As a blog owner, sometimes you want to take a day off and let someone else post on your blog. Guest blogging can do this very nicely, but you need to be careful; poor guest posts can hurt your SEO. When you’re reaching out to potential guest bloggers, you need to be careful to make sure you’re a valuable place for them to post and that you handle the entire process, from query to publication, properly.
Don’t Use Form Letters
When you begin a message to your possible guest blogger with “Dear writer,” they may as well immediately can it. Form letters arrive every day asking about guest posts, either posting elsewhere or getting a post on their site. You need to stand out, and you can start by researching who you’re approaching and how best to approach them. For that matter, maybe they have a message on their contact page about how to approach them about guest posts. They might also say they don’t accept guest posts at all.
Do Personalize Your Query
Instead of mindlessly approaching everyone, bring up something they have written about that you liked and found particularly relevant. Ask them, perhaps, if they might like to write a supplemental piece about it on your blog. There’s an implied and built-in incentive here, that you’ll link back to their original post – or allow them to do so if they wish – for added benefit.
Don’t Be Impatient
How often do you manage to respond to your emails within a couple hours, or even a day? Busy bloggers have a lot on their plate, and sometimes something as minor as a guest blog query from someone you don’t recognize will go unread for days. At most, send a follow-up after a week of no notice. Typically, bloggers will at least send you a polite message declining your offer.
Do Research Your Potential Writer
It does no good to send off queries to every potential writer on a blog; some of them might not be active, some of them might not be a good fit for your blog and some of them may not want to contribute. It’s worth the time to research each writer individually to assess their fit for your blog before you send them a query.
Don’t Impose Unnecessary Restrictions
You’re asking writers to write their own posts to be published on your blog. You’re not contacting a content mill writer with a lengthy assignment. If you want that much creative control, you can hire a ghostwriter or you can write the project yourself. If you’re contacting a guest blogger, you’re doing it because you want what they produce, along their guidelines, not what you write. Some basic quality guidelines and length rules may apply, but you don’t need much more than that.
Do Consider Reciprocating
Google frowns upon reciprocal guest blogging when mutual backlinks are involved. When you’re guest blogging as a returned favor for a guest blog written for your site, however, the situation is much more casual. If a blogger writes for your site, let them know that you would be willing to return the favor, should the opportunity arise.
Don’t Respond Poorly to Rejection
Many bloggers don’t have the time to write for blogs they don’t own, and some just don’t want to write for blogs that don’t have significant reputations. Don’t get angry or depressed if you’re denied. All it means is that the blogger was not a good fit for your blog. There are plenty of others out there, who may provide even better content.
Do Use Passive Channels as Well
Sending out active queries is useful if you have an urgent timeslot to fill and you need content quickly. If you have a more general need for an extra occasional writer or three, go ahead and create a basic “write for our blog” page. Lay out your guidelines and contact information for submissions, and see what you get. Who knows, you might be surprised at the writers who fall into your lap.
Don’t Exclusively Target Long Shots
You might love it if, say, Neil Patel wrote a guest post for your blog, but he’s kind of a long shot; he’s popular, he’s a big name, and as great as he would look writing for your blog, he can do the same for any of hundreds of other blogs that ask him every month. Don’t rely on such long shots; target bloggers who have more free time and a lesser reputation as well.
Do Give Novice Bloggers a Chance
Don’t be “exclusionist”. Don’t be elitist. If a blog is smaller than yours, that blogger might appreciate the chance to write for a larger blog. It’s not significantly different than you writing for a larger blog than your own. There’s always someone higher on the totem pole, and it doesn’t pay to trod on the heads of those below you.
Don’t Make Your Blog a Risky Move
Make sure your blog is a safe space for bloggers to put their names. If you have a history of spammy practices, a site that looks like it’s straight out of Angelfire or a lot of content that’s not worth much, no guest blogger is going to want to post there. You don’t invite guests to a vacation spot out in the slums; you take them to a beach resort.
Do Offer Compensation
Some bloggers just won’t want to write for your site without some form of compensation. Some will be fine with a backlink, though you should be cautious about the sites you link to, just in general. Some will prefer a post in return. Some others will ask for a free trial of your product or monetary compensation instead. Be prepared to compensate a guest poster for their work, in some way or another.
Don’t Avoid Guest Posting Entirely
Just because it has a bit of a bad rap, doesn’t mean guest posting is completely worthless. You can find a lot of value in word of mouth and name recognition. You just need to get the right people to write for your site.