Guest posting is a method used by writers to get exposure for their blogs and authorship, while sometimes providing great content for readers of digital media publications and magazines like Angie’s Diary.
This can be an acceptable and legitimate way to enhance your status as a copywriter if the piece in question is well-written and adequately informs or entertains the reader. Accepting guest posts can also present a serious risk for publishing websites.
You may already know that search engines like Google and Yahoo/Bing can penalize sites (by excluding them from searches) that accept guest posts by specific authors because of the immense amount of junk content they spread on the Internet.
Over the years, we have adopted a policy to only accept content that will benefit our readers. I was surprised that even high authoritative blogs, such as The Huffington Post or New York Times, are nowadays allowing guest posts, sometimes chock-full with second-rate content and ‘spammy’ links.
This is what we look for when non-verified authors post in Angie’s Diary:
Spam & Plagiarism
Our contributors must have a track record of writing great content.
We Google the author’s name and check if they are not pushing out spammy content all over the web. Guest writers who contribute to dozens of blogs tend to incessantly spin content, using the same article and posting it on many blogs over time.
To combat this, consider using free services like Copyscape, which will quickly identify duplicate or similar articles. Simply upload the article’s URL and run it through their search field.
Our staff uses tools like Grammarly, which in addition to spell-, grammar check, and text enhancement, also detects plagiarism. Sometimes they have to wonder if there still is any original content out there.
Links can and should be used for references, or related content. They add value and depth to the post as many authors consider them as their ‘darlings.’ 4 links per article is a good standard but we try to make sure our authors aren’t linking out in their bio or articles to spammy websites, and we will exclude writers who are just cranking out content for links.
As a rule of thumb, we like our authors to submit original pieces of at least 1,000 words (exceptions are, of course, Poetry and Flash-Fiction). There cannot be adequate advice or significant information in a 100-word blog post, so why not spend some extra time and write a better article? Additionally, we try to avoid publishing topics that have been beaten to death.
We allow for several links in our author’s bio: Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages, so there is no need to repeat any of those links in the blog post, nor to make any copyright claims, as intellectual property is established at the moment a post is published in Angie’s Diary.
Spelling, Grammar, and Formatting Errors
When a submitted post has many errors, our perception of the author in question is that she/he didn’t spend enough time on the article, and disrespects the reader (not to mention our editors). For several (wannabe) guest bloggers, it has become a habit of copy/pasting entire web pages, and ‘dumping’ them in our post box, in disregard of all possible errors, and click ‘Submit Post!’
After years of combat against such practices, we have decided not to publish such posts, even if we are sometimes saddened to trash a post that has great potential, but nothing justifies the amount of extra work our staff would have to put in.
The content has to fit in with our magazine. We try to publish a combination of original stories and essays with news on art, politics, technology, philosophy, and writing. Outside of this already broad range of topics, no matter how well a post is written, or by whom it is submitted, we might decide against publishing it.
Support our Magazine and Community
I expect our authors to help build, expand, and support our publication. One of the great things about blogging is the creation of a community of readers and writers. They love reading the content, while learning new things, and contribute by commenting and critiquing. This encourages people to become regular visitors and helps to establish our magazine to be an authoritative entity on the web.
Generally speaking, if we want to enrich our community, we need guest authors to contribute to it, and they need to participate not just by submitting content, but possibly also through comments. Every time someone comments on a post they write, they should respond to the comment. It could be just a simple reply, as long as they acknowledge the comment on their post.
By doing this, you will encourage more visitors to become interested in your work, which not only helps with social sharing and traffic, but it also helps to enhance your authorship and clout.
Here’s Google’s stand on guest blogging just for links: