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How to Host Guest Blogs while Building your Credibility

This guest post is by Ronique Gibson of Freshome.

Once you have been blogging for a while, the reality of keeping your content fresh, relevant, and interesting becomes more of a challenge. One way to satisfy these challenges is to host guest blogs on your site.  While there are plenty of tips out there on how to be a good guest blogger, what about being a gracious host? Similarly to inviting guests to your home, you want your guests to feel welcome, relaxed, and oh yeah, they should provide a gift to the party—worthwhile content!

Host guest posts

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On my home decor lifestyle blog Stagetecture, I have hosted close to 300 guest bloggers to my “home,” and along the way I have been able to carefully perfect a system of hosting quality guest bloggers that helps my guests deliver a quality product to my readers and develops my credibility in the process. Here are three tips to help your guests writers want to contribute more, and how your reputation as a quality blog will rise to the top of the competition.

1. Know your niche and don’t let your guests deviate

Have you ever had a guest come to your dinner party, and they come with a hidden agenda, like trying to recruit your guests for their business? Remember: your home, your rules. Have a clear and concise niche that you are accepting guest posts for, and make it crystal clear in writing for interested guests. 

While most guests are genuine, it is not rare to have content pitched to you that subtly veer off-track from the intent of your blog, and the message you want to deliver to your audience.

How to accomplish: Before accepting guest blogs, ensure that your blog has room for opinions, and ideas, and welcomes engagement of your readers.
Develop submission guidelines: Visit a few blogs that you enjoy who welcome guest blogs. Typically, they will have submission guidelines, or you may have to go through the contact form for these. My advice is to put everything in writing on a page that can be easily found on your blog. Include who your blog caters to, desired length of blog posts, if you welcome images, links, and so on. This will save time and energy for both parties.

Once your niche and audience is clear, your guests will be clear as to where their creativity and expertise can best be used on your site. You, in turn, will build credibility for your website as a blog that sticks to its niche and values your reader’s valuable time.

2. Stay professional and courteous

Have you ever sent out RSVPs for a dinner party where only two people responded, yet 30 people showed up on the night of your gathering? When hosting guest blogs, professionalism and courteousness can take you a long way. I, personally have been on the receiving end of trying to write on another blog, and never received a response.

When hosting guests, reply within a set period of time, and make it your policy.  After all, both of you are taking a chance on the other, the rapport that you develop now will make the experience enjoyable for you both, and will in turn show through in the blog post for your readers.

How to accomplish: Keep your contact form linked to an email that you or someone from your blog checks regularly. 
Feed back: Provide concise and courteous feedback. Thank the guest for wanting to submit content and work with them to bring their post up to the standards of your blog. For excellent posts, show them your appreciation, and give them a date when it will be published. As a courtesy, I write each blogger and give them a link to their post when it is live. This also helps them promote their post on social media streams, which is a win-win for both of you!

3. Build diverse content through guests

The last time you created a guest list for your barbecue, did you choose all guests that were exactly the same, or did you try and mix and match personalities for diversity? Once again, the same scenario is true for hosting guests on your blog.

While you want your guest writers to stay within your blogging niche, you still want to seek out diversity to add interest for your reader, and therefore credibility to your blog as a whole. When I first started accepting guests on Stagetecture, I only sought out home interiors and decor guests, then I realized there was an entire world of do-it-yourself, home maintenance, green home living, and home trade experts out there that I had never tapped into!

In October of this year I was asked by eHow.com to be a resource for their home niche blog content to lend helpful advice to eHow readers. To this day 90% of these posts are from Stagetecture guest blogs.

How to accomplish: Seek out guests through your social media connections, visit similar niche blog sites, and seek out guest blog websites that are a meeting place for a myriad of bloggers. You will be surprised how many resources are out there.  When finding guests, you just need to ask, be friendly, and be genuine in your intentions, and your ‘guest list’ will fill up in no time.

Hosting guest blogs on your website can be rewarding for both parties. Similarly to a perfect party, your guests will love to talk about your blog for months into the future; if they were treated well, enjoyed themselves, and made new friends.  

Your website is your home to the world. Create an inviting guest blogger experience and your guests will be asking when the next party will be—and your site will build credibility for being the best place to visit for quality guest-contributed content!

Ronique Gibson is an Associate Architect and a LEED Accredited Professional, who has been in the home design industry for over 13 years. Her writing at Freshome and her guest blog hosting at Stagetecture encompasses her love for architecture, interior design, and family solutions to help make your home the best place it can be.

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Comments

  1. Chris Price says:

    Thanks for the tips. What have you found to be the best way to get people to want to guest post on your blog?

