It’s that time of year: things are getting hectic! When you’re swamped with work, it can be hard to prioritize any tasks that don’t actually help you meet your deadlines. And if you have a blog that you use to promote your business and work, it can be one of the easier things to shift to the bottom of the To Do list.
Instead of letting your blog languish, why not consider working with a guest blogger?
Guest Blogger Pros and Cons
The advantages of working with a guest blogger are many. The right guest blogger can:
- relieve time pressures
- allow you to focus on other work
- provide a counterpoint to your regular perspective
- cover topics in which your experience is not as strong
- add a fresh voice to your message
- broaden your blog’s readership
Of course, the potential disadvantages you’ll need to consider include:
- issues of content quality, consistency, or overlap
- a loss of readership to the guest bloggers’ blog
- differences of philosophy or opinion
- issues with publication frequency and regularity
- diffusion of your brand and voice
The good news is that you can preempt and protect yourself from most of these issues with a little planning and good guest blogger selection.
Plan for a Guest Blogger
Before you start looking for guest bloggers to help out with your company blog, take a few minutes to answer these questions.
- What do you want the blogger to focus on? Consider topics, themes, and areas of expertise.
- Would you like the blogger to take full responsibility for the blog, or to partner with you? If you have a few intense weeks ahead, you might try to engage someone to relieve you entirely for that period. If you just need a little more time on your hands, you might replace two of your weekly posts with two of theirs, and keep posting alternately with your guest blogger.
- How often would you like the guest blogger to post? The answer ties closely to the last question. But it’s important to work out specifically how many blog posts you want from the guest blogger in a certain period.
- When will the guest arrangement end? Few bloggers will want to guest post on your blog indefinitely. Your challenge is to decide on a timeframe that you feel is reasonable, but which also suits your needs and time pressures.
- How will post submission and publication work? Will you allow them to enter and publish their own content on your blog, or would you like to review all their posts and set them to publish yourself?
- Who will own the copyright to the posts? This is an important question, but it’s often overlooked. You’ll need to consider whether you want indefinite, exclusive use of the posts, or whether you’ll be happy for the guest blogger to republish them on their own blogs after a certain time period.
- Will you pay the guest blogger for their posts? If so, how much will you pay? If not, will you provide them with exposure in other ways — by reviewing their services or interviewing them on your blog, providing advertising space in your blog or client newsletters, offering a reciprocal guest blogging arrangement in future, or some other means?
The nature of your blog may dictate that other details need to be considered — for example, you may decide to use a couple of guest bloggers intermittently, and this would, obviously, add a layer of complexity to the arrangement. But these are the main considerations you’ll want to address before you start the hunt for a suitable guest blogger.
Find Your Guest Blogger
It may be that as soon as you think about a guest blogger, someone springs to mind — a blogger you admire, perhaps, who has experience in your field and would likely be happy to work on your blog for a given time period.
If not, you’ll need to find one. Good starting points include the following.
- Consider team members or trusted contractors: if they have experience with your business, clients, and projects, they may be able to provide posts that suit the expectations of your blog’s readership.
- Ask associates for referrals: those working in your field may know of good bloggers who’d suit your blog and your needs. Invite your peers and professional contacts to suggest potential guest bloggers.
- Search online: search for blogs on the topics you need the guest blogger to focus on. Don’t restrict yourself to bloggers who have their own blogs: you may find excellent guest bloggers on sites that employ a number of bloggers to focus on specific areas. Those bloggers may prefer to be paid for their posts, but equally they may appreciate the opportunity to gain exposure to a new, engaged audience through a guest blogging opportunity.
Make the Approach
When you approach your prospective guest blogger, be prepared to provide all the details of the arrangement, and to be honest about what you want and don’t want. The clearer you are about your expectations, the less risk there’ll be in the arrangement. You may prefer to float the general idea with the blogger first, before you get into the nitty gritty details of remuneration and audience information, and that’s fine. But you must be prepared to be transparent, for example, about whether you’ll allow cross-links to the guest blogger’s blog within their posts, whether you want to review all their posts, and so on.
Remember: rapport is important in any guest blogging arrangement, and honesty is crucial to building trust. If it goes well, and both parties are happy, you may both be happy to consider using the same arrangement in future. Having a guest blogger on call, who knows your blog, its readership, and the kinds of topics that work well can be extremely handy for the freelancer trying to juggle promotions with work. So be keen to try to meet your guest bloggers needs, and ensure they get what they want out of the relationship.
Have you ever used — or acted as — a guest blogger? How did you make sure things went to plan, and the blog’s readership was kept happy?
Photo by stock.xchng user johnnyberg.
Georgina has more than fifteen years' experience writing and editing for web, print and voice. With a background in marketing and a passion for words, the time Georgina spent with companies like Sausage Software and sitepoint.com cemented her lasting interest in the media, persuasion, and communications culture.