Are you running a blog? One of the best pieces of blogging advice I can give someone running a blog with multiple authors is to create editorial guidelines. Editorial guidelines will maintain streamline formatting, writing voice and blogging topics throughout each blog post. Most of all, editorial guidelines will make the most of both the blog editor’s and the writer’s time!  So here are some editorial guidelines tips to get you started.

What Are Editorial Guidelines?

It’s your blog, so your editorial guidelines can include just about whatever you want to include. But the goal of editorial guidelines is to outline the goals of your blog and expectations for how you will achieve them through your content. The result? Taking the time to create these guidelines will make the best use of the blog editor’s and the writers’ time – a win win situation for all!

What to Include in Your Editorial Guidelines

Your editorial guidelines should include the following things:

1. Your blog’s mission –  Why does your blog exist? What do you write about?

2. Audience – Who will learn what from this blog? Describe your audience to your blogger as much as you can. Developing reader personas is not easy, but try to paint the picture for them as much as possible.

3. Topic – This is important. Let them know what topics you are looking for on your editorial guidelines, and have a one-on-one conversation to learn about what they want to write about. Make the most of both worlds. Have the blogger suggest something that plays to his or her strengths, yet appeals to your audience. The blogger is smart! That’s why you want that person writing for your blog, after all. Trust that person to do this. Most of all, get the topic figured out before someone puts pen to paper – the guest blogger’s time and talent is valuable.

3. Reposting policy – Does your blog accept reposts of content from other websites? Is it okay if your guest bloggers repost content on their blogs or other blogs after they post on your blog? Maybe all of it with a link back to the original? Or maybe just a portion of it with a link back to the original? And if they do that, how do you feel about them promoting the repost on social media? Let them know either way.

4. Linking policy – Are your bloggers allowed to have promotional links in their posts and bios? If so, how many and in what context? For example, at Shareaholic we’ll allow a link or two if it’s to educational content that helps teach the reader more about the topic at hand. If it’s blatant link-bait… well… sorry Charlie.

5. Photos – Do you have an iStockPhoto or ShutterStock account available to your bloggers? Give them the necessary account information. Prefer that they use the Flickr Creative Commons for their photos? Let them know up front.

6. Formatting – Tell your bloggers how you want your blog posts to be formatted. Over here, we like h3 headings and “how-to” and “lists” posts. I like to end our posts with a question mark that encourages comments. That is what works for us.

7. Word count – Don’t be vague, just name your price. 500 words. Boom. Done.

8. Edits – Don’t be vague, just name your price. 1 round of edits. (It’s the blog editor’s job to keep things in tip-top grammatical shape – not teach people how to write.) Next.

8. Deadline – Don’t be vague, just name your price. A week from the day of assignment. Onward.

What do you include in your editorial guidelines? Let us know in the comments!

We’re always looking for guest bloggers! Learn more about blogging for the Shareaholic blog.

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