If you have a business blog, then you are probably aware of the challenges of coming up with topic ideas, finding time to write, and – let’s face it – keeping that blog alive. This explains why blogs on the subject of blogging are so popular. Here are just a few titles about blogging you will see online:
- Thinking of Starting a Blog? Tips to Help You Start, Maintain & Grow a Small Business Blog!
- Never Run Out of Blog Topic Ideas: Here are 36
- 8 Tips for Keeping your Business Blog Current, Relevant and Fresh
One of the recommendations for keeping your blog fresh and useful is to set up a guest blogger program. If you haven’t already done so, you’re missing out on a valuable source of content.
With guest bloggers everyone wins – you, the guest blogger, and your readers. A guest blogger opens doors to new ideas and perspectives, while taking pressure off you. It gives the guest an opportunity to reach new readers and drive traffic back to their website. For readers, it brings new voices, angles and insights they may otherwise not have read.
How to Find Guest Bloggers
1. Ask those in your networks – Whether it’s folks in affiliated businesses, suppliers or thought leaders, it helps to approach those who are already actively blogging. These individuals will be more open to requests, and likely to have the writing skills. Bloggers are also notorious networkers; they need to be. If social media is your thing, look to Twitter (use the Advanced Search tool to search for key words and hashtags relevant to your business, find out who’s using them), LinkedIn groups, Google+ and Facebook, and start interacting and engaging with other bloggers.
2. If that doesn’t work – You can try stepping back and approaching those who are just starting out or who have never blogged, but would have great things to say. Experts in particular niches often don’t have time to start their own blog, but potentially have great content to share. You could look to others within your business or even your family.
3. Look for complementary bloggers – Look for bloggers who can write about topics that complement your business, while bringing a fresh approach or school of thought. This will help liven things up while staying relevant to your readers. For example, if you run a veterinary business, consider asking a supplier or local pet store owner to blog about pet nutrition.
4. Ask your readers – Bloggers read blogs. Believe me, we are always looking for new ideas and perspectives. Where do you find your readers? Look to your comments field – these readers have already gone beyond reading your blog; they are engaged and actively participating. Do any stand out? What about social media – are there active posters who follow you on Facebook who have useful contributions to make?
5. Make blogging as unintimidating as possible – Potential writers often worry that they will have to write a thesis, or simply think they have nothing useful to say. But blogs don’t have to be that way. To make it easy for your guest bloggers, give them as much direction as possible. Pose a question and have them answer it. Take our veterinary clinic example again – try soliciting the views of guest bloggers by posing a topical question, something like: “How do you choose the right pet foods for your dog?”
If you are lucky enough to have a “rock star” guest blogger, use their contribution as an opportunity for your readers to find out more about them. Newspapers and magazines do this all the time – otherwise known as a “5-Minute Interview with…” or “10 Things you Didn’t Know About…” Start with 5-10 questions in an email to your guest blogger. Questions could range from “If I weren’t talking to you right now, I’d be…” to “The most interesting project I’ve worked on is…”
This format makes it easy on the blogger and opens the door to future guest blogs.
Working with Guest Bloggers
Guest bloggers need parameters, however well-seasoned they are. Here are a few that can make the relationship work for you both:
- Agree on a topic – Be prepared to discuss the angle you want their topic to take. It’s your blog, after all.
- Set deadlines – Be sure to give them plenty of advance notice and always set a deadline you can both agree on. Otherwise, it just won’t get done.
- Have a linking policy – You don’t want the guest blog to be a gratuitous piece of self-promotion that’s heavy on promotional or other links back to the author’s website or blog. Most guest blog policies limit links to a bio, where authors can freely include links to their own content.
- Don’t be afraid to edit – To subtly ensure your quality is maintained, don’t be afraid to edit the guest post. Just be sure to share the edits with the blogger. Most guest bloggers welcome a second pair of eyes to review and polish up their work.
- Include a bio – Include a bio and head shot of guest bloggers at the end of the post, and credit them as the author on the page and in all promotion you do for that blog.
- Keep the blogger in the loop – Let the blogger know when the blog will be posted and send them the link once it’s live. Also let them know what promotion you will be doing for their post – and credit them as the author if you use social media using their Twitter handle, Facebook page, and so on.
Have you used guest bloggers for your business blog? What tips can you share? Leave a comment below.