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Widen Your Circle with Guest Bloggers

Blogging isn’t just about publishing. It’s about sharing, commenting, and connecting. When we engage with one another, we strengthen the…

Blogging isn’t just about publishing. It’s about sharing, commenting, and connecting. When we engage with one another, we strengthen the fabric that sustains the blogosphere and us as individual bloggers.

One way to both grow your blog and contribute to the community is with guest bloggers. More engagement? More readers? More conversation? Where do I sign up!? This week, we’ll talk about inviting guest bloggers into your online house; next week, we’ll look at how to find guest blogging opportunities for your writing.

Why would I want to publish someone else? Am I not enough?

A guest blogger is exactly what it sounds like: it’s someone who’s not you, publishing something on your blog — simple as that.

(Note: we’re talking about personal blogs and friends helping friends here, not commercial enterprises. There are many paid guest blogging opportunities, which you can find on sites like ProBlogger; that type of guest blogging is more like freelance writing than just lending your voice to another individual’s blog.)

What does a guest blogger add to your site? Potentially, quite a bit, qualitatively…

  • A counterpoint. Perhaps your blog is topical, or you’ve had a series of posts on a particular issue. A guest blogger can offer a counterpoint that deepens the discussion and stimulates more conversation (and your own thinking).
  • Expertise and perspective. On a related note, guest bloggers can bring in expertise and perspective that fill in your gaps, like a post on the mechanics of yeast on your amateur baking blog, or one on traveling with small children on your budget travel site. Inviting a voice to add new details is a service to your readership.
  • Inspiration. A guest blogger who’s achieved something you aspire to is motivating for you and your readers; someone who’s published several books could be a great coach on your writing blog.
  • A fun new voice. Guest bloggers don’t need to be “experts” — a guest can simply be someone whose work you enjoy. Introduce your readers to a new voice they’ll love.

…and quantitatively. There are real benefits for your stats page. (I knew you were wondering.)

  • More readers and traffic for you. Your guest blogger will likely tell his or her readers about your site; a personal recommendation from a trusted blogger can do wonders for your readership and traffic. Guest blogging is a fantastic mutual growth opportunity.
  • Increased conversation. When you introduce a new point of view, your naturally stimulate conversation. Plus, visitors who followed your guest over will likely enter the fray.
  • SEO benefits. You already have great SEO on WordPress.com, and more inbound links makes it even better. If your guest links to you on his or her blog or a few new readers add you to their blogrolls, your overall visibility gets a boost.
  • Positioning. If you write a topical blog, you’d probably love to establish yourself as a go-to site for people interested in your subject. Making your blog a resource for information is one way to do that. Inviting guest bloggers who have good advice and info turns your blog into a one-stop shop.

Building a guest list

Anyone who’s ever planned a wedding or child’s birthday party knows that building a guest list is fraught with peril, but finding a guest blogger should be much less stressful that figuring out where to seat your cousin’s father’s ex-wife’s daughter who no one really likes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Your favorite blogger to read.
  • A frequent commenter on your blog, especially one who pushes back and makes you think.
  • Someone who complements what you offer with a different but related perspective.
  • A blogger you almost never agree with — point/counterpoint!
  • Someone you often write about, like a friend, significant other, or older child.

Sending the invite

Asking is the easy part:

I really love your blog, and would love to feature you on mine and introduce my readers to you! Would you be interested in guest posting on my site? I admire what you have to say about X, and think we could build some really interesting conversation. What do you think about a post about Y, to publish in Z days/weeks or so? Let me know if you have any questions!

(Feel free to use that, if you’d like. Be sure to replace the X, Y, and Z with your own words and ideas.)

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Once you invite someone, you need to become the dancing candlestick — help them feel welcome and make the experience a success.

You’ll also want to work out some boundaries for the relationship. Even if the guest blogger is a close friend, it’s useful to have a conversation establishing some or all of the below:

  • The date you’d like to publish.
  • The length, if it’s not open.
  • Whether they will cross-post the same content on their blog, and how you’ll be mentioned there.
  • Whether they’ll respond to comments on your blog.
  • Whether the post will include photos, whose, and how to attribute them.
  • Any style issues you’d like them to observe — no foul language, no real names, no sales pitches or affiliate links, etc.
  • Your ability to review and offer suggestions before posting. (The Request Feedback tool is especially handy for this.)
  • Revenue sharing, if you use AdWords. Do they get a cut?

