Guest blogging on your own can be a challenge, especially if you’re a business, in which case you certainly have other things on your plate to take care of every day.
But since you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity, you will likely go out looking for bloggers who can take care of guest posts for you. A sound idea!
However, you can quickly find out that hiring someone for the job, even on a freelance basis, isn’t that straightforward.
There’s a handful of unique issues you should address when constructing an agreement with the person you’re hiring.
Taking care of these seven right up front will save you a lot of headache later on.
1. State your goals clearly
Guest blogging can be used for a number of diverse purposes, just like other marketing methods. But as the client, you need to be really clear about what outcomes you expect from the project.
For example, the three most common goals are:
- growing your search engine rankings (not recommended, by the way),
- getting direct traffic to your websites,
- creating brand awareness and engaging with new audiences.
Now, depending on which of these three things you’re after, the blogger you’re hiring will have to adopt a different approach regarding the sites they will be posting on and their overall writing style.
There are thousands of different sites out there, and they differ not only in the size of their audience, but also in the audience’s characteristics and behaviors. For instance, one site will get you loads of reader interaction, while another will be able to offer you only some temporary SEO benefits.
In short, set the expectations right from the get-go and avoid disappointments later on.
2. Decide who chooses the sites
The blogger you’re hiring will likely have a list of sites that they can get an article on. So if you don’t tell them exactly where you want the posts to be published, they will probably start with their list.
Is this okay for you? In other words, are you expecting to get publicity on specific sites, or do you just want someone to take care of guest blogging for you as a whole?
3. Decide on the range of topics and niches
The best case scenario for you – the person who wants some guest blogging done – is to land some posts that are closely related to the type of business you’re running and talk about issues that the audience within your niche cares about.
The only problem with this is that it’s a very specific requirement and not every blogger will have the resources to deliver on this.
Therefore, you need to ask yourself where you’re drawing the line when it comes to acceptable post topics.
For example, let’s say that you’re working for (or own) an email marketing automation startup. You want to get people back to your site and try out your tool. In such a case, do you want to purely focus on “email marketing automation?” Or is “general marketing advice” a suitable enough topic too? Or maybe you’d prefer to stay within the general concept of “email marketing?”
This sort of guidelines will help the blogger stay on target.
4. Agree on a bio box
Bloggers use their bio boxes for multiple purposes. Chief of which is to promote their own brand, name, and their freelance writing services. But sometimes they also mention other side projects, as well as personal social media profiles.
You should always agree on the contents of the bio box prior to giving the project a green light. Often this is just a formality, but you just want to have an idea what to expect.
For example, if apart from your site the blogger is also linking to their social media profile and personal blog then your link will get lost in all this clutter, and this will have an impact on the potential traffic you can get.
5. Define what a link to your site should look like
Setting the bio box aside, there’s also the bigger picture we should talk about here.
Some guest bloggers will offer you links from within the content. This is a great thing, but only as long as the link is contextually related to the post itself, and if the actual mention makes sense overall.
For instance, if you’re in the dog training business then getting a mention from a post on personal finance won’t be of particular use. Not only will the readers not click it, but it will also look very suspicious to Google, and you don’t want that.
Make sure to discuss this beforehand. Namely:
- Do you prefer in-content links vs. bio box links?
- Is a no-follow link okay, or do you want only followed ones (SEO-related issue)?
- Is the link itself all that counts, or do you want a short description of your site to go along with it?
6. Agree on an outside linking policy
You obviously want your link to be visible and to encourage the audience to hop over to your site to see what you have in store. Sometimes this can be problematic though.
A quality blog post will often link to a number of other articles from around the web just to make the message complete, and give the reader a full picture of a given issue that’s being discussed.
This will all make your link less visible. But there’s more. For instance, are you okay with the blogger linking to any of your competitors? Would you prefer them to link to other case studies or content that presents an alternative to your product?
Make sure to talk about these things up front, so everybody knows where they stand.
7. Decide if the blogger should respond to comments
Every once in a while, one of your guest posts will start a 50-comments-long discussion.
What should the blogger do in such a case? Should they respond to every comment? What’s your budget for this? Or maybe you want to minimize costs and respond to comments yourself?
Whatever your answer is, make sure to convey it clearly.
The cheat sheet
As you can see, there’s quite a lot of stuff to take care of when hiring someone to do your guest blogging.
So here’s a more condensed cheat sheet you can use for quick reference:
- What’s your goal? (SEO, direct traffic, brand awareness and engagement.)
- Do you have a pre-defined list of sites, or do you want the blogger to suggest theirs?
- What topics should the blogger write about?
- Do you have any guidelines when it comes to the bio box?
- How do you want the blogger to link to your site? (In-content links vs. bio box.)
- Can the blogger link to their own social media profiles or other projects?
- Are other outside links okay, and are you okay with the blogger mentioning your competition?
- Do you want the blogger to respond to comments?