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 Blogging, Blog Publishing & Blog Writing

 

Using Guest Bloggers

Owners of a successful blog that has a large following may sometimes have the need to use guest bloggers. An example of when this practice may be a good idea is when the owner of a popular blog will be unavailable to post new blog entries for an extended period of time. In this case the lack of blog updates may cause the blog to lose traffic so it would be prudent for the blog owner to make arrangements for a guest blogger or a series of guest bloggers to post new items during his absence. The blogger may also wish to announce the intention to use guest bloggers during this period of time to ensure loyal blog visitors are aware of the situation and that it is only temporary. This article will discuss aspects of using guest bloggers such as advertising for guest bloggers, selecting guest bloggers and compensating guest bloggers.

Advertising for Guest Bloggers

There are a number of locations where a blog owner can advertise for guest bloggers. Job boards specifically for bloggers or freelance writers are an excellent option for finding guest bloggers. Job boards for bloggers are frequently visited by experienced bloggers who are looking for new opportunities to blog for compensation. These bloggers may have specific experience with the subject matter of the blog or may simply be adept at creating interesting blogs on a variety of subjects. Job boards for freelance writers are another great option. These writers may not necessarily have experience  Blogging, Blog Publishing & Blog Writing but they may have other writing experience that is useful. Blog owners should consider posting a detailed messaged specifying the type of work required and duration of the project and asking for clips from the writers which can be used to verify the writer’s skill level.

Blog owners may also wish to advertise for guest bloggers on message boards related to the subject of the blog. Visitors of this blog may not necessarily have writing experience but will likely be quite knowledgeable about the subject of the blog and therefore be capable of producing interesting and insightful blogs.

Selecting Guest Bloggers

Selecting a guest blogger should be done carefully to ensure the guest blogger is reliable and capable of producing articulate, informative and interesting blog posts. Blog owners who advertise for a guest blogger on job boards for bloggers and freelance writers should ask for clips demonstrating the writer’s ability to write blogs which are interesting and informative. When advertising on a message board for a guest blogger, the blog owner might want to consider using the applicant’s previous posts to evaluate his writing ability and knowledge of the subject matter. He should also consider the type of response the applicant’s message board postings typically elicit. This is important because it is a good indication of the type of response the blogs will elicit. Blog owners should also ask the applicants for references and should contact these references to obtain information about the bloggers work ethic and ability to complete projects.

Compensating Guest Bloggers

Blog owners should also carefully consider how they intend to compensate guest bloggers. This can be done in the form of financial compensation or through allowing the guest blogger to post a brief biography with a link to his personal website or blog at the conclusion of the blog post. The latter form of compensation is essentially free advertisement space for the guest blogger. The blog owner may also wish to compensate the guest blogger with a combination of money and free advertising space. Regardless of the method of compensation chosen the blog owner should discuss this with the guest blogger before work commences and should enter a written contract with the guest blogger which explicitly states the terms of the compensation to avoid disputes.

 

Using Bloggers

Owners of a successful blog that has a large following may sometimes have the need to use guest bloggers. An example of when this practice may be a good idea is when the owner of a popular blog will be unavailable to post new blog entries for an extended period of time. In this case the lack of blog updates may cause the blog to lose traffic so it would be prudent for the blog owner to make arrangements for a guest blogger or a series of guest bloggers to post new items during his absence. The blogger may also wish to announce the intention to use guest bloggers during this period of time to ensure loyal blog visitors are aware of the situation and that it is only temporary. This article will discuss aspects of using guest bloggers such as advertising for guest bloggers, selecting guest bloggers and compensating guest bloggers.

Advertising for Guest Bloggers

There are a number of locations where a blog owner can advertise for guest bloggers. Job boards specifically for bloggers or freelance writers are an excellent option for finding guest bloggers. Job boards for bloggers are frequently visited by experienced bloggers who are looking for new opportunities to blog for compensation. These bloggers may have specific experience with the subject matter of the blog or may simply be adept at creating interesting blogs on a variety of subjects. Job boards for freelance writers are another great option. These writers may not necessarily have experience  Blogging, Blog Publishing & Blog Writing but they may have other writing experience that is useful. Blog owners should consider posting a detailed messaged specifying the type of work required and duration of the project and asking for clips from the writers which can be used to verify the writer’s skill level.

Blog owners may also wish to advertise for guest bloggers on message boards related to the subject of the blog. Visitors of this blog may not necessarily have writing experience but will likely be quite knowledgeable about the subject of the blog and therefore be capable of producing interesting and insightful blogs.

Selecting Guest Bloggers

Selecting a guest blogger should be done carefully to ensure the guest blogger is reliable and capable of producing articulate, informative and interesting blog posts. Blog owners who advertise for a guest blogger on job boards for bloggers and freelance writers should ask for clips demonstrating the writer’s ability to write blogs which are interesting and informative. When advertising on a message board for a guest blogger, the blog owner might want to consider using the applicant’s previous posts to evaluate his writing ability and knowledge of the subject matter. He should also consider the type of response the applicant’s message board postings typically elicit. This is important because it is a good indication of the type of response the blogs will elicit. Blog owners should also ask the applicants for references and should contact these references to obtain information about the bloggers work ethic and ability to complete projects.

Compensating Guest Bloggers

Blog owners should also carefully consider how they intend to compensate guest bloggers. This can be done in the form of financial compensation or through allowing the guest blogger to post a brief biography with a link to his personal website or blog at the conclusion of the blog post. The latter form of compensation is essentially free advertisement space for the guest blogger. The blog owner may also wish to compensate the guest blogger with a combination of money and free advertising space. Regardless of the method of compensation chosen the blog owner should discuss this with the guest blogger before work commences and should enter a written contract with the guest blogger which explicitly states the terms of the compensation to avoid disputes.

