Guest Blogging, Woe and Dismay
Recently, more and more blogs are voicing their not-so constructive thoughts on guest blogging. What’s the beef? Some say the quality just isn’t there, but whose fault is that? You know, having another blogger write an article for you doesn’t have to be a half-assed attempt at link bait.
Guest blogging is to write, free of charge, one or more articles on a known contact’s blog as a favour. Benefits include a little traffic and recognition, maybe a link or two if you can make it relevant.
That said, to assure the quality of content remains and your readers don’t get bent out of shape, I present you with some tips, as a guest and as a host. For this to work both sides must be in mutual competence. Before we get into that, let me share with you my definition of guest blogging.
For the Guest
Being paid to write a post and guest posting are two different things. If you’re getting paid, you’re a writer for that site. If you’re guest posting, you’re simply a friend doing another friend a favour.
If you’re emailing another blogging asking to write a post for them, have a headline or topic in mind. On the other end of things, if a blogger asks you to help them out, work with them to come to a mutual agreement on a topic you both agree you can write a great article on.
The whole link bait and guest posts ordeal is one myth I wish I could abolish. Unfortunately there is a trend of guest bloggers making poor attempts at gaining traffic from Digg and other viral sites. I don’t want to take any shots here, but in the commentary category my creative freedom somehow needs to be heard. The ‘make money online’ niche is a big one. The guest blogging in this niche is absolutely horrendous and because this whole area reaches such a wide audience, everyone gets a piece of it.
The poor guest posts in the MMO sector are due to misunderstandings between inexperienced bloggers. I’ll say it: 95% of MMO online blogs are John Chow rip offs thinking they’re going to be rich tomorrow. This produces hundreds of incompetent people without blogging common sense. I know you were thinking it 😉
For the Host
First thing is first: should you squeeze a contact for a guest post? Keep in mind, while pulling a favour in, you might be called to return it in the future, if your guest isn’t returning it to you. This isn’t always the case. Personally, my blog is under my name and I would never have someone write a post at their own discretion for me. On the other hand, I do the occasional guest post, asking nothing in return. That’s just me though, many people are quite on the contrary.
Next, you’re not going to want to pick just anyone. Somebody in your niche, or close to it, is obviously the best bet. As someone who is design/blogging focused, it is a little awkward trying to fulfill expectations on a business blog.
For the record, when a guest post is quite sub par and readers know it, it’s on the host. Why? As a host (the blog owner for the not so observant) it was you who chose the writer, or approved it. Don’t pick any random person who asks.
- Look at their previous guest posts if any.
- Read their blog. I say skip it if they don’t have one.
- Do they have something to plug? If they have an ulterior motive for leveraging your site, skip it.
The perfect candidate is one who writes eloquently with experience without being intimidated by the myths surrounding guest posting. Added bonus for having a popular blog in the same niche.
In the End
Don’t be afraid of guest blogging. It can be a three way of pleasure (err, in the blogging sense) for the guest, the host and the readers. It’s not for everyone, but if you think it is for you, do it right. It seems as if the present is a shaky time for guest blogging, but a little common sense goes a long way.
Connor Wilson is surprisingly enough a blogger also working as a freelance designer.