This guest post is by LJ Earnest of SimpleProductivityBlog.com.
You often see articles about how to be a good guest poster: things you can do to make an impression and get your post published. But what about the flip-side of that? Do you have what it takes to be a good guest post host?
Guest posting is beneficial both to the writer and the publisher. It builds relationships, strengthens support, and generates publicity for the host while giving exposure to the writer. Here are eight things you can do to be a better guest post host.
Have an FAQ
FAQs are good ways to keep yourself from answering the same questions over again. For guest posting, have a FAQ that covers the questions you are asked, such as “How long do posts have to be?” and “What format should I use?” It should also cover things such as your blog topics and the frequency of posting, even though this should be apparent to those who have done their homework. Having a FAQ can save you a lot of extra work answering email, and gives a place to link to in response to general inquiries.
Even if you don’t accept guest posts, your general blog FAQ should say this outright. It will save the author a lot of trouble.
Make the FAQ easy to find
It does no one any good if you have a guest posting FAQ that no one can find. The link needs to be prominent and convey that it is about guest posting.
A great way to get your guest posting guidelines out is to put a link to it on each guest post you publish. A prospective author will find it more quickly if they are already looking at a guest post.
Respond when you say you will
The process of submitting a guest post is one where the poster submits an idea or article, and then it goes into a kind of freeze until the host blog accepts it or rejects it. The article can’t be submitted elsewhere, and it may possibly go out of relevance.
Part of the FAQ should be a timeframe when you will get back to your possible guest. Even then, you must honor what you say. If you say your timeframe is five days, make sure you respond in five days, even if it is a “I like the article, but I am swamped and need more time to look at it.” If you find yourself consistently missing your stated timeframe, change it in the FAQ to something you can meet.
Responding within a given timeframe builds credibility and makes people more likely to submit a post; after all, who wants to send a post knowingly into a black hole?
Have a clear way to submit a guest post
Having a separate email address or form for guest post submissions makes it easy for you to keep track of what is coming in. It also gives the author a feeling that his post will not be lost in other email. This information could be included as part of the FAQ.
Give some basic feedback
We all strive to improve at what we do. But without external feedback, it is very hard to figure out what we are doing right and wrong.
Who doesn’t like to have their work praised? If there was something that caught your attention in the article, tell the author. This form of community building will net you allies and readers.
On the flip-side, if you are rejecting the post, give some basic feedback why. If the post doesn’t meet the criteria set forth in your FAQ, let the author know (along with a link to the FAQ). Or if the post would require too much editing on your part, the author should know as well. This type of feedback will help them write better posts in the future, should they choose to use the information.
Be willing to negotiate
Sometimes a post doesn’t work on your blog because of timing or some other factor that has nothing to do with the article itself. In that case, ask the author to be flexible. I had a recent submission where the author did everything right—but the article was on the same subject as one due to go out the next week. I asked him if he would be willing to delay publication because of the timing, and he agreed. A possible rejection turned into a win-win.
Negotiating with the author can not only build relationships, but also a reputation for fairness.
It is your blog, after all, and you have the final say over content. If your blog is about widgets, and someone submits a post on elephants, don’t compromise your content quality by publishing it. Likewise, feel free to reject posts that don’t make the cut, even it they come from someone you know.
Having creative work read by others can feel like having your skin removed. Remember that the person on the other end of the email is a person with feelings. Be as kind as you can.
Have you thought about what it takes to be a great guest post host? Share below.
LJ Earnest is a computer programmer by day, productivity geek all the time. Using the principles of productivity and simplicity at SimpleProductivityBlog.com, she helps people get through the stuff they have to do so they can get to the stuff they want to do. She can also be found at Twitter and Facebook. Remember, a productive life doesn’t have to be complicated.