To Guest Post or Not Guest Post That is the Question – ask chef dennis

I’m writing this post today, because as many of you must have realized by now, there was no Guest Post Friday this week, how sad…….sigh

I knew it was bound to happen, but still I never really expected it to happen, the post never showed up and my email was answered after the fact with a multitude of excuses……what’s the saying?  Excuses are like A__holes, everyone has one!   Now don’t get me wrong, I do understand busy, I work 50-60  hours a week, teach online classes, and run my blog, which seems to take up every spare minute of my life.  That’s also one of the reason’s that I don’t do guest too often myself, I would love to do more, but there are only so many hours in the day.   So when I ask I completely understand when someone says they’re too busy or asks to postpone it for awhile, everyone’s got a life, and their life should take priority!   But when you volunteer to do a post, and then just forget about when it was due, that’s just not right.  Not in my book anyway.

I know I’m old fashioned, a bit of dinosaur, but when I say I’m going to do something, come hell or high water I’m going to do it.    I mean if we don’t have our word what do we have?   Okay I feel much better now, I needed to tell someone how I felt, to vent my frustration a bit, and now it’s time to move on….sigh

So let’s talk a bit about Guest Posting, but before I get into the ins and outs and etiquette of being a good guest or host, I would like to talk about something that I’m sure many of you have already experienced.

I do get a fair amount of requests to do guest posts on my blog, and I would say that 99% of them come from people I don’t know, they just appear out of the blogosphere!  Some of them are legitimate food bloggers, but bloggers that have had no interaction with me what so ever,  and again I know I’m a bit old fashioned, but to me that’s wrong in so many ways.

Think of it like dating, you might ask the popular girl out on a date, but more than likely she’s not even going to respond, so you hang around for awhile, open doors, buy her coffee, write her a poem, and then you try again…..okay it didn’t work every time, but I certainly got a fair amount of dates that way…lol   but seriously, you leave comments, connect on the different social media, and then when you ask, and your response will more than likely be, sure I’d love to have you guest post!  Because truthfully I love to have my friends share my blog with me, so that’s a hint, you don’t have to wait for me to ask, it’s also my way of seeing who actually reads down this far!

But the really bizarre requests I get come on my Contact submission form,  from so called “professional writers” who can provide references of places their articles have been published on.    Do you get these?  They go on and on about what an asset they would be to my blog, and of course they’ll tailor it to fit my blog specifically….. but here’s the best part, it will be of absolutely no cost to me….WOW!!   I feel I should drop to my knees and say “I am not worthy”………….really?

My first question when I do take the time to respond (depending upon my mood) if they are such professional writers why don’t they have their own blog, or website, or something?   Come on man, if you think I’m really that stupid to fall for your line, why would you want to be on my blog.

But here’s the real kicker, and something that everyone needs to be cautious of and why you should never accept text from strangers (remember when your mother told you that about candy?).  You never know what might be hidden in that text or photo, and if your website is deemed untrustworthy by Google for having hidden text or links, it can be removed from the google index.  Which might very likely be the reason they don’t have their own blog……so please beware of who you let post on your blog.    Your blog is an extension of you, it’s your voice and a part of your life that you’ve very worked hard on , don’t let anyone try to steal that from you!!!

They we have the companies or PR firms that write to you, offering you a chance to represent them, or let one of their staff write a post for you, with promises of promoting your blog on their site!   Wow, again, today is my lucky day!!

When ever I get these queries, I politely respond by saying that I don’t allow strangers to post on my blog, or post about products that I don’t use or believe in.  But, I would be more than happy to place an ad on my blog for them, at a very reasonable rate…..lol….that’s usually the last I hear from them!   Then there are the companies that almost insist that they would be a perfect fit for “A Culinary Journey with Chef Dennis ” (or fill in the blank).   At this point you can tell this was a mass mailing, and your blog name was just filled in.    Sometimes just for fun I respond and tell them that the charge to post on my blog is $2500,  again I never here from them again , and truthfully I don’t think I would let just anyone post on my blog for twice that amount.

