As you might guess from some of my recent posts, I’m building out content for my new career advice site for startup sales, marketing, and business development. I want this site to have a personal, just-a-couple-of-professionals-sharing-a-coffee kind of networking vibe, so I’m making guest posts a big part of my content strategy.
There is one school of thought that says one should work hard to recruit existing bloggers with a substantial online presence to write guest posts. After all, these are the folks with massive online followings, who can propel your site to Internet stardom with a mere mention of your site on their blog or Twitter.
Sure, it would be awesome to have Tim Ferriss or Fred Wilson write a guest post for you, but these guys are busy with their own companies/firms and projects. For 99.9% of bloggers, approaching the megastars of blogging isn’t going to be a terribly fruitful path to getting guest posts written. And even if they do write something for you, they’re just not going to be that into you.
Some Nielsen data suggests that there are a little less than 7 million blogs published on blogging websites. This means that there are boatloads of smart people out there who don’t have blogs. Boatloads of smart-as-heck people that you know.
Companies like Quora have recognized this dynamic and have done a great job at providing a way for people who might not blog frequently or at all a venue to easily contribute create great content. There’s no reason you can’t do the same, making your blog a place where really great people with something to say, but maybe not a huge social networking presence, can be heard.
If you’re going to move forward with this approach, here’s some guidance based on what I’ve done and learned over the last several months in building out content for my new career advice site for startup sales, marketing, and business development pros, JohnsJobs.me:
- Approach people you respect deeply and ask them to write a post that taps their core areas of expertise and passions.
- Email them 3-5 open-ended questions to seed the post and encourage creativity.
- If they agree to write a post, check in with them periodically (once every week or so) to see how it’s coming along. Use a tool like Boomerang to receive timed reminders to check in with them without clogging up your Inbox or calendar.
- Ask for clarification on their answers if needed, but don’t ask them to copyedit. That’s your job!
- Let them see the finished product before it goes live and give them the opportunity to provide feedback on your copyediting and how you’ve represented them.
- Help drive traffic to their online presence and profiles (if they’re open to it) via guest author tools and plugins like Fancy Author Box.
- Explore other opportunities to collaborate and offer to help them out with a current or future project. They are doing you a huge favor and you should return it!
- Thank them profusely! :)