Many chambers are discovering the value in opening up their blogs to guest posters. Not only does this provide the chamber with valuable content their members will enjoy, it also gives the guest poster an opportunity to reach a large audience and build a platform.
But what would happen if a guest poster turned rant artist or hand-core salesman? Rants and solicitations are not valuable content for your audience. You need a few guidelines in place to avoid this.
Editorial Guidelines for Guest Posters to the Chamber Blog
First, you don’t want to forgo editorial guidelines for guest posters because it’s easier to cite them as a reason something got edited or wasn’t published than it is to tell someone you’re not publishing their piece because it’s too sales-y and they didn’t know that wasn’t legal. Save yourself the time and create the guidelines first before accepting posts.
No Direct Sales
Give posters a by-line and a link but don’t allow them to directly pitch their service. Stories of experience are allowed but should not be sales-oriented.
Advise that You Reserve the Right to Edit Posts or Not Post at All
Posts shouldn’t be auto accepted without suggestions or title rewrites. It doesn’t mean you’ll have strike-throughs or edits on everything submitted. You’re merely reserving the right to do so. Any good publisher does.
Encourage Topics that Fit Your Audience
Give guest bloggers an idea of who they’re talking to and ask them to submit topics that the audience would find value in.
Original Posts Only (or not)
While you’re thinking about content, decide whether you want unique content or if the post could have appeared on a different site first. If you allow for content that’s been published elsewhere you need to ensure your guest poster has copyright of the materials. Content that appeared first on their blog is fine. If they wrote it for an industry site, they’ll need to check.
No Disparaging Language or Commentary
If they have a story to tell about bad service or other negative talk, let them know that the business’ name may be removed. You don’t want a guest blogger disparaging another member or business.
Link to Reputable Companies/Sites
Check all links before publishing. You don’t want spam sites or other junk promoted on your blog.
You’ll also want to give them an idea on word count. Anything shorter than 300 words should be a post on your Facebook page. While a well-written 1000+ words is now becoming the norm of high-ranking content.
Finally, always make guest bloggers aware of when you post their content. Encourage them to share it on social media.
What guidelines does your chamber enforce? Take a look at what other chambers are doing here.
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