I was recently interviewed by a legal publication on how to be a good guest author and how to invite guest authors to a blog. Turns out, this topic has a lot of breadth to it, and I used my recent guest posts here, here, and here as fodder for this discussion.
And, it got me thinking — what constitutes a good guest author? There are no rules (really?), so I’ve created my own (really 2?). See if you agree, and then please add yours! I’m not in the “frequent guest poster” category at all, so I honestly would like to hear what you’ve got to add.
1. Topicality. Definitely ask the blog owner what topic they want you to address. When that is not defined, then, the sky is the limit and the delay is longer. Take a look at previous blog topics archived so you can conform to some style similarities. Know if the blog is oriented to public relations, small business, or some other vertical orientation. Never submit a topic that has nothing to do with the blog; in fact, a good rule of thumb is to invite the blog owner to approve the topic.
2. Deadline. Do deliver a post by deadline. When the blog owner says, in a month, then set your deadline for a week out and let him or her know you’ve done that. This way you will get that post off your plate, and on to theirs. Now, if that blogger is so swamped with topics and your post is going to sit awhile, then work out an acceptable date in advance of submitting the piece. I worry about relevancy if a blog sits too long in the hopper.
3. Content. Spend double the time on drafting the content, and then put it away a day. Come back to the post fresh to slice and dice and improve. I have a future post in the queue for Firepole Marketing, and Danny Inny wanted a draft, which I rarely if ever do. I sent the draft and then announced several days later I had rewritten the entire post and re-submitted as final. As a rule of thumb, I do spend a lot more time (about a smidge over double) on a guest post than for a post on my own blog, and it shows in the long run.
4. Amenities. I always send a jpg of an image with a credit. That way, the blog owner doesn’t have to search. I send links within the body of the post, as well. This is a must and courtesy for the blog owner. Lastly, I send my bio and a photo (just in case), so the blog owner doesn’t have to do that leg work.
5. Marketing. On the day prior to publication, ask the blog owner what time he/she will go live with your post. Everyone is different — in fact, I had to wait until 1:30 p.m. ET for Spin Sucks’ guest post to go live (ahem, because Ms. Dietrich gets top billing, of course). Over at Ken Mueller’s house, he was prompt at 7:30 a.m. which provided me the opportunity to jump in early to add the first comment.
Once you know when you’re going live, tweet the post, title, and invite peeps to come visit. Throughout the day, schedule tweets with the guest post, add it to Facebook and also Google+. It’s very polite to market the heck out of your guest post for someone else’s blog. In fact, that’s a must do for anyone guest posting — always market your post at least 10 times throughout the day and the next day on the Interwebz. (Hilarious; I NEVER do that for my own posts. What’s wrong with me?)
6. Accessibility. Be very in touch with comments; answer each one, thank commenters, and be professional…unless, of course, there’s a full on blog jack occurring, and then have some fun! Ask me what a blog jack is, and I’ll tell you! That would have originated over at Erica Allison’s house when she was on holiday. I guest posted for her, and boy, did we party like it was 1999!
7. Make a goal for comments (optional). Dog gone, I have to admit, I’ve made a game of this whole commenting thing. If you have Lifefyre in comments, it’s really easy to chalk up the comments. My new goal is 150 comments, and then I’m done. So far, I’ve made it happen, and have even been known to spark some inanity just to tally the numbers! Out of the four guest posts and one podcast interview, all but one tallied higher than 158 comments. I’m lucky if I break 100 comments on my own blog! Yes, call me competitive…
So, here’s my seven! How about you?