While I really wouldn’t call this a guest post it really is very similar.   I had a website contact me about writing for them on a weekly basis, they were very impressed with my writing style and my images.  Of course there would be no pay to start, but the website had  a lot of potential and I agreed to become a contributing author.  I sent in my first post which the editor loved, then a week later I received an email outlining how I needed to change the article, what should be removed and what should be added…..which of course meant removing my personality from the post.  What they wanted was more of a textbook how to guide on recipes,and a chef to promote them,  not me at all, just the image.     I wrote back and told them that I couldn’t write that way, it simply wasn’t my style and that staying true to my voice was important to me and I wouldn’t compromise my principles just to see my name on a prestigious website.   Don’t ever undersell yourself for a fleeting moment of glory, it’s not worth it.

But let’s get back to where I started,  talking about guest posts and why they’re good for you or possibly not good for you.  What are the benefits to both the host and Guest?

1.  For the Host, the guest post should be relevant to your blog , it should have content that your readers will enjoy

2.   For the guest it should be material that they feel confident writing about, that is relevant to their blog and readers.

3.  The guest post should benefit both the host and the guest, by introducing both to potential new readers.

(Potential New Readers……In all honesty that’s the biggest benefit of guest posting, with the advantage usually going to the guest, after all increasing our readership is what we’re trying to do with every post.  Guest posting introduces you to your guests readers and vice versa, it’s a win win for both bloggers)

4.  Back Links- Search engines like Google rank pages in their results by a number of factors, one of the factors is backlinks. But not just backlinks from any random site, backlinks from related sites with reputations, unique content, and good quality.

(Guest posts will actually help  if you want your blog to rank higher in search results, and guest posting to related blogs can help immensely. Backlinking through guest posting is the type of activity that Google encourages among websites and works for both the guest and the host blogs, so again its a win win situation for both bloggers)

I have compiled a short list of Guest Posting Etiquette , it’s really just common sense, but it’s also something that some bloggers just aren’t aware of…so pass it along if you get the chance.

1. Don’t randomly ask someone you don’t know if you can guest post for them, build a relationships first.

2.  If you ask someone to do a guest post for you, be a responsible adult, post it on time and do it right, If you’re the host, you need to give this post the same consideration you would if it were your own post.

3.  If you do agree to do a guest post, don’t repost the entire post on your blog, it kind of defeats the purpose of doing a guest post.  (your recipe is your property and if you do want to add it back into your post, just make sure you let your host know, and wait at least 5 days before doing so, guest posting is beneficially to both parties and this keeps the experience positive)

4. If you agree to do a guest post, have it to your host at least two days ahead of time, to give them time to review it and ask any questions they may have.  

5.  If its not something you want to do, by all means be honest and just let the person asking know, it’s better to be honest that to just throw something together.

6.  If you do a guest post have it be worthy of your own blog, don’t send out anything you wouldn’t post on your own blog.

To sum it up – Be professional, do your best and be on time with your post.  If for any reason something comes up and you can’t get the post done on time, give your host enough notice so they can make other arrangements.  Life happens and everyone understands that, just don’t blow it off……you wouldn’t want that done to you.

And that my friends are my thoughts on Guest Posting.  I don’t pretend to be the authority on the subject, just sharing what I’ve learned.  It’s something that I wish I had more time to do myself, and it’s something that I really enjoy having on my blog.  To me sharing my blog with a friend is wonderful experience, I enjoy the community that it fosters and love introducing my friends to bloggers they may not have found on their own.   It’s all about community, one blogger helping another blogger, and I think you know why……..

Share Your Knowledge-Together We Are Stronger 

Comments

  1. Yeah, I love that you did this. I am sharing this with everyone. It is so nice to have some input out there we can refer to. Thanks my friend. Love it.

  2. I completely agree, Dennis. I’m a stickler for timeliness so it would make me crazy if someone “forgot” about something I had scheduled. And my blog is my home and I feel very proprietary about it. I would never allow strangers there any more than in my home. It’s my expression of myself and that’s most important to me.

    Sorry your guest poster fell through but at least you had the opportunity to outline some good guest post etiquette which is always useful. And hey, if you’re ever in need, ask a friendly and hungry couple, sometime. We’re very responsible. :)

  3. Terry McNeil says:

    Thank you for the valuable tips. I will be saving this for future reference.

  4. Great post, Chef! I get emails like that a lot and I just ignore them. Especially when they use my blog title to greet me instead of my name. SO not happening! As always, I appreciate your thoughts on this!

  5. Thank you Chef Dennis! As always, your advice is excellent, especially to a relatively new food blogger like me. I have been a guest poster and I’ve had guest posters on my blog, and I completely agree with you about the etiquette.

