How do we solve the guest post problem?

Guest posts. We’ve all seen them. They may bother you, they may not. Too often, they are a plague on otherwise great blogs.

What’s wrong with them? Simple: They aren’t written by the blogger I subscribed to. When I’ve subscribed, I like the content and the style of the founder, and more often than not with guest posts, both change.

Guest posts disrupt the experience. When I see that a blogger has chosen to add guest posts, or even another writer, I don’t pay attention to that author. I begin checking who the authors are on the blog consistently, and begin reading only if the original author has written the article.

I don’t think I’m alone. I’m willing to wager that guest posts get less comments, less clickthroughs, less time-on-site than the founder’s own posts. They also dilute the author’s brand, a fact that’s not nearly as measurable but just as important.

So what do we do about them? They obviously serve a purpose: driving traffic, links, and attention towards the guest author. They also add content on days the founder may not want to write. But when there are too many of them, I start to barely pay attention. How can we keep the good (links, attention, and traffic, etc.) while preventing the gradual loss of interest?

Finally, do you feel the same? Am I overstating my case? Let me know what you think.





17 responses to “How do we solve the guest post problem?”

  1. Perry McDowell Avatar

    I don’t find it an issue. Normally, the guests in the blogs I read are there because the blogger feels that this guest can offer something of substance to the audience. If the blogger knows his/her audience, the guest should provide a point of view that is very interesting to the audience and is something that the blogger can’t provide personally.

    If the blogger is merely choosing someone because of the fame/google hits/etc., then it would be a pain, but I rarely see those in the blogs I read.

  2. Phil Gerbyshak Avatar

    I think it depends why you go to a site in the first place. If you’re going for the personality (Chris Brogan or Seth Godin are good examples), then heck yes, I hate guest posts.

    If instead you go to a site because of the content (Copyblogger and ProBlogger come to mind), then guest posts can add a lot of value to the conversation, especially if the guest writer has a different opinion than the regular writer.

    Great graphic to go with this post by the way!

  3. Julien Avatar

    @Phil: Thanks, Flickr is a beautiful thing.

  4. Vero Pepperrell Avatar

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with “when there are too many of them”.

    Guest posts are great occasional additions, but they must also be relevant and on-topic. The area where I support guest posts the most is when the guest is not *usually* a blogger, yet holds great wisdom. Said guest may not have time/inclination to write their own blog, but a single or occasional guest post on someone else’s site might be the solution.

    Love the accompanying pic too 🙂

  5. CT Moore Avatar

    @Phil, I think you have a point that it depends on the kind of blog.

    @Julien, what do you think about interviews? Like when the blogger emails some questions to someone? If, as @Perry pointed out, the blogger knows his/her audience, and takes it up a step by getting interview subjects that reflects both their own personality and what their audience is looking for, do you think that interviews are kosher?

  6. Julien Avatar

    @CT: I actually really like interviews. I feel they might be an exception to the rule.

  7. Prakash Avatar

    Dont think its an issue. As Phil mentioned if we go for the personality and listen to Chrisbrogan or Seth Godin speak then yes a guest Blogger is a lesser experience.

    Else it depends on the content.

  8. Whitney Avatar

    Guest posts can help change up the flavor of things, maybe give you a different take than the same old, same old. Sometimes the blogger may want to discuss something on the blog, but sees themselves as an imperfect messenger, and a guest post may work then. But if it gets too frequent, then it just becomes a group blog, and not about the individual any more.

    After all, we all like a break from the routine, and like to try out something new. Guest posts have led me to read people I might not have found on my own (so much text, so little time).

    This may be a bit of a tortured analogy. but all in all, we go back to the same blog over and over to hear that same voice, have that same meal we like over and over again. No matter how much you might like chicken tikka, an occasional shot of mac & cheese can be a nice change, before you resume the chicken tikka again. But if the restaurant keeps changing its menu and nothing’s predictable anymore, you might find someplace else where you feel at home.

  9. Isaac Avatar

    If you trust the blogger enough to be a consistent reader why wouldn’t you trust their opinion that the occasional guest might have something to add too?

    obviously we don’t want too many, but clearly no one knows everything, so why should i be upset if they bring in someone to supplement what they’re doing every so often?

  10. John Wall Avatar

    I can’t believe that as comment #9 I’m the first to say “Just tell me when you need a guest post, I’d love to”

  11. halley Avatar

    I’m on board with @Phil. It really just depends on the content. I think that aggregating the conversation when you’re about a _topic_ is an honest way of admitting that you don’t necessarily know everything about your chosen subject matter, or that there are multiple ways of interpreting one thing. Especially things that have been around for a while. You know, like stuff that’s older than the internet. Fields where the title of “expert” is hard earned, and it’s standard of qualification more tangible.

    Where we start to get feisty is when we’re reading because what we really want is a column. A voice, a perspective that we’re banking on, and what we’re really craving is just that, and nothing else. It’s like Op-Ed – which is wildly important to us, especially when it comes to the internet and how to succeed with it. It gets doubly complicated by all these “groovy” social media experts trying to sell us concepts/coolaid, rather than experience. When it comes to that we tend to be purists right? I want Godin, or Brogan or Doc or Kawasaki or Lefsetz, and nothing else will do for what I need then and there. When you’re getting in the way of my learning – you’re messin’ with my system, and to that I say, “The Dude won’t abide.”

  12. Joe Radman Avatar

    Create RSS feeds for each author and separate feeds based on topic (and the obligatory ‘whole-smash’). Subscribe to what you want.

  13. mike mcallen Avatar

    I dislike guest posts and never read them. I skim through but never give them my full attention. Just because, as you put it, I subscribe to his/her blog not his guest posters.
    Also, since we are at it, Guy Kawasaksi twitter posts sometimes annoy me. They seem kinda guesty.
    Also, the lemons from the tree in our yard. The sewer cleanout pipe runs right under the tree. My wife says they are fine but I am suspect.

  14. juliemarg Avatar

    Nope. I disagree.

    I write about travel and my guest posts are amongst my highest read. Why? Maybe because they’re the easiest for me to promote & share (not bragging on myself, better manners to give props to someone else) Maybe because the guest author promotes them too.

    So if you’d like to do a guest post about your favorite restaurant… msg me. ;^D


  15. yinka olaito Avatar

    As much as i appreciate your opinion here, i belive sometime gues post adds a lot of value to your blog depending on the name of the person involve and their rating withing their niche.

  16. tbob Avatar

    Fight homogeneity! I like asparagus, but if I had it every day, it would be lame. Humans are equipped to deal with the unexpected, the different. The more we get to exercise that equipment, the better we feel.

    I may subscribe to a blog expecting the same thing every day, and if it’s different – so what. I either like it or I don’t. The incidental exposure as a result, however, is a good thing.

  17. Vic Avatar

    In my case, I am the one who invites guest posts. I assure that I’m inviting someone whom I think will contribute in what I’m really blogging.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *