Pest Blogging vs Guest Blogging: A Word of WarningPosted: September 22, 2012
Beware of who you email when it comes to guest blogging
For sometime now I have been trying to guest blog as a means of not only gaining links but increasing brand awareness with relevant audiences. However, I have recently been a victim of bad practices at the hands of a “summer intern” and been faced with the very same types of links that I have been in the process of removing for clients that have suffered from the Google Penguin update.
Although the problem has now been resolved (I have managed to get all of the links removed) I have learnt a valuable lesson about guest blogging. See below for my thoughts:
My Blog Guest has some incompetent and lazy users – I don’t want to condem myblogguest.com as it can be a great resource for finding sites to engage with, however my experience has been far from exciting. It seems that I have put a lot in but got very little back, mainly due to the fact that a lot of users don’t regularly come to site and check their messages. Maybe I have just not been using it in the site in the right way, I don’t know. I’ve spoken to Ann Smarty a few times and think she has done an amazing job with the site (I don’t mean that to sound patronising), that said I just don’t think the site is for me.
Guest blogging is time consuming – It takes so much time to source guest blogging opportunities, contact site owners, negotiate the process and then write the content, all of which happens over the course of weeks and at intermittent and unpredictable intervals. As a result, even if it takes 4 hours to guest blog a month, the unstructured nature of it makes it seem like so much longer, which makes it extremely difficult to not only manage but sustain. It’s not like you can set aside 20 minutes a day for guest blogging, you have to respond to emails when and if they occur; sacrificing other activity in order to respond to a site owner or write a piece of copy before a deadline. Is it really worth it?
Guest blogging has a less than a 10% success rate – In response to: “Is it really worth it?”, well the success rate is so low that the answer is probably “NO”. Guest blogging is like communism, in theory it is a great idea but in practice it doesn’t have anywhere the near the expected result. Don’t get me wrong achieving the odd guest blog here and there is a good idea but it can’t be an approach that you can depend on, or an approach that will massively affect your online campaign.
If something is free, chances are it’s not worth very much - I’m not suggest that you go out and throw money at link building, I’m just saying guest blogging is inherently flawed. To paraphrase Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, “my content is insufficient for a website worthy of gaining a link from”. By this I mean that if a site is a leading authority then they are going to have their own writers, not to mention their own voice and editorial guidelines. All of this means that whatever I am capable of writing will never be of much interest to the best sites in the industry, even though I’m a pretty good writer (above average anyway). Therefore, through guest blogging I will only be able to gain links from the 3/10 sites rather than the 10/10 sites. A top site is going to be much more responsive to paid advertising (non-SEO banner space) or even giving them free stock to review or give away as a prize to their readers.
Guest blogging is just outsourcing - Since Penguin I have kept everything in-house and would no longer be comfortable outsourcing any part of the process, whether that be the writing of content or cheap link submission from diligent Indians. Yet when guest blogging you are essentially outsourcing, you are trusting a site owner with your content and your link and hoping they do what they say they will. A lot of the time they will do as expected but as I have recently experienced this is not always the case. Even when you are happy with the site and the integrity of the site owner you will still have to negotiate on the topic and often have to adhere to someone else’s editorial guidelines. You are therefore changing your own writing style and may even be submitting something you are not 100% happy with. There’s no control as you are essentially trying to get something for nothing, so are at the mercy of the bloggers you are approaching.
Conclusion: I’m not saying I have abandoned guest blogging, I’m just saying that it’s not worth the hassle (in my experience). Offering something to a blogger other than a free piece of copy seems to go a long way, whether that be offering samples of the products you are trying to promote or even paying for a sponsored blog post.