You’re starting to get some traction with your blog.
People are visiting your site, you’re attracting some comments, and your visitors are sharing your content on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
That’s fantastic news! Way to go!
Now you might be thinking about trying to bring in some guest writers, to help create content for your blog.
How exactly do you find those guest bloggers? How do you start attracting people who are good writers – folks who can create content that is a good fit for your audience?
First, let’s describe what guest bloggers are, how they can help you as a blogger, and when you should start looking for them.
Why You Should Attract Guest Writers for Your Blog
A guest blogger is someone who writes a piece to publish on YOUR blog, instead of writing for his or her own site.
Guest bloggers don’t usually get paid – they typically write guest posts for exposure, and for the links back to their sites.
In my business, I talk a lot about guest blogging from the flip side. In my Blog Traffic School program, I go into detail about how to get your own guest posts published on popular sites in order to get attention, links, subscribers, and relationships with big bloggers.
But today I want to look at guest blogging from the other angle. What’s the best way to attract guest writers to publish top-notch content on your site?
Having guest bloggers publish content on your site helps you in many different ways. Guest bloggers:
- Help you feature new and different voices and points of view on your blog.
- Create content for you (which means you have to write fewer blog posts).
- Help you get traffic to your site, because they share their guest posts with their own community members.
Keep in mind that guest blogging is quite different than ghostblogging. When you bring in a ghostblogger, that person writes articles on your behalf, and they are published under your name (not the original writer’s name). Ghostblogging is a paid service, and ghostbloggers usually sign on to work with you for a longer period of time (like 3-6 months or more).
The Step-by-Step Method for Attracting Quality Guest Writers for Your Blog
Here’s the process you should follow if you’d like to attract talented guest bloggers for your site:
Step One: Make your site as appealing as possible for guest writers.
Guest bloggers typically write guest articles for free, in exchange for exposure and a link back to their site. Because they’re writing for the exposure – and hopefully some subscribers – it’s worth your while to make your site as appealing as possible for those potential writers.
The more comments and social shares your post has, the more enticing it’s going to look to potential writers — so try to get as much traffic as you can. Encourage your subscribers to share your posts on social media. Nudge people to comment.
That said, you don’t need a TON of traffic or subscribers or social shares to attract a guest poster or two. But it’s a good idea not to try to get guest posts when you’ve just started, you’ve got zero traffic, and you only have ten people on your list. You want to offer the best possible situation to your guest bloggers, so put some effort into make your blog appealing by building your traffic.
No need to stress out over this step, though. Do your best, and move on to Step Two.
Step Two: Write out a simple document explaining your guest post guidelines.
If you want people to write for your site, tell them what kind of submissions you’re looking for, and how they should submit their ideas or articles.
If you want people to submit ideas or outlines first, tell them that. If you’d rather see full posts, that’s okay too – spell it out.
Then explain what’s in it for them. Will you send a link to the post out to your entire mailing list? How large is your list? Will you share it on your incredibly popular and engaged Facebook page or Pinterest profile? Say that.
Be clear on what kind of link you’ll give in the byline of the article, and show an example, if possible (even if that example is from another site).
You want people to want to write for you, so this is no time to be modest. Spell out exactly what they’ll get by becoming a guest blogger for your site.
Step Three: Publish your guidelines on your site.
Add a link to your guidelines to your navigation bar, perhaps under your “About” page in a drop-down menu.
You can add a link to your guest post guidelines in the footer area of your site, too. You could call the link “Write for Us,” “Guest Posting Guidelines” or something similar – just make sure it’s labeled clearly. This is no time to be cute or clever.
Step Four: Spread the Word About Your Guest Posting Opportunities.
The people on your email mailing list are some of your biggest fans, so it’s a good idea to let them know you’re looking for guest writers. Send a note to your list saying you’re looking for guest bloggers, and include a link to your guest post guidelines.
Next, reach out to people whose writing you respect and admire, and ask if they would like to write for your blog. Make sure the people you reach out to write content that is a good fit for your audience members.
Step Five: Pick the Best Blog Posts for Your Site.
You should only accept a guest post for your site if the content is well-written and the topic is a good fit for your audience.
You may receive guest post requests from people who are just trying to promote themselves, who don’t actually have anything useful or interesting to say. Or you’ll get requests from people who want to write about topics that aren’t a match for your audience. You should say no to those folks.
It’s also not your job to give people guest post ideas. Refer people back to your guest post guidelines (Step Two) so they know it’s their job to bring guest post topics to the table.
If you’re not sure about a particular writer, it’s okay to say “maybe” to his request. If you’re concerned about writing quality, ask him to go ahead and write the article, then submit it to you so you can look it over before you make a decision (or ask for previous writing samples).
Long story short: It’s your blog, so it’s your decision. Don’t agree to anything you’re not comfortable with, and always keep your readers in mind when you’re deciding about a guest blogger.
Say “yes” to articles that are a good fit – articles you’d be proud to publish on your site – then move on to step six.
Step Six: Promote the guest post and develop relationships with your guest bloggers.
When you publish a guest blogger’s article on your site, do your best to promote it! Send the article to your mailing list, promote it on social media, and ask influencers to share the piece with their audiences.
Make sure the guest blogger is replying to comments and promoting the piece to her audience, too.
If the blogger did a good job and the piece was popular with your audience, you can ask the blogger to contribute another article for your site.
The same rules still apply for repeat guest bloggers – make sure the piece is high quality and a good fit for your audience.
How to Make Guest Content Work for You
As you publish guest posts on your site, you will probably get more requests for guest posts. Hopefully you’ll have tons of quality submissions to choose from.
Take note of which types of content get a lot of social shares and comments (and which ones don’t) so you can add more information to your guest post guidelines. Remember – the more specific you are in the guest post guidelines, the better your guest submissions will be.
And whether you decide to publish just a few guest pieces, or make guest bloggers a regular feature on your site, your readers will appreciate the high-quality content they’ll get from you.
Guest bloggers can be a breath of fresh air into your solitary blogging world, so if publishing guest posts seems like a good fit for your site, start making your site appealing to guest writers and putting together your own guest post guidelines.
And have some fun with this process! Guest bloggers can take some of the content creation burden off your shoulders, and can really help build a large and loyal online audience. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.