Tuesday, November 20

Guest Blogging: Should I?

I got an intriguing offer today in my email. It was for guest blogging. I think I've gotten similar emails before, but I always assumed someone was trying to scam me. When I looked into it further, however, I understand the concept of guest blogging. What I'm not sure about is whether or not to participate in some way.

The email I received was because I have another blog that gets more hits than this one. Basically, it get nearly as many hits a month as this one gets a year. And it's all real, derived from search engines finding quality content. Not from Facebook or ad buys or SEO companies. So a company that sells the service of guest blogging wanted to know if I'd be willing to host guest bloggers.

The company itself is out of The Philippines or Eastern Europe, based on the employees. Maybe a little bit of both. Their own website only had one typographical error, so it's not like some kind of hasty scam site written by non-native speakers. I guess it could be an elaborate scam site, but I don't think so. The concept is sound: a business pays a company to write content that drives potential customers to the company website through a site that is not affiliated with the company. I do it all the time for friends, like my Cranium Chromebook Cover buddy. Or my Hellkat Shockbait "uncle." This would just be paid content that does the same sort of thing.

Since I don't make tons of money through the ads that appear on my site, it seems wise to use its ranking in order to at least get some cash, right? As a writer and an ethical person, I don't want to mislead people into thinking I am doing the writing if I'm not, and I also don't want my readers to show up on a scam website. I was at least able to see some of the samples from the company that contacted me, and the articles look just like all the others on the sites where they are posted.

Sure, it's advertising disguised as a blog post, but my blog posts generally try to advertise something. Me as a writer, me as a web designer, or me as a concerned citizen. I have an agenda to get you to click on an ad or hire me for something, so I guess it's not a big deal if someone hires my site to advertise their own agenda. It's not like I've ever claimed to be a journalist, and even the news websites have all kinds of "sponsored content" that is made to look a lot like news articles.

The other side of the coin is whether this company or some other company wants to hire me as a guest blogger on my own site. That would mean me writing the content myself and posting it to the site. I've offered to give real reviews to local businesses, but that's a bit different than a local business paying me to write a flowery article about what it does and why a reader should go there. But I was watching a show on Channel 4 today with a guest who was talking about beautifying houses, even though he was really talking about people buying his paint product. That's just about the same thing, I guess. A newsy show that's really an extended ad for local products and services.

Anyhow, I guess I'll find out what the guest blogging offer is. It'll probably fizzle out when the company realizes all of the writing on the site is just me. I don't have a staff or a team, at least not yet. If any other local Jax bloggers have tried hosting guest bloggers, I'd like to hear from you.