In the past month I’ve seen at least three well-known bloggers announce that they’ll no longer be accepting unsolicited guest posts. One has even gone so far as requiring the guest blogger submit a query letter first and pay a $197 membership fee if they even want to be considered.
The reason, of course, is that these blog owners are becoming concerned about the quality of the content they’ve been publishing on their sites. And well they should be. But is cutting off your nose to spite your face really the only solution?
The benefits of guest blogging for both parties are well known, one of the key benefits being free content for the host blog. Ideally, this free content brings in new readers, helps increase SEO, and increases reader engagement.
But the hidden benefit that most bloggers don’t talk about is this: Guest posts make good filler-content when you don’t have something of your own to ready publish. If you get busy and don’t have time to write today’s post, pull out the next guest post in the pile and use it to fill in the hole.
There are two key problems you need to address when you accept guest posts:
- You need to make sure you’re only publishing relevant, high-quality posts
- It takes time to sift through all the submissions trying to find just one post you can publish
Instead of shutting down guest posts completely, all you need to do is solve these two problems.
How To Fill The Giant Guest Post Hole On Your Blog
Target your guest bloggers just like you target your readers. When you create your own content you keep your ideal reader in mind and you write content that will attract that reader. Most bloggers who accept guest posts have a page of general guidelines on their blog, and that’s why they get so many junk submissions. You need to be more specific so you can attract the type of posts you want.
Topic: Be specific about what topics you’ll accept. Instead of just saying “Posts must be relevant to my readers,” state the exact topics you’re looking for.
Don’t be afraid to narrow this down to help minimize submissions, and consider having guest bloggers cover the topics you’re not crazy about. For example, if you hate writing app reviews but you know your readers like them, tell guest bloggers you’re only accepting app review guest posts. You’ll get fewer submissions to sort through and if they’re well-written you’ll be giving your readers something they want.
Length: Be specific about the length. Don’t just say, “Posts must be a minimum of 500 words.” Tell them exactly what you want. Get creative here, too, to help minimize submissions. Tell guest bloggers you’ll only accept posts that are exactly 353 words long.
Byline: Limit the byline to the blogger’s name and the name of his website. If a guest blogger is providing valuable, useful content, this really is all he needs. A quality guest blogger knows this and he’ll be fine with it. The poor guest bloggers think they need to include a whole paragraph and they won’t want to waste their time.
Links: Just like the bio, a good guest blogger only needs one link. Tell guest bloggers they can include a link to a page on their blog in their byline. So the byline would read, “Joe Smith at XYZBlog.com” with the blog name hot-linked.
Type of post: Limit the type of posts you’ll accept. How neat would it be to have a weekly Guest Blogger How-To post?
Use your guest posting guidelines page to filter out the riff-raff instead of shutting of guest posts completely. You’ll get fewer submissions, but they’ll be much better quality and you’ll have something you can safely use to fill the holes in your blog.