Guest blogging, akin to pretty much everything else in the social media sphere, is a double edged sword. In his post How to Find and Keep Great Writers for Your Blog from this week’s #cmgrclass reading, Jacob Klein cites the employment of guest bloggers as crucial in order for those who run blogs to consistently provide quality content in diverse voices on a regular basis. While there is ample evidence to support the benefits of mixing things up with a guest blogger here and there, as the practice of guest blogging has grown myriad issues have emerged to challenge the purity of this practice. Diverting from Klein’s optimistic outlook on guest blogging, there are numerous sources across the web that call for caution in engaging with this outsourcing blogging practice, for quite a few reasons.
Mutually beneficial new content
For blog managers and editors, the pressure to create new and diverse content can get a bit demanding and overwhelming at times. Inviting in a guest post adds variety, a new point of view, and provides the editor with a small but helpful hiatus. In its best form, the practice of guest blogging is an exchange of value-for-value where both parties benefit mutually.
As stated by Klein, the “content for links strategy works so well because both parties are receiving something truly valuable.” The guest poster receives exposure and a link to his domain from a trusted source, the new content can generate site traffic and, as is the theme of this pro-item, “precious, precious links.”
Commercialization of guest post pitches
Sujan Patel from Single Grain Digital Marketing laments that the well-intended procedure of guest posting has been hijacked by “enterprising marketers” who “see guest posting as a technique that can be automated… to promote their own websites for to get guest posts published as a service to others.”
No, you’re not having déjà vu. This fun tidbit is so special it made it onto both the pro and con lists. While more backlinks will result in better SEO results, it will also post a billboard-sized invitation for spammers across the web to pay a visit or 500 to your blog. To be curt, Mo’ Backlinks, Mo’ Problems. Not to mention, spattering your guest blogger’s post with backlinks to your own blog, or vice-versa, can come off as inauthentic and self serving, and no one likes that.
Content. Content, content, content
In a world where content always has been, and always will be, king, the concern over questionable content received from guest bloggers poses a viable threat to the practice. This overarching issue breaks down into three sub-issues; poorly written posts, stolen or re-purposed content, or a voice that is not consistent with the blog or one that completely misses the mark on the purpose of the blog.
Blogger Jeff McIntire, in a guest post on guest posts called Why I Took Down my Guest Posting Page (take that for meta), laments over these issues and how it’s changed the way he approaches guest blogging.
“When I put [my guest posting] page up, I assumed it would attract professional pitches and posts from knowledgeable content creators. I knew that many of these pitches would come from marketers, but thought certain they’d want to build a long-term relationship with an established site, and send me well-written, thoughtful content that I’d be thrilled to share with my readers. In a few cases, I’ve received those high-quality pitches and posts; in many, many others, I’ve been proven woefully wrong in my assumptions. More often than not, I’ve gotten untargeted, spammy pitches.”
And for your viewing pleasure, blogger Ann Smarty has compiled a handy video on guest blogging pitches gone wrong. This video is incredibly groan-worthy and showcases link-hungry guest post spammers. Read her full post on The Guest Blogging Fails: Again here.