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Your Company Blog and Uninvited Guests: Should You Set Another Plate or Say 'No Thanks'?

by Jill Foster on August 20, 2009

liz-scherer-blog-pic-bon-apetit

The more the merrier, right?
This rule applies in many aspects of life…except for when it comes to growing your blog and your business. Sometimes you can do both of you a favor by simply saying there’s no more room at the table.

As Flashfree has started attract more readers, I’ve begun to receive at least one unsolicited guest post request a month. Although the offer is attractive on the surface, especially if it’s been a particularly busy week or if I’m coming up short on content, I’m usually hesitant to welcome an uninvited guest to my blogosphere.

The reason? There’s often a lot more at stake than just one post; the wrong fit may reflect poorly on my mission, ultimate goals and possibly, my reputation.

Before you welcome the guest to the table, consider the following:

Are you familiar with the blogger’s work?
As a business owner, you wouldn’t hire an unknown entity, right? So why would you publish someone’s work without thoroughly vetting them? Visit their links to see if their writing style jives with yours’, and what they tend to write about. Pay attention to verbiage, long- or short-windedness, and how well they’ve researched the topic. If you are trying to market yourself as a women’s health advocate and they regularly write about gardening, it might not be a good fit.

Do you know the blogger personally?
Better the devil you know. I tend to gravitate towards bloggers who I regularly read and with whom I’ve interacted in real life or via social networks. Offering a guest spot allows me to deepen the relationship, extend support to their business or personal goals while at the same time, simultaneously furthering both our missions.

Have they asked you to assign a topic to them or are they pitching a topic?
I tend to avoid any guest posters who are looking for an assignment. I’m not an editor by trade nor do I have the extra time to go looking for a fit. I like it when someone approaches me with an idea; not only does it show that they’re familiar with the site, but it also demonstrates that they are genuinely interested in it.

What’s does their blog traffic look like?
This last point may be a contentious one. We all started somewhere and new bloggers deserve as much attention as more established bloggers do. But poor traffic or a lack of indication of growth can help you make a decision as to whether or not to take a chance on new talent. Alexa.com has a search feature that allows you to see traffic rank and users. Again, it’s not about being in the top 100,000 but rather, a litmus test for commitment or influence.

Finally, follow your inner voice. When an unsolicited email finds its way into your inbox, it’s essential to listen closely to what your heart and gut are saying.

Bon appétit!

[Image credit: Stephanie Connell, all rights purchased by Liz Scherer]

More from:
Liz Scherer on women leveraging community at Women Grow Business.

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Guest post by Liz Scherer, digital writer and consultant specializing in health/medicine/wellness. She produces Flashfree which brings her closer to her goal to engage, entertain and provide women in midlife with the tools to make informed decisions about their health. In addition to her blog, you can find Liz on Twitter (http://twitter.com/LizScherer) or LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/lizscherercopy).

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