Flea Enterprises

Writing Free Guest Posts

March 14th, 2012

tots100 mummy blogs

Variety is the spice of life, or so they say, and there is plenty of variety in the Tots100.

Each week, we invite a different blogger to guest edit the Tots100, and select their 10 favourite blog posts for our Friday Ten at Ten round-up. We’ll also be asking our guest editors to submit a guest post and tell us what’s on their mind. We know you’re an opinionated, lively bunch so we can’t wait to see what our guest editors come up with!

This week, our guest editor is Tasha Goddard who has been blogging at WAHM-BAM! for three and a half years.  Random Tasha fact:  she was home-educated for a few years and part of her education included hitch-hiking to Antwerp with her mum for an Esperanto conference!

Tasha will be back on Friday with a Ten at Ten, but in the meantime she asks – do you mind writing blog posts for other bloggers?

Tasha writes:

Is it still okay to ask other bloggers to write guest posts for free?

There’s a lot of talk at the moment about how much bloggers’ time is worth and complaints about outrageous requests from brands and random people we’ve never heard of flooding into our inboxes to write for free.

But what about writing guest posts for other bloggers? Who would you be happy to write a guest post for? Just the big bloggers, only your friends, or would you consider writing guest posts for smaller and newer blogs, to help them get started? After all, most guest posts involve spending a chunk of time writing, some research, finding images, linking to various pages and posts and usually you’ll feel obliged (or be asked) to publicise the post on social networks.

Is it okay to ask a blogger to guest post for you? Or put out a general call for guest posts, to fill some down time, or run a feature or event? I run a sporadic (very – it’s been over six months since the last one) Book Week, which relies on guest posts from bloggers, authors, poets and publishers. But, at the moment, I wonder if it would be presumptuous to ask anyone to do such a lot of work just for my blog.

Personally, I like writing guest posts for bloggers I know and whose blogs I read. I find it can bring new readers in, helps build community and is usually fun. In fact, I often find it easier to write a guest post, with a set deadline and topic, than actually writing any of the hundreds of posts rattling around in my head.

What about you? Do you write guest posts? Would you be offended or flattered if a fellow blogger came to you asking if you’d write something for their blog?


About 

Sally Whittle is founder of the Tots100, Foodies100, BlogSummit and the MAD Blog Awards. When she’s not working, she can be found blogging at Who’s the Mummy, or having fun with her 8 year old daughter, Flea.

39 Comments

  1. Posted 14 March 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I have to say, personally, I don’t write many guest posts because I’m short on time, but I’m always happy to do a blogger a favour, if I can, and I know from experience I’ve had that favour returned many times over with help on various blogging activities.

    So for me the answer is no, I’d never charge another blogger, and I choose who I guest post for simply based on who asks me, and if I have time!

    • Posted 14 March 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      But, people you’ve never heard of? I’ve started getting emails that I’m finding hard to distinguish from the link-chasing ones. Sometimes it might seem like a genuine new blog, but if you look closer it’s a link farm.

      But, actually, there are people I don’t recognise who I’d say yes to – as long as I saw they were in the community somewhere, I suppose.

  2. Posted 14 March 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    I quite agree with Sally, I am always short of time but will do what I can to help out as a favour. I’d hope that someone would help me if and when I needed it. x

    • Posted 14 March 2012 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      Time is an issue, yes. As with most things in my life, I tend leave guest posts to the last minute, but I’m glad I do squeeze them in now and then.

  3. Posted 14 March 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Unless the blogger whose featuring the guest post gains money directly from the post I don’t see why you would even consider charging someone for a guest post.

    We’re all here for the same reasons: to write about what we want, find new readers and engage people in our posts. Surely by writing a guest post (aslong as it’s on a mutually interesting topic) you’re doing all 3 at once?

    • Posted 14 March 2012 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      I think so, yes. Though, to what extent would you draw the line in their gaining money from the post? Obviously, many blogs run advertising, but what if they had a sponsor for a specific feature, would you expect to get something for that?

