The alternative headline for this post could be “Does guest posting still work?”. The reason for writing this is I received an email asking whether I would like a contribution to “my site all blog”.
The author was a content manager pushing comments heaters for a mobile app company. As she said in her email, the company has written for medium.com and various other websites in the same space.
What was alarming was the fact that this came through on my personal email and was obviously, from the way it was written, part of a standard email template. It ended thus:
We have some amazing content that we would love to contribute to your site or blog.
We are not looking for payment for any of our content. We would just like to know if and where we could send any potential editorials. Please contact us if you would be interested in partnering with us or have any questions.
If they had mentioned FirstWord or showed the slightest bit of evidence that they considered us a good fit, we might have replied. No time to check out other sites? You could at least pretend. There are plenty of tools that help you manage such templates, among them Buzzstream. This allows you to collate suitable sites, provides emails and personalisation.
The thing is maybe these people would be quite a good fit for what we do. After all, there is tremendous scope to incorporate content marketing into mobile apps.
Moreover, it raises another question. Yes, they are willing to write this free but how much control do you have over guest posting? The last thing you want is to run content that has appeared on half a dozen other sites. That’ll drain your SEO ranking faster than Dracula taking an early-evening breakfast.
And speaking of SEO, gone are the days when backlinks from guest posting gave you a boost. In fact, gone are the days when it didn’t push you further down.
This is obviously the role of content managers now, although to be honest it sounds like PR in everything bar the title. Because that’s what PR is – find somewhere to run the copy, just get it out there. At the same time this scattergun approach is the kind of thing likely to have the opposite effect on what you’re trying to do with your content marketing – in other words, make your brand look desperate, spammy and just a little bit desperate.