This is Part 2 of an article by Ann Smarty. Part 1 covers up through Step 1 in the process of integrating guest writers into your blog.
Step 2: Find Guest Writers
The major reason why many bloggers shy away from guest articles is that they have no idea where to find guest contributors. While larger sites get regular writing applications, smaller-scale bloggers have no idea where to find people who may want to contribute a free article.
Here are a few ways to find contributors for your blog:
1. Invite your existing followers:
- Use your social media profiles to announce the opportunity;
- Make your “Write for me” page visible on your site to make sure newcomers are aware of your interest;
- Reach out to those who leave smart comments — these are people who love writing and are pretty good at that; and
- Invite fellow bloggers you meet at forums and on discussion boards.
This method of recruiting from your existing followers is especially useful for building long-lasting relationships through guest posting. The best relationships are built based on mutual benefit.
2. Choose from already-written guest posts that are looking for homes
This method is best for filling “gaps” in your editorial calendar. When you are sick or busy traveling and can’t find anyone to contribute, apply for something which is already written!
One place to find this kind of content is the site MyBlogGuest.com (Full disclosure: I own MyBlogGuest.com) which allows writers to exhibit the work they want to see published on other blogs. By using their Articles Gallery where all those pre-written articles are displayed, a blog owner can then find what they want and apply to use it. Payment is just a full byline for the original writer.
If you want something specific written, there are sections for requests the writers can apply to.
Other sites offer similar functionality — not too long ago Search Engine Journal had a good roundup of some blogger outreach possibilities.
Using this kind of approach can save a whole lot of time and effort — plus your sanity — as you no longer have to spend hours at a time only to come up empty handed.
Step 3: Thank the Writer
Finally, we have a very important step that way too many bloggers forget — thanking the contributors. This means more than just offering their byline, as that was part of the deal in the first place. No, you have to make more of an effort than that to show that they are appreciated, and to ensure that they are well treated and so they will want to write for your blog again and again.
The most powerful, yet less obvious benefit of publishing guest articles is growing the community of contributors around the blog. This will be the core of your blog readership (like forum moderators form the core of any forum membership), so taking an effort to build stronger contacts with your guest authors will pay back in the long run.
- The first way to do this is to actively thank them in the post itself. Write a quick introduction saying who is your guest author and why you are so lucky to have him / her.
- Next, make sure they feel like you are paying attention and appreciating their efforts. Give them feedback on their work, let them know what you would like to see in the future that they did in another post, be generally polite, and don’t make them wait for ages to see the post published or reviewed. There is nothing more disheartening than seeing a lot of posts sitting in draft for weeks at a time with no explanation.
- Tag your guest author in social media updates when tweeting and sharing the guest article. This way your author will receive your updates and is more likely to reply.
- Finally, foster a sense of community among your writers. Encourage them to communicate with one another, as well as you and other members of your site’s staff. Be warm and open, and make sure you all keep in contacts on a regular basis. This is a quick way to show that they are all appreciated as part of the team, not as individual writers who don’t belong.
Having guest posters is a normal part of running a blog, or at least it should be. In the past it might have been more difficult to pull off, and finding good writers to pick up the slack took a huge amount of time and effort. But that is no longer the case, and the benefit is extensive enough that it certainly outweighs what energy it does take to get things going.
Image: Welcoming Guests from Shutterstock