Write for Us or Contribute. By organizing all of the details on one specific page you will reduce the risk of your contact work email getting flooded with these types of requests. You can also include a fill-in form on your contributors page where people can digitally drop their drafts and bios with ease.
At the very least, designate a specific email for these types of inquiries. To weed through the competent bloggers include a test by requiring all emails to have a specific subject line (i.e. Guest Post: Title) and immediately delete those that do not comply. By implementing this type of test you can eliminate people who dont follow directions and streamline your guest posts to those bloggers that took the time to actually read your requirements.
As your guest post traffic increases, consider Word Press plug-ins that allow users to edit their own profiles and upload drafts directly to your site pending your review.
In a perfect world people would contribute simply because they are long time admirers of your blog and want to join in on the conversation. In a lot of cases this is true; however, exchanging free quality content is also motivated by gaining back links (which is usually included in bio lines). When accepting guest posts, be sure to check up on your bloggers and their back links.
Google has a tendency to penalize multiple links that are not relevant (i.e. if your relationship advice column is being linked back to a restaurant chain). In addition to Google, you need to perform checkups for the sake of your readers. Irrelevant links will stand out to your audience, and it cripples your credibility as a source that they can depend on.
For these reasons it is important to check, not only for duplicate content, but on the bloggers themselves. Ask yourself, do I want my blog to be associated with this person? Are they up-to-date with their own blog? There needs to be some relevance between your guest poster and your niche.
Quality Over Quantity
When entertaining drafts, dont be afraid to reject some; there is nothing wrong with putting your readers interests first. As an editor, the only encouraged courtesy would be to inform people when their post has not been accepted. This may feel harsh, but bloggers will appreciate the input rather than hold onto the piece exclusively for your site.
Again, be mindful of your audience; up until now the popularity of your site has been based on your voice and yours alone. This is not to say you shouldnt offer guest posting, but within reason.
As with a lot of things in life, this is a situation where one quality post outweighs 10 mediocre ones. Consider branding the experience by featuring guest posts every Thursday or at the beginning and middle of each month, this way readers will know what to expect.
The Interaction Factor
You may think once you approve the pitch, edit the guest article and post it the work is done. However, requesting guest bloggers to interact with their post is a commonly overlooked requirementand it makes a difference.
If your readers have come to expect interaction on your site, dont let that fall off with guest posters; state in your editorial guidelines that interaction on comments is necessary if they want their link to remain live.
Also, consider the requirement of cross promotion. Just as you are promoting their work, request that they return the favor by promoting the post on their social media so that interested parties can check it out and visit your site.
What other tips are important to remember when accepting guest posts?