Whip Your Blog Posts (But Not Your Guests) Good!

Inviting someone as a guest on your blog is like dropping quarters into this gumball machine...
Inviting someone as a guest on your blog is like dropping quarters into this gumball machine…

Whether you’re a newbie blogger or a multi-year veteran on the Interwebs, at some point in your blogging career, you will ponder asking someone to be a guest on your blog. But what does this actually mean for you and your guest?

I briefly discussed this subject earlier in the year via my annual “Happy birthday, Moonlight Blog” post, but now I’m going to dig into guest-blogging all the way up to my elbows. Some of you might think having guests on your blog eases your writing workload. Perhaps, but you still have important logistics to manage, even though someone else is creating the content.

Without structural guidance, your guests may go astray and leave you with more clean-up work to do than anticipated. Find time to absorb the following suggestions so your experiences regarding guests on your blog will be (mostly) painless and satisfying:

Invite People Who “Get It” That Guest-Blogging Is a Commitment to WRITE: Do your best to invite guests who will give this morsel of free PR the proper attention it requires. Also, ensure your potential guests have social-media accounts and post to them frequently. Provide a firm submission deadline for each guest post.

A cautious reminder: be prepared with a substitute blog post, just in case. A guest can sometimes go AWOL and leave you in a worse predicament than the moment in The Godfather when Michael Corleone excuses himself to use the bathroom. (I’m referring to the classic scene in which he’s having dinner with Sollozzo and McCluskey at the Louis Italian-American Restaurant in the Bronx.)

Anger management sure comes in handy after a potential guest abandons your blog for the siren call of a better offer…

Them’s the (Guest-Blogging) Rules, Ma’am (Or Sir): Never never never (as in NEVER) ask someone to write a guest entry for your blog without providing clear editorial guidelines. E-mailing your guest interview questions or providing a relevant topic are good ways of fostering a quality post.

If you intend to add opening and closing paragraphs to your guest’s miniature version of Miss MacIntosh, My Darling (Marguerite Young) or Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace), provide a target word count. This will ensure you don’t end up deleting too much original copy. If you don’t intend to edit for grammar and punctuation, give your guests fair warning. A little dab of editorial guidance will do it…

A Blog Photo Says (Almost?) a Thousand Words (So Choose Carefully): As the keeper of your blog, you have every right to dictate what type of photo to include in your guests’ posts. If head shots aren’t your style, let your guests know the types of images you will accept and embed for them.

Me, I prefer either a guest’s business logo or something slightly humorous from my photo library (also known as my iPhone’s camera roll). When an anticipated JPEG file doesn’t arrive with a guest’s blog post, be kind (but firm) in your follow-up nudging efforts.

If you’re providing the image, give each guest several choices from your photo-collection smorgasbord. Don’t procrastinate regarding this important detail–at least one embedded photo is a must these days in the blogosphere.

A Proper Call to Action Demands Plentiful (And Accurate) Contact Information: Don’t assume all the contact information in a guest’s e-mail signature is exactly what that person wants you to include in the closing call to action. Without sounding whiny, nicely ask your guest to confirm the correct pieces of contact information prior to the post’s live release.

Typical contact bits and pieces include: phone number, e-mail address, website URL, links to landing pages or white papers, upcoming events, and any actively used social-media accounts. Do I really need to name them for you?

Avoid Release-Day Jitters by Proofreading a Guest’s Post the Night Before: You do it for your own blog posts (don’t you?), so it just makes sense to double-check a guest’s post for any blatant errors. Give special attention to the spelling of his or her name, the company or business name, all contact information, and so on. Be on Team Nike and just do it, okay? Okay!

Blog-Link Sharing Is Caring–Encourage Your Guests to Do the Same: Send the link to your guest via regular e-mail the morning/day the post goes live. Encourage him or her to help you promote the Hades out of the thing. Emphasize that the more friends/followers who are persuaded to re-post/share/RT the blog entry, the more likely it will pick up some viral reach and engagement.

I don’t doubt your personal capabilities when it comes to promoting blog posts. But some of your guests will need a little guidance, especially if they don’t currently manage a blog of their own.


For those of you who are bloggers, have you ever considered asking (or do you already ask) business friends and clients to write guest posts for your blog? If yes, how has that effort been going for you? If no, what is holding you back from pursuing this option? I truly believe it’s a thoughtful way of saying “thank-you” to the people circulating within your professional circle of trust. Indeed, most of my “guest” experiences have been good ones. Start cultivating YOUR guest list today!

Lori Shapiro is the owner of By All Writes LLC, a business-to-business (B2B) writing, editing, and research company in Marlton, New Jersey. She revels in shielding her clients from the pain of writing their own print and web marketing or educational copy. Please call Lori Shapiro at 856-810-9764 or email By All Writes LLC at lori@byallwrites.biz  for a no-obligation project quote today!

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