  4. Posted 14 March 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Agree with the above. I felt honoured to be approached to write a guest post recently, and wouldn’t have dreamed of charging for it! It’s one of those “pay it forward” things – we’re all here to support each other.

    If it was a company, or the blogger was going to gain money from it then that’s a different thing, but for another blogger’s personal blog, no way!

    • Posted 14 March 2012 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      It is lovely to be asked, yes. As I said to Bryony, though, at what point does their gaining money from it stop you? If someone was running a feature for a company they have a relationship and asking for guest posts as part of that? Would you expect payment? Would you pay if it were you?

  5. I heart motherhood
    Posted 14 March 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I’ve just written my first guest post and I loved doing it as it made me actually feel free-er than I have done lately on my own blog. I kind of let go & I really love what flowed out! I’d only do it if I had the time and if I had good rapport with the blogger I was guesting for. :0)

    • Posted 14 March 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Guest posts can be perfect for that, can’t they? Like having a secret space where nobody you know will read it…

    • Posted 14 March 2012 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      They are great for that, yes. And writing about topics you might not normally cover on your own blog – or writing in a different voice or something like that.

  6. Posted 14 March 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I think it can be a difficult decision to make if the request is from one of the larger, more commercial blogs, which may not make money directly from the post itself, but rely on regular good quality content from multiple sources, in order to maintain a vast readership and make a very good income from advertising (I’m thinking more of US blogs here). Some of these blogs are effectively online magazines, and while it is tempting for the publicity gained to write a guest post for free, I’m not sure if you should do so in principle. However there is always someone else who will, and therein lies the problem!

    • Posted 14 March 2012 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I think there’s a probably a line somewhere, though I think it can feel very flattering to be asked by someone big and we might fall for it a little. But the ‘normal’ blogs is another matter.

  7. Posted 14 March 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I was hugely flattered to be asked to guest post as I’d only just started my blog at the time so the host only had a few articles and my pitch to go on.

    I haven’t been deluged with traffic to my own blog as a result but I have continued to receive a steady drip of feeds ever since.

    What I did get was a huge boost to my confidence as a writer and blogger which no doubt helped me to write better things for Mayfair Mum and build it to where it is today with almost 1000 followers.

    I would definitely recommend it.

    • Posted 14 March 2012 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      I agree it can be a real confidence boost for newer bloggers – or established ones who just need to get their mojo back or similar. And it’s nice to have a dribble of visitors from another source, too.

  8. Posted 14 March 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    One point to consider, if we’re being brutally honest, is what you gain for the investment (time, creativity) you put in.

    Writing one post for a friend where you gain a new link to your site, and potentially some new readers – great.

    Writing multiple posts for a site that sells ads or is otherwise commercial, and getting no link back to my site, or a ‘nofollow’ link (one that’s not indexed by search engines) seems a less attractive proposition. So I guess if I’m honest, I’m not guest posting ENTIRELY out of the goodness of my own heart…

    • Posted 14 March 2012 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      The latter definitely seems less attractive, yes. I think, unless your bestest blogging friend, you’re always going to ask what’s in it for you to an extent. And for some people being asked and getting the opportunity to write elsewhere is enough, but for others they will want some links or tweets or something out of the deal. Or a reciprocal arrangement.

  9. Posted 14 March 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    I have been writing a few guest posts recently – and yes, I work for a company – an outdoor toy/play company to be specific, but we don’t make money directly from blogging so it is nice we are not charged on most occasions.
    I do it because a lot of the time someone wants a post on something I have knowledge of (because of the industry I work in) so I am happy to lend a hand and write about something their readers may want to know about. I would equally love to invite people to guest on my blog and see it as sharing knowledge and offering your readers something extra. It shouldn’t turn into a crazy commercial thing.

    • Posted 14 March 2012 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      I love the idea of sharing knowledge, actually, but I do think sometimes companies and brands can wrap something else up as doing so. I’ve actively sought out publishers and authors to write for my Book Weeks, for example, and certainly wouldn’t ask them to pay to do so.

