Sometimes it’s hard to be a guest blogger. You want to put up guest posts on high quality blogs so that you can build authority and reach new audiences. At the same time, you have to respect the owner of the blog that’s hosting you and be careful of too much self-promotion.
It’s also incredibly important that you engage your newfound audience and interact with them. That means having to monitor someone else’s blog on a constant basis to be sure you don’t ignore anyone, and you already have enough going on as it is. It’s quite a balancing act when you get down to it.
Importance of Engaging Readers when You Guest Blog
Before we get into the how’s of engagement, let’s first discuss the why. Guest blogging on its own won’t bring the kind of increase in traffic to your site that you’re probably hoping for. An outstanding blog post will garner a lot of attention from a new audience, but it simply isn’t enough.
Why? Because those people may have questions, additional information to offer or simply a word of praise. They’ll express these thoughts by commenting on your post, and then they’ll eagerly wait for a reply. Do you have some idea of what’s going to happen if that reply never comes? Those people will most likely decide that you don’t care about your readers, and any interest they may have had in getting to know you better will cease to exist.
The way you respond to people after you’ve gotten their attention is just as important as getting their attention in the first place. In fact, some people would argue that it’s actually more important. In order to get people to keep coming to you for information, you’ve first got to build trust and a relationship with them. Interaction is the only way to accomplish this.
How to Guest Bloggers should Engage Readers on a Post
Keep an active eye on your post after it has been published. Ask the owner of the blog to let you know when the publish date will be and commit to checking in for comments often for the first few days. Ideally, you should subscribe to comments if the blog offers that option. This will give you an email notification every time someone leaves a comment.
When you see that a comment has been made, take the time to offer a reply. If it’s a question, give a thoughtful, thorough, and helpful answer. If it’s someone expanding on the ideas you presented, acknowledge those thoughts and offer thanks for the extra information.
For example, if you’re a Mustang expert and CJ Pony Parts allows you to place a guest post on their blog, a reader might ask a question about how to tell the difference between Mustang year models. You don’t have to give an extremely long reply, but you should cover the basics such as differences between number of headlights and their arrangement, as well as the presence and location of side marker lights.
There are a few things, however, that you should not do. Don’t:
- Promote yourself in every reply you leave. This is common courtesy. The blog owner was kind enough to give you some of their online real estate. You should have one or two links in your post, and one in your byline — that’s all. Unless someone specifically asks where they can read more of your material, don’t spam the comments. The only exception would be if someone asks a question that needs a detailed reply and you have a link that gives all of the information they need. Even here, use discretion.
- Argue with people. Sometimes, someone may disagree with something you write. Other times, someone may just want to act nasty. Acknowledge legitimate comments and, if the information you wrote is accurate, simply state that this is the way you understand things according to whatever source you used. Do not engage trolls. They live to get a rise out of people and you’ll only end up making yourself look foolish or unprofessional in the end.
- Use inappropriate language or vernacular. You’re trying to build authority here, and nothing says unprofessional like crude language. Even if the commenter uses this language, that doesn’t mean it’s ok for you to do so as well. Again, have courtesy for the blog owner. Even if your own blog is free with language, your host may not appreciate you bringing it to their blog — and it could cost you future opportunities for guest posts along with the respect of the audience you’re trying to win.
You should also never underestimate the value of following the blog owner’s social media activity and interacting with their followers there. Don’t spam or push your way in, but do make yourself available to people who are commenting on your post socially. Follow the same rules as those for commenting on the blog itself and you can gain access to even more potential readers.