Anyone who has been in the blogging business probably knows the drill by now. Writing for other web sites in your blog niche is a positive move for a number of reasons. A guest appearance on a popular blog in your niche is a great way to expose your writing to a new audience. You gain visibility in your field and hopefully, new readers.
On the flip side, it takes time to put together a blog post, and if you’re blogging for someone else, it means less content for your own web site.
When I have the time, I don’t mind writing guest posts for friends within my blogging community. However, this post is not about the friends I’ve blogged for. This is about how blogging for a travel search engine site failed and why I’ve decided not to write for commercial web sites for free ever again. Here are a few of the things that I didn’t take into consideration when I was approached by Cheapoair to write for their company blog.
Do you know who you are writing for? Are you asking the right questions before you give your content away?
Find out how a little foray into the world of guest blogging for a travel search engine site went sour for me.
This is how it begins:
At the beginning of August, I was contacted by a man who wanted me to guest post for Cheapoair. I don’t know him. He isn’t in any of my social networking circles, and I’ve never seen his name mentioned in the travel community.
This is a clip from his first email to me:
I am looking for key websites and blogs to affiliate with. After reviewing your web site, I would like to offer you a guestblog on our blog. If you would be interested in being included in these posts please feel free to contact me, so we can discuss our potential exciting affiliation.
My response to his request at this time was no. I didn’t have the time to put something together for him. I received another email from him to this effect early this fall, and then he contacted me again last month to ask if I had time to write for him. His pushy attitude worked; I felt guilty about not giving him something earlier. He obviously REALLY wanted me to contribute to his site, my husband and I have used their services in the past, so I finally agreed to put something together for him to get him off my back. I mailed my guest article to him on the 5th of December. By the 7th, he had hit me up on all my other web sites for guest posts and this is what he had to say:
Thanks for providing the content. You’ve placed in our queue to go on our travel blog. I’m not sure if I mentioned but we’ll be linking back to your site as well, and we do kindly ask for a link in return. Please use the following HTML code when linking back to —-. <a href=”xxxxx”>Cheap Flights</a> Thanks again Carrie and please let me know when the link goes up and live.
I tell you, I saw red when I opened his email. He was never interested in having me link back to Cheapoair blog. The site he wanted a back link for is Cheapoair.com and he wanted that link to help his company rank higher in the search engines for the search term ‘cheap flights’.
Now, I don’t have a problem linking back his blog. Providing a courtesy link back to the site you are writing for is common courtesy and I had already intended to do so. But I do have a HUGE problem with someone who asks me for FREE content for their site and then implies that publishing my content depends on whether I will give him a back link of his choice.
He didn’t reveal what he was angling for until I had already submitted the content. Had I known what he was after, I would have said no immediately.
I took a good look at this blog and noticed that he has suckered loads of people into advertising for this travel search engine for free. This is a major travel search engine, guys. He should be paying you, not getting free content and free back links to the company he works for as well as the company blog. Both of his sites win. What’s in it for you?
When I asked him about all of this, he apologized and told me he was still going to put up the post and…I never heard back from him. Ten days later, my post still hadn’t been published. I ended up pulling the article.
So, I guess my whole point with this is to share a lesson learned. I didn’t ask the right questions and I should have taken a better look at what I was being asked to contribute to.
On the other hand, I’ve learned exactly who I want to write guest posts for. After all this, I will NEVER consider writing for a travel search engine EVER again – unless they’re paying me, that is.