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Accepting Guest Posts: Good, Bad or Deadly?

As Google rules have tightened and link building becomes harder and harder to accomplish, some companies have adopted a straightforward guest-posting policy. By hiring a few writers to talk up their products and services, they can get a few links in return, and they might even move up a bit in search engine results.

A lot has been said about this specific phenomenon. (In fact, a recent article on SEJ detailed the very real benefits of writing guest blog entries.) But as a business owner and blog administrator, you might also consider accepting guest posts on your own blog. Doing so could allow you to reap some of the same rewards, but there are also a number of situations that could be problematic, should you accept these posts. Some might impact your company’s online reputation, and in serious cases, some could land you in court.

The Good Parts

Accepting guest posts often means accepting hundreds of new viewers. Guest bloggers are expected to share links to their printed pieces with their own followers via Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, and each share could result in a new fan that follows the blog on a regular basis. If building traffic to the company website is the purpose of keeping a blog, using guest bloggers seems ideal.

Similarly, using guest bloggers can give a small company some much-needed cred. An expert opinion written by someone with years of experience in the industry can lend a shine of expertise to the company website, even if that company is new and has very little experience at all.

The Bad Parts

Unfortunately, accepting guest posts can also lead to some tricky reputation management problems, especially if those posts aren’t monitored in any way. A writer with a bone to pick could discuss a person, a company, a place or a thing in a disparaging manner, and if the word got out, that post could quickly zip through cyberspace and become a world-wide phenomenon that tarnishes the reputation of the company that hosts the blog. Publishing the piece can seem like tacit approval of the words that appear, and it can be hard to undo the damage.

Editing the pieces might not help, either. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is designed to help protect the owners of websites from the actions of third parties, including guest bloggers. But as the Electronic Frontier Foundation makes clear, adding in a few key words, or amending a few choice phrases, could be seen as contributing new content, and that could leave the blog owner open to lawsuits.

Striking a Balance

Many blog administrators aim to protect their companies by crafting detailed rules about the kinds of blogs they will and will not publish. These same administrators might reject pieces out of hand, when the blog entries seem a little too unseemly, or they may ask writers to rewrite those pieces and submit them again. Clear, well-defined rules allow these companies to communicate clearly with their guests, and they can keep editors from taking chances with content that could cause the company harm.

Administrators also craft public statements about their liability, when a guest blog is in play. A simple statement of deniability, suggesting that the writer is the origin for the opinion and not the owner of the blog, might be enough to keep a company out of the courtroom, should disaster strike.

But from a reputation management perspective, it’s best to simply deny any blog entries that seem too risky. Controversial blog posts can spread long before a company executive has a chance to delete the offensive data, and some consumers have long memories, when the issue involves discrimination, libel or some other form of bad behavior. By reading over each and every word before posting, and ensuring that nothing untoward is contained within, blog administrators can do their best to reap the rewards of accepting a guest post, without damaging their companies in their quest for new viewers.

 

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 Accepting Guest Posts: Good, Bad or Deadly?

Jean Dion

Senior Journalist at InternetReputation.com
Jean Dion is a writer, editor, avid blogger and obsessed pet owner. She's a senior journalist with InternetReputation.com, and writes frequently on the intersection of private indiscretion and public embarrassment. Follow her on Google+ or Twitter.
 Accepting Guest Posts: Good, Bad or Deadly?
 Accepting Guest Posts: Good, Bad or Deadly?

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22 thoughts on “Accepting Guest Posts: Good, Bad or Deadly?

  1. This is a great article. It is very important to monitor guest bloggers. Its also important to monitor blogs you might be a guest on. As my mother always told me, “You are judged by the company you keep”. Your reputation is only as good as the content you accept.. Jean, thank you for laying this out so well.

  2. Hi Jean,

    I agree with all of your points here, especially the last section. It is the ultimate responsibility of the site owner to review all guest posts submitted. If they fail to do this, the accountability should solely be on their shoulders.

    What do you think about Matt Cutts’ latest statement about guest blogging? He literally wrote that we should “stick a fork in it” and that guest blogging is “done.” I’m not a fan of his decision, but I’d love to hear what you have to say on it.

    1. I just read a great response to that Matt Cutts comment on Copyblogger (http://www.copyblogger.com/guest-blogging-not-done/). The whole piece deserves a read, but the takeaway point is that generating GREAT content should be the goal of any blogger. Google rules will come and go, and any site that pins its success on that once site’s whims seems destined to fail. Those sites that strive to deliver quality (whether they create it or accept it from outsiders) seem destined to succeed. Just IMHO, of course.

      1. Thanks, Jean! I knew a post like this was bound to come up.

        It’s such a brash statement to make without realizing how many sites depend on guest blogging. Thanks again for the link!

  3. Due to the heavy amount of spamming through guest blogging, we should thoroughly monitor every guest post an d the links to the targeted site, coz Google is against for low quality guest posts which targeted to getting links.

    So we should be careful accepting guest posts.

  4. If I accept a guest post the person who submitted is rewarded through my blog and they helped me a lot for additional traffic and readership. Guest blogging is beneficial for both parties unless its spammed, filled with diluted contents.

  5. After reading through, I feel there is no much to worried about if you play by the rules and accept guest articles from people you can speak for.
    And more so, it’s very important to go through any guest post before publishing, it doesn’t matter who submitted it. At least for plagiarism or typo and some others. Am planning of engaging some bloggers on my blog to guest post in other to bring more traffic my way and this post comes very handy.
    Thanks for sharing, Dion.

  6. Accepting guest posts definitely has its good sides and bad sides. Improving brand awareness, traffic, increase in ROI, etc are some of the “goodies” of accepting guest posts.

    On the flip side, online reputation can be damaged if a poor guest post is published.

    So, striking a balance between these two extremes are very important!

  7. Balancing. You need to balance it, hence, do not accept several guest posts in a day. Create your own unique posts. The audience still wanted to read an article from you. it is wise to read the pros and cons. I found this post shared on Kingged.com, the Internet marketing social bookmarking site, and I “kingged” it and left this comment.

  8. I still think there is a place for guest blog posts, it is just a matter of being selective. The reputation the guest blogger and quality of content that is produce needs to be considered before posting. Just like with other content, focus on quality and value and you will be okay.

    1. It’s interesting that you would mention the reputation of the guest blogger. You’re the second person to have done so. How might you measure that reputation, do you think? I write about reputation management topics quite a bit, so I’m curious.

  9. Hi Jean Dion ! I’ve got it a comprehensive hopeful write up ! Eventually, Matt’s clarification was against SEO-guest bloggers who intend linking therewith the articles for own site’s SEO . That’s why real guest bloggers’ needn’t to be worried who would like to promote the company brand tailoring real content ( informative and engaging) in the guest article. I think, your write up is best part of the positive explanation in support of right blogging on guest role. Thanks a lot finding the balancing points.

    1. You are welcome! I think a lot of people panicked in response to the Cutts comment. I still think that there’s room for guest blogging, as long as it’s done well, but I have seen a lot of negative pieces out there that suggest that guest blogging is a dead practice, I hope we can spread the word and keep guest blogging alive.

  10. Jean i think this is the best approach one can get the high quality content for their blog and you can get the services of good and professional content writers who genuinely like to write the good content and we must give them chance in this regards.