The beauty of the guest blogger

TV show and movie cameo appearances are the best. They’re unexpected and exciting – a surefire way capture the viewer’s attention and get ‘em talking. Cameos can shake up even the most medicore, routine show. Backstreet Boys showing up in heaven at the end of the “This is the End” … cinema gold, if you ask me.

Why not take the same approach with your website content? If your readers keep coming back for what you have to say, chances are they’ll trust your judgment when it comes to picking out another contributor for your website.

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Guest blogs can serve any number of purposes. Maybe you want someone with a similar opinion but more knowledge on the topic – to reaffirm what you’re already saying. If your blog is about going green, a piece written by someone getting their master’s degree in sustainable living certainly isn’t going to hurt your case. Or maybe you want this blogger to take the opposing view and offer a totally new perspective – like inviting a dad to chime in on your mom blog once a quarter. Or, maybe you’re just looking for some extra online love in the form of your new guest blogger’s followers (no shame).

Either way, here’s a crash course to get you started …

Invitation only. Start with the fun part … choosing someone to guest blog on your website. Scholars and professors are a great option if your blog is educational. Plus they tend to be fairly opinionated. If your topic is career or industry focused, ask your fellow architects, nurses, chefs, etc. to drop some knowledge. It seems like a lot of people have been trying their hand at the whole “here’s what’s going on in our family” type of blog. In this case, put mom on the back burner occasionally and let the kids say their peace.

Don’t be rude, make introductions. Don’t make your readers play the guessing game as to why they’re suddenly reading work that isn’t yours. A couple sentences should to the trick – This is a guest post by Randi Stevenson. Randi studied journalism at Arizona State and now works for the Tribune’s digital marketing agency where she specializes in content production. Add a photo, and you’re good to go.

Remember, you’re the editor. Guest bloggers should add variation and character to your blog, sure, but don’t be afraid to bust out that red pen. If you don’t like the tone, length or link choices, make that clear. This is especially true when the issue at hand isn’t subjective – things like grammar or spelling. Your guest blogger’s writing is going to reflect you, for better or worse.

Encourage them to share the love. An added bonus of bringing on a guest blogger (or maybe it’s your sole purpose) is the expansion of your network. If your guest has a following all their own, encourage them to drive THEIR fans to YOUR website. Hopefully a percentage of them will stick around to read more.

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