    • Hi Chris,

      I know I’m not the author, but I just had a guest post hosted on ProBlogger yesterday (6 Steps to a Loyal Blog Following), and maybe I can answer your question. I’ve found a great tactic to create a “buzz” around your blog–other than writing great content, of course–is to invite experts to guest post. You seek out the people YOU want to write for your blog. Then, when you begin developing a list of great guest posters, others will naturally see it as an honor to either be invited, or accepted, to guest post on your site.

      I hope this helps?

    • Hi Chris,

      I first just asked people! :) While it seems so simple, it works fabulously. Many people are flattered to get exposure, and if they are too busy they will let you know. Many people think that they will be turned down immediately. Go and visit blogs you enjoy, and ask them if they will come on your site. There are also sites that facilitate guest blogs – My Blog Guest is one of my favs!

    • Ling says:

      Hi Chris,

      you can put up a “Guest Post on this blog” link on your blog and mention the requirements for submitting a guest post. You can also join My Blog Guest and creating a thread in the forum.
      And if you have one, don’t forget to promote the guest article. This will let people know that you’re accepting guest articles.

  2. Garth Beyer says:

    I too want to thank you for your tips. I have a question similar to Chris and maybe even a beginning answer.
    Would it be bad to start letting family and friends guest blog on your website? After all, they should know you better than your readers (in some cases).

    Then I was wondering how negatively effective is it to have a blog that has nothing to do with your niche to be written by a guest. Sparingly, it could throw people off track, inspire a new idea, change perspectives, and simply remind people why they come to your blog. Of course the guest blog would be different than what your niche is, but that doesnt mean it can’t still be something your passionate about. (Ex. Your niche blog is Public Speaking. You also have a passion for exercise but never blog about it. Guest blogger comes and writes a blog on fitness.) Now you get a chance to create a connection between fitness and public speaking. Let’s see how good you are and proving that you are great would attract all the more writers.

    • Hi Garth,

      Here’s my opinion on your two questions:

      1.) I think whomever can speak about a topic without being biased… he he.. and will be beneficial to your readers can be welcomed as a guest blogger. Remember, your reader may love to hear from relatives, but they will also want a “fresh perspective” eventually too. Just keep this in mind.

      2.) It’s a trial and error method. You may be right, you may be able to attract a new audience with a unrelated niche guest blog – BUT, remember you already have an audience. So if you come out the shoot with an off niche topic, you may get the opposite result than you want – people leaving your site. :(

      Try it.. there is always something new to try!

  3. @TaukehKedai says:

    Great. A useful reference source

  4. Michael says:

    Great tips and I hope to write a guest post for your blog someday as well!

  5. Drewry says:

    if there’s anything i’ve learned about blogging, it’s that [blogging] brings out the best thing you in creativity, when writing and publishing blogs on a frequent basis. Blogging is absolutely a “labor of love”, as well as a beautiful way to earn a full-time living on the World Wide Web. Yes, I agree that guest posting is a beautiful way for anyone to build up their blog audience, as well as online reputation and long-term credibility as a blogging authority.and most importantly, “blogging diversity” will definitely help any “professional blogger” reach new audiences and retain their interest in longevity! :-)

    http://www.drewrynewsnetwork.com/f4/how-build-million-dollar-internet-company-unique-content-2181.html

  6. Sunil says:

    I am learning different kind of blogs to know the secret behind affiliate marketing… I am keen to earn through affiliate marketing and i got lot of new ideas from your blog like fresh content which is very very important to bring people to site.

    Thanks to you..

  7. I always look guest posts as a wonderful way of building traffic and networking and at the same time, the credibility remains intact which is so very important in the blogosphere

    • I agree! It also gives you a chance to take a break from writing and it gives your readers a new perspective. I think the guest enjoys it too, it helps them build credibility to appear on other blogs. A win-win for all!

  8. David says:

    Interesting post!

    I’m nowhere near the point where I need guest bloggers but these are good tips to remember for the future. Thanks!

  9. Guy Hogan says:

    Will do. Thank you. My blog is about flash fiction and I have been publishing other flash fiction writers for a couple of years now; but recently I offered the position of Guest Columnist to an eager young writer. I hope she works out. I’m waiting for her first submission.

  10. I am just looking at starting my blog up, and I definitely plan on doing a lot of guest blogging. Especially right off the bat, it would be great to get some initial exposure that way. Plus it will probably be great just to network with those individuals and build up my connections. Thanks for the advice, it should prove very useful!