  10. Posted 14 March 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    I’ve only written a couple of guest posts – I recently took part in a blog swap carnival and I also swapped guest posts with my sister. I really enjoyed doing it, and would definitely swap guest posts with another blogger again if anyone asked. I do prefer to have a topic to write about though rather than come up with something by myself.

    I would be really flattered if someone asked me to guest post for them, and I wouldn’t charge (assuming of course that it was a fellow blogger and not for any commercial gain).

    • Posted 14 March 2012 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      I’ve never taken part in a blog swap, but I think they’re a nice idea, and I quite enjoy reading an occasional guest post on some of the blogs I regularly read – it’s a good way to find new blogs.

    • Posted 14 March 2012 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

      That blog swap R-O-C-K-E-D, if I do say so myself.

      I love the idea of guest posting but I always ask what do I get out of it for the effort I put in? A backlink, some publicity and new readers, making a friend or two in the blogosphere? In the early days, I guest posted for a couple of commercial blogs and got a backlink each time, which helps. I have also approached bigger bloggers and offered to guest post for them, which has brought me a few more readers. On my ‘other’ blog, I actively look for guest bloggers but give them creative freedom, a backlink and a bio. That’s the least you can do as a host, I feel.

      Any time you wanted to guest post for me Jennifer, you would be most welcome!

  11. Posted 14 March 2012 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    In my writer community guest posts are a free and available option to promote new releases, projects or raise profile. Authors arrange blog tours where they provide a blog post for 5, 10, however many different blogs for the days they want to tour, often the post will include a giveaway. Host and guest poster will both promote the blog through their networks.

    It is seen as a mutually beneficial arrangement and the host getting content and new readers, the poster getting exposure.
    If a commercial company approaches me with a guest post, which is actually an advert then I’ve a rate card, if the content fits and they are happy to pay all to the good.

    I’ve blogs that I don’t accept guest posts on because I want to protect the identity and content of them and there are ones that I actively seek guest posts for as they are of a collective tone.

    As with pretty much every other aspect of blogging it comes down to what is right for you. Just because someone asks you to host or write a guest post it doesn’t mean you are obliged to do so.

    • Posted 14 March 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      I like the idea of the guest posts in your writer community. I’m taking part in a blog tour for a new picture book at the moment, and have done before, and I think it’s quite fun to follow an author around the world.

  12. Posted 14 March 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    I like to see myself as an altruistic blogger, though obv when you write a guest post the idea is that you will attract readers to your own blog.
    Having said that I’m a believer in what goes around comes around, you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours etc. I also love writing, so I don’t actually mind writing guest posts, as it is something I enjoy and a new challenge. I really love people writing guest posts for my blog too, a change is as good as a rest (I’m full of platitudes today sorry!). Anyway, that’s my tuppenthworth.

    • Posted 14 March 2012 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      I think it does work really well if it’s a case of what goes around comes around, yes – not specifically with individual bloggers, but generally.

  13. Posted 15 March 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    If I can find time I love to write guest posts, mainly for reasons above, it often gives me opportunity to write about different topics to my blog which is very specific.

    I actually have almost the reverse problem which is a lot of offers to write pieces for my blog. It is always difficult to say thanks but no thanks without offending, again because of specific nature of my blog it is difficult to post guest blogs.

    That said I have done it, but i also rarely accept sponsored blogs or advertising for same reasons.

    • Posted 15 March 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      It must be a lot easier for those of us with very general blogs to take guest posts. Do you get offers from individual bloggers to write guest posts, then, or is it the brands asking?

  14. Posted 15 March 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    This is very timely for me as I have spent this week writing free guest posts. I don’t normally do them, but this time it’s to promote my book about toddlers. I am conscious that I am selling a book and raising money for charity and not everybody will want to carry a guest post on that basis, so I haven’t approached anyone and asked them to do this, I’ve just done a general shout out and people who wanted a guest post have responded, for which I’m very grateful. A blogger sharing their space with you is a thing to be respected and appreciated.

    I have never carried a guest post on my blog, but I definitely would if the subject matter fitted. Sometimes it’s nice to introduce a new voice.

