#1 Although it sounds easy because you won’t have to be coming up with the content on your own, sometimes this strategy can be really difficult. You are working with other people, and other people make mistakes. They don’t get things in on time. They don’t send everything you need. There is often a lot of need for prodding and then follow up. Sometimes things they send don’t work (like photos or covers). So know going in that this path can be a headache.
#2 Be very clear about what you will need from them. Having done a lot of these, I now know to send: a bio, a cover, my photo, the blog post, and links. You will want to ask for these up front from your guests.
#3 If you have a word count, be clear about that as well. There is nothing more frustrating than thinking I have a guest post ready only to find the blogger wants 100 words cut out. When you are clear, the author can make the changes prior to sending. And yes, it’s your site, but never edit unless it is clearly wrong. If it is more than a misspelling, I would send it back to the author to correct.
#4 YOU are responsible for promoing the blog. Yes, you would like the author to help, and to facilitate that, you should send them a link as soon as you can. But most authors assume it’s your blog and thus your audience. They will assume you will be putting out the word. Don’t let them down.
#5 ALWAYS include links if they give them to you. That is the author’s payment for appearing on your blog.
#6 If you do giveaways, follow up with the author and the winners to make sure they received their book. You will do more damage by not getting a prize to a winner than by not having the giveaway in the first place.
#7 Going back to #1, be kind and courteous no matter what. Problems are going to happen. Just know that and have a back-up plan in case someone doesn’t come through for you.
#8 Schedule. Schedule. Schedule. Don’t rely on your memory. You won’t remember who was scheduled for what date. WRITE IT DOWN!
#9 If you say you will review, do it. I hear this complaint all the time from authors who are part of a blog tour that the bloggers were supposed to review the books… they don’t review the books! Why? I don’t know. They run out of time, overschedule and overpromise? No clue. But don’t be that blogger.
#10 Interviews are fun, but mix it up a little. Have 10 questions and ask your interviewees to answer their favorite 5, or have 3 different sets of questions and send them to new authors. Then personalize the interview when you get it in. Make it sound like you are talking with the author, not just listing five questions for them to answer.
#11 To find guest bloggers, join a group like G&F and put call-outs for spots you have open. Many authors are looking for spots, and you will probably get quite a few takers. Just be sure you have time to deal with those you get, or only take a few and then close the opportunity.
Good luck with hosting guests on your blog! You get to meet a lot of cool people like that!