Monday, December 27, 2010

Being a Good Blogger

I've filled all my guest blog spots through April, but I thought I'd repeat this post from a year ago, with my take on being both a good guest and a good host. I can't say I've been a perfect host, but these reminders will help me be a better one for 2011.

And don't forget the big sale from the Backlist Ebook authors!

Suggestions for being a good guest

1. Know what you're getting into. Spend a little time reading the blog where you've requested a guest slot so you know if it's going to serve whatever purpose you have in mind.

2. Does the host provide guidelines? Read them! Follow them! Are there things you shouldn't say? Don't say them. Are there questions to answer? Answer them. Is there a minimum or maximum length? Stick within it.

3. Make a note of the date you're going to be a guest. Set up your own reminders; don't rely on the host. Get your post in early if possible to allow your host time to format in advance.

4. Communicate with the host. Problems arise, especially if you're scheduled months in advance. Give as much warning as possible if there will be problems.

5. Be around on your guest day. Commenters like to be acknowledged. If you can't, for whatever reason—maybe you work full time and can't access the blog during work hours—let everyone know. That way, your host can 'cover' if necessary.

6. Don't recycle posts you've done elsewhere unless your host requests it.

7. Do your own promotion. Part of the idea of guest blogging is to introduce both the guest and the host to new audiences.

8. Does your host want pictures? Head shots? Book covers? Send them. Don't make the host grab them from your site. Other illustrations? Indicate where they should go.

9. Find out how your host likes posts formatted. Word doc? Text file? Preferred font? Provide URL links. The tiny details make getting your words onto whatever blog platform the host uses easier.

10. Proofread your post!

And for hosts

1. Keep track of who's up when. I happen to use an Excel spreadsheet and Google Calendar.

2. Send guidelines before you book a guest so they understand what you're looking for. Make them clear, but don't expect people to read or follow them.

3. Send reminders well in advance of the posting date. Request acknowledgment of receipt of emails.

4. Have 'backup' plans in case things go wrong.

5. If at all possible, be in control of your own blog postings and blog site. Guests are expecting their posts to be up, and relying on a third party can create another layer of potential problems.

6. Read the posts before you publish them; fix minor typos, etc. It's better for both parties. Verify that all links the guest provided actually work.

7. Promote the guest wherever possible. Include a 'heads up' on your blog before the guest's day.

8. Alert the guest when the post is live, with the URL for linking.

9. Check in from time to time, thanking commenters even though it's not 'your' own day. It's still your blog.

10. Thank the guest. Follow up if there are contest winners to announce, etc.

And if you're just a blog visitor, a few 'hints' as well.

Leaving comments makes the poster feel good. It shows you took a few extra moments. It can also draw traffic to your own site, so make sure you say something relevant. On that note, don't turn your comments into self-promotion. Making it "all about me" is an immediate turn-off, so you're doing more harm than good.

If you enjoy a blog post, share it. Many blogs have convenient links so it's one-stop shopping.

Tomorrow, my guest, Rebecca Martinez, will be talking about setting.


Carol Kilgore said...

Good reminders. Thanks.

~ Babs ~ said...

These are nice reminders thank you.

Linda Swift said...

Very good advice, Terry. And I've been a guest on your blog so I know from experience that you follow your own advice. Wishing you a great new year. Linda

Jacqueline Lichtenberg said...

The reason posts like this with hints about how to converse with strangers are necessary is that we, as a society, have lost the "Art of Drawing Room Conversation" -- or maybe just the art of conversation in general.

With the advent of radio in the home, people began listening to the news over dinner instead of conversing with family and even guests. With television, people eat in front of the TV and very often without distinctive differences between meals-of-the-day.

Today, even families don't sit down together - it's grab a plate from the 'fridge, nuke it in the microwave and eat while running around getting dressed to go out for the evening (or while racing through homework to get to video games).

Seldom are all the members of a family with teens all at home at once. Now we talk in texts and tweets.

Blogging may well reverse this trend and nurture the art of conversation once more.

Personally, I love getting to know people via blog comments and their blog posts.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Great Blogging Tutorial! There are little gems in there I'd never thought of. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you've mastered the protocol expected in hosting guests or blogging as a guest. No wonder you have your guest spots filled through April.

Terry Odell said...

Carol, Babs - they're good reminders for me, too.

Linda - thanks - and you were a good guest. It should be more about making thing easy on both sides of the fence. Both the blogger and the host have to take the time to get everything up there. It's not magic!

Jacqueline - yes, there's not much time for simply talking. Nobody hosts "at home" days anymore.

Vonnie - glad you found something new.

Gale - as I said, it's all about making things run smoothly, so nobody is stressed with last-minute chaos

Wynter said...

Very good advice. I always appreciate when a host offers me guidelines. And reading the blog you will a guest at is always good form.

Terry Odell said...

Wynter - it makes life easier on both sides when you let guests know what you expect. The 'worst' experiences I've had have been when someone's publicists tries to set something up. I hate to say 'no' but most of the time, it's a ... challenge.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Now that I'm accepting guests on my blog, I definitely see the need for submission guidelines.

Have you had any bad experiences where you had to reject a post because it was full of typos and other errors, or just plain bad writing?

Terry Odell said...

Patricia - I've never outright rejected a post, although I've modified some with excessive BSP (with a prior explanation to the author). The biggest issues have come when it's clear the participant hasn't read the guidelines and probably hasn't read the blog. I'm thinking of sending this post to all upcoming bloggers, as a 'supplement.' I don't want to be dictatorial, but it's MY name at the top of the blog, and I think there's a certain 'flavor' to it that I like to maintain. But as far as topics -- I'll take anything--that's what keeps things fresh.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I think your policy is excellent.

In my case, I'm asking guests specifically to promote their books and am hosting virtual tours, but I've been surprised at least twice by submissions from published authors that read as though they were thrown together in three minutes and apparently were not proofread. I'm going to add something into my guidelines so authors know I'll reject unprofessional work in the future.

Maris Soule said...

Good suggestions. I plan on having guest bloggers on my site, and your suggestions are ones I can see I need to incorporate. Thanks.