January 24, 2012

If for some reason your business doesn’t have a blog yet; stop reading this article and go make one. As we’ve discussed on numerous occasions previously, blogs are one of the most potent online marketing tools available, and essentially form the platform from which a social media campaign can be launched. And they cost nothing but your time.

With that said, blogging can be a difficult and time-consuming endeavor. It’s a self-replicating cycle, really. As you write more quality content, your blog gets more popular, and you have to manage increasingly more comments and readers who are looking for increasingly frequent updates. Before long, it can get to be way too much for one blogger to handle alone.

Guest blogging provides a convenient solution to this conundrum. Aside from saving you the trouble of creating and writing a new update, a guest blogger can effectively provide your blog with some free promotion, exposure to a new audience, and possibly a positive relationship with an important blogger in your industry.

However, before you get too excited and start soliciting contributions from guest bloggers, be aware that there are a couple of pitfalls that you need to avoid. First off, one of the biggest problems that successful bloggers take with guest blogging is that guest bloggers often take the opportunity to use your blog as a forum from which they can promote their own blog.

They might offer up an article filled with links back to their own blog, or simply promote their own blog, drawing readers away from your site. There is also the issue of needing to reject content that is not up to par. This is not only awkward, but could make your look unprofessional and possibly jeopardize important industry relationships.

By keeping these three guidelines in mind, you should be able to take advantage of the benefits of leveraging a guest blogger while avoiding any potential problems.

Manage Expectations. Explain everything up front. Explain exactly what you’re looking for, approve the topics before the posts are written, and explain where the posts will be published, and what you want them to achieve. And put a rough limit on outbound links and promotional bits in the article. This not only makes it easier for the writer, but gives you something to refer back to if and when you need to make edits or reject the article.

Ask For Outlines. This will make your editing process much easier. Without creating too much of a burden for the writer, ask them to provide you with an edit early on in the process, or to run the article by you a couple of times while they’re writing it. This makes it easier for you to push them in the direction you want, or to make edits as they write.

Lastly, Don’t Settle. If, after all this, you ultimately end up with an article that you do not feel is up to that standard of what you normally publish, then by all means reject it. Just reject it in the most tactful way possible. Make an earnest attempt to edit it, and if it still isn’t up to standard, explain to the writer that it just doesn’t fit the style that you’re looking for at the moment, but encourage them to use it on their blog, or to submit it to another blog.

By keeping these guidelines in mind, you should be able to leverage guest blogging while avoiding any potential problems.




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