Guest blogging can potentially boost sales by 75% from hot leads. It’s a win-win for the guest and the host, but only if both are on the same page about the content produced. No matter which role you are filling, you need to ensure guest posts are high quality and relevant.
To dig into this practice more and provide guidance for both parties, we’ve compiled two lists. The first is 10 essential guest blogging guidelines to follow if you intend to contribute content on other blog sites. Secondly, if your content operation includes publishing content from external contributors, we’ve got you covered with 10 tips for how to establish guest blogging guidelines, and how to work with guest bloggers.
10 Guest Blogging Guidelines for Guest Contributors
Though each company to whom you submit a pitch may have its own guidelines (or not), this list provides general etiquette every guest writer should follow.
1. Follow the Rules
As a guest, you have an obligation to inquire about and follow any specific requirements that the host may set forth. If you don’t understand the criteria, ask questions.
2. Research the Company First
Though contributing to external blog sites has many potential benefits, you may waste valuable time if you and the company aren’t a good match. You lose time pitching to the wrong companies, and company content managers waste time reviewing a pitch that wouldn’t appeal to their target audience.
3. Know the Target Audience
One of the most important guest blogging guidelines is to know your target audience before you hammer out a topic. Does the company have any documentation on their audience segments or personas? Is their blog specifically targeted towards a certain persona or buyer profile? Ask for documentation. If they don’t have any documentation, which is a bit of a red flag in its own right, ask your contact for a general explanation of their audience target before you get started.
Then it’s up to you to prioritize the company’s audience over your products or services.
4. Choose a Helpful Topic in Your Wheelhouse
With an understanding of their audience’s needs, and knowing your areas of expertise, choose a topic that fits both. Any guest blogger is going to want to produce helpful content, but you shouldn’t try to stretch on a topic that is outside your domain.
5. Be Unique, But Stick to Expectations
Producing original, unique content is crucial. However, you need to stick to topics and formats that fit the company’s style and match audience expectations. The best way to gain understanding here is to review several existing posts on their blog. Get a feel for their typical style and format and try to mirror that.
6. Create High-Quality Content
Make sure you produce high-quality content with:
- Accurate facts, information, and external resource links
- Correct style guide formatting
- Professional-level grammar, spelling, and punctuation
With so many AI tools (ex: Grammarly) at our disposal today to help us with style and grammar recommendations, there’s no reason the blog post draft you submit should have errors.
7. Expect Edits and Revisions
No matter how skilled a writer you are, one of the guest blogging guidelines to always keep in mind is to expect edits and revisions. When planning your content creation schedule, allow extra time for editing guest posts to ensure you are not crunched for time when asked for revisions.
8. Stick to Deadlines
If you and the content manager agree to a first-draft submission deadline, stick to it. When there is no hard due date, create one to ensure you don’t procrastinate.
9. Understand Your Value
When pitching a post, consider what value you bring to the table. Think about what you have to offer that will benefit the host company and its audience.
10. Follow Through
If a company accepts your pitch and you agree on the topic, follow through with your submission. Too many bloggers drop the ball after details are finalized. They never complete the project to which they agreed, and the host is left in a lurch.
10 Guest Blogging Guidelines for Hosts
If you work with external contributors, you should prepare a guest blogging guidelines document that communicates your blog strategy and establishes submission and content creation guidelines. Consider setting parameters for the following categories.
1. Submission Instructions
Provide instructions to potential contributors on how and where to pitch their guest blog post ideas. If you have a Divvy account, use our content request module to create a custom pitch form that will help you manage incoming pitch submissions and collaboration with guest writers.
2. Writing Quality Standards
Set clear expectations for quality, including tone and voice. If you have a style guide, ensure your contributors can access it. You should also provide information about your target audience, including any specialized segments guest bloggers should consider.
3. Word Count Limits
Establishing guest blogging guidelines for word count is essential. Even if your blog posts vary in length, you should set minimum and maximum word count limits to avoid submissions that fall short or exceed typical post lengths on your site.
4. Linking Requirements
Based on your SEO strategy, determine what kind and how many links you will allow in a guest blog post. You should include internal (promotional), follow versus non-follow, and external linking requirements.
5. Topic Expectations
Do you have your guest contributors pitch their own content topics, or do you choose the topic? Your guidelines for contributing bloggers should specify your expectations.
At Divvy, we have a specific list of topic clusters that are included in our guest blogging guidelines document. This list can then be used to help writers brainstorm new topics that fall within those clusters. This is a nice happy medium because if allows writers to get creative with topics, but it ensures that the topics fall within our strategic focus.
6. Republishing Rules
Your guest blogging guidelines should include rules for republishing and repurposing. Let contributors know whether you allow them to republish their guest posts elsewhere (including on their site) or repurpose the content. If you do, make sure you include requirements for linking to the original post on your site.
You also need to clarify whether you require original content or will accept previously published work.
7. Content Completion Deadlines
Establishing deadlines for submitting drafts ensures you maintain a content production flow for your team’s content and guest contributions. Divvy’s content calendar allows you to create task and publication deadlines and automate notifications to remind everyone about important due dates.
8. Editing and Revision Policies
Guest blogging guidelines should spell out editing and revision policies. To ensure every guest post adheres to your quality standards, maintain the right to edit or request edits or revisions, and establish approval procedures.
9. Contributor Recognition
Determine how you will recognize external contributors. Create guidelines for author bios, including when and how to submit them, length limits, and rules for linking within a bio.
10. Promotion Expectations
Let your guest bloggers know your expectations or requests for promoting or sharing their contributions on social media and websites or in email newsletters. You should also provide rules about promoting your products in their content.
Simplify Guest Blogging
DivvyHQ simplifies your content operations, including managing a guest blogging effort for both sides of these transactions. We provide tools for internal and external stakeholder collaboration, notifications, customized workflows, and content production management. Request a demo to see what we can do for you.