Guest Posting: Throwing It All Away

We’re into day three of our guest posting series. We’ve discussed how to land a guest post gig and how to stack the odds in your favor.

But what about skeptical guest posters, the ones who aren’t sure about the value of guest posting, look down on it and who see few benefits?

Well, if you want to guarantee that your guest posting attempts achieve low results, ramp up that arTEESTe attitude, create a self-fulfilling prophecy and give guest posting half a serious shot instead of a real college try.

Perfect. Welcome to failure.

Remember that you aren’t writing for free or giving something away. If you feel that your work is above all this business of guest posting (and make no mistake; it is a business), then keep your content and your attitude.

In fact, the notion of “giving it away for free” couldn’t be more inaccurate from its shortsightedness. You have the opportunity to capture new readers, new clients and more sales. It’s all about you and what you make of the opportunity.

The blog owner isn’t giving you something for free, either. Yes, he or she is doing you a favor and giving you a chance, but “what’s in it for me” works both ways. Blog owners expect something from your guest post in return for its moment on the stage.

A good guest post should give the owner’s blog credibility and traffic because your work is that good. It could earn Diggs or Stumbles or go viral. The blog owner gets good stuff; you get good stuff by association. Win-win.

Oh, by the way? Blog owners are going to check out your site. If they visit your site and find a sloppy blog, uninteresting posts, erratic posting, rehashed content, a poor product or a negligible service, you’ve blown all your chances. They certainly don’t want to promote anyone that brings down their reputation.

So in this case, yes, your guest post was a waste of your time.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, a look at the flip side of guest posting, the blog owner’s perspective. We’ll look at how to introduce guest posting and some of the reader reactions you should watch out for.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

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  1. Okay, I’ll admit I’m a weeee bit confused here.

    Do you mean to say folks would request to guest post WITHOUT doing the above?

    To me, that is utterly far beyond the world of comprehension! Perhaps I’m naive (which is, I suppose, akin to saying, perhaps I like coffee) but it would never occur to me to offer to guest post without ensuring my blog was in top notch shape.

    Is it really that common? My gosh, I really do have to get out more.

    Barbara “It doesn’t LOOK like Kansas 🙂 ” Ling

    Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach’s last blog post..Today’s Thought To Share – 181 Years Ago, Behold – The World’s First School Bus

  2. @ Barbara – Um, in a word, YES. People do this.

  3. Bill K. says:

    I can’t imagine even thinking about writing a guest post unless I had something really compelling to say that I felt needed to be said on another blog. I haven’t reached that point yet. If you’re submitting anything less than your best stuff, you might as well save yourself some time, step away from the computer and go shoot yourself in the foot.

    Bill K.’s last blog post..Keep the 3-second rule, ditch the 3-second habit

  4. We draw our words and ideas from a bottomless well. I truly do not understand the idea of a writer not sharing his thoughts. If someone has the opportunity to guest post, as long as it works in his or her schedule, then why not? Sharing ideas is a good thing, isn’t that one of the reasons you started? Doing it with a community outside the one you’ve developed; even better.

    Writer Dad’s last blog post..A New Renaissance

  5. I am with Barbara. Why it made me think of those TV audition shows I do not know. Seriously, some of the people that show up…I wonder if they have a fun house mirror that distorts their view of what actually constitutes talent.

    There is no way, I would ask to guest post at this point… the play is still in out of town practice so to speak. And when, or if , I ever do, it would have to be with something I felt very strongly about. And be finely honed to boot.
    Think about it. You get this opportunity to make a great “first impression” with a new audience. ..I’d want to bring out the A material. And offer value as well.

    Janice C Cartier’s last blog post..2 Words

  6. I would want to do a guest post on another blog only if that blog had a theme that I could use to convey something that I felt strongly about, AND that theme or subject is not something that I post articles about on my blog. Surely, if the post was worth it, it would be on my blog!
    I would also expect the blog owner to have already seen my capability before considering a guest post from me.

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..Free Online Language Resources

  7. I so agree with you, James, that guest posting comes with responsibilities.
    Having said this, and after doing a handful of guest posting, I’m a bit puzzled about the effects (and therefore reasonable expectation, or objective) of guest posting.

    When I posted at Urban Monk, which has over 2600 subscribers, and I believe my posting was a good one because I got almost as many comments as Albert’s regular posts, my subscriber increased only 20 or so. My gig at Pick The Brain (yeah, you know which one I’m talking about. . . you got the link) brought 152 visits and 8 new subscribers out of their over 10K subscribers.

    I’m starting to think guest posting may be more about earning credentials than readers. Or am I supposed to guest post at the same blog many times, like I comment many times?

    Akemi – Yes to Me’s last blog post..Know, Like, Trust: Three Steps To Winning The Business

  8. James I love the way you address shortsightedness in this post. Many blog owners are in in for a quick buck (which we know never produces dividends), and so find guest posting “a waste of time.”

