How to Create Guest Post Guidelines for Your Blog

It’s well known that one of my strategies used to rise to fame came from being everywhere, all the time. I used the power of guest posting and blog commenting tactics to reach people around the globe.

If reaching people is what you want, you’ll find plenty of advice on guest posting right here at Men with Pens, including great tips on accepting guest posts to your blog – like this post on submission guidelines from Ann Smarty. Enjoy!

You know there’s power in guest posting and that it’s mutually beneficial to both parties. You might even be thinking of accepting guest posts on your blog. (Check out this post for great tips on how to find great guest post authors.)

The next step is to create a solid guest post policy of guidelines.

Why You Need Clear Guest Post Guidelines

With a clear list of guest post guidelines, you can:

  • Cut down on low-quality submissions: If you state your criteria for approval, chances are that most people will adhere
  • Cut down on irrelevant submissions: Let people know what topics to cover in their posts
  • Cut down on poorly-formatted post – and save your time on formatting them)
  • Avoid any misunderstandings
  • Have solid grounds to modify or reject the post without offending anyone

What to Add to Your Guest Post Policy

Besides the obvious such as how to apply as a contributor or the process of submitting the guest post, you may want to include the following in your policy:

Your Quality Requirements

Some people (myself included) think that strict standards limit the author’s creativity. For example, a post shouldn’t be too long to be awesome. However, without standards, you’ll be flooded with low-quality posts, so clearly state the quality you expect in terms of word-count length, language, originality and uniqueness.

Your Preferred Topics and Subjects

List some specific topics you’d prefer for guest post content. You can suggest some areas that you don’t have expertise in and thus would like an outside perspective. Alternatively, you can share some post ideas, basing them on posts that you know are especially well received by your audience.

Your Link Requirements and Policies

It’s very important to mention what you’ll accept in regards to linking, because that’s usually what causes plenty of issues and misunderstandings. You might:

  • Ask the guest poster to link to other posts found on your blog, or make it clear you’ll add internal links yourself
  • Specify how many links guest posters are allowed to use in the content and byline
  • Specify your position on affiliate links within post content (normally forbidden)
  • Express your opinion on keyword-rich anchor text (like Daniel, you may be against SEOd links in guest posts)
  • Mention whether guest posters are allowed to link to their own content within the post

Your Post Image Requirements

Do you require an image sent in with the guest post to make it more attention-grabbing? That’s up to you. But keep in mind that if you do request images or the poster sends one in, you should know that image attribution is important. All images should be properly attributed and have been credited. Remember, the image is published on your blog: you don’t want stolen images there!.

Your Republishing Policies

Some blogs allow republishing of guest posts; some don’t. The traditional position is that the post belongs to the blog owner, is credited to the author and cannot be republished anywhere else. This protects from duplicate content issues. Some authors may be unaware that they can’t publish their guest post elsewhere, so it’s best to make clear whether you only accept original content and whether you expect your blog to be its ultimate home.

Your Editorial Policies

Do you edit guest posts? How many edits should a guest post author expect? Let people know to avoid misunderstandings. ProBlogDesign editors have worded it nicely: “Please don’t be offended if we suggest changes.”

Your Formatting Preferences

You may want to include a few lines about how you prefer guest posts be formatted, such as:

  • Using subheadings in the post body (I usually ask guest posters to include H2-H3 tags)
  • Whether you prefer HTML formatting
  • Using short paragraphs or bullet points (to make the post easier to read)
  • Now that you have a good idea what to include on your guest post guidelines policy, write one up! Don’t forget to make it easy to find on your blog, and give the link to anyone applying to be a guest poster.

    Do you have guest post guidelines? Share some of your favorite policies or guidelines in the comment section!

    Ann Smarty has been guest posting for the past two years. Her passion resulted in My Blog Guest, a community of guest post bloggers. If you want to submit to hundreds of high-profile bloggers or find quality writers ready to contribute to your site, come join!

Post by Agent X

Agent X is the name many mysterious and intriguing people take on when they guest post at our site. Their mission is to slip in like a thief in the night, leave you with entertaining, valuable and useful content, and slip away again - without getting caught.