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I am an associate at Moz and one thing Moz excels at is helping guest writers take advantage of opportunities to interact and engage with the readers of their articles. Moz always informs guest writers when their articles will be published and actively encourages writers to be prepared to answer questions and respond to comments by the readers.
I suggest all active blogs that are accepting guest articles follow this practice as well.
Yesterday there was a discussion about guest writers missing some important opportunities to interact with the new audience they have written for and I wanted to share some ideas regarding this with you.
Most sites/blogs allow readers to comment and most guest writers are writing to try and create some authority on a particular topic. If you, as a writer, want your readers to get to know you better, and believe in your knowledge and experience, you need to take the time to respond to comments and questions. That means you need to keep an eye on comments all day the day you article is published and I recommend you keep an out for a couple of weeks at least.
If the site/blog you are writing for offers the comment option of subscribing to comments please know this option will make your life easier because you will receive an email for each comment. Take the time to respond in a positive manner and gain some fans that will encourage others to trust your expertise.
If the site or blog you are writing for doesn’t have a “subscribe to comments” option you can inform the owner or editor of this possibility. Let them know how it can encourage long-term engagement with the audience and the writer.
The discussion I mention above, about bloggers missing important opportunities to interact, was brought up by Megan Singley. She said that everyone needs to encourage the guest bloggers to also keep an eye on the social networks that the articles are shared on, specifically Facebook and Google+. These two networks often have much discussion about shared articles and the site’s owner or the community team cannot always answer questions targeted to the writer.
There is a huge bonus for writers by following “Megan’s Engagement Law” (I made this term up BTW; I thought the concept deserved a name :)), you are now exposing yourself and engaging with a large group of people that might not have heard of you before. Many sites have loyal followers on social networks. Allow them to get to know you, engage with you and you can build authority with people you haven’t had an opportunity to interact with before.
As a guest writer you should be paying attention to all social networks that your article is shared on and be prepared to answer questions and respond to comments on each of them. Twitter is a must, but there are other social networks you cannot forget. Certain topics do well on specific networks, so pay attention to where your article is shared. Some examples:
You can make things easier for your guest writers by doing the following three things:
When you contact the writer letting them know a publication date also include links to each of your social networks. Suggest they keep an eye out for comments onsite AND on social networks and explain the benefits of doing so.
If you have time later to send the writer links to shared articles on sites like Inbound, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Pinterest etc. just know it will be easier for the writer to keep an eye on conversations and engage with your audience.
Guest writers engaging with readers is a win-win for publishers and the writers themselves. Active engagement with the audience or community of a site can do wonders for everyone involved. If both the writer and the publisher understand this concept and support one another they can both help articles reach a much larger audience and create authority on both sides of the table.