Grow Your Blog: Guest Post Hosting

Recently in this series, we talked about some “do’s” and “don’ts” for guest posting when you’re the guest.  But I think it’s also important to talk about the responsibilities and role of a host!

Why/when should I have guest posters?
It can be really helpful to have guests on your blog when:

*you’re physically/geographically on vacation

*you need a vacation from blogging, either to spend more time with family or because of a hectic schedule

*you want to run a series

*you met a new blogging friend who you think your readers would like and you want to give her some exposure

*you find someone you’d like to do a blog swap with {you guest post for each other on the same day}.

How do I line up guest posters?
There are plenty of options, including e-mailing particular bloggers who you’d like to have post for you, advertising on your blog or social media that you’re looking for guests, and mentioning it in groups you’re involved in, like the Creative Bloggers Collective.  Sometimes, potential guests will also approach you.
How do I schedule guest posters?
The absolute best and easiest way I’ve found is to create a spreadsheet in Google Documents.  Just open Google Documents, choose Create, then Spreadsheet.
Label fields for name, email address, blog name, blog URL, and include all of the dates you want covered.  Title it and go to the blue box in the upper right corner to specify that it is accessible to anyone with the link, and can be edited by anyone with the link. Then, share the link with your guests and they can go sign themselves up for a date. 

This is much easier than trying to coordinate a million emails and schedule everyone on a date they like!!  Pictured above is the sign-up sheet I used for the New Kids on the Blog Series.  I like to go back in and highlight on the chart when I’ve received each post, so it helps me stay organized!

What guidelines do I give guest posters?
It depends on whether it’s an individual post or part of a series.  If you are just lining up one particular post, all you need to do is tell the guest what date her post will go live and what date you need her to submit the HTML to you.  If it’s a series, you need to provide any guidelines for the project {ie: it has to be a fall project, a holiday tradition, an ornament, etc}.  It’s also good to create a button for the series and send all of your guests the HTML for it so that they can display it on their posts and blogs.
In either case, you are always responsible for telling guest posters the deadline for when you need their posts!  If someone is late submitting their post to you, it’s up to your discretion whether to publish it or not. 
How do I choose/turn down guest posters?
Before they submit:
Sometimes you may be approached by someone who wants to post on your blog, but for whatever reason it isn’t a good fit.  The larger your blog grows, the more this will happen.  I get multiple emails each week from folks who work for various companies {many are connected to some type of nanny or au pair site} or are freelance writers wanting to post content on One Artsy Mama.  When you get a proposal like this, always ask yourself, “Is this content something my readers would really be interested in?” As well as, “Is this going to be the same level of quality I like to maintain on my blog?” If the answer to either question is no, it’s time to turn them down.  You can simply be polite and thank them for their interest, but say that at this time you are not accepting guest posts.  Or, you can go as far as to say that you don’t think it’s a good fit for your readership.
After they submit:
If you’ve agreed to have someone post for you and they send you a post you find unacceptable, you can contact them and ask them to make whatever changes you find necessary, whether it’s that you need more content, more photos, better grammar…whatever the problem is, address it and ask them to make the changes.  If they don’t or can’t, you can decline to post it.  What you post on your blog is your discretion.  Unless you’re part of a paid sponsorship campaign, there is no legal binding agreement, so you can decline the guest post at any time.
What are my responsibilities as a host?
Your job is to:
* schedule the post to go live on the agreed date.  Look it over and make sure that it doesn’t have any obvious errors or omissions.
*promote the post on your Facebook, Twitter, G+.
* provide the guest with the permalink for the post so she can promote it herself.  If you use Blogger, you can now get this ahead of time by clicking “Permalink” on the sidebar when you’re scheduling the post.  You can customize it and/or copy it and paste it into an email for your guest.
One final thing: It is NOT your job to remind guest posters when their posts are due!  This is a huge pet peeve of mine, can you tell?  We’re all adults, capable of managing schedules for ourselves and our familes; our blogs should be no exception.  If someone agrees to a post and chooses/is given a date and a deadline, it is no longer your job to provide reminders.  If you want to, of course you can send out a friendly, “hey, don’t forget you’re scheduled to post for me on x-date” but if they forget, it’s not your responsibility; they are the one with the missed opportunity.  I don’t mean to be harsh, but I get frustrated when bloggers make a commitment then blow it off because it leaves the host in a bind; we depend on them to provide content for that day!
Ok, deep breath. 🙂  I’m better now.  I hope something there is helpful to you!  If you have more questions or your own tips for hosting guest posters, feel free to share!


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  1. Haha I am totally opposite on the reminder aspect. I don’t think it’s your job, and yes we’re all adults, but I do think it’s really helpful. I ask for guest posts to be due 1 week early because in my experience 80% of blogger have insane schedules and things come up, life happens, etc. especially when you schedule posts really far in advance. I honestly don’t think most people are just blowing off the commitment. So if I don’t get a post by the due date I send a reminder. That way I’m not left in a bind if they forget since I have time to get something ready if they can’t do the post and and there’s still some time for them if they want to still do it. I recently had a guest blogger have to send her post late because her blog was shut down (long story) and she didn’t want to send me a potentially infected post. But in my experience reminders are helpful I appreciate them and I know as a host I would have been left in the lurch if I was planning on having a day covered and had not sent a reminder many times. I guess in my head it’s my responsibility to have content on my blog and if I want something there I’ll send a reminder. I don’t necessarily think you need to remind people when the post is due but I highly recommend having a gap between the due date and the post date so that you can send a reminder if they miss the due date.

  2. That’s my girl! Using Google Docs is the way to go with about everything! Love it! And how’d I miss you becoming a “.com”?! I totally missed that one. Congrats! Also, love being part of the Creative Bloggers Collective with you!

  3. This was an excellent and informative post. I just hosted my first guest blogger on Sunday and while I think it went really well, it was definitely a learning experience for the next time around. I think I might even go out of my comfort zone and actually approach people about doing a blog swap here and there. Thanks for sharing your tips!

  4. It’s a very helpful idea. I’ll have to keep it in mind, already bookmarked your page. As of right now, I just have other bloggers email me, they chose a topic, I approve and give them a week to a month to come up with the post. Life gets in the way sometimes. Great post and beautiful blog you have!


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