We often get asked by PR companies and agencies whether we will accept a guest blog article written for our blog by one of their “expert bloggers”. In 20 years we have not found one suitable article we would accept on our pages as paid content.
I always write back to ask how much they would be prepared to pay. The vast majority of companies have absolutely no idea how much they should be charging and neither do they intend paying anyone. All they know is that there are influencers out there and their clients are paying them to get content written on to the internet. A recent survey, sent to us as a press release (possibly one of the only useful ones we’ve ever had!), indicated that most bloggers charge £250 for a guest blog to be included on their website. A small amount charge £1000 or more, but it seems the vast majority are charging £250 or less. This would make sense because the vast majority of blogs in the world get very few visitors, and indeed very few bloggers could possibly describe themselves as influencers. I appreciate there are lots of people out there who describe themselves as influencers, but whether or not they actually have any sway with anybody, particularly the overwhelming majority of people who never read their blog, is another matter.
With this in mind, it is important to think about the consequences of allowing a guest blog. Years ago there was a technique for pushing your website up the Google search engine rankings by paying to be part of a syndicate, and allowing blog articles to go onto your website in return for blog articles by you going on to other websites. The vast majority of these blog articles were automated and written by robots rather than by humans. Google developed a sophisticated technique for identifying these and punishing every website that ever even contemplated this kind of arrangement. It resulted in quite a few demotions for some fairly well known companies in the rankings.
The danger of allowing paid content on to your blog is that it diminishes the overall value of your blog. If readers get to an article and notice that a) it’s not written in your usual style, and b) appears to be a puff piece for a company promoting a product, then it is unlikely they are going to be particularly impressed. So it is important to bear in mind that if you do sell guest blogs on your blog you may damage your overall value to potential leaders, and this could have a long term effect on the commercial viability of your blog compared with if you had not taken the guest articles in the first place.
Obviously if you are getting offered guest blogs at £250 per month and this pays the bills and contributes towards your time and effort in writing the blog in the first place, then it may well be worth accepting them, but think about the last time you read The Guardian newspaper or The Daily Telegraph and got to the bit where it says ‘paid content’ at the top. Did you read this, were you impressed that the paper was taking these kinds of articles, and what overall effect did it have on your view of the journalistic integrity of that particular newspaper? I would suggest that paid content may well make a few pounds here or there, but unless you are earning huge amounts of money off it, it is probably worth thinking about very carefully before you accept the money being offered.
Jonathan Fagan is MD of Ten-Percent.co.uk Limited and TP Recruitment Limited, a set of websites involved in a range of recruitment work. Jonathan has been running small businesses for over 20 years and has a number of interests and investments in companies as diverse as transcription, legal recruitment and a bit of marketing. He is an author of a number of guides and books, together with a children’s novel. In his spare time he enjoys playing golf, cricket, coaching girls’ football, operating a parent taxi, lots of running and paddleboarding on Bala Lake and the River Dee. He is a strong believer in a good work-life balance and regular blogs on making money vs enjoying life. Jonathan’s website is https://www.jonathanfagan.co.uk