Guest Blogging, Sponsored Posts and Becoming a Blogger

I’m pretty sure you’re absolutely sick of hearing about guest blogs now – heralded as the figurative bamboo to the Panda patrolling the Google pen, they are quickly building in popularity and everyone knows it. Especially the blog owners.

I’ve been doing guest blogging for a while now (since early ’10) and I’ve noticed a disconcerting rising trend in the number of times I am swerved to a sponsored post. Amongst the people I’ve been speaking to, there is a split opinion on the value of sponsored posts. Obviously, it’s nice to actually have a link on a strong blog and, in many cases, you don’t even have to write it – yet, in the grand scheme of things, this is a bought link. Blog owners don’t just want good content now; they (understandably) want an income.

Now, not every blogger will demand cold hard cash for a post – but if they suspect that you’re a grubby SEO just looking for a link, you’d best grab your wallet. SEOMoz contributor, Michael King, did a fantastic and extensive post on relationship management and how to stay sweet with your contacts.

So what instills that trust in the blog owner that you’re not just going to send ‘The Top 5 reasons why you should visit [COUNTRY]’?

Simply put, it’s owning your own blog.

It’s common knowledge that most companies should have their own regularly-updated in-house blog, but simply due to the extra time it takes (or just due to plain naivety), many don’t, immediately putting them on a weaker footing. So if you’re searching for a good blog to guest post on, you have to think like they do. By which I mean, stop being lazy and start a blog.

Fair enough, it’s not easy, it’s going to take time, writing skill and may cause you to lose another -.25 of your eyesight, but the end result would be worth it. One tip – stay general, but realistic – blog about things you know about and enjoy and remember that you can’t be CEO of a shoe firm one day and then the Deputy Manager of Laptop Repairs the next. You are not Mr Benn. You should also refer to Cracked.com’s ‘The 8 Worst Types of Blog on the Internet’ (NSFW).

If you already have a blog and are doing this then congratulations and I apologise for wasting your time and bandwidth, but if you haven’t, then seriously, get on it! Of course, this is a long-term strategy and you’re not going to become a celebrity within the blogosphere with a PA 1, DA 1, but give it some time, put in an hour a day and you’ll be commanding your own authority, boosted by your own quality content and name within the community.

Heck with Google’s rel=”author” tag, now is a better time than ever to have your own blog – you’ll even get to stick your mugshot next to your posts. This will undoubtedly increase trust in blogger relationships, as they’ll be confident you’re not an evil robot just scraping it from another blog.

There will be a few people to disagree with me here and state that a mention of their ‘team of content writers’ in an e-mail to a blog owner has never failed to get them a posting, or client domain e-mail addresses commanding far more authority than a blog, but I just don’t feel it. I think it’s all about being on a level playing field and proving you’re not just a faceless company after a link – to entirely misquote Batman Begins – “To befriend the blogger, you must become the blogger”.

So there we go, thanks for reading and please share with me your opinions on sponsored posts, guest blogging and how you’d go about it.

Thomas Clark is a member of the SEO department of Manchester SEO agency, Lakestar Media.

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