Blog Tips: Guest Posting

I love, love collaborating with other bloggers, and one of my favorite ways to do it is to swap blogs and have guests over!  Not only is it fun getting to know someone new and have a change of pace in your normal blogging routine, but guest posting is a great way to expand your exposure, too.

When you guest post, you are getting yourself and your blog in front of a new audience.  You are being featured, and you get the stage all to yourself!  If the readers there like what you present, you may gain some new readers from it.  At the very least, people will recognize you when they see you again in the future, and it’s returning visitors that are most important when it comes to growing your blog.

You may be wondering what the catch is – why would blogs even want guest posters?  Especially big blogs?  What does the host blog get out of it?  Well, most of the time, they get a much-needed mental break without missing a day of presenting content to their readers!  For example – I run a writers’ group three months a year, and I also write during that time too.  In addition to my full-time job, and taking care of my family, it’s 10-15 hour-a-week commitment for a month.  I enjoy it very much – but to do all that leaves me a lot less time for crafting and blogging.  By having fabulous guests, I’m able to keep offering new ideas to my readers while also making it to bed before midnight (well, some nights, LOL!)

It’s also nice to employ guest posting during a series – easy recipes, tips for organizing, crafts for holidays, etc.  It’s much easier to present 10 ideas, 10 days in a row, when you don’t have to think them up, make them, and prepare posts for them all by yourself!  So keep it in mind when you approach a potential host blog – you’re prepared to do all the work for a day, in exchange for being featured for a day.  It’s win-win for both bloggers!

I know it can be intimidating to try something you haven’t done before.  So let me explain how it works and take a little bit of mystery out of it, so you can start teaming up with other bloggers!  I say everything here with the disclaimer that I’m no expert, this is just a bit of what I have gleaned through my experiences so far.  But that’s what this blogging thing is all about – sharing our experiences with one another.  (What a great community we have!!)

First things first.
Find somewhere you’d like to be featured, or talk to another blogger you’re already comfortable with about swapping!  If you check out some of your favorite blogs, you may find they are always looking for guest posters.  For example – did you know that I have a page dedicated to featuring other blogs?  Check out the “Be My Guest!” navigation button – it explains what I’m looking for in a guest post, and asks for a little information about you!

Have an idea.  Or two.  Or ten.
The question I get asked most is, “what do you want me to post about?”  And to that I say – anything you want!  I do try to keep to a theme around here – projects and recipes that take an hour or less.  But if you have something bigger and better that you’re just really excited to share, I’d love to spotlight you for a day so you can share it!  In general, though, if you focus on paper crafts at your blog, sharing a paper craft post allows people to really get a good feel for what they would find if they come to visit you.  Or a recipe, or a sewing project – whatever you “specialize” in is a good place to start.

Mind your manners.
When you are a guest… just like you would in someone’s home – be respectful of any “house rules”.  The trouble is, in a blogger’s virtual space, the rules aren’t always obvious at a glance.  Personally, I am a very laid-back blogger when it comes to etiquette, but you need to be prepared that some bloggers are more particular than others.  It’s always best to play it safe unless you’re told otherwise.  Some things you should be aware of:

  • Some host blogs are interested in new material only.  Ask about this if you’re not sure.
  • Run the idea by the host, even if she gives you free reign.  You don’t want to present a tutorial on the same idea she has recently posted, or plans to post in the near future.  
  • The day the post is scheduled, let your readers know where you will be, and invite them to visit you there.  It’s a nice thank-you to your host to send readers her way for the day!
  • Wait at least a day – even a couple days, and some hostesses really prefer you wait a couple weeks – before presenting your post at your own blog.  When you do share it with your readers, mention the host blog in the post.
  • Be prompt.  If you agree to provide a post by a certain date, stick to it.  Better yet – be early.  If you’ve been asked to guest post and aren’t sure you have time for it, politely declining is much better than stressing the host out by trying to send over your project at the last minute.  If something comes up – communicate!  As long as your host has time to make other arrangements, she will understand that life happens!  

