Due to the fact that I have two jobs, one of which is full-time, it’s always been pretty tough to try and publish a blog every week or two on my site, Digital Drum.
So I started approaching people online that I could carry out interviews, and run topical discussions, with.
I also spied some great comments by peers here and there, so I’d sometimes approach them and either invite them to write something new for my site, or ask permission to republish their content.
The vast majority of people have been happy to oblige.
I wanted to pass on what I’ve learned from coordinating all this guest content. So here are five quick pointers from me about how to treat your guest contributors.
Make your intentions clear
You’ve identified something that would fit well with your own content – great. That’s the first obstacle overcome (I know I’m quite picky).
There’s no need to beat around the bush. I’ve always found it fine to drop someone a DM on LinkedIn as soon as you’re sure you’d like to feature their work introduce yourself briefly, get to the point about what you want from them, and don’t waffle on.
If you’re willing to offer them a backlink or plug, then say so. It’ll help them weigh up the pros and cons more quickly, and make a decision on it.
And provide a link to your site, so they can have a quick gander at where their content will end up.
Don’t let there be any mystery about the arrangement. Be upfront and clear in what you want from them, and what they’ll get from you. It means that expectations are set from the start, and there’s then no backtracking or awkwardness later on.
I’ve been in a situation as a contributor before, where the host a) changed the title of my blog without asking and b) refused to link back to my site and credit me fully.
It meant I pulled the content back from them straight away and said FORGET IT.
Be a gentleman
Now that you’ve got permission to use their content, make sure you do so without any urges to rip it apart, re-edit it, cut massive chunks out, or worst of all, put your own views and content in.
There are times when a shortened title or a ‘neatened-up’ passage is reasonable. But make sure you put forward any proposed changes asap, and then get your guest blogger’s permission to make the amendments.
I’ve been lucky to work with some lovely guest bloggers, and they are always open to this kind of feedback.
Some are even grateful for me picking up a missed typo, which they then go on to correct on their own site.
Check they’re happy to be in your company
Once you’re ready to go live with the guest content, the courteous thing to do is send your guest contributor a link so they can see their work in-situ.
If you’ve proofed the piece and picked up the odd typo, make them aware (people are usually grateful for the fresh pair of eyes!).
Checking they’re 100% happy with how it looks and how it’s laid out will ensure that you can be fully confident in sharing and promoting the post.
It also means that they’re now far more likely to lend a hand when it comes to promoting the guest blog. Meaning more reach, and more traffic driven to your site too. Peachy.
Remember their name
Remember that when you’re touting their content about on your own platforms, you need to fully credit them by mentioning them (and, ideally, tagging them) in any initial stages of social media promotion.
For things like Twitter, once some time’s elapsed from the first promotional push, you can stop tagging them, because it’ll just becomes annoying for them.
Whilst they may be happy to share, re-tweet or post something including your link to help you, I never really ask for guest bloggers to do this. And I never expect them to. Everyone’s busy and people are different, so some may not appreciate a fanfare.
Always say thanks
(OK, I admit – I’ve run out of ideas for these ‘themed’ sub-headings.)
Sounds obvious, but when posts go live and you’re setting up the content promotion, there’s a risk you might forget to thank your guest blogger.
So make sure you email or DM them to let them know that you appreciate them letting you republish their words, ideas, and name.
Following these five steps has stood me in good stead, and I’ve had many guest contributors returning for more spots on the site.
If you see the chance to republish their content as a privilege, and not as a right, and you won’t go far wrong in terms of how you treat them.