Let’s pretend, for a moment, that this blog is a painting, hanging in a gallery. I’ve spent months creating this painting – I took sketches, and then I started to paint, and finally, when I was happy, I decided to put the painting on public display. The painting isn’t for sale, although it’s priceless to me. I just want other people to enjoy it.
Then someone comes along – they like drawing and they’ve got a packet of felt tips. And they ask if they can doodle in a corner of the painting, and put their name on it. This is an analogy, but I’m sure you can guess what my response would be.
Yesterday I had an email from someone at a travel company, telling me how much she liked my blog, yada yada, and one particular post in particular; and offering me a post on a similar topic, promoting something or other.
I responded with my advertising rates, which in my experience, usually sorts the wheat from the chaff, and explained that every word on my blog has to be written by me.
To my amazement she replied to say she didn’t have any budget, and as an’ inhouse writer’ for the company in question, she generally writes all of her own content, too (not the same thing AT ALL). So actually, what she was looking for, was a free home for a post she had written, with a link to her employer’s company.
I’m actually pretty insulted. Insulted that she would have the audacity to think she could write a blog post for me, but also, insulted to think that despite the fact I make it very clear on this blog I don’t ever need free content, she still thought she could offer it to me; and that she thought that I would happily accept what would amount to a free ad for her employer.
But I can only presume that there are bloggers out there who WILL accept free content for their blogs, and give backlinks to the companies that have provided the content, no questions asked. Which, frankly, I cannot understand at all. Your blog is part of Brand You. Why on earth would you want to give it away to someone else?
You wouldn’t approach a columnist – Caitlin Moran, for example – and say to them ‘I really like what you do, I think I can do it just as well,’ would you? And you wouldn’t approach a shop and ask them to sell your stuff for free, would you?
I know some bloggers accept guest posts from other bloggers – I can understand if you’re going on holiday you might want to do that, although given how easy it is to schedule posts it doesn’t seem necessary to me. This blog has my name on it, it’s my corner of the interwebs, I pay to keep it running and apart from the occasional post from members of my family, it’s all my own work. At the risk of sounding like one of the seagulls from Finding Nemo, it’s MINE MINE MINE.
The fact is that companies offering you a free post for your blog are simply looking for a backlink from your blog, and if they suggest anything else, they’re being disingenuous.
You want somewhere to place your free content? Go start your own flaming blog.