Use your time wisely.
The host blog has turned things over to you for the day.  This is your chance to shine.  Not just in regards to your recipe or project, but in every aspect.  If a reader is going to decide that they like you, they need to – in one post – feel like they’ve gotten to know you.  So start out by introducing yourself and your blog.  Share a photo, or your blog button.  Tell them why you blog.  They can probably relate – and they will enjoy your post all the more if they do!  A good guideline is 2-3 sentences about yourself, and another 2-3 about your blog with at least one visual.

The how-to.So now that you’re getting excited about the idea, let me explain how to prepare a guest post.  I’m going to use Blogger in my examples, because that’s what I use and what I’m familiar with.  I understand WordPress works much the same, but I can’t speak to that personally.
Write your post like you normally would for your own blog, beginning with your introduction.  Remember that the people reading it may not know who you are.  A nice thing to throw in is a thank you to the host for having you!  Add photos and links back to your own blog, so that readers know where to visit you!

When you’re satisfied with it, click from “Compose” view to “HTML”:

This converts your post to HTML code.  The reason this is important is it will retain all your all your photos and links.  You’ve already done the work – now cut and paste the whole post, and send it to the host!

Many times you can cut-and-paste it right into an email, but check with your host.  She may prefer you paste it into a Word document and attach it to an email instead.

Are you looking for another step?  That’s really all there is to preparing the post!
At this point, I usually save my post as a draft until I know for sure that it was received and there aren’t any problems with it.  Once I know it’s all set, I modify it for posting at my own blog a few days after the guest post is scheduled.  I take out the introduction portion since my readers already know me, and usually replace it with, “In case you missed it, I was a guest at {the host blog} earlier this week.  I shared {this crafty project}, and I’d like to share it with you today too!”
Other notes.It’s a good idea in this day and age of Pinterest to watermark your photos, even on guest posts.  Many pinners won’t bother to visit the original blog (sorry, but it’s true) and will pin it right from the host blog.  If your name is at least on the photo, they will know it’s your intellectual property.
I’m sure there are some veterans out there who have some good tips, too – as much as I’ve said here, this is all just one blogger’s opinion, so please feel free to leave both suggestions and questions in the comments below if you have anything to add!  I love that bloggers are there for each other and not just willing, but eager to impart their knowledge!  
I link up to these great parties!
~ Adrianne

Comments

  1. Danni Baird says

    You were my first guest post and I was really nervous. You made it so easy! Since then I have guest posted two more times and picked up new followers. You are right, guest posting gives you some great exposure. The other bonus is, your hostess will exchange the favor when you are busy sometime and need a guest post for your blog! Thank you for letting me guest post here for the first time and let me know if you need me again someday. Also, thank you for sharing this with others so that they won't be so intimidated! It was fun!

  2. Heather says

    Great advice, Adrianne. I recently had a guest on my little blog – it was a disaster as she didn't link up with me – her cut/paste didn't work so there were no pictures and she didn't know how to fix it – and she didn't do an intro/thank you. I didn't know this blogger, she approached me and I thought “why not”. Next time I'll hook up with someone I know and like their blog. Now I know the “rules of the game”, I'll be better prepared next time.

  3. TV's Take says

    Great advice and excellent reminders. Thanks for hosting the blog hop, now following you!

  4. Katherine C says

    Great post! A wonderful resource.xo Please stop by and say hello at my Keepsakes By Katherine blog and I hope I will see you at Katherines Corner tomorrow for the hop :-)

  5. Buffi Neal says

    I'd love to be a guest blogger on your site and give you a mental rest :-)
    This post is great – some things i would not have considered – like copying via HTML.

    I'm a new follower from WW – stop by and let me know if you would like me to guest post. Have a good one.

    -Buffi
    My Wonderfully Dysfunctional Blog

  6. Shasta says

    I always wondered how that worked. Thanks for the great explanation!

    Have a great weekend,
    Shasta

  7. says

    Thanks for this is a great explanation and tips. I’m really new so i don’t thing I can do guest post right now but probably in the near future. Also for my is a little more difficult because my blog is in Spanish and I don’t know many blogs in spanish yet, but when I find a few I will definitely try to make a guest posts! :)

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