How To Host Guest Bloggers.
You might have seen for the last 17 days of July (I talked about it A LOT) I has a guest blogger for every single day that I was away on holidays and thank the lord it went without a hitch AND got a really good reception from everyone who took part and everyone who read a post.
It was the first time I'd ever had a guest post written for my blog, let alone navigate 17 plus my own posts at the beginning of the month and getting ready for a holiday so here's a few tips on my advice for hosting guest bloggers (especially when you're away!)
1. Start Early!
Honestly the biggest piece of advice I can give. I asked for guest bloggers exactly a month to the date I was going away and I probably could have gone a bit earlier in reality. There is definitely a 'slightly too early' category too so make sure you don't fall into that trap because if you're way too early there's a real chance your guest bloggers will just kinda forget they need to do it. I would say a month - 6 weeks before would be optimum time. Chances are your guest blogs will float in bit by bit during that whole period but be sure to set a firm deadline for the last one. I set my deadline as week before I went away and actually, that really didn't give me much time to schedule them at all.
2. Promote Properly.
The best way to get guest bloggers interested in my opinion would be Twitter. I did also do a blog post asking people if they wanted to get involved and that's where I outlined the T's & C's of what I wanted and what I'd do in return but in all honesty bar 2, all the guest bloggers contacted me via Twitter. In reality, people might bulk read your blog once a week or every few days and you don't want them to miss out on a place because they missed the blog post; shout about it all over social media if you can.
3. Outline Exactly What You Need.
This is super important. If you know what you want, you need to make it super clear to the people taking part to avoid confusion and any awkward convos. If you want specific content, tell them, if you want images of a certain resolution or size, tell them. You can do it however you want but mine were as follows in case you don't know where to start.
- I wanted a variety of content, whatever the author wanted to write about.
- I didn't want anything shady or controversial because it was a reflection of me and my blog.
- I had full discretion and final say over what was posted.
- Guest blogs were to be emailed to me in whatever format was convenient for them.
- I wanted at a minimum of 2 images of good quality.
- One of the images needed to be portrait due to my new blog layout.
- The images needed to be theirs, nobody needs a copyright battle.
- Deadline was 1 week before I went away.
4. Outline What You'll Do For Them.
Obviously having someone write for you is a big deal and I wouldn't ever expect someone to want to write content on your blog if they didn't believe they'd have some return from it. The biggest advantage of writing on someone else's blog is attracting their following and you need to do something in return for their kindness. I agreed to the following for each blogger:
- A slot in the introduction post with a link to their blog.
- Each of their guest posts would include 2 links to their blog plus one link to each of their social media accounts.
- Each person had a tagged photo on Instagram.
- Each person had 4 tweets with their guest post link on the day and 2 the following day.
5. Spread Out The Content.
One of the things that I soon realised was the advantage of spreading out the content. A few of the posts were on beauty and I split them up a few days or a week apart to even the balance and it really worked in my favour. Bear that in mind when you're scheduling, I'd advise not limiting yourself to a day and agreeing so and so can be on Monday because the content might change and you need to shift people around. I only committed to one person choosing their day because she was going abroad and didn't know if she would have wifi to share her post and other than that, people only found out where they were a few days before it all went live.
6. Be Firm.
It can be really easy to try and please everyone and let people get away with murder because you don't want to be rude or upset anyone but if you've outlined what's happening, you need to be firm and stick to it. Don't let people take advantage and make sure you have a get out clause so if people let you down or don't stick to their end of the bargain you can agree not to post their content and find someone else with plenty of time. Luckily I didn't have any such problems but I can see how advantageous it would be.
7. Don't Be Afraid To Nag.
You're going to have to, that's it. People will genuinely forget just out of having a busy life or not having written down the deadline and they need a quick reminder and will be thankful for you getting in touch. Just send them a quick email or a DM and just ask how they're getting on and don't feel too bad for sound naggy. You need to know where you stand to make other arrangements if needs be and you will have to run the risk of sounding a bit naggy. Poor Katie had an insanely busy week the week before the deadline and I pushed it back for her but my god I had to keep getting in touch even though I knew she was busy and whilst she pulled it out the bag and nailed it, I felt so mean. She was an angel for putting up with me!
8. Create A Schedule Or Spreadsheet.
I did both because I am an organisation freak. I created a hand written schedule in my bullet journal which I used as kind of feeling my way for what I wanted to create so it's full of post it notes overlapping original notes. I also created a digital schedule which included the blogger or blogs name, their social media handle and the title of their content and I sent this out to the bloggers a few days before it went live and used as the promotional tool for my series. I found this one in particular generated a lot of buzz because people were interested in the blog titles and I was sure to include the Twitter handles so whoever was taking part could find the rest of the group. I then created a spreadsheet on my laptop which was more of a checklist of everything so it included:
- Blogger Name.
- Blogger Email
- Bloggers Instagram Handle.
- Blogger Twitter Handle.
- Blog address.
- Date of Posting.
- When the blog was sent.
- When the links were sent.
- When the photos were sent.
- When the blog was scheduled.
- When the blog was checked.
And then it also included a few tick boxes to make sure I scheduled the same amount of tweets and the Instagram post. It was invaluable because it just gave me that one space to keep track of everything and see where I was up to and what still needed to be done or what hadn't been sent.
9. Print Everything.
This. This was my god send. I was lucky enough to be somewhere with wifi so I did my scheduling most days before I went out just so it was fresh in my mind but I had the foresight to print everything just in case. I printed my schedule and my spreadsheet just in case because it gave me all the information and handles I needed because if there is one thing you're not likely to do on holiday, it's remember all the information, handles, blog names, topics, life story about 17 bloggers.
10. Check They've Posted.
This one I nabbed from ABranchOfHolly because I hadn't thought of it before I went away and it's invaluable. Let's be real here, most of us take our laptops away and if not we have some sort of device connected to the internet. Holly said she checked every morning that the posts had gone live with no hitches and I did the same cos can you imagine how mortified and guilty you'd feel if something went wrong and you didn't realise.
And after that, don't worry about it and have the best time away whilst your lovely guest bloggers do all the hard work for you!
Ultimately, hosting guest bloggers, especially for a long time, is hard work because it takes A LOT of organising but it's SO rewarding. You find blogs you might not have read before, you build up connections and friendships with the people who get involved and your blog stays ticking over with a variety of fabulous content whilst you're gone.
With that in mind, because I had such a good reaction from my July guest bloggers, I have opened a slot up once a month for people to write a bit of content for me, same format as always. I have filled up some slots but October and November are free if anyone wants to nab one! Tweet me @20sMeltdown or email me firstname.lastname@example.org!
Have you ever hosted guest posts on your blog or thought about doing it? Did it work for you? Do you really not like the idea?