Saturday 6 February 2016

12 Tips on How to be the Ideal Blog Host!

I wrote a post for this blog, 19 Tips on How to be the Ideal Blog Guest! in December, and here follows its companion post about how to be the Ideal Blog Host. Again, these bullet points suggest how to be the most ideal host possible, and there's no need to follow all of them; they're intended as a guide for anyone who has no idea how to go about inviting guests to write for their blog. It’s nice to be invited to appear on someone else’s blog, but also the guest is giving up their time to write a piece or answer questions for your blog; and both guest and host can gain from the visit, especially if they work together to promote the post on social media. 
  • Google the guest you’d like to approach, to see if they’ve done guest posts before. If they haven’t, or they don’t do many, they may prefer not to, and be prepared for them to say no.
  • Contact your ideal guest with a direct message on Facebook/Messenger or Twitter DM, if you don’t already have their email address and ask if they’d be interested (not everyone reads Twitter DMs though due to all the spam, so you may prefer to use the Facebook/Messenger option), and if they are keen to appear, ask for them to send you their email address. You can email via their website, but I've found in more than one case that emails sent via websites can disappear. Give further details in your email with one or two dates to choose from or a date range, and ideas re what the post could be about, suggesting one or two titles. The more you drive the content of the post, the more of a time-saver it is for the potential guest (unless they have lots of ideas already). Emails from new senders can go into spam folders, and if you don't receive a reply after around a week, it's worth sending a message as you originally did to check that the email has been received.
  • If the guest isn’t able to do the dates you suggest, offer alternatives. Usually a guest will want to be around when the post is published so they can promote it (and that's helpful to you too). Or they may be too busy to write a guest post or not wish to appear on your blog (don't be offended, thank them anyway, and approach someone else instead).
  • Some guests prefer to be interviewed, so be prepared to put some questions together if they ask for this. You could send more questions than needed, and suggest they choose the ones they prefer. Or, you may wish to completely drive the content of the post by asking the guest to do an interview in the first place.
  • Explain in advance what you need and when by: The post (with a word count range if you wish. I don't do this, but some guests prefer to be given a word count so they may ask), bio, profile photo, book cover photo, Amazon links, blurb, social media links, website and blog links etc; around 5-7 days before the post is published.
  • When you put together the post, include the profile photo at the top, and the book cover photo with all the rest of the info at the end of the post.
  • Make any links that the guest sends (website, blog, Amazon, social media etc) clickable, opening in a new window, so it's easy for anyone reading to view them quickly. And you may help your guest make some book sales or gain them new followers on Twitter/Facebook friends.
  • If your guest writes something in their post that you don't feel comfortable including on your blog (eg a very controversial statement), then go back and explain that you aren't able to include it with the reason. This is fair enough, and they're likely to understand.
  • Email your guest before the post comes out, perhaps the day before with a link and ideally the time that the post will be live. I send a final version to my guests, which is worthwhile if you change anything they’ve written (best not to, but sometimes you may need to), or add anything new. I add an intro and final paragraph, and I want my guest to know what I’m publishing in advance, in case I've got any facts wrong in the intro paragraph. I copy and paste the post from Blogger into Word and email that doc to my guest with the time the post will be published and link. 
  • Schedule the post nice and early (I do for 1am), and check that everything is as it should be. I check the post at around six thirty/seven o'clock in the morning to make sure the links work and open in a new window, and I reformat the post if it's turned out to be a bit all over the place. Many guests are likely to have day jobs and will appreciate the post being live before they go to work so they can schedule tweets and Facebook updates.
  • Promote the post heavily on social media when it comes out. Post on Google+ (if you use), Facebook, tagging the guest so they can see, and on your Facebook Page if you have one, mentioning your guest's Facebook Page if they have one. You can also mention the post in any Facebook Groups where you're sure it fits in with the rules of the group, and in relevant forums that you're a member of. Promote daily on Twitter, @mentioning your guest (two or three times spread over the first day) for the first week and every now and again after that. If there’s a good photo, include that with your tweets (the book cover, if they have one). Retweet your guest's tweets mentioning the post, and search Twitter for your name, the title of the post, and for the guest's name after the post comes out, so you pick up mentions relating to the post. Then you can thank and retweet where appropiate.
  • If the post is a hit (which of course it will be!), let the guest know as it's nice to hear this, and if anyone comments on the post and the guest hasn't replied, let them know this too in case they haven't seen the comments.
So, there you go, good luck hosting guests on your blog!

Similar post: 9 Ways to Engage a Blog Audience 

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In other news, I'm running my third Social Media Course for Writers on 7 May 2016 in London at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Kenilworth Hotel (in the lovely private room above), a stone's throw from The British Museum. You can find out more via my website here, where you can view the flyer and there's an early bird discount of 10% until the end of February.

To share info about this course on Twitter, click here

Also, neetsmarketing now has a logo, designed by Cathy Helms at Avalon Graphics!

And my website is due to be rebuilt very soon.

I'm speaking at the Freelance Media Group  in London on 14 March about Social Media for Writers.

Anne Cater appeared on this blog last week with a guest post about the Facebook Group, Book Connectors.

And I appeared on Wendy Clarke's blog recently with a guest post, answering questions about Social Media for Writers.


  1. Here's hoping I was the ideal blog host! I'm sure this article will be useful to many people wanting to have guests on their blog - thanks!

    1. Of course you were, Wendy! Thanks for inviting me to be a guest on your blog :-)