  6. My favorite is when someone writes to guest post (someone I do not know) and calls me by a completely random name regardless of my name being on my About page.

    I was just reading an article that actually takes the opposite side of this as a way to encourage stock writers to get traction or build a body of work as well as for bloggers to get attention for their blog (speaking toward the back link aspect I think). There are generic ‘pools’ of writers who are tasked to go out and write guest posts to gain attention for a brand. I’ve also had businesses suggest I include a link for them in exchange for a Follow Friday mention on Twitter, even suggesting specific posts they’d like me to add the link to.

    I’m pretty old school and steadfast; if something does not match my culinary point of view, I do not have it on my blog. I too do not have anyone guest post for me I do not know and actually only have guest posts done by personal international friends who may have a topic of interest to my readers usually around food traditions for a holiday abroard or something similar.

    I think it’s great to offer one’s readership new resources as you have so generously done Dennis with the guest posts, but I also think we are all building a brand and need to be thoughtful who you let in the door so to speak. Great points you’ve made!

  7. Thanks so much for such an informative post! I never knew the part about backlinks & Google. And I totally agree about the punctuality and actually doing what you say you’re going to do. If there’s a chance you can’t do it… don’t commit!!

  8. I love your guideline on guest posting. It’s so annoying getting emails from spammers who brag about themselves and usually just end up wasting your time. I’m sorry about your guest poster forgetting to guest post, not cool! But it paved the way for an important topic to be discussed. Glad you got to vent and thank you for sharing your expertise on guest blogging. Hope you had a lovely weekend! =]

  9. i love your blog advice. you have a really sincere, earnest style that i’m hoping to have too. sometimes i get offers for link exchanges or whatever, and i’m always a little bit tempted because i’d so love to increase my readership. but it’s never worth it, they’re almost always shady, and your professional way of doing things will, i think, pay off so much better in the end. at any rate i hope so :)

  10. Thanks for putting together a compendium on guest posting, Chef Dennis. For all the guest posts I’ve done, I have made a huge point of getting it done sooner than asked just because that’s common courtesy. I am so disappointed on your behalf that someone flaked out on you. And I don’t agree that you’re a dinosaur, it’s just good manners to know someone before you ask to do a post. Anyway, this is just something that’s been on my mind, so thanks for bringing it up.

  11. This is a wonderful piece of advice.. Though I haven’t done any guest posts yet neither have I hosted any but I still agree with every word you said.

  12. Chef Dennis….I can understand how you feel when you have this Guest Post on every Friday and this someone just either forgotten or just dont bother to send over to you. It is really bad etiquette ! Thanks for this great post , reminding us to be a more responsible person. And I don’t agree you are a dinosaur…you are one beautiful person….sincere and generous ! Don’t worry , if I am asked again to do a guest post for you…I will make sure I hand in to you early :)) You know we all love your every posts…whether there is a recipe or not….love reading your style of writing and your sense of humor and not to forget ,love your mouth-watering food photos ! Well done Chef ! Have a wonderful day and keep your post coming. You know we all love them!

    Regards,
    Elin

  13. I just ignore all of those “I’ll write on a topic specific to your readers” emails. I kind of feel bad or sort of view them like telemarketers. It must stink to have to do that! I always love coming here my friend. Great post. Ps…sorry that someone cancelled last minute. That stinks.

  14. Chef, I had never have the experience of having guest writers or being a guest writer for any blogs. But I would be as upset as you are. A commitment is a commitment that should be granted. I am looking forward to read your post they help me a lot since I am a very new blogger. Keep the excellent job you do. Thank you!

  15. Spot on. And timely for me, my guest poster for Friday completely no showed (after having rescheduled from 2 weeks before) and I had counted on it in my own planning, as I’m sure you had, that’s the REALLY aggravating part. That said, stuff goes come up but its the zero communication that is so unprofessional. Ah well. I appreciated the input about what to put on your own site, I wasn’t clear about that… Thanks for the space to vent and the info. Have a great day ;)

    • Chef D says:

      you’re absolutely right Heidi, it’s the lack of communication that really makes it worse. When I wrote and asked, I got the oh, was it today?
      That’s the part that really makes you mad

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Dennis

  16. This is a great post. Guest posting is something I do not do very often, but I do understand that there can be risks outside bloggers that you are familiar with. Like anything it has its good with the bad, sorry you had to experience the particularly bad incident of a blogger absent mindedness.
    Bloggers love exposure and I am glad that you provided this cautionary information, so we are no so blinded by exposure. Now we have a few facts now pushing us to think more level headed when letting someone guest post. Thanks Chef.