Guest blogging on personal sites is most often an informal, friendly arrangement — this isn’t meant to suggest that you need a notarized contract, simply that it can be useful to chat about the relationship so you both feel comfortable and confident.

When you ask for a guest blog, you must post it. Post it good!

Once you get down to posting time, there are a few last logistics to consider:

  • How will you post it? You can either paste their text into a post and publish it yourself, being sure to credit them, or add them to your blog as a user and let them publish themselves. If the latter, you’ll want to add them as an Author or Editor.
  • How will they post it? If your guest plans to cross-publish the post to their site, how will they do it — as a separate new post, or a reblog? Or will they simply link to your site?

Once the post is live, spread the word of your stellar partnership! If you both use Twitter, be sure to use their Twitter handle when you promote the post. If you’re friends on Facebook or Google+, tag them in your post. Ask them to do the same. Twice the social network means twice the love, twice the readership, and, hopefully, twice the conversation.

Next week, we’ll explore ways to create guest blogging opportunities for yourself — although once you start creating relationships with other bloggers, it’ll probably come naturally — and what to consider as the person providing the content.

If you’ve invited guest bloggers to your site, we’d love to hear about the experience!

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  1. I should add that I’ve written drafts on my blog and sent the hosting blog a feedback link so they could copy and paste. It worked well, but they did have to manually add any hyperlinks and photos. I don’t use a ton of those, so it wasn’t a big deal.

    We have also found that a reblog on the writer’s site brought more viewers than simply a post with a link to the guest post. Hope that is useful information for someone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. During the month of October I was spending time with my granddaughters. I didn’t want my blog to suffer so I lined up three great guest bloggers for my blog. I can’t say enough about how well this worked out for me, my blog and hopefully my guests as well. Good to see such an informative post promoting this concept with so many great ideas on how to do it well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing the article, great ideas! I must admit that I rarely take time to comment on other people’s blogs, not for the lack of interest but my busy schedule. I will make an effort to improve that, and thus increase the traffic to my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I ran a blog challenge and the winner received the opportunity to guest post on my blog. I had avoided content that was NOT my own up until that point. Did I gain a little extra traffic? Maybe, but what I did gain was a new perspective on a topic I post about often. It’s funny because I have been asked to “guest post” on others’ blogs in the past and never did…why? because I thought they were being lazy and just looking for filler to keep traffic up. Is this the truth? I have no idea, but I am at the point now, that I “get it” and wish I had NOT passed up the opportunity to guest post. So, long story short…just do it! :)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Blogging isn’t just about publishing. It’s about sharing, commenting, and connecting. 

    No its not, I have posted on other peoples blogs, I have only met 4 at the most real genuine bloggers who have returned the favour and commented on my blog. What I have come across are selfish, self centred people who are happy that they are being given praise but cannot be arsed returning the complement. I have had interference and accusation from someone who thought they are a member of WordPress staff, who basically told me that I was not welcome in the community because I self host and not have my blog on WordPress servers, they were wrong about that big time, did they apologise, did they hell.
    So I am closing my blogs, I really cannot be bothered with the shit

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is so true. I enjoy all my fellow bloggers. I love when people give me feedback on my blogs or when they express their thoughts and feelings in their comments. That’s what blogging is about.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My guest bloggers must agree to random drug screenings, and they must also take a standardized aptitude test before they qualify. There is also a filing fee for application paperwork. But, a limo service is provided for them, and also a carb-heavy breakfast buffet in the La Quinta lobby at 6am sharp on the day of their performance.

    I’m just kidding! No I’m not.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Gratitude for this post, as a new blogger and musician, I need all the insights on keeping me relevant and informed. Consistency is key and a mean left hook! lol So I will look for guest bloggers in the near future to be able to network with and take a punch or two. Until … Stop by HipHopCurrency.com peace

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hmm.. very interesting and yet all the reason I started blogging to ‘express ‘inspire share’
    I love reading and commenting on other peoples posts and I have a few main ones… but mostly I like to let someone know that I enjoyed it. We all love to receive a response ;)

    I will have to study this some more and see if any of my fellow bloggers are interested ;)

    Thank You for sharing;)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It is so funny that this was posted today, as I just logged on tonight with the thought of asking how to become a guest blogger as means to continue to build a larger audience to entertain, encourage, and/or educate through blogging and to gain experience as a writer. I am anxious what next week’s post will suggest as far as becoming a guest blogger, but in the meantime, if anyone has any suggestions for me about how to become a guest blogger, please, feel free to share. My blog can be found at That’s Another Story:

    http://kristijojedlickiblog.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person