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……..