Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Guest Blogging: as philosophy

So this is the first Tuesday in a VERY long time that I haven't had a guest blogger. I thought maybe it was a good time to impart to you my infinite wisdom from five months hosting... a little perspective of what you should KNOW as a host, and what might be helpful to keep in mind as a guest. So how's THAT?


A Host Should Know

Her SCHEDULE!!!! I hear you laughing. I've had a few SNAFUs on my schedule... sometimes my fault, sometimes my guest's fault, sometimes a near miss communication thing. My side bar helps... I can see who is coming, but here's a secret. YOU HAVE TO LOOK. It is my same problem with schedules all around. Take my word for it, though. If you are going to have guests regularly, it is best to know when yo are expecting them.

Her Guests: I've had guests I know pretty darned well and guests that were only here because of my involvement with the Virtual Blog Tour that began with Authors Promoting Authors and transferred to BK Marketing. Now I believe in what BK Marketing it DOING—completely--they are helping authors find appropriate blogs to guest at. I have definitely noticed though, that sometimes you guys connect, and sometimes you don't... the AUTHOR has to CONNECT because I don't know them well enough to make the connection.

The authors I KNOW on the other hand, I can introduce well. If I've read the book I can tell you a little about it. By far, my two most successful guests have been Elizabeth Spann Craig and Harry Dolan—in Elizabeth's case, she is part of this circuit, had GREAT information, and I had a really easy time introducing her and being sincerely enthusiastic. In Harry's case, he is a best seller, and I was over the moon about his book.

But even without having read the book, if I KNOW YOU, I can talk about your blog, about you, about your magic or personality... It is far easier for me to convince my readers that there is a reason to keep going.


What a GUEST Should Know

WHERE YOU'RE GOING!!! If you are going to be a guest somewhere, you should visit the blog at least a few times, but IDEALLY often enough that you get a feel for the readership.

I may be a Naked Tart to those who know and love me, but I can go someplace classier—I can talk about writing, blogging, heck... I can even talk about shoes! *cough* But in order to be appropriate, I have to know the (un)dress code! There are times to hide my nakedness behind a palm tree.


WHO IS READING: Not only do you need to know whether it is formal or casual (un)dress, you need to know who is LOOKING. Now I talk a lot about being naked, yes? It's sort of how I roll. Well if people didn't come in here and see how I interact with all of YOU, they might think it was about SEX, when really it is about comfort and a little tartish sass. Taking over the world is a full time thing, and sex just only takes up... maybe a third of any given day! *shifty* (okay, and was only that one lost summer in college)

Seriously though—is it other writers? Are there young people? What's the mix of men to women? Do they prefer a certain genre? What kind of humor do they like, or are they a serious set? And the VERY most important piece: What are they interested in?


A Guest Should ALSO have a PLAN (I think you know my enthusiasm for plans), at least if it is part of a tour. A book tour requires you always introduce yourself and your book in BRIEF, but the main blog content should CHANGE from blog to blog. I would suggest writing up a list of what you want to cover and where you are going and then matching content to blog, but to do such a thing, you'd need to fly FAR LESS by the seat of your pantslessness than I do....

So there you have it... Guesting and Hosting... I definitely recommend it, but with intent...

22 comments:

Ted Cross said...

I certainly don't plan well enough when it comes to blogging. My blog posts tend to be spur of the moment thoughts, or perhaps something I have been mulling over recently. I don't even post on a regular schedule. Bad me...

B. Miller said...

I've enjoyed the majority of your guest blog posts, but I always love my visits to your blog. Thanks for sharing the insight on hosting guest bloggers! I'll definitely have to keep it in mind, as I'd like to have some guest bloggers on my own blog in the next few months!

Cruella Collett said...

I think if everyone played according to the rules above, I would be inclined to read more guest blog posts. As it is, however, I more often than not skip guest posts. The main reason is that my motivation for visiting blogs usually is that I like the author, his/her style and voice. When there is a guest, you don't get this aspect. You get someone else's style/voice. Especially if the guest and host haven't coordinated well, this defies the purpose of me reading the blog in the first place.

That being said, I do think that well-planned guest posts can be a good way of promoting a blog or book or whatever. But it needs to be done right.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Shoes!!!!
*snicker snort*
Surely you can't be serious. But again, why not?


And I totally 'get' the purpose of this post. Like Mari says, I rarely read guest posts, because there doesn't seem to be too much of a connect between the voice of the blogger who I like and the voice of the guest. Sometimes I have found a new blog because someone I know has guest blogged there, but it is rarely the other way round. And yet, matching what you give to what is needed seems so simple a task.

Al said...

So the bottom line is be better organised than Hart :-) Just kidding you seem to hang it all together really well.

Love the Easter bunny graphic, It really appeals to my inner child

Alexandra Crocodile said...

I agree with cruella. If the guest post is by a blogger I normally read, I'll check it out. Also if it's by someone I'm interested in I'll read it. But otherwise I usually skip it - because oftentimes it's not done very well. It's a shame, though...

