There are plenty of articles out there that cover the dos and don'ts of guest blogging, how to craft the perfect pitch for your dream outlet, and the traffic benefits that guest bloggers can have on your website. But what about seeking out guest writers? What's the best way to announce that your blog is open for guest bloggers and to entice them into submitting their original content? While the rules will vary depending on the type of blog you have and the content you're looking for, if you're planning on creating some specs to get started here are the dos and don'ts to keep in mind.
Do... Create clear guidelines for structure and tone.
What are you really looking for in a guest post? This is about so much more than writing an article for the sake of getting it published and backlinked on another website. Be clear upfront about the kind of content your audience enjoys reading about and how successful posts are structured, whether that means writing in a bullet format or taking a long-form approach. Additionally, share how the tone of the post should be conveyed. Should it be conversational or do you prefer a more serious approach? All of this matters when writing the final draft of the article so it's important to establish these guidelines from the start.
Do... Be specific about submission format.
There are a few ways you can go about doing this. You can create a landing page that allows the potential guest writer to submit their article directly to the team from the page. Or, you can encourage guest posters to email you directly (through a generic submission email) with their post. Be sure to specify how you want the guest article to be included. Consider format first, including whether the post should be submitted as a Google Doc or Word Document, and then the method for sending it in. Some options can include submitting the guest post as a PDF attachment, via a Dropbox link, or copied and pasted directly into the email. Attachments in the last few years have turned into a dicey area where spam content can easily be submitted, so it's important to follow the rules exactly.
Don't... Ask for images to be included with submissions.
This is a controversial statement to make, but through personal experience I have found it is a better idea to source your own images. Create accounts with stock image sites like Getty Images or iStockPhoto or seek out free high quality photos from communities like Pixabay or Unsplash. It's always better to err on the side of caution in this department, even if the writer claims that they have permission to use the image attached, and all of these sites have fantastic, credited images that can accompany any blog post regardless of its topic.
Do... Request more information about the author.
What makes this writer credible? You don't need them to share with you their life's story, but interested guest bloggers should submit a bit of background information in their bio or byline that states who they are, what they do, and what makes them a fit to blog with you. Bonus points for any guest writers that can also include links to their existing published content so you can get a feel for their writing style and areas of expertise.
Don't... Guarantee an immediate response.
It's entirely possible that you might not be able to get to the guest post the second it has been submitted, so make a note on your landing page or within your guidelines about what the follow-up process for post submissions might look like.
Don't... Sell yourself.
If you would like to endlessly talk about how awesome your business is, you can create your own blog for those kinds of posts. When you're posting on another blog, this is your opportunity to share your expertise and ideas. Be respectful and understanding about that.
Do... Cast a (fairly) wide net for your search.
Now that you know you're looking for guest writers, you'll want to share the news so as to bring in as many potential contributors as possible. Make the announcement via your social media handles, Facebook groups you're a member of, your company newsletter, and even by sharing the news with trusted partners of your business or influential bloggers you already work alongside. Make sure that the writers you do get in touch with are the same ones you build a rapport with - and you might even be able to reciprocate by blogging with them as well later on!