    What I absolutely hate is big brands and commercial companies asking bloggers to write for free. It devalues what you do, drives down rates and squeezes out jobs for all writers.

    • Posted 15 March 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      I’ve been thinking about guest posts to promote books, recently, and writing book reviews. It’s something many of us do without question and without asking for any payment (a copy of the book if often enough), especially those of us who really love books and reading. I’m wondering if there are other fields where bloggers are this willing to promote someone else’s product or company for free. Because the publishers (the big ones, anyway) are big brands and commercial companies, but we’re happy to write about them and their products.

      I’m certainly not suggesting we shouldn’t, because I think it’s actually incredibly valuable to have lots of people sharing their experiences of books – anything that promotes reading is a good thing. Just wondering if this is the only field where this occurs.

      Good luck with your book. You’re welcome to write a guest post for me, if you need any more spots. :)

      • Posted 15 March 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        Thank you Tasha, I will email you about that.

        I think you are right in that promoting books encourages reading and is therefore worth doing.

        I guess with books it all fits pretty well. Most authors are on a next to nothing (or in my case nothing) marketing budget so you have to be creative with what you’ve got. Every guest post I’ve done has been a different extract from the book and I’ve looked at every blog in advance to try and make the guest post match up with the existing content in some way so it was offering genuine value and not just advertorial. I’ve also linked to these posts, tweeted them and done whatever I can to make the host blogger feel like there is some benefit. As long as both guest poster and blogger are both happy and both feel they’re benefitting then I think it works well.

        • Posted 15 March 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

          It sounds like you’re offering quite a lot up and I think you’re right that as long as both guest poster and host are happy, it’s fine.

  15. Elaine Livingstone
    Posted 22 March 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I have done a few guest posts, and was happy and honored that somebody liked what I had to say enough to ask me. I would not consider asking for payment, but did ask that somewhere there was a link back to my blog.
    Again it allowed me to discuss topics I have not touched on my own blog and widened my scope

    • Posted 22 March 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      I think getting to write about things you wouldn’t normally talk about on your blog is really useful. And opening up to new readers is good, too. I don’t think anyone would expect another blogger to write a guest post without a link to their blog. (Surely?)

  16. Posted 22 March 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I’m just starting to get involved with guest posting on other blogs and I’d be thrilled if someone asked me to write a guest post for their site – as long as they were a genuine parent blogger and not just a link farm of course. But I would expect a link back to my own site. I think it’s a great way of reaching a different group of readers and possibly writing about some new topics that you don’t normally write about.

    I have actually started offering a regular guest post slot on my site because my toddler is sleeping less during the day now and I’ve had less time to write. I started off with free guest posts but quickly found that a lot of companies are willing to pay me to appear on my site, and the content they are sending me is really good, it’s not advertorial content it’s actual useful stuff that I would read, it just contains a link somewhere to whatever website they are trying to promote. I’ve also found it’s motivating me to write more because I hate blogs that have more commercial content than ‘real’ content. But I do have a nagging feeling that maybe I am selling out. I’m not sure yet.

    • Posted 22 March 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      I think it can be fun to write guest posts for others, and it certainly makes you feel good when someone asks you to write a specific one because they know you’re knowledgeable about a topic or because they like your style.

      The paid posts from brands is a whole other kettle of fish! As long as you know what you’re doing and being transparent about it, then you have to go with what you want to do. Some people don’t like it, others don’t mind and lots and lots of others do it! (Watch out for ‘no follow’ issue, though – I’m sure there’s a blog post about it on here somewhere, but I can’t find it.)

  17. Posted 22 March 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just written guest post – not out yet – for LargerFamily because her site is for families that are HUGE (she has 11 children) and I am a single mum of two. I thought it would be interesting if we swapped and it has been. It was entirely altruistic and yes, fun. I like to read guest blogs on others’ blogs – it adds a new dimension, but to the original question – I think it’s all about relationships – and they are fundamentally more important than money. It’s such a personal decision, but I’m all for solidarity.

    • Posted 3 April 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      Sounds like a great swap. I think you’re right, that it is all about the relationships. Charging money is for the big brands!

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