By Eden Fried
If you’re a blogger, chances are you wear multiple hats.
Maybe you’re the idea generator, the CEO, the Webmaster, the copy editor, the marketer, or even the customer service rep – perhaps you only wear a small combination of those hats, or perhaps you wear all of them.
Whatever the case may be for you, finding time to get all of your daily work done can be a challenge as a blogger, and it can often lead to burnout. That’s why easing the headache on highly burdensome tasks, like content generation, can provide the bliss that so many bloggers seek.
So, what’s the secret? How can you ease the headache on your content generation?
There’s no magic pill or portion; actually it’s rather simple.
If you’re looking for a simple way to ramp up your content generation without actually spending more time, energy, or money to do so, simply host guest bloggers on your site.
That’s not to say that should try to outsource all of your content generation out to eager guest bloggers. Your voice and original content matters; it’s important and shouldn’t be overlooked. But supplementing your content with a few guest post contributions can be helpful and incredibly beneficial. In fact, hosting guest bloggers could give you a leg-up when it comes to managing your blog-business.
Some bloggers write their own content while others outsource to respected freelance writers. Whether you’re spending money or doing it all yourself right now, one thing is for sure… guest posts are free whatever way you slice it. Even if the post requires some tender loving care from your editorial team, you spent zero dollars worth of time or energy to curate the original content –that’s a huge plus for busy bloggers who never can seem to get to everything throughout the course of the day.
Greater social reach
Typically, when someone contributes a post on your site, they’ll want to advertise that to their audiences by sharing the link through all of their social media networks. What does this mean for you? It means free marketing. When your guest contributor shares a link to your website on their networks, they’re exposing you to an entirely new audience that may otherwise have never found you. Countless new people will view your blog all because you allowed free content to be published on your site.
Less writing time
How long does it usually take you to brainstorm a blog post, edit, create imagery, and publish? Even if you pride yourself on being exceptionally quick at curating stellar content, wouldn’t you still be excited to figure out how to chop out some of the time you do spend writing and trade that in for someone else happily volunteering to take on that burden for you? Even if you only feature guest posts a few times a month, you’ll still save you precious time, which you can use to tackle other to-do list necessities.
More traffic, more opportunities to sell
When you gain traffic from your guest contributor’s audience, you’re uniquely positioned to attract new followers. If their audience likes what they see and gain value from your site, perhaps they’ll sign up for your newsletter or opt-in for a giveaway allowing you to guide them through your sales funnel. Hosting a guest contributor gives you the opportunity to grow your list, build trust with a new audience and, hopefully, make more money.
Cast a wider net with your content
Chances are you’re an expert in whatever it is you regularly blog about. But there are likely topics you aren’t so well versed in; you can’t be everything to everybody and you’re probably not an expert in every topic (at least not yet). Host a guest contributor that’s an expert in something that you’re not incredibly familiar with and task them with a relevant, compelling post that would provide unique value to your readership. In doing so, you’ll get content you otherwise couldn’t write yourself, from a respected expert in the field. Your readers will thank you later.
You’re the boss – you decide what you want!
Ultimately, you decide what gets published on your site or what gets rejected. So be sure to clearly outline your expectations by creating editorial guidelines for your contributors. These guidelines will weed out contributors who aren’t ready to provide you with quality content, and will properly guide those who are. The result? You’ll get top-notch material that fits your site and matches your publication standards. Remember, guest contributors profit, in a way, from publishing on your site, so they’ll be more than willing (at least they should be) to bend over backwards to provide you with the high quality content you require.
Consider the following when you create your editorial guidelines:
- Describe the process. If your inbox is regularly clogged, you’ll want to be sure you describe your process for reviewing pitches and publishing posts.
- Example: Please submit your guest post ideas in an email with the subject line “guest post pitch”. Include 2-3 title ideas with a brief explanation of what you’ll include in the post. If you don’t hear back from me within 14 days, assume your guest post is not a fit for my site and feel free to pitch your ideas elsewhere. If I accept your pitch, please clearly review the editorial guidelines below to understand the requirements.
- Provide examples of your best performing blogs. This will show your guest contributors what you expect, what your style/voice is, and how to format their submissions.
- Give a minimum or maximum (or both) word count. Usually blogs perform best when they are between 750 – 1500 words.
- Provide a list of the categories you cover on your blog. If you’re a web host affiliate, a blog about exercise habits won’t fit. Be clear with what you’ll accept on your blog and what you won’t.
- Explain that you retain the rights to the content and that republishing the content anywhere else is restricted
- Stipulate that duplicate content is not permissible as it could harm both your site and their site
- Describe clearly how guest posts should be submitted. Once you’ve accepted a pitch, you’ll want your contributors to understand exactly what they need to do to submit their final article.
- Example: Submit your final piece through Google docs. At the bottom of your post, include your email (linked to Gravatar), your bio (200 words or less), and links to your website and social media accounts. If you don’t have a Gravatar account, please include a headshot.
If you’re a busy blogger, hosting a few guest contributions now and again might be exactly what you need. Rather than paying a freelance writer to help you out, find an eager blogger who’s willing to write for free in order to get their name out there. Not only will you be helping them out, but they’ll be helping you out with free content, free marketing, unique material and potentially, if you play your cards right, awesome exposure to a brand new audience. So, try it out. Host a guest blogger or two and see for yourself if it’s a fit for you.
Eden Fried is a blogger and web designer. In the beginning of 2016, Eden quit her day job and ditched her plan to head to law school all so that she could start her blog and launch her freelance career. When Eden’s not at work for clients or coaching business owners and solopreneurs on how to start a website and earn money online, you can find her at the gym tossing around some weights or at home (under the covers) snuggled up to a good book. Say “hi” to Eden on Twitter!