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Have you ever stopped by your favorite blog and found that the latest post was written by someone other than the blog owner? Maybe you left wondering why someone would allow another person to write on their blog.

The truth is, guest posting has actually become pretty common, and if you’re a blogger yourself, you may want to consider it. It’s a great way to introduce subject matter that isn’t your strong suit, or provide a fresh look on an old subject, or even attract a new audience. It can also help you avoid burnout by just giving you a break every once in a while.

Below are 7 steps for effectively using guest posts on your own blog.

1. Determine your guest posting schedule

Decide whether you want to host a guest blogger once a week, once a month, once a season, or only when you’re sick or away on holiday. Then, stick to that schedule.

Once you know when you want to have a guest blogger, it may help you determine the topic. If you choose to host a series of guest posts during the month of October, for instance, your topic may center around Halloween.

2. Select your guest blogger wisely

Choose someone who will keep your audience interested but won’t take your blog in an entirely different direction.

If your blog focuses solely on the art of creating handmade dolls, for instance, you don’t want a blog post on how to cook with Limburger cheese. Instead, find a person that shares your love of creating handmade dolls.

3. Request copyright clarification

Create a standard form that states the guest can legally offer the content for publication on your blog and that the content is being provided free of charge. Also state that you have permission to publish the content indefinitely and without monetary compensation. Then get it in writing, or at least in email.

4. Seek new material

Avoid guest posts on topics you’ve already covered. You know your blog and your level of expertise. If there is an area where you’re lacking, ask your guest to help beef it up.

Going back to our original example, if you can’t sew and you buy all the clothes for your handcrafted dolls from an outside party, ask that person to guest post on your blog. Don’t be afraid to be specific about what type of post you’re looking for. In this case, it would be sewing tricks and tips.

5. Request posts in advance

You need ample time to edit your guest’s post before it goes live. You also need to give your guest ample time to write the post and rewrite any questionable material. Therefore, request that you receive guest posts at least two weeks prior to posting.

6. Avoid sales pitches

People usually like to guest post on other blogs for the exposure, so be generous by allowing your guest to write their own introduction or byline, complete with an active link. Just make sure that the entire post isn’t self-serving. Your readers don’t need to read a 500 word post on how to buy your guest’s services or product.

You’ll also want to keep outside links to a minimum. It’s okay for a guest blogger to reference a link to a free pattern for download in her e-store, and it’s even okay for her to refer your readers to a page on her blog for a deeper explanation, but you don’t want every paragraph to be directing your readers away from your blog.

7. Schedule your posts

Thanks to the wonders of technology there is no need to hold onto your guest’s post until the last minute. Once you receive the final draft of your guest’s post, get it up on your blog and schedule it for posting ahead of time.

As for finding guest bloggers, look no further than your own networking circle. The blogs you read, and comment on, as well as your social networks on Facebook and Twitter are a great place to start.

*Note: this post may contain affiliate links*

If you're anything like me, you have several social networking accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, a blog, etc. With so many accounts, it can be extremely time-consuming to update each one individually if there's something you want to share on all of them.

Wouldn't it be so much easier if you could update them all at the same time, from one place? Well, now you can!

. . . read more

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