Guest Blogging Etiquette: Let's Make a Deal

So if you've been blogging for any amount of time, you've probably had some experience with guest blogging--either inviting people onto your own site or doing a post on someone else's site. It's a great thing to do to cross promote and once you've got a book coming out, it's often a big piece of your marketing. Blog tours are all the rage because the internet is a great place to find readers and build word of mouth.

I get requests on a pretty regular basis both to be a guest on other sites and from people wanting to do a post here. It seems once you get past 500 or so followers, a good number of people want to hang out on your site. :) That's awesome. I love doing guests posts and I certainly love having people stop by here.

However, there is some etiquette that goes along with this process. Some people follow it and others fail miserably. So I figured I would give some quick tips I've gathered from my experience that may help you navigate the guest blogging waters.

If you are going to ask someone to be on your site...

1. Be polite when asking and give them a clear out so you don't put them on the spot. (i.e. if you're too busy, I completely understand.)

2. Give them an ample amount of time to get back to you, but it is best to give them a deadline
Don't say, "Hey, I'd love you to be a guest, can you get me a post by next week?" Give them a few weeks minimum. And you can give them an open-ended--whenever you can--kind of deadline. BUT, be warned--this may result in less success of getting that post. I am an epic failure at saying "yes" to open-ended, can you guest post for me sometime and then I never get to it. (To those of you waiting for a post from me, I'm sorry. I plan to go on a guest blogging marathon after I get done with this draft.)

3. Provide options.
A guest post takes a lot of time. I can whip out a daily post over here in under an hour, but when I know I'm going to be on someone else's site, I feel more pressure to get it perfect, for it to be epic. So, it takes more effort and time. Therefore, if you really want someone on your site, maybe offer to interview them instead of a guest post. This makes it easier for the person to just answer questions and not have to come up with a topic, etc.

4. If you are going to ask for a post (not an interview), provide suggestions for topics you might like to see from them (while also leaving it open for them to choose whatever topic they want.)
It is SO helpful when someone approaches me for a guest post when they say--hey, maybe you could do something on yadda yadda yadda. I may not know what topics they've already covered on their own blog, so this saves me from having to research what's already been covered on that site.

5. Once you get their post and schedule it, email the person on the day (or day before) the post is going to go live.
This a) reminds the person and b) gives them a the chance to do some promotion for you and send people there.

If you want to approach someone to be on their blog...

1. Do your research and know that blog/blogger (at least a little bit).
I have a pet peeve about people emailing me wanting to post here (to promote their book) and I've NEVER had any interaction with them. They don't follow the blog, have never left a comment, have never talked to me on Twitter, etc. They're a complete and total stranger. I feel like they stumbled across my blog, saw I have 1200 followers and said--ooh, ooh, let me hawk my wares here! I love promoting other authors, but my blog isn't here as an advertisement board for anyone who wants to stick a flyer up.

2. Offer the blogger a number of options--an interview, guest blog, contest/giveaway.
Show them that you can provide whatever type of post they need. And just like the reverse of the above, an interview is more work for the host blogger, so don't just offer that. It's also a lot of work to ask someone to review your book. That means they have to have time to read it, like your genre, etc. When people email me asking if I can interview them or review their book, I usually respond with--can you do a guest post instead? I just don't have time lately to come up with interview questions specific to you and your book.

3. If you get the go ahead to do the guest blog, make sure you send something with quality content, no typos, and include your bio and pic.
Don't make the blogger have to correct your work.

4. Get the post to the person on time. And do not ask them to send you a reminder. 
If they give you a deadline, keep it. And it's your job to remember when it's due--they are doing you a favor.

5. Promote that post on your own blog when it goes live. This helps you and the host blogger.

6. Always offer to reciprocate. If they let you on their blog, let them know they are welcome to stop by yours.

Overall: The key to remember with all of this is to know who is holding the power in the exchange (can you tell I write BDSM romance?) The person who benefits more from what the other person has to offer has to go out of their way to make it as convenient as possible for the other.

For instance, if I want my book reviewed on some big book blogger site--the power is in their hands. I'm the one who has to go out of my way. But if a brand new author who just self-published wants me to do a feature on their book here where I have a big following of potential readers, then I'm the one holding more cards. Sounds kind of snotty, but it is what it is. You'll be on both sides of the equation at some point.

So what do you think? Have you had any negative guest blogging experiences? How do you like to be approached for a guest blog?