I’ve been thinking a lot about guest blog posts lately. I used guest blog posts often in the past. For FWJ’s third anniversary we unveiled guest blogger month where each day featured another guest posting. I also had a “FWJ Idol” contest where a dozen bloggers competed for a slot on the blogging team here (and Terrece won!). I was called out for stocking FWJ with free content and I was a little angry. Don’t people understand guest posts aren’t the same as writing for free? It’s good public relations. It’s a way to get our names out there. I’m not hurting writers, I’m helping them. Right? Believe me, I didn’t sleep well for a long time after getting called out for stocking FWJ with free content – even if it was a contest and even if I had good intentions. I thought about it long and hard.
I also wrote a few guest blog posts at a couple of very famous blogs and wouldn’t have even thought about asking for money. For me, that was very good exposure. If the big name probloggers are soliciting guest posts that’s not the same as writing for free, right?
Maybe some others might not agree with me, but guest blog posts are exactly like writing for free. Someone is asking writers to blog for them without offering compensation. Writing. For. Free.
Guest Blogger or Free Content Writer?
Every day we express outrage over the ads on Craigslist. How dare these scammy people promise exposure to those who write for them! How dare they take advantage of writers that way! How dare they offer low wages or promise exposure!
How is this different than writing a blog post for free?
Now, I understand favors for friends, we all do that. I wouldn’t ask my friends for money to help them move or paint their family rooms. I even wrote a friend’s newsletter because she’s a good friend and I don’t charge good friends. I won’t put out a call for content without paying writers though.
Has writing guests posts become the new “it’s good exposure” scam?
What is the difference between the Craigslist guy looking for someone to blog for free and the random blogger who is looking for guest bloggers, any guest bloggers to, well, write for free? Why isn’t it good P.R. or good networking to write for some website guy, but it’s considered paying one’s blogging dues to write guest blog posts?
Are writing guest blog posts good P.R.?
I suppose it depends on the blog. I mean, it’s a different thing to write for an unknown newspaper for free than to write a free article for Cosmopolitan, right? Nowadays, I still guest blog a bit but I won’t charge my friends or I’ll make it an even trade. I also pay for guest posts here at FWJ, it’s not hundreds of dollars but enough for me to feel like I’m not taking advantage.
Here are some things to consider when writing guest blog posts:
- Who are you blogging for? Is it a top blogger with a well-trafficked blog? If so, the exposure might be worth it.
- Are you doing a favor for a friend? We all do favors for friends.
- What are you getting in return? What are you really getting in return? Who is benefiting? If the blog doesn’t get any traffic, you’re not doing yourself any favors.
- What is the other blogger getting in return? Is he getting traffic and revenue thanks to you?
What are your thoughts about guest blogging? How is it different than “writing for free?”