Guest bloggers allowed, but you’d better be genuine

Buzz about guest postsCan we talk about guest posts? Plenty of bloggers are because of a piece by Google’s Matt Cutts talking about guest blogging as a link-building strategy.

The issue is not so much a guest blogger offering to write a post, which is a legitimate way for an expert to be visible in another space. It’s the questionable content offered by spammers thinly disguised as genuine experts. That’s when strangers write to people they don’t know, saying they have read the blog and want to write something “original” for it, as a way of getting more links and more “Google juice.” I’ve had a few such offers; if they had really read my blog, they would know I don’t feature guest bloggers.

Here’s why. If I go to a place like Hubspot or Mashable, I know they have a team of people who contribute to the blog. Frankly, they have to, or they would never crank out the amount of content they do.

But when you come to my blog, it’s just that: mine. You know I don’t have a team of people who contribute. You expect my voice and my opinions when you visit. So while I have occasionally provided a guest post as one of multiple bloggers for another small agency, like Advantis Communications, I do not have guest bloggers here. What you get is what you expect.

What is jarring for readers, I think, is to follow a link to a known blogger’s site, and suddenly realize there is a different by-line — sometimes all the way at the bottom of the post. The post may still have value, yet readers may not be entirely certain because it’s not from the expected and trusted person. They may feel somewhat deceived.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to have a guest. But what I’d want to see is an intro by the host explaining how he/she met or ran across the guest, how the person had such valuable content and why we readers just have to read it.

Hubspot has some suggestions about guest posts, too, such as be picky about where you get published, and don’t publish the same piece in different places. Moz.com also encourages valuable blog posts, and reminds us to keep our “marquee content” on our own sites.

What do you think of guest posts?

Image: Guest sign by “PinkBlue” and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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