1. Introduce Yourself Using Social Media
The number one, easiest way to do this is comment on their blog. This is a mandatory step; you aren't going to ask someone to be involved in your project if you haven't even read their blog. If it's your first time commenting, say so! I always like seeing the comments where people say how they found A Splash of Ink. Commenting not only makes the blogger feel good about themselves (and associate those good feelings with you!), but it also makes your name familiar to them.
Augment that relationship by following them on Twitter, adding them on Goodreads, Pinterest, Bloglovin' etc. then continue to develop it by being active on those social media. You don't have to reply to everything they post (in fact you probably shouldn't), but you should definitely make an effort to be a presence to other bloggers (liking status, favouriting tweets etc.) and not just a silent follower. Also, if you're not on Twitter, just do it. I used to think it was dumb, but now I'm in love.
Using social media is an easy, non-intrusive, public and indirect (if you will) way to help other bloggers recognize you and for you to test the waters.
2. Use Your Internet Recon Skills to
Okay, so you've introduced yourself, and now you want to approach a blogger to ask for an interview. The next thing you should do, is investigate how they feel about guest posting. You don't want to waste time asking someone to guest post if they clearly state that they're not interested on their blog. We've all refined out internet stalking abilities, so put them to good use!
Here are some questions you should be looking to answer:
Have they had a guest poster on their blog before?
Have they guest posted on someone else's blog?
Do they have any information about guest posting on their blog (e.g. a page dedicated to it)?
Do they have any contact information like an email?
If the answer is yes to most of these questions, the blogger is probably interested in guest posting! Proceed!
If the answer is no to these questions, it might be an indication that they either a) aren't interested or b) have never had/been a guest poster. I would tend to pass over this type of blogger when searching for guest posters, but if you're dead set on partnering with them, all is not lost. If they don't have an email address or any other social media where you can message them privately, I'd leave them a comment putting the ball in their court, where they can ignore it, if they so choose. I like to give them some other substance in the comment that they can reply to in case they do want to ignore the guest posting issue. Don't ask them to do anything, just express your interest and see if they reciprocate. For example:
I really enjoy your blog, and I'd love to feature you on my blog, A Splash of Ink.
I really enjoyed what you said in your post...*proceed to regular comment*
3. Reach Out to Bloggers in Private Messages
That being said, leaving public comments (even unassuming ones like the example above) should be avoided so bloggers don't feel like they're being put on the spot for everybody to see. You don't ever want anybody to feel pressured to partner with you, because they don't want to appear mean in their comment section by saying no.
Even if you work out that both parties are interested via a public comment or tweet, as soon as concrete details are being discussed, it should probably go private. I always prefer to use email, but others like using the direct messaging features on other social media like Twitter.
4. Be Mrs.or Mr. Manners
When you're emailing people, just be awesome. Say please and thank you. Encourage them to express any concerns. Address your email to recipient and have signature including your name and appropriate links. Get back to people in a timely fashion (*cough* hypocrite Sunny *cough*). Always reply with a thank you email, even if nothing else needs to be said. You guys know all this.
If you start by remembering that you are asking people to go out of your way for you and let that mindset guide the way you email people, you'll be perfectly polite (or in the very least not horribly offensive).
5. Just do it!
I've been blessed to have extremely positive interactions with other bloggers when it comes to guest posting. And I've learned that we're all just people (no matter how big the blog is) who all feel the same nerves when it comes to reaching out to other bloggers.
And if all else fails, just post an open call on your blog and let guest posters come to you.
Have you been in this situation before? How do you handle guest posters and reaching out to other bloggers? What etiquette did I miss in my list? I'm really curious to hear about people's experiences on this topic, so leave me your thoughts in the comments!