My name is Kristin Fields, and I am the editor for AEA’s monthly newsletter. I work with AEA members who serve as volunteer contributors for our newsletter on a regular basis. Their experience, expertise and stories make our newsletter a rich, informative resource for AEA members.
If you manage your own blog, you may want to consider diversifying your content by working with contributors, or “guest authors.” Here are three tips to help make the most of a guest blogging experience—and how to ensure contributors will want to work with you again in the future.
- Share contributor guidelines. Contributor guidelines set help the tone of your blog by sharing basic expectations around word count, style and things to avoid. Sharing this with a guest author from the start sets expectations and can help avoid unnecessary revisions or issues. Don’t send your contributors on a road trip without a road map.
- Provide a list of questions they can react to. If you have a rough idea of what you want your author to write about, or are expecting them to share certain details or stories, it’s helpful to note that upfront. One way of doing this is by sharing “thought-starter” questions that will draw our their experiences. For example, ask why they approached a project the way they did, why it’s important to other professionals, and what challenges they addressed that can provide lessons for others. Similar to sharing basic guidelines, providing contributors with a list of questions to think about will put them on the right path to providing a blog post that fits what you are looking for.
- Show your appreciation and encourage them to share the article. Once the article is published, share a link with the author and thank them for their time and contribution. If you share your blogs regularly on social media, remember to give them a special shout-out and tag their social media profile. If you have a page dedicated to highlighting guest authors, be sure to get their bio and headshot to include on the page. Encourage the author to share on their own social media channels, as well – it’s something they should be proud of, after all! Let them know they’re welcome to collaborate with you again or just stay in touch with new ideas.
Managing blog contributions is a two-way street that requires collaboration and clear communication. By making the process as seamless as possible, you open the door to future contributions and returning authors, which can ultimately make your blog a stronger resource for others.
Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.