Guest Post Requests
If you are at the point where you are receiving requests from people to guest post, then I want to wish you congrats! This is great news. People are starting to take notice of your blog and your efforts to share content is paying off. It’s a nice feeling when other people want to write for you.
As I have been mentioning in workshops and in previous blog posts, guest posting can be such a wonderful thing and a great time saver if you are a small business owner. They can be scheduled in your content calendar and buy you some time to work on other areas of your business or create some more blog posts. One of my original goals was to do more guest posting, but in all honesty, I’m at the point where it’s more beneficial for me the other way around. It’s been a few months since I’ve had a guest post done on my blog so I’m currently working on getting a couple of people to guest post in the next month or so.
I have gotten to the point where I only ask people who I know well via online/offline and think that their experience/insight/expertise would be valuable to my audience. I’m not saying you need to go this route. This is just my personal preference. Now don’t get me wrong. I have received some decent guest posts from people I don’t know, but going forward I would prefer to have guest posts from people that I know in some capacity. If you would like to open the doors to the public for guest posting, by all means, go for it!
Set Clear Expectations About Guest Posting
Some general guidelines can include:
- Word count
- Ask them to send you some topic ideas/headlines
- Allow them a link back to their blog/site in the author bio
- A set number of links back to posts on their site
- That it should be original content that hasn’t been published anywhere else (this avoids duplicate content which is considered a no-no by Google)
- Links to their social media profiles
- Sending an initial draft
- Promoting on their social media networks once the post is live
The team over at Classy Career Girl set very specific expectations for guest post submissions – right down to the subject line of the email.
Why You Need To Set Expectations
When you set clear expectations, then people will know what you’re looking for. If you receive a decent draft, then it should take you less time to review and you’ll only have to do minor editing/formatting.
One important thing is to state you have final editing rights and even the right to refuse to publish if you feel the end product is still not a good fit.
If they have some writing samples, take a good look to see if their writing style meets your standards. If the person cannot provide any type of writing material to show you, then it makes sense to ask for a draft, so you have an idea of the quality of work.
My post entitled: How To Create A Guest Post Request That’s Worth Responding To can help you determine whether or not you should consider them for your blog. If you’ve found someone to be a great fit, perhaps you can have them as a weekly or bi-monthly contributor. It’s a win-win situation. You get content on your blog on a regular basis and the contributor has an online portfolio that they can share with others if they are looking to build their writing career. If you are looking for people, Facebook Groups can be a good starting point. People within that group may also be able to give recommendations.
Always proofread your guest posts (Grammarly is a great tool to help with this). It helps to have a second set of eyes to catch something that they might have missed. Don’t be afraid to format it to fit the style of your blog posts. Be sure to check what kind of links they are using (i.e. are they trying to get away with advertising their business for free) and if they actually work. Broken links are not good for SEO (search engine optimization) and can turn off your readers. This is more of an aside, but having a plugin that checks for broken links and notifies you may be something to look into. If you have quite a few external links on your site, you have no control over what happens to them. They may end up becoming invalid over time due to people not renewing their domain name or if they delete their own blog posts.
Guest Post vs Sponsored Post
When I first started blogging, I didn’t even know there was a difference. I had accepted requests which I originally thought were guest posts, but after asking more experienced bloggers, they were actually sponsored posts that were trying to pass off as guest posts. So again, check the links. I’ve refused to publish posts due to the quality of links being associated with the content. The best way to ensure you’ll get a guest post is to work with other people who have blogs.
Your Blog, Your Rules
Remember, you worked hard to build your blog and its following. I know I did. Your blog is an extension of you (at least I feel it is). If they don’t meet your requirements, respond to them politely. I even have an email response template that I just cut and paste. Putting out quality content (that’s also relevant!) on a consistent basis should be your number 1 priority. And that includes guest posts. Even though they are not written by you, it’s still considered to be content that is associated with your site.