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!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.