Guest posts can be a wonderful thing. That is, when both parties understand what’s involved. So, when should you say “yes” or “no”?
What is Guest Posting?
If you run a blog or any type of online outlet, you’ll inevitably get offers from individuals to write posts and articles for you. These messages come from writers that you and your company often have no affiliation with. Most of the time, they won’t even ask for any payment in return. This is guest posting.
Having someone else undertake some of the writing for your website for free sounds like a dream come true. But what’s the catch? Is this content really free, or is there something I need to do in return? How do I know accepting guest posts is right for you?
We’ll tackle these questions below. But to start:
Should you accept their oh-so tempting offer of free content?
Sometimes. And maybe.
The Truth About ‘Free’ Content
We’ve all heard the saying “nothing in life is free.” While this phrase may be a little pessimistic in nature, there is some merit to it.
Guest posters aren’t writers who love to give away their content for nothing. This is business, after all. While they may not ask for money in return for their services, be prepared to give them a backlink. This is when you provide a link to the writer’s website off your own page. Think of it as a cross between a referral and a “shoutout.”
Are these content offers truly free? In a monetary sense, yes. But linkbacks are strings attached you need to be aware of. Quid pro quo, after all.
The Purpose of Backlinks
Don’t get us wrong. There isn’t really anything shady about guest posting or asking for backlinks. That is, if both parties understand the situation.
Guest posters ask for links to their own sites to boost their visibility and SEO authority. Your company may have a relatively high authority site. If you link to them, this says to Google that the content you’re linking to is worthwhile.
Think of it this way:
If you’re at a bar and a friend tells you to go speak to someone you don’t know across the room, you might do that. It’s your friend, and they’ve got some credibility. Why not? That’s the power of one backlink.
Same situation, but this time 50 people you know tell you to go speak to the person. If that many of your friends tell you to do it, you’re going to do so pretty quickly. This is what compiling a whole bunch of backlinks can do for a writer.
Last one, but now let’s say Lebron James comes up to you at a bar and tells you to go speak to the person across the room. You better believe if Lebron is telling you to talk to someone, they’re gonna have something interesting to say. That’s the power of a high authority backlink. And that’s why they’re hoping you’ll accept their guest post.
By featuring a link to the author’s website on your own site, you are recommending that your readers check them out. Keep that in mind, and make sure that’s something you’re comfortable with.
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Do Your Research Before Answering
Before knowing whether to accept their offer of a guest post, you’ll have to do a bit of research. What do you need to know about the author before allowing their work and link onto your website? Will you be OK tacitly recommending this person to your audiences?
Check out their website. Read the content they’ve pitched to you, looking at the voice and quality of writing. Is it overly salesy? Do they appear to know what they’re writing about? Do your homework.
When to Say ‘Yes’ to a Guest Post
Say “yes” when a reputable place or person contacts you. When it’s someone you trust that produces good, quality content.
Make sure the voice fits, and only agree if what they give you is the same quality, or better, than what you currently produce.
That being said, don’t take the easy way out and rely on guest posting for all of your content. You are the subject matter expert when it comes to your company and your industry. So, don’t forget to create content of your own. Indulge in guest posting moderately, and guilt-free.
When to Say ‘No’
Saying “no” (or not replying) is OK, too. You don’t want to put out lower-quality content than what you could produce. It may be free, and it may be convenient. However, you may be putting out content that doesn’t showcase “you.” If it’s obvious link-junk, it’s not quality content.
This is your blog, your website, and your content. You make the decisions. If the voicing doesn’t fit, or the content doesn’t meet your standards, turn them down. Do research and trust your gut.
If you change your mind in the future, no sweat. There are sure to be plenty more opportunities.
Is Guest Posting in Your Future?
We asked you to do quite a bit of research before saying yes to any guest posters. That’s work and time for you, even if it’s for free content. If you always say “yes” to hearing out a pitch, it may hurt you in the long run by eating up your precious time. But, if you are interested and have the time to listen and prepare, there’s no harm giving them a shot.
Now, as content creators, you also may be wondering: “Should I offer to guest post for others?”
Absolutely! (If you have time.) It’s not easy, as you can’t always get a “yes.” But when it works out, you’ll get a backlink. This will help build your link portfolio (the sites that link to you). The more high authority the sites, the better. If you can afford the time and content, give it a shot.
tl;dr: When to Accept Guest Posts
It really depends on the circumstances. If the author is reputable, and produces quality content that matches your voice, go for it! This can be a mutually beneficial relationship so long as you do your part and give them backlinks. Just remember, moderation is key.