In a recent discussion, a business owner branding themselves as an expert in their field posed the question to me regarding guest blogging. Specifically that they often get requests to guest blog or write content – but not in a traditional paid manner. Instead the offer is for a link back to their site and some branding to go along with it. This particular writer wanted to know if it was even worth the effort to continue writing without getting paid.
Here was my response:
I think it really comes down to value. From the standpoint of the other people requesting your writing, they obviously see that your content marketing and writing provides real value. They want to replicate that on their blog or within their content marketing – but why replicate it when you can get it from the source? From my perspective, it really is a good thing that they’re seeking you out for this content because it means they recognize the importance of producing something of quality and value… as opposed to paying $5 for a useless piece of drivel from a random freelance writer.
The problem is, they may recognize the value in it but they may not necessarily have the budget to pay a quality writer or expert to produce the content. Thus comes the barter and trade where they offer up a link.
From the writer’s perspective, you have to consider the value of that link and your overall goals. If you have an SEO strategy in place, getting a wide variety of editorial and optimized linked that have some measure of control over due to your relationship with these individuals can really improve your visibility. This is where you have to determine the value of that visibility. If you’re a service based organization or sell products online and your strategy is to improve visibility to boost organic traffic and sales then there could potentially be a lot of value in getting that link. Perhaps even more so than a one-shot payment for an article.
The value is really based on your goals and strategy. If you’re focused more on personal branding than driving sales, that guest posting and link back to you provides additional branding aside from the SEO value of those links.
You can never have too many quality links and depending on the source and authority of those links they could be extremely valuable (or virtually worthless).
I wouldn’t ignore the requests or shoot everyone down. I would however take a measured approach to the offers that come in and request analytics from their site including traffic data, age, domain and other metrics. Some you can grab on your own from sites like Alexa to see if the SEO value of the link is even worth the effort.