    I’ve been lucky enough to be featured on some top blogs in my niche (eg, Copyblogger and FreelanceWritingGigs to name two), and it’s some of the best marketing I’ve ever done.

    And, when I write a guest post, I strive to make it even better than what I post to my own blog b/c I respect the fact that someone would lend their valuable “virtual real estate” to me for a brief period.

    This is the only attitude to take into guest posting. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time — and the time of the blog owner where you want to be featured.

    So, give up your “best content,” and watch the rewards roll in.

    As usual, profound, hardhitting stuff here!


    The Freelance Writer’s Blog’s last blog post..Why PLR Content is the Black Sheep of the Web … Should It Be?

  9. Oh, by the way, my comment above is not about discouraging guest posting. Nor about putting down my host blogs that gave me the honor of publishing my articles on their domain. It’s a question, and I wonder if other guest bloggers experienced similar effects . . . and I’d like to know if I missed something to make my guest posting more successful.

    Akemi – Yes to Me’s last blog post..Know, Like, Trust: Three Steps To Winning The Business

  10. What’s painful about guest posting for me, is that each post I do requires a little something out of me. And, I want to keep regular content flowing on my own blog, which is challenging enough; a post going over to another blog means I have to write yet another post to make up for it.

    In short, I’m not yet the most prolific blogger on the planet. Though, they do say practice makes perfect.

    All this being said, I think a serious blogger has to guest post. The returns are simply too large to ignore.

    Interestingly though, I believe I read that DoshDosh never did one guest post in his entire career, yet still managed to gain over 10,000 subscribers.

    He’s the exception.

    Bamboo Forest’s last blog post..You are The Writer of Your Own Story

  11. @ Bamboo – I have a post just for you coming on Thursday. Stay tuned.

    And yes. Dosh Dosh is an anomaly, I feel, much as many would like to think otherwise. However, because he has done it only proves that it can be done, is that not right? On the other hand, because he has done it does not mean that other alternatives are not preferable 🙂

    @ Akemi – LOL, you’re so polite… that’s cute. It balances my bluntness.

    Large blogs with many readers are not known to provide large spikes of traffic. Their readers are firmly loyal and rarely impressed by guest posters enough to click through. I’ve never guest posted in the hopes of huge traffic – I focus on exposure, marketing, and credibility. The more people see my name in different places, the better it is for me.

    And I also don’t think large spikes of traffic are anything to go nuts about. 10,000 visits from Stumble or Digg? If they only stay an average of 10 seconds and the bounce rate is high, what good is that?

    Let’s say you leverage a guest post on a small blog for traffic and you get 10 visits – but each visitor stays 4 minutes and reads three pages and the bounce rate is low… wouldn’t you agree that’s better?

    Quality traffic. Not quantity traffic. But each blog offers *some*thing of value – determine what it is and know what you’ll get before jumping in.

    @ Yuwanda – I don’t think I could’ve said it better myself.

    @ Nicole – Ahh, surely if it was worth it, it would be on your blog? Tune in Friday, m’dear 🙂

    @ Janice – Damned straight. It’s a social affair. Look the part at all times.

    @ Writer Dad – Many people believe that giving away means losing something they had. Others believe giving away is sharing what they can. Neither is right or wrong, I think. It’s just different perspectives.

    @ Bill – I have both feet intact, thank god 😉

  12. I’m Japanese. The old world. Further, I can go back my ancestry for at least 500 years. (More, according to my late grandfather.) Polite? Tell me about it.

    Akemi – Yes to Me’s last blog post..Know, Like, Trust: Three Steps To Winning The Business

  13. I’m one of those “skeptical guest posters,” but I don’t “look down on it.” I actually enjoy it. But I do have issues.

    I’m not coming at this from an arTEESTe perspective (I don’t have the credentials to do that), but rather a time-management and ROI stance.

    I’ve done three guest posts and just finished a fourth and I assure you I never give my guest posts a “half a serious shot” but instead always give them the “real college try.” I put in the time and effort to make any guest post as excellent as possible. The post has my name on it forever so I do as well as I can.

    That’s part of my problem.

    I get intense about my guest posts, trying to write most of them as definitive and highly-encompassing articles. They take a lot of time and energy out of me. I rigorously proof my grammar and punctuation and constantly revise.

    So, I’ve done the guest posts, I’ve done them well, and I’ve benefited from them–they’re the single most important factor in growing my subscriber count.

    My issues:

    1. Working two jobs, writing for my own blog, keeping up with comments on my blog, keeping up with a few other blogs and trying to sleep and sometimes enjoy life–there’s only so much time do things. Anything extra must give me real, ultimate ROI to justify letting it take time away from other things (and good guest posts do take time–for those who do give them the real college try).

    2. Unlike others who are wondering how to land a guest post–people come to me and ask me to guest post, and expect that I will continue to do so. I’m honored. I truly am. But, to an extent, I’m also bothered at the expectation that I will forever write free content (that is what it is regardless of the benefits). You know–I finally finish a major guest post and immediately get more requests. I’m honored, but it also tires me out.

