Bringing guest bloggers on board is a great way to diversify the content on your site and introduce your product or business to a new audience.
“Guest bloggers can boost profits by growing the exposure of your brand,” says link-building specialist Matt Zajechowski.
If you’re ready to add guest bloggers to your site, Zajechowski says you need to create some guidelines first to ensure the content fits your audience and that both you and the guest blogger get the most out of the partnership.
“I think guidelines are necessary to let potential writers and contributors know what you expect from them,” Zajechowski says. “With specific guidelines, you’ll get well-written, organic content that mimics the kind of quality articles you already have on your site.”
Here’s a list of features that Zajechowski says you should have in your guest blogging guidelines:
Spell out the topics you want
Don’t assume that guest bloggers will figure out what kind of content you want based on your company’s name or About Us page, Zajechowski says.
For example, an obvious topic for an office supply company might be an article on organizational tools but the blog may be chock full of them already and they may be looking for other content for their readers. Often you need to create content that fills voids so you have a variety of topics and information available.
“I think qualifying the content you are looking for is important,” Zajechowski says.
Copyblogger, a content marketing company, gives guest authors a list of recently approved topics in its guidelines.
Ask contributors to use Google Authorship
Google has a tool called Google Authorship. When a writer signs up for the service, a picture of the author is attached to the article in search results.
“I think this is the most important guideline to include for guest blogging in 2014,” Zajechowski says. “It’s a new tool that can make content stand out, which is a bonus for both the company and the blogger.”
Set a word count minimum
Word count is tricky to specify. In the digital world of short, 140-character messages we assume that concise content is best, but that’s not always the case.
QuickSprout, a company that helps businesses boost website traffic, says longer posts get higher Google rankings and they’ve got the stats to back it up.
“Longer is better,” Zajechowski says. “Longer content not only ranks better, but it tends to be more shareable.”
Make clear that you want original content
You assume that guest bloggers will create original content for you, but you should still list it as a requirement in your guidelines, Zajechowski says.
Your guidelines can let potential guest bloggers know their articles will be run through a plagiarism scanner, he says. “Duplicate content is a big no-no in Google’s eyes so the importance of this must be stressed.”
Moz, an SEO company that accepts guest blogs, spells this out in their guidelines.
Consider asking for a visual element
Visual content is more engaging, so ask the blogger to provide a photo or a graphic element to go with the post. If you pair a vibrant image with great content it will get more attention, Zajechowski says.
Once the post is live, require the author to check in from time to time and engage with readers, Zajechowski suggests. Ask the writer to monitor and respond to comments for a certain time period, maybe 72 hours after the post is published.
Set a rule about links within the post
Unfortunately, guest posting is often camouflage for seeding links around the web in an attempt to fool Google, Zajechowski says. To avoid a crazy amount of promotional links in guest content, set a link limit and require links to be engaging, not promotional.
Once you’ve got your guidelines established, Zajechowski says companies should update the information regularly depending on changing seasons, new business needs and industry trends.
This post contributed by guest author, Lisa Furgison. Furgison is a media maven with ten years of journalism experience and a passion for creating top-notch content.
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