Is your blog getting a little stale? Need a break from blogging? Everything is better with friends! Working with guest bloggers is a really great way bring fresh content and a new voice and perspective to your blog and help bring your content to new audiences*.

So, what’s with the asterisk? Guest blogging is great… if you do it the right way. Whether you are thinking about responding to a random email from someone who reached out to you or you are looking around at bloggers in your industry, finding the right collaborator needs to be a thoughtful process.

Not every Tom, Dick, or Harry blogger is a good partner. If you decide to start working with guest bloggers, here are some tips on how to get the most out of the collaboration.

Make sure they are a good fit

Before you start working with an outside content creator, you need to make sure that your guest blogger is actually going to be a good fit. Whether you made contact through a random email or you found them on social media, you want to make sure you would be totally comfortable with this person representing you and your company. Take a look at their website and previous work and make sure to check a couple boxes. Does their website look professional? Is their previous content consistent? Is their previous content, both writing and any photography, good quality? Before you start promoting them or their work, make sure you would actually want to.

Check out their following

Another important thing to check out during the vetting process of potential guest bloggers is their social media presence. This is arguably the biggest factor when deciding who to work with. Reaching a fresh, new audience, after all, is one of the biggest benefits of collaborating with guest bloggers. If they don’t have much of an audience, what’s the point? Go stalk them on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and check some more boxes. Do they have a decent community on social media? Are they active and regularly posting content? Is your guest blogger actively engaging with their audience and are they interacting in return?

Give them direction

Once you’ve found a guest blogger who is interested in collaborating, it’s time to get to work! While you’ve chosen this person for their writing ability, it’s important that you don’t just completely go with a hands-off approach. Before they even start writing, get together and establish direction and a framework for the post.

Enter the process with a few topics and themes in mind to give your guest blogger some ideas for places to start. If you have specific links or videos that you want to use (or vice versa) you can make sure everything is sorted out in advance. You can also use this time to establish any guidelines for the blog such as word count or structure. By taking the time to cover all your bases, you’ll ensure that the blog post you end up with is one that you’ll be happy with and actually want to use.

Coordinate on publishing and sharing

Once the blog post has been written and you are happy, it’s time to share it. Let your guest blogger know when the post will go live on the website and let them know when you plan on promoting it on social media. When sharing on social media, be sure to tag your collaborator and make sure they do the same when they share it. That way, their audience will be given an introduction to you and your audience will be introduced to them. This mutual exposure on social media is a win-win and one of the biggest reasons for working with a guest blogger in the first place.