Guest Blogs – Don’t write it all yourself!
Ever thought of getting someone to write you a guest blog post?
It may seem a lot of effort. You may not know where to start. However, getting someone to write a blog post for your blog can save you time (because you don’t have to write something!) and can also really enrich your offering. You are giving your readers a new perspective. You are giving them something different from what you can offer. You are giving them an introduction to a new area of expertise.
It is one of my 2019 resolutions to commission some guest blog posts. Why? Because as much as I LOVE writing blogs for you (and other people!)…I guess it is a bit like getting tired of hearing one’s own voice and I can see the advantages of offering you all something a little different now and again.
I have talked before about doing interviews on your blog, well, now, here are some tips on how to invite someone to write a guest blog for you.
Approach your network
There are three types of people that care about your business – those who buy from you (loyal customers), those who tell others to buy from you (influencers) and those who just like you (supporters). The first are those that have parted with their precious cash and the second (who may have also been the first) are those who tell others to part with their precious cash and spend it on you (your business!), the third are those who may have never spent any of their own money with you but they believe in what you do and know all about you and hopefully like and follow you too.
When you consider all of those people, you have a huge network to call upon when it comes to blogging. Have you got an interesting client who has a story to tell about you and your business? Have you got someone who is keen to make people understand more about you? Have you got a supplier who has an interesting story to tell? Have you got a supporter or influencer (who may even be an indirect competitor in some form!) who can add (not divert sales!) to what you do and the knowledge you share on your blog?
Have a think and make a list! …and then ask around…because I am warning you now, the main problem with commissioning guest blogs is that you will get a lot of ‘no, thank you!’, some ‘yes…but I haven’t got the time right now!’ and a few ‘yes…’ but then this post never materialises. So, make a really long list!
Finally, before you approach anyone, do consider their writing ability – if someone doesn’t have an obvious track record of doing lots of writing, this doesn’t mean you can’t approach them, but if you aren’t sure of their skills then simply consider the time you may want to spend editing or working on the blog together or if you are happy with content very different in style to your own.
Choose the topic
You probably know someone brilliant at writing and you may pick a guest blogger who you feel is very confident with picking a topic and writing competently about it. That is great in principle, but remember this post is still going to appear in your blog, on your website. It needs to fit. It needs to flow. It needs to fit in a category. In truth, I would pick a guest blogger based on a ‘gap’ I had in my blog – so, technically, picking a topic first and then someone to write about it! It is a bit ‘chicken and egg’ to be honest!
Even if you are willing to give your guest blogger quite a lot of freedom, I would still have a topic idea (or perhaps even a few to choose from) in mind. You can then discuss this with your guest and see what they like the sound of and if they have any further ideas to add. You can make the topic choice a collaborative effort.
Write guest blog guidelines
Even if the guest blogger is your best friend, write down some guidelines about what you want the post to be like. It doesn’t have to be super strict, but create a brief so that your guest blogger (and future guest bloggers) know what you expect. There is nothing worse than having really high expectations only to receive something that is less than 100 words arrive in your inbox!
The brief or guidelines should include your expectations concerning:
- Topic coverage – as agreed above
- Word length – can be a range or approximate but try to be consistent with the length you usually write
- Target audience – tell your guest blogger who your primary audience is
- Tone – give some notes about the formality of your blog – the guest post should still be aimed at and suit your target audience, of course
- Layout – agree how the post is to be laid out to offer consistency with your own posts (e.g. use of headings) and also to make clear if you are going to add any of your own text, like an introduction and/or summary at the end
- Additional materials – if you usually include photos or images, make sure you agree who will supply these. It is nice on a guest blog to have a photo of the person blogging for you!
- Deadline – it’s really important that you set a deadline for submission, allowing for your own reading and editing time, before publication. This can be mutually agreed…but still set one down in writing
- Publication date and location – it is good practice to let the guest blogger know when the publication date will be and confirm your website address/blog URL. You could also mention if you will share the blog via any other sources, such as social media accounts and newsletters.
What’s great, is that once you have written this once, then you just have to tweak it for future guest bloggers.
This may seem over cautious if you have approached someone and agreed via email that they are willing to write a guest blog post, etc. etc., however, I would always share with them the absolute final version of the blog post before publishing it. It is your blog so you are within your rights to proofread and check what is written and make small changes…however, you must not do this without the consent and final ‘sign off’ of the guest blogger.
Ensure you have something in writing (via email or signed) that states that the guest blogger is happy with the final version and any amends you have made and that they have a copy for their records. Clearly state when and where the guest blog will be published. You may also want to consider if you are going to request exclusive rights to the blog post, or whether you are happy for them to use the same blog post for their own blog or another. It doesn’t matter either way, it is just best that both you are your guest blogger have clear expectations.
Agree payment (or not)
I have left this until last because I hope in many cases you won’t have to pay for your guest blogs. You can, of course, offer to link to the guest blogger’s website, social media platforms or advertise their event, for example, as a form of mutual marketing and as a thank you and promise to make a ‘big deal’ out of the fact they have written a guest blog for you by mentioning it across your own social media channels.
I am no expert on professional guest blogging so the following is just my opinion, but if you do agree to pay money, then again make sure this is agreed and clearly stated, early on, including at what point payment will be made.
Go get your guest…
So there you go…not much to it really! Start thinking, start making a list, and add some more variety to your blog!
Need some help? Want me to write a guest blog post on your blog? Get in touch.