  17. Great post! I like that you added that the host needs to be responsible as well. I did a guest post for a fellow blogger I’m in a monthly hop with a couple of months back after receiving a request, agreeing, and agreeing on a theme/topic. I submitted the post and then never heard from the host! I emailed several times. After about a month I heard, “it’s up today – YAY!” meaning I had no time to arrange my own schedule of posts. Needless to say, instead of enriching our relationship that blogger lost an ally.

    My other pet peeve is companies that contact me and use the wrong name. I almost always get “Jennifer.” It happened so often I actually went through my blog to make sure I hadn’t mistakenly used my own name wrong! LOL yeah – it can make you think you’re nuts.

  18. Excellent advice. Like so many others, when I started my blog I didn’t have a clue. Your posts on the do’s and don’ts of blogging have been a tremendous help as I’ve progressed. Thanks for your thoughtful guidance posts!

  19. Well said, Dennis … as usual!

  20. I’m so sorry that you were left hanging, Chef. I can feel your frustration and of all the people who have been willing to open their space and share it with others, you’re tops. You didn’t deserve to have that happen.

  21. I had just the something similar happen to me, only as a blogger. I agreed to do a few recipes posts for free. I bought the ingredients, I made and wrote the recipe, took the phoots and sent it in, only to be told they decided not to use it. I told them that I had other pictures, was it the picture that they didn’t like? I really didn’t get a straight answer. I don’t make any money off my blog. Nobody clicks on those ads (much) for fear of getting a virus. There is an expense to blogging with all the food you have to purchase and the time spent, etc.

    I don’t do guests posts on my blog so I would be mad too if I was expecting someone to come through and they didn’t. If I ever agree to do something and I can’t make the deadline, I always give ample notice (unless there is — of course — an unforseen emergency– and I mean a real one like you end up in the ER or something).

    Great post. I am sorry that someone was rude to you in this way.

  22. I enjoy the guest posts, and feel sorry you didn’t have one this past Friday, but I am also glad for this post, there so much to learn here. I love reading you :)

  23. Charlie says:

    Dennis:

    This couldn’t have come at a better time!

    I love your advice and wisdom :~D

    Have a Joyful Day!

    Charlie

  24. Chef, I appreciate your post and the comments that have been left by others. Thank you for turning an unfortunate experience into a teaching/learning experience.

  25. Excellent post. I haven’t had or done any guest posting because I think it’s a big responsibility to have content on someone else’s site and vice versa. If I had a lot more free time, I think I would consider doing it! Thanks for your advice!

  26. I’ve had people guest post on my blog before and found that most do come through on time with quality posts, but there were a couple of people who just didn’t seem to get that I was counting on them. One person actually posted the exact same content on their blog as well, which I found very upsetting. I learned from that to be very selective about who I pick to write on my blog.

  27. Something good came out of this situation at least. It’s so helpful to see your etiquette posted here, Dennis. I’ve often wondered about this practice of posting the recipe on each site at the same time. Really appreciated your expertise here, as ever.

  28. This was a great and eye opening post! I definitely don’t look close enough at people who ask me to post for them and vice versa…things will be changing on that end from here on out. And it really pisses me off when people post the EXACT same post on their blog. I have started a new policy that if they do that I am taking down their post. I feel so harsh but it’s just not worth the space and it’s not doing anything for me. I am really sorry that someone left you hanging :( That is just wrong. This is a very professional environment. It’s fun, but it’s still professional and people need to represent themselves that way. It would burn serious bridges with me if someone went back on their word like that. I hope that doesn’t happen to you again!

  29. That’s too bad, Chef Dennis. I’m always shocked when adults can’t handle simple deadlines. I’m so glad you wrote out some guidelines. Sometimes someone just needs to state the obvious.

  30. wendyb964 says:

    Touche, Chef Dennis! If we aren’t as good as our word, who are we? Love your blog and posts for their relevance, socially and ethically as well as cuisine-wise. This as well as the article on copying posts, pics, and the sort hits home. A tad bit older than you (lol, or lots) I was in at the groundfloor of computers when they took up rooms and used punchcards. My hubby was a PhD engineer from CalTech who went to law schooll. His major interest was in the emerging field of computer law. Very interesting in the early 80′s and its evolution. I still follow on the sidelines as a retired physician. What messages are we living and sharing with our and future generations? Disposability, planned obsolence, how to get by with no moral compass? I am no saint but try to live by my beliefs. Thanks for listening and keeping it real.

