Guest posting & featuring guest posts is beneficial to both parties:
1. It exposes your readers to new people and information.
2. It brings regular followers of the author to your blog.
3. If you guest blog then you broaden your exposure.
4. A post on another blog is an awesome opportunity for an inbound link to your website. Quality inbound links is without a doubt the best seo strategy for any website or blog.
I have been on both sides of the equation and I want to share with you some best practices for each.
You are the Guest:
1. Identify blogs that have a likely synergy with the type of content you publish.
2.. Become familiar with those blogs. Share and comment when appropriate so the publisher becomes familiar with your name and the way you think.
3. Send an email, asking for an opportunity to post and be clear about what you have to offer. I suggest that you pitch a story idea or two and include links to other articles that you have written.
4. If you submit the article via email be sure to include a bio and a headshot. In the bio include links to your social media profiles.
5. If you are submitting through WordPress make sure you sign up with Gravatar so your photo appears in the bio box.
6, Bring your posse. Tweet, Like and +1 the article, get your followers to read the post.
7. Respond to the comments.
8. Don't put affiliate links into the content unless you have discussed this with the publisher prior to submitting.
9. Make sure you have set up your Goolge+ profile page and that you include your rel=author link in your bio. If you are signing into WordPress your Profile will include an area for Contact information - be sure to complete this carefully.
If you do not have access to your User Profile in WordPress, then link to your Google Profile by using this string:
<a href="http://plus.google.com/YourGoogle+IDNUMBER?rel=author"> Google+ </a>
If you are the host:
1. If someone approaches you asking to guest post respond with your specific guidelines: content expectations, deadlines, images, photo credits policy, etc.
2. If you are using WordPress learn about the options of Roles & Capabilities and consider setting up a username and password for your guest and assign them as an Author. This saves you the step of adding the content and uploading pictures.
3. If you would prefer not to provide WordPress access there are plugins which allow you to streamline your guest author process, one option is WordPress Guest Post which allows authors to submit their posts via a form on your website. This Post has other Free WordPress Plugins for Guest Authors which you will find helpful.
4. Make sure the author gets proper credit, I use Author Box After Post on my blog or check out this post 10 Author box Plugins for WordPress.
5. Have the option to subscribe to comments enabled on your blog and make sure your guest poster knows they can sign up to moderate any comments or questions.
6. If the content doesn't meet your expectations return it in a timely manner with feedback.
7. A week or so after the post follow up and tell them the analytics stats. People are usually curious to know if their post was well received.
Done properly guest posting and running guest articles can be a terrific opportunity for both parties, consider rotating these posts into your editorial calendar and writers, don't be bashful, go ahead and ask for the opportunity!