Hart Johnson said...

Ted-my own planning is sporadic, so I am hardly the best example. Maybe try NaBloWriMo this year (blog every day in October)--it is good for the discipline.

B. You're fabulous, you know that? I do appreciate my readers who check out everything.

Mari-that was a huge part of why I put all that up there. I ALSO tend to skip guest posts (bad me) unless I have reason to look, and those REASONS have to do with it being a BOOK I'm interested in, or the blog author having been excited... they can't get EXCITED if they don't really know the guest... but that is sort of on the guest to share info, I think.

Rayna--did you miss that after you suggested shoes, nearly EVERYONE else ALSO suggested shoes (though Simon really wanted me to go with stilettos *snort*)--It was pretty funny.

Al-EXACTLY! More organized than me will go a long ways!

Alexandra--I think that not done well thing has to do with blogging experience. I feel like experienced bloggers GET IT on some level, and do a better job connecting (plus bring some following of their own) but a lot of people put the book out and haven't a clue, and I would agree you can definitely tell.

Old Kitty said...

Gosh- this is why I leave all the guest blogging and hosting to those who know and are very organised and plan orientated!! I'm very happy just reading!! So thank you!!

But I may buckle (har har) this trend if shoes are involved...!

Take care
x

Lisa said...

I've done this ad hoc, but it's been a while. I love when someone writes me and says "write about this" and I say "how about you write about it here?" That's about as organized as I've gotten with it. This post is full of good information for anyone considering it on a more formal basis.

Falen (Sarah) said...

mmmmm. Now i want pancakes.
i've yet to have any guest bloggers on me blog. maybe one day...

Hart Johnson said...

Jenny *sorts at shoe pun* Definitely need people happy to read it all!

Lisa-I think when there isn't a specific book--or for infrequent guest, flying by the seat of the pantslessness works. I've sort of committed to at least semi-regular... not sure I will ever master organizing...

Sarah *passes pancakes* *giggles*

ViolaNut said...

Well, my inner snob is going to show here, but I'll say that #1, I did actually read all your guest blog posts, and #2, all but about 3 made me say thanks-but-no-thanks to any book by them. It's one thing when it's your own blog and you're sometimes typing on the fly and posting willy-nilly, it's another when it's something you've provided ahead of time and (presumably) edited and there are still rampant typos and grammatical errors. If I can't take it for one post, I'm definitely not reading a whole book. It's that internet-first-impressions thing.

Now the internet-karma-fairy is going to catch up with me and make sure there are at least 5 typos in everything I do today... :-P

Talli Roland said...

These are great tips. Thanks, Hart!

(Sorry for the short inane comment but I'm full from apple crisp and wine and honestly I can't come up with anything more right now!) :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Looking forward to my visit in October and I'm forming my plan!
Wait - do I know you?

Holly Ruggiero, Southpaw said...

I’d love to try hosting a guest or two but I don’t think I’m quite ready, but this post gives me a whole lot more insight on how to do it. Thanks

Hart Johnson said...

Leanne, I would agree that when you send stuff out to places you haven't been, polishing is a pretty darned good idea.

*giggles at Talli* Apple crisp and wine sounds like my kind of dinner.

Alex-you are definitely on friendly turf here! Three of my next six are people I know pretty well, and those are definitely easier to get excited about from my end.

Holly, no harm waiting until you are ready. Me and my FOMS dived in without researching, and so some of the above lessons were hard learned.

Will Burke said...

Most of my writing is seat-of-the-pants (love my jeans as much as I love your nudity;)), but if I were guesting, I'd CERTAINLY acquaint myself with the space & it's audience! Kinda sad that you need to remind people of that.

Ann said...

Sound advice. A guest really should have a feel for the audience. I have a tendency to write things, appointments etc in calendars and then forget to look at them. Guess I fall in the not very organized category. Well at least I am not alone...Right?

Cheeseboy said...

As a token male blogger, I have been asked to guest on a few mom blogs before, which I am fine with. However, I do wish they would have read this post before asking me, so they had a better idea of what to expect of me. I try and do my part by knowing the audience and having a plan.

Missed Periods said...

I agree. It's kind of the same with teaching. I've tried to wing classes a few times, but the results are always better if I show up with intent.

kimberlyloomis said...

Very, very sage words. I'm going to ponder how to implement this as I move forward with a few upcoming guest posts as well. So help me I really don't want to screw things up.

gae polisner said...

i had flagged this one in passing, Hart, and am glad I remembered. I think one of the hardest things about offering something a little different to each blog, is that people often seem to want to know the same things. OR they're just not creative enough. So the trick is to tell the same info in a new way, if possible, or here, the same way only naked. :)

But I know some people have asked me to guest blog and I say, ask me three questions you really want to know about me and/or my book/writing and they ask the same old crap. Er. Same old gold. Same old gold. :)

Any words of advice. Other than, as I said, it's my job to tell the same stuff in a slightly different way. :)