Last week, I hosted a bunch of guest bloggers. I didn’t have any idea what I was doing. Between my insecurities, my procrastination, and limited online availability, I wasn’t really sure how things were going to work out. Luckily, I had a list of reliable, excellent, professional bloggers who were familiar with my blog and who I count as friends. I knew they’d come through and fill in any gaps I left out, and they did! Along the way, I made some notes about the things that gave me a moment’s panic, and I’ve listed them here with the accompanying solutions that magically appeared. Hopefully, my notes will help you on your guest blogging party adventures!
How do I ask a blogger to guest blog?
I just asked. I also made myself a checklist so I’d remember to say certain things.
- That it was okay to turn me down, because they’d always have a guest blog spot whenever they were ready.
- That I needed the posts soon, since I’d be back to normal blogging by the first of February.
- That I loved them.
What do I ask a blogger to blog about?
This was tricky because I wanted people to post about things I could easily reference in the future. This way, I could link back to their post or their blog as many times as possible and send some traffic their way. I also wanted to make sure that everything stayed in the spirit of my blog. I eventually went with this sentence:
“I was hoping to have my guest bloggers post about what I was going to post about when I get back– metaphysical things, intangibles, personal philosophies, and theories– but I realized that my blog is really about anything, at any given moment… so whatever you want to write about is fine with me, as long as it’s in the “Rarasaur” spirit of things… ie, nothing that hurts feelings, even in a silly way.”
Then I made a list of prompts that I could pass around in case the general nature of my rambly sentence didn’t immediately kickstart any ideas.
Should I make everyone a contributor, or post their articles myself?
Another tough one! I could have made everyone a contributor and then allowed them to post their articles themselves. I read that this would save me a lot of time– by allowing my guest dinos to edit or delete comments, or edit their posts later.
I decided against it because I didn’t see it as saving much time. I absolutely love my theme, but it doesn’t obviously distinguish between authors so I was still going to have to explain who was writing the post and why. I also wanted to put my touch on each post– a custom dino image, an intro, and some links of my choosing. I didn’t want to even begin researching timezones, in order to explain when things should be posted. I figured that if I was going to have to log in to add my content and schedule the post– it wasn’t really worth it to set up contributor logins, as well. Plus, my readers play nice. Comment editing is rarely, if ever, needed.
What do I do about titles, images, formatting, and proofreading?
For titles, I decided to write them in a format that made sense to me. Though no one complained, in retrospect, I should have warned everyone that I was going to beat up their suggested titles. It would have been more polite. (Sorry, folks!)
For images and formatting, RuleOfStupid came up with the best system. He typed and formatted his whole post, and then he copied all the text from the “text” tab into a Notepad/text document and emailed it to me. I then pasted it into my text tab and — poof — instant post. He’s a genius!
As far as previews, I used the WordPress preview link to send everyone a sample of their post at least 24 hours before it was scheduled to go live.
What can I do to ensure my guest bloggers get traffic to their own site?
I did a few things in this regard…
- I tried to link back to everyone’s blog at least 4 times in their post. I know that writing out a link, at least on my blog, highly increases the chance that someone will click it– so I made sure that at least 3 of those links were written out.
- I asked people to read the post, and click the links, in the post. Asking works wonders. Sometimes, I directly emailed the post to people who I knew would love it.
- I tagged them appropriately.
- I linked back to them from my banner post about my Guest Blog party. That way, all roads led to Rome.
- I posted all the posts at higher traffic times, and consistently which generally raises site traffic as well.
So, was it worth it?
For me, absolutely. I barely had anytime to look at my blog, let alone write a post. There were 10,000 emails in my inbox waiting for me to sift through and a million other online things that had to get done when I did have a little online time. It sounds silly to say it, but I really slept better knowing my blog was in such good hands.
Statistics-wise, viewership stayed steady! I also picked up a few new followers. (Hey, new friends!) I hope all my guest bloggers can say the same!
All in all, it was a pretty great blogging adventure.
Do you have any guest blogging tips? Do you have any questions I might be able to answer? Do you like balloons?