Do you struggle to publish a blog post for your website every week? A key component of effective content marketing is maintaining consistency, yet consistently frequent posting can be a lot to manage for one person or even a team if you’re already busy. If you’re looking for help with blog writing, why not try using guest bloggers?
A guest blogger is someone who writes for your blog without being directly involved in the organisation. This special contributor is not paid but rather gains reciprocal benefits of having their name and/or brand associated with your blog. They may have a complementary service which would benefit from a link to your brand, or perhaps they are simply looking for exposure.
Blog contributors can be a valuable, helpful addition to any company blog. They need to be effectively managed to ensure the consistency of quality, style and topics aren’t compromised. To achieve the best results from a guest blogger, establish the following from the start.
Be clear about your criteria
What will you accept on your blog? What won’t you accept? In order to get the kind of content you and your audience like, it’s a good idea to brief potential contributors with both of these criteria. For some B2B blogs, you may want to ensure your content stays professional by advising against topics involving religion, politics or sex. Furthermore, for new contributors you may want to specify that posts must be useful, and leave thought leadership or opinion pieces only to those who are specifically invited.
What length, style, and audience should your writers aim for in their writing? Develop contributor guidelines and have them ready in a .pdf document to give to someone developing content for your blog. It’s ideal to do this before you open your blog up to outside contributors so you have plenty of time to think this through. Contributor guidelines are also helpful for briefing unsolicited guest bloggers who may have a different agenda than you have for your blog.
Ensure your contributor guidelines contain a minimum and maximum word count for length and a style description such as ‘second person, conversational’. It’s also useful to include as much ‘tone of voice’ information about your publication as possible. These factors will affect the content your contributors write for you, and the more detail you provide, the more targeted you can expect the posts to be.
Make sure the potential author has a clear understanding of your audience. When giving a profile of your audience, make sure to include their age, level of education, interests and needs.
Set a period of exclusivity
In the interests of your brand, you should enforce at least a two-week window between the time a contributor’s article is published on your site and the time it is published on another site. Insist the author link back to your post any time they republish, noting ‘This post originally appeared at:’ with details of your website. If you are not very clear about these expectations, your author may feel as if they have the freedom to post to their own sites immediately and without proper attribution. This may direct valuable web traffic away from your channels.
Although not all brands allow contributors to republish guest posts, it’s polite to allow them to do so after an allotted period of time. This increases the mutually beneficial nature of your arrangement. With a strong enough call to action on your post, the extra exposure will continue to benefit your brand.
When blog contributors send their posts to you, allow them to provide a short bio, headshot, and any links they wish to their website or social media. Display this information openly on your site when you publish the post, making sure the true author is abundantly clear. Contributors invest hard work into posts they write for your website, and palming articles off as your own is some of the worst etiquette possible in this area.
It’s also good form for the editor of your post to write an introductory paragraph about your guest blogger. Tell your readers why the author is appearing on your site and what you like about them. This is your chance to set the context for your guest and establish their credibility with your audience. Take this excerpt from the Lush blog for example:
“If you want to get more media coverage for your brand, understanding who makes decisions in the newsroom is essential. Nic Hayes, co-host of Brand Newsroom and Managing Director of Media Stable, writes about a valuable opportunity for Australian marketing managers to meet these power players in person. –Ed.”
Are you wondering how to approach potential blog contributors? Once you’ve documented some of your writing guidelines, a link to this information on your website with an email address for submissions presents an opportunity to anyone who might be interested. You may also have blog contributors approach staff members directly, so keeping your guidelines on file will be useful in these circumstances.
If you’d like help creating blogger guidelines for your brand, contact Lush Digital Media. We love to help brands use blogs as part of their communication strategy.