Today’s post looks at some reader reactions to guest posting and some tips on making the arrangement a success.
There’s a trend happening around the Internet. Work smarter, not harder. Don’t burn yourself out trying to post a ton. Ease up on blogging. The solution? Fill your blog with guest posts! Take a vacation! Hell, bring a new blogger onto the team and split the work forever!
Good strategy? Mmmmmm, maybe not.
People subscribe to blogs for a few reasons:
- They like the information, advice or entertainment
- Everyone else seems to be subscribed
- They’ve heard it’s a top blog
- They’re monitoring the blog’s content or its growth
- They’re friends with the blogger
Readers quickly develop favorites, a bond with the blogger and familiarity with the person’s level of content and style. Blogs create a personal connection. With each new post that delivers what readers expect and want, the blogger reinforces trust and loyalty.
People like consistency and they resist change. They become comfortable and develop expectations. They even get selfish and demand continuity of what they’ve come to expect. Disrupting that comfort zone causes defensive resistance.
A guest post can shake stability, creating unease with readers.
The first guest post sends a small rumble of change. The readers think, “Hm. What’s this?” The reader’s interest is piqued. He or she may nod approval politely, comment and then visit the guest blogger’s home page
Generally, though, readers expect their Beloved Blogger to return soon. A day off is fine. Beloved blogger will come back tomorrow.
Let’s say that a few days later, another guest post pops up. Now readers think, “Hm. Again?” They read politely, comment, visit… but they’re not sure they like this. Beloved Blogger is coming back, right?
By the third guest post, readers start to wonder. “Is this guest posting here to stay? I’m not sure I like this.” If the guest posting keeps up, the thought processes are pretty simple: “I want my idol back.”
The protests begin. Readers might complain. They might start to dislike the trend. They wonder what’s going on with Beloved Blogger. Does Beloved Blogger not love them back?
It’s risky business.
Reader loyalty is fickle and trust is easily broken. A reader who feels betrayed will find somewhere else to go. The person seeks out a blogger who offers consistency and commitment. Why stay if Beloved Blogger isn’t hanging around much either? Readers didn’t sign up for guest posts to begin with.
Think of the situation like a favorite fruit. Readers who enjoy bananas shop for bananas. When they find a good banana vendor, they expect good bananas.
When they get apples, they’ll shop for their bananas elsewhere.
Introduce Change Carefully
If you decide to accept guest posting on your blog, introduce the concept to people before making a move. Loyal readers deserve to know that change is coming, so give them a heads up and warn them. That helps give them time to accept and adapt when guest posting begins.
Screen Guest Posters Carefully
Be sure to choose guest posters that reflect the tone, style, level of information and type of blog that you have. If you’ve always given five-star content, guest posters who offer only three stars aren’t going to do your blog any favors. Choose guest posters wisely and carefully for what they offer.
Create a Pattern
People like consistent, expected patterns and stability. If guest posting will be a regular occurrence, establish a pattern. Choose specific occasions when you’ll accept guest posts, a particular day of the week for guest posting or one regular guest poster with whom readers can become familiar.
Listen to Feedback
If your readers start to grumble, listen to their feedback – and welcome it. Yes, it’s your blog, you can do what you want, and you can’t please all the people all the time, but you do also need reader support and praise. If readers are still complaining after a few weeks, change the situation. Find a way to compromise or a new method that works for everyone.
Pay Attention to Commonalities
If there is negative feedback about guest posting, pay attention to common threads of complaints. Most likely, readers aren’t protesting the concept of guest posts. They may be unhappy with certain posters, the quality of the content, the level of instruction or the poster’s tone and style. Make changes and reestablish peace.
They do say that any press is good press. Personally, I don’t think the boost from bad press is worth losing readers. Keep your readers happy, listen to what they have to say, and find a middle ground that suits you and suits them.
Are there times when you should accept guest posting? Yes indeed, there are. Our next post will look at some of the reasons to accept guest posts – and some of the reasons you shouldn’t.