by Dana Lynn Smith
I write most of the posts on my blog, but once a week I invite a guest to share his or her expertise with my readers. Guest posts are win-win for everyone. Readers get valuable tips and insight from a variety of experts, guest posters build their expert status and get links back to their websites, and bloggers get additional content for their sites. Guest posts are often used in ezines as well.
Guest posts can take the form of how-to articles or interviews, and you can even post audio or video clips from the guest. Fiction authors can interview other authors in their genre.
Where can you find experts or authors to contribute to your blog or ezine? Seek out others in your field or genre through your social networks and your own contact list. Send guest post invitations to the owners and guest posters of the blogs, ezines and print newsletters that you enjoy reading. Use search engines to find other blogs and ezines in your field.
When sending a guest post invitation, describe your blog or ezine, suggest topics of interest (or request permission to reprint a specific article from their site), note whether you accept previously published content, specify a word count range for the article and a limit on the length of the resource box, and request a photo. Here’s an example:
“I enjoy reading your blog and I would love for you to do a guest post on The Savvy Book Marketer blog about how to write effective press releases. My audience is primarily authors and independent publishers. About 400-600 words would be ideal, with a 50-word resource box. Previously published content is fine. Please send me a photo as well.”
Some bloggers request that all guest posts be original content (articles not already posted elsewhere). That’s nice for search engine optimization purposes, but may limit your ability to get guest posts since your experts may not have time to produce an original article for you. If you’re willing to accept articles published elsewhere, you’ll have access to many more articles.
On the day a guest post runs, be sure to write a thank you note to the contributor and include a link to the article. In addition to being good manners, this encourages the author of the article to share the link with their social networks. And don’t forget to link to the article from your own networks.
In many cases, you can reprint articles without asking permission. Look for a “permission to reprint” or “creative commons” notice on blogs and ezines that you read. You can also search article directories such as EzineArticles.com for articles to reprint. It can be a bit time consuming wading through article directories, because many of the articles are of low quality. Still, there are lots of excellent articles available.
When reprinting other people’s articles, be sure to include their resource box with a link back to their website. I always let writers know that I’m using their article, even if it’s not required. It’s courteous and helps build relationships.