    • I agree Brian. Whether you are new to blogging or a veteran, there is always room for exposure! Good luck to you with your blog and let me know how you do. :)

  11. Thank, I would like to look for guest blogging spots as well as find some people to write on my site this coming year. I love that there is so many blogging helps here. I have learned so much.

    • There are more resources than you probably have time to explore! I also suggest using your own networks. Whether it’s social media, other friends you know who have blogs, or go through the internet search engines for ‘your niche + guest blog’ in the query. You will be amazed.

  12. Your blog should be focused on your niche so as not to encourage guest bloggers to submit content that deviates from your field or interests. Submission guidelines should also be very clear.

  13. This piece just sparked up my interest to include more guest posts on my blog. So far, I have only featured one guest post. I’ll be doing more in 2012. Thank you.

  14. NetJiyo says:

    i always found guest posting profitable to increase my blog traffic,i also accept guest blogging for my blogs specially the technology blog.

  15. Indeed, and good point. This is what I touch on in the article is to have sound guidelines that outline exactly what is expected. While you can’t prevent all deviating content, it will ward off many :) Guidelines also will help save time when guest bloggers inquire, after all you don’t want to write the guidelines out every time a new person asks.

  16. Good analogy between guest blogging and hosting guest in our own home. After all, we strive to make the virtual world more real with a touch of humanity attached to it. #3 is most helpful because different set of eyes can provide a different take on the same subject/niche. Any examples of good/clear submission guidelines for us to model?

  17. Thanks thanks thanks!!!
    I’m starting a new blog in 2012 and I will be starting from scratch and was thinking last night that I would love to start off with guest posts along with my own.

    I’m going to get started with some of your suggestions today!

  18. Thanks for this awesome guide to hosting guest blogging! My blogging goals for 2012 include guest posting on other blogs, and accepting guests posts on my blog. As you mentioned, I’ve quite a few articles on guest posting, and this is the first I’ve read on hosting a guest post.

    I have considered adding a “guest post” page on my blog and I’ve been holding back because, honestly, I was a little concerned about the response if a guest post page is not done right. I appreciate that you’ve provided some ideas for guidelines, and tips on following up with submitted guest posters. Thank you!

    Chrysta

  19. Jeff Bronson says:

    If you setup guidelines for post quality, length and topic (which you do), this is a fantastic strategy. The web is a two way street ,and this is a win-win situation for the blog owner, visitors and guest blogger.

    And let’s face it, having an in-content link on a well established blog will help both visitor increases and ranking increases.

    • Here Here Jeff! Exactly. I now get many inquiries from search engines, without me having to seek out people. Remember, still do your own homework on your Blogger and their writing to make sure it fits with your blog style.

  20. AUDIOMIND says:

    How do you approach those you wish to guest post on your blog? How did you convince them to guest post, minus already having engaging content?

    • I will be honest, many times I went through Twitter and Facebook and looked for people who had interesting comments, had an enjoyable blog I liked, or I was curious to find more about their product, service, etc.. I would find their contact form, and ask them if they would like to be a guest. I did get turned down, but more people than not were very gracious and appeared on Stagetecture. Just ask, the worse they can say is no thanks, and then move on to 1,000,000 other great blogs out there! :)

  21. Jaimica says:

    When we start our own blog,we expect to make it big. At least not initially it was possible but time to time it will.Guest blogging is one of the most effective ways to generate quality traffic for blog.

  22. What do you do when the guests do want to deviate? because they usually do, from the ones that have already emailed me for my blog.

    • Just like your house… you let them know that you appreciate their effort, but this will not fit your readers, or your blog’s niche. Remember, it still is YOUR blog, therefore you need to decide what is acceptable and what is not. I have had several guests deviate, and what I do is give them suggestions on how it would fit more inline with what you envision for your blog. Most guests will retweak and resubmit. If you still can’t see eye to eye, you may have to turn down their article. (this happens rarely – you usually can come to a middle round) Hope this helps!

  23. Leonie Smith says:

    How many readers or hits should you aim for before its respectable to ask someone to guest blog for you? I’d hate to ask for a guest blogger, for my fledgling blog…this is a new one for me.

    • Hi Leonie

      I don’t think the number matters. Its more about wanting new exposure for your readers, and the writer wanting a new audience. Every blog is going to have a different benchmark for readers/hits. When you feel ready, it is time! :)

  24. Thomas Aaron says:

    Thanks! I have been thinking about how best to being in some guests for my own blog. Very helpful.

  25. I’ve often wondered if I should accept guest posts on my “personal” blog which uses my name in it’s domain, so far I haven’t, but do accept guest posts on all my other blogs.