    3. I wonder if the blogosphere is a new plantation (or something similar)–tons of lesser-knowns forever toiling away, writing free content on their blogs and constantly providing free content for bigger blogs via guest posts–all in the name of “exposure.” The reason the few A-list blogs stand out is because they…stand out. They’re not the norm.

    4. The expectation that almost everything on the Internet should always be free–I’ve seen commenters on Copyblogger complain when Brian runs a post highlighting one of his ventures or affiliate products. Some people think that bloggers should spend all their time crafting great posts to benefit them, but never even try to make a penny out of it. That attitude needs to be killed as much as any arTEESTe attitude as well. I’m most animated about this one.

    I like guest posting and I endorse and encourage it. But it is more complex than some realize.

    Jesse Hines’s last blog post..How My Brother Uses Blogging to Get Jobs

  14. @ Jesse: The greatest irony of all is you have just written and published a guest post, and it sits right above my head.

    Excellent points, and I appreciate your perspective on the issue. I like the plantation analogy. Indeed, there are many angles of perspective to guest posts and all should be considered.

    Bamboo Forest’s last blog post..You are The Writer of Your Own Story

  15. Bamboo,


    You’re right.

    About 500 words–that is the length of a good guest post.

    James, thanks for publishing my first guest post here at Men With Pens.

    Jesse Hines’s last blog post..How My Brother Uses Blogging to Get Jobs

  16. You make a great case for requesting guest posts. I don’t ask because I think people will reject me – I don’t because it’s one more thing to do…

    So, I think I’m going to focus one thing at a time and requesting guest posts on others blogs will come next. But first I’ll focus on the other side of the equation and getting people’s stories on my blog.

    Alex Fayle’s last blog post..Vacation Notice

  17. Urban Panther says:

    @Barbara L – yep, totally with James on this one. In the late 1980s, during the recession, the man I was with at the time went into general contracting. He was a superb craftsman (sucked at being a partner, but that’s another story). Anyway, because it was the recession, everyone and their pet chihuahua decided to also pick up a hammer. Many were awful and didn’t care, and still plugged their trade. In the internet world, everybody and their pet chihuahua can pick up a pen…well, type at a keyboard, but that doesn’t flow quite as nicely…and they will plug their trade. In every business/office/team there is always one person that does not do a good job, yet thinks they do a good job, and won’t believe any differently.

    Urban Panther’s last blog post..Please, just throw it out

  18. Phillip Hines says:

    I think Jesse and James make good points. Guest posting is great–every now and then. But not if you make a full-time job, because as Jesse points out, it can be.

    I think the online/web content writing industry in general needs to pick things up. Why do blog posts only make $10, whereas a print article merits $40? A blog post often times takes more work and is a specialized field that many professionals are itching to learn (I witnessed this first hand with a CEO asking me all sorts of questions about blogging). Yet blog writers make much less.

    It comes down to web publishers and blog editors stepping up to the plate and demanding more advertising revenue. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising and Google AdWords is not even close to what direct advertising money brings in.

    Once web publishers demand higher rates, the blog writers SHOULD see an increase in pay. And hopefully this is where writers who truly care about grammar and writing well will shine (like Jesse at Robust Writing).

    But back to guest posting. It’s great, and I’m ok with doing some every now and then.

    It’s all about balance. Weigh your odds and move forward.

    Until next time,


    Phillip Hines’s last blog post..Are Bloggers Slaves? Newport News, Virginia, Copywriter Suggests Some Are

  19. @ Jesse – Hey- what the-! How did you… HEY! You sneaky little b-!! Alright, okay. As long as I don’t get a slew of guest posts in my comment sections because you’ve started a trend to find the way to get onto Men with Pens.


    @ Philip – There are indeed blog post gigs that pay much more than that. But those are rare and require a lot from bloggers to achieve that point. I know. But there’s also a difference between writing blog posts for a blog versus for a network blog. Those two beasts are a little different. Network blogging is low pay and high pressure and dependent on clicks. Not good.

    Between you and Jesse, you two are giving me fodder for six months of posts on guest posting, you know 😉

  20. ….dang, took too long to get online, now they’re onto us and I’ll never have my chance at a pseudo-guest-post. *melodramatic tear*

    Okay, dramatics aside, excellent points all around. And….. ooooooh, six months? I’d stay for six months on guest posts. Come on, you two, keep being muses!

    Ravyn’s last blog post..This Circle is a Triangle

  21. James,
    Good to be back in the saddle and come by to see you are still serving up some great grub! (Don’t ask me how I got the country theme…inspiration from you column no doubt!) 🙂

    Harmony’s last blog post..Sometimes Silence is the Only Way

  22. Looking forward to Friday with bated breath James!

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..Custom T-shirts

  23. It’s easy to underestimate how important building a community and working with other blogs is.

    Providing great content for another blog will both help the owner of that blog by bringing him/her more viral traffic and giving their readers great quality content, and the guest poster by building authority, getting referral traffic, and possibly building new relationships.


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