Have you considered publishing guest posts on your blog? I have. It seems like a no-brainer. I get someone else to write the content, the contributor gets some brand exposure, I get a unique insight into an area I didn't understand. Share the love, right?
What you may not know is that guest posts could damage your blog. They could drive down your SEO with spammy links and dilute your brand with irrelevant content.
This doesn't mean you should never allow guest posts on your blog. But you have to be picky. I've worked on both sides of the fence - as a guest contributor and a blog editor.
Here are my top tips if you're planning to accept guest posts:
1. Ask for writing examples
If someone asks to write for your blog then you need to ask for some examples of their writing. More specifically, ask if they have any examples that are relevant to your blog and its core topics.
It's also worth researching any potential writers to see if they have a blog and the quality of their work. A quick Google search is a good start. Then, read some of their work to check it gives useful information and isn't filled with links back to their own site.
2. Only accept unique posts
Never, never, EVER accept a post that has been published elsewhere. It'll drive down your SEO. I also use the Copyscape online tool to double check for plagiarism.
You'll also need at least 500 words of unique content on an interesting topic - not one that's been beaten to death thousands of times.
3. Sweat the small stuff
Don't accept a post that's filled with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.
Well, if the writer doesn't have the time to check for such errors, then they do not have the best work ethic. For me, it's a red flag and such sloppy writing doesn't make the cut. I know it's harsh but you need to work with writers that respect your brand and their work.
4. Get a clear outline
Make sure any guest contributors give you a clear rundown of the proposed post. You need a working title and a synopsis at the very least.
I also get contributors to answer the following questions: "how will your post help our audience?" and "what is your main message to them in 1-2 sentences?"
It makes sure we're all on the same track before they spend a lot of time working on a post.
5. Say "no"
Don't be afraid to say no to a post if it isn't a fit for your blog and your brand. If the writer has gone off the original outline and produced something that isn't a fit - just say no.
It helps to have some editorial guidelines so your policies are laid out in black and white - we'll cover that in a later post.
6. Own your content
Your blog is your blog. I would not recommend giving author accounts. Although the vast majority of guest contributors are honest souls, you are bound to eventually work with those that are not.
Do you want to open your blog up to spammy links? People who can edit and remove content without you knowing? And accept dodgy comments?
It's not worth the risk.
7. But respect your writers
Trust me, writing a quality blog post takes A LOT of time and effort. You want to grow a community of writers that want to work for you - so make sure you treat your writers with respect.
I once blogged for a client who was just rude. There's no other way to put it. What's more, last minute requests to change the copy were constantly made, deadlines would be changed on a daily basis and the criticism was never constructive - all while being barked at by quite an unpleasant person.
Please don't be that person! Talk to your writers, be reasonable and always, always be courteous. I'll talk about feedback and building a community of writers more in my next posts.
Whether you're a guest contributor or want to start working with guest contributors, I'd love to hear about your experiences and any tips you have - please leave a comment below!
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I'm the freelance writer who gets tech. So, I blog on three core topics:
Science and Technology