  31. Carries Experimental Kitchen says:

    This was such a great post Dennis and very informative. I’ve only done a handful of guest posts myself and vice versa on my site and thankfully I’ve received the information on time. It all really just comes down to common courtesy.

  32. I had friends who did not show up twice (!) for dinner parties I hosted (they were the only guests, too!) I stopped inviting them after that, realizing that they had bad manners and my efforts and hospitality were wasted on them.
    It is the same with guest-posting. I would never accept to write a blog post for someone and then not deliver in plenty of time – that’s just rude and inconsiderate.
    You would think it is a no-brainer, but I am still grateful to you for posting the guidelines:) Just in case!

  33. I like the etiquette list … although some may be obvious to the more experienced blogger, most of the list I will have to file away for future reference. Thanks!

  34. This post is very important or all the bloggers, food and non-food. As always, your advice is priceless, Chef. Any advice on “trolls”? :) I get so many of these lately.. Anyways, thank you so much for the tips!

  35. Hi, Chef Dennis! Your “advice columns” are always so interesting and full of “good to know” stuff. I’ve hosted one guest post and written one guest post — both were fun experiences! I agree with you — timeliness and communication are key. Loved your “dating” philosophy :) and also your Shakespearian-sounding post title!

  36. this was a great post. I’m sorry your guest post fell through, but sometimes things happen for a reason and maybe it was good to put a post out like this. A quick question: what do you mean by hidden texts and images? Thank you for the great info!

    • Chef D says:

      hi Alyssa

      people can embed code into articles and into images so you really can’t see them, and unless you’re really familiar with writing code, even if you looked at you might now notice anything, There are other ways to sneak key words into posts, like using white type on a white background, and I’m sure more than I can even imagine. That’s why you really have to be careful when someone you don’t know tries to weasel there way into your blog.

      Dennis

  37. Nice article Dennis and I read it all. As a dinosaur myself, my favorite line is – ” I mean if we don’t have our word what do we have?” I remember a time when people did what they said they would without lawyers and contracts. I’ve done one guest post and never had one on my blog, but i need to reconsider that. I appreciate your how-it should-be thoughts. If I ever have something worthy of your blog I’ll give you a shout.

  38. I’ve received those emails, too, about being a freelance writer and they can write for me for free. I usually ignore them or politely say no. I didn’t think about viruses embedded in code. Honestly, I haven’t done many guest posts and I have had only close friends write me posts on my blog. When I would have a vacation, I’d just double time it and schedule posts before I left. Back when I started 4 years ago, guest blogging was a foreign concept. I didn’t get it when strangers asked me if they could guest post on my site, never the other way around. I’m such a stickler for quality, and maybe a control freak! And you definitely need to find a match to your blog and your blogging style. And if you ever need a host in a pinch, I’m reliable and resourceful. I am a mom to 3 scouts & wife of a scout leader! LOL! : )

    • Chef D says:

      I would love to have you do a guest post if your offering! If you would like to do one, just shoot me an email and we can go over the specifics!

  39. Great post Chef D!!

    Jackie

  40. I completely agree with #3. And flakiness is a huge no-no. If only more bloggers would read this!

  41. As usual you have great info. here. I’m bedazzling a crown for you that is all glimmery and deems you Best Ever and Always. Now…how about you dg up some of those old poems you wrote that got you some dates. Inquiring minds wanna hear that!

  42. Thank you Chef, great stuff as always! anne

  43. JC Marc says:

    I’m pretty sure people don’t go back and read these messages, and I am sorry for my lack of timeliness, but I just wanted to say that if there is a recipe on your Guest Post that I like and want to try, I will go to their site and check it out. I subscribe to many foodie blogs that I have found on your site, Chef Dennis. I don’t have a foodie blog, but I entertain A LOT, and I have been inspired by so many of your recipes and the recipes of your Guests. (Of course I do give the credit to the owner of the recipe when I do entertain on a large scale.) I am grateful that you are selective with your Guest Posting and I have never had a hesitation about checking out a foodie site that I have seen on your site. — Thank you, Chef Dennis!

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