As will be obvious to regular readers, I have used more guest articles recently because of an increase in offline work and my move from London to Norwich – a semi-retirement.
So I've been very lucky to have had an influx of articles from guest authors that's kept me with a publishing schedule full for a good few weeks and saved me a lot of time wondering what to write.
To simplify matters I have come up with a list of guest article requirements, to save me having to make the same reply to aspiring authors.
In doing this I have clarified what are my triggers for rejecting guest articles.
But first let's look at the positives!
Guest Article Requirements
- I ask for original articles plus copyright free images (or permission to “lift” from the author's blog)
- They should be accompanied by an author's bio and a headshot (or company description and logo)
- Any link should be to a service that's of interest to my readers, relevant to the article, and something I consider honest! (See below)
- Most of all, I look for interesting content that I think my readers will enjoy and find valuable.
- When you contact me please suggest a few topics relevant to my blog's target market – small entrepreneurs looking to make money online, part-time or full-time. Many of my readers are looking to supplement a poor pension provision – before or after they retire – and welcome tips that will help them start an online business.
- Quality is better than quantity… but articles should be at least 900 words long. Or should they – see below? I'm open to persuasion if your article meets all the other criteria.
That is what “to do”. Here are a few examples of what “not to do”.
Recent Guest Post Request
Mr X, the owner of product Y, asked me to review his product on my blog. The honest truth is that, much as I enjoy reviewing products, I just can't allocate sufficient time to test a product that I don't already use and write a comprehensive review.
I explained that to Mr X but offered him the option of writing an article about his product and paying me to publish it. His product cost $99 a month, so if he made even one sale (clearly the purpose of requesting the review) that could be worth over $1000 a year – assuming the product was high enough quality to retain a client for a year.
Originally he said he couldn't pay – then he came back and said he could pay $100 and would send the article “soon” so I told him I had allocated a slot for him.
The planned publication date came and went, with no article, so I rushed another scheduled article out instead.
Finally the “article” arrived, followed just a few days later, by the author chasing me to publish it!
I reminded my budding author that…..Lack of planning on your part, does not constitute an emergency on my part! Click To Tweet
So, quite apart from the missed deadline, and the cheek of hustling me, what was the article like?
Rejecting Guest Articles – Example 1
Well – it was effectively a 305 word advert, probably just copy/pasted from the product website.
I protested that the original arrangement had been that he would supply 900 words and images. To which he replied something along the line of “Copy more from the website”.
For a few minutes, I will admit, I was tempted to just publish it and take the money. Then, Ryan Biddulph (of Blogging From Paradise) sent me his most recent article for my blog – about tips to get a guest article published. You can read it here.
Receiving a high quality guest post from Ryan left me feeling more than a little ashamed that I'd even considered accepting a 305 word advert as a paid post.
I commented as much to Ryan, saying:
“I was tempted to publish and take the money but my pride says ‘Reject the article / advert' and stick with quality. I can live without the $$$ “
Here's what Ryan said:
“Yes Joy; I see it as even being beyond pride, but clarity on the value of your blog. Plus posture in that you only accept aligned posts, with no thought to money. 305 words is kinda thin too LOL.”
So – I sent Mr X and product Y packing!
How Long Should A Guest Article Be?
I initially asked that guest articles should be a minimum of 900 words, or longer, thinking that longer articles are preferable to Google. However a recent event (detailed below) took me by surprise and started me researching the optimum length of blog posts.
Nevertheless, I did a bit of research to find out if I was being unreasonable asking for 900 words. It seems not!
Credit goes to the CoSchedule blog for the information below.
The post below reveals that the top 10 most shared blog posts were an average of 4066 words long, and the top two most shared posts were over 5,000 words long.
A specific length doesn’t necessarily mean more social shares. Take a look at our 5th most shared blog post. It’s only 299 words long.
So… quality can outrank quantity – for social sharing anyway.
It really is a fascinating article with lots to learn, including the fact that in 2017 the average blog word-count was 1142, and the scary fact that if you want your post to rank in Google, it should be at least 2500 words.
So…. back to the main topics of when to reject guest author posts and what is a reasonable article length to request.
Conclusion On Length Of Guest Author Posts
Although I probably won't ask potential guest authors to provide me with 2,500 words (as discussed above) I shall no longer feel embarrassed to be asking for 900 words minimum.
Certainly I have no regrets whatsoever about rejecting Mr X's 305 word “advert”.
Rejecting Guest Articles / Links – Example 2
Next I had cause to consider what is an appropriate link?
Hot on the heels of Mr X's “article” came Miss Y's request which made no mention of the fact that she would be including a link. so I naively assumed she was promoting her writing services. (I'm still such an innocent abroad.) Although I have no problem giving a link away in return for an article, I now realise that I have requirements and standards for links too!
Her article was good, and of a decent length. However in a paragraph talking about a customer service tool she included a link to something that has no relevance to the Internet Marketing / Home Business niche and I cannot imagine it would be of interest to my readers. In fact they would be totally bemused if they clicked from that paragraph to the link supplied. Worse still, I consider the service it offered “cheating and dishonest” so I rejected that article too saying I wouldn't link to such a service.
How To Request A Guest Post
If you can meet all the above requirements, please send me clear suggestion of what you are proposing and PLEASE include in the subject “Guest Post Request” – in the past “tempting headlines” have led me to think people are trying to sell me something and I have completely ignored them.
Sorry – I am getting so many guest posts requests I spend longer dealing with those than writing myself 🙁
You should contact me here.
I will consider requests for link exchanges, but I NEVER insert a link exchange in an article that has been contributed by a guest author.
Also, please see above my notes on why I would reject a link.
If you are looking for a link exchange, PLEASE use the form above and include in the subject “Link Exchange Request” and:
- Give a concrete proposal of which of MY posts you want your link included
- What you want to link to
- What link you are offering me.