 

Using Bloggers For Pushing Products: A Good Idea?

There is an interesting conversation in the blogosphere. The discussion centers on using bloggers to push products and getting compensated in return. Should bloggers accept monetary payment or any form of remuneration for writing about certain products, services or events on their blogs?

Issues and Views

Now that  Blogging, Blog Publishing & Blog Writing is spreading like wildfire, drawing large crowds of audience, business advertisers, sponsors and the like are one in advocating it as an effective mea...

Internet, Blogs, Internet Business, Small Business

There is an interesting conversation in the blogosphere. The discussion centers on using bloggers to push products and getting compensated in return. Should bloggers accept monetary payment or any form of remuneration for writing about certain products, services or events on their blogs?

Issues and Views

Now that  Blogging, Blog Publishing & Blog Writing is spreading like wildfire, drawing large crowds of audience, business advertisers, sponsors and the like are one in advocating it as an effective means of advertising – getting a company’s message out. It is now everyday staple to see advertising on personal blogs. Leading companies like Microsoft, Nokia, and General Motors have even joined the “blogwagon’. Top management executives like Sun Microsystems president Jonathan Schwartz and Intel chief Paul Otellini now blog. It is a fact that word from a trusted source holds much water to consumers. Word of mouth is undoubtedly the most effective form of advertising. Marketing people put a lot of weight into pursuing free publicity. Aware of the massive growth of blogs and the increasing clout and its being a trusted medium, it isn’t surprising that bloggers are being used to promote products, services or events. Blogs have the ability to disseminate information instantly to a widespread audience.

Everyday, more companies are paying bloggers in cash or in kind for promotional spaces on their blogs be it in the form of outright sponsorship or product reviews. Most bloggers keen to keep their blogs financially sustainable openly accept sponsorship and carry ads on their blogs.

A problem now looms.  Blogging, Blog Publishing & Blog Writing has no established code of ethics regarding bloggers accepting compensation for blog coverage. The immediate issue bloggers will have to address is whether bloggers can accept payment in any form for writing about specific topics. If yes, a subsequent issue is disclosure and transparency. Certain events have brought these issues into focus. These events have sparked engaging discussions and varied views on the appropriateness of all these going ons in the blogosphere.

Marqui, a Vancouver company that sells communication management services for automating websites announced its experimental program – paying bloggers to mention the company in their blogs. The aim is to increase brand awareness among the powerful members of the software developer community. Marqui signed up 20 bloggers. Under the program, bloggers are mandated to display Marqui icon and mention Marqui in their blog posts at least once a week. They are free to write anything positive or negative. They are at liberty to blog openly about Marqui products or pursue a different approach. In return, they will be paid $800 a month. In-depth details of the program rules together with an FAQ section are posted online in Marqui’s own blog. According to Stephen King, Marqui CEO, the program has been a success. Company mentions on Google skyrocketed. Marqui has been swamped with reader feedbacks on its products. Conversely, the program has drawn many criticisms.

Rob Greenlee of WebTalkRadio commented that it is unnatural to think that a paid blogger would post negative comments about a sponsor. Stowe Boyd, president of Corante’s weblog network threatened that the Marqui program will turn the blogosphere into a graffiti-laden slum where the readers won’t be able to distinguish if a blog posting is genuine or a paid message. In his response, King defended that if a reader comes across a blog and sees the part that is sponsored, certainly there will be skepticism. However, bloggers disclose their relationship with Marqui, write both positive and negative comments without fear of any deletion from Marqui. Another blogger feels that the Marqui program just needs some fine-tuning. Disclosure of payment arrangement between Marqui and participating blogger should be mandatory. Contracts of bloggers should not be renewed based on positive write-ups they provided or whether they are amenable to writing product reviews, be it favorable or unfavorable.

Newsweek revealed that 100 influential members of the tech community, Silicon Valley, were periodically offered products or services in return for word of mouth endorsements (or not). BzzAgent, a Boston company enlisted volunteers to call up bookstores to generate buzz for a particular book, feigning ignorance. A recent service called Pay Per Post patterned after pay per click business model pays a blogger a commission for each completed (clicked) post that promotes the advertiser’s product or service. All these different situations point to a need for some ethical standards bloggers should adhere to. Some basic guidelines have to be set.

Blog Ethics and Standards

Bloggers are known to be non-conformists. This distinct characteristic distinguishes them from the rest in the online world. They are typically beholden to no one. They are defiant in the face of authority. Bloggers comment and spread information according to their own unconventional standards. On the contrary, it is also this freedom that may jeopardize their integrity and thus their value.

At present there are no definite ethical standards that lay down a blogger’s responsibilities and provide a clear code of conduct that will ensure his integrity. Bloggers have no definitive code of ethics but there are some general principles that are widely held. Transparency is the hallmark of  Blogging, Blog Publishing & Blog Writing. It is one of the weblog’s distinct characteristic and greatest strength. A blogger should be transparent with regards to his actions, motives and financial considerations. Since  Blogging, Blog Publishing & Blog Writing is a trusted medium, it is to every blogger’s advantage to disclose conflicts of interest (monetary or otherwise) when appropriate. A blogger who is given free access to a service he is reviewing or receives a product for review should disclose said fact. Subsequently, there is an implicit understanding that the blogger will be objective and honest. Anyway, a company should not expect a positive review just because the product was provided for free. It will not do the company any good if a reviewer just sings praises. If there is a problem with the product, the company would surely like to be informed to make the necessary improvements. Readers will be properly informed and form their own judgments. A blogger should in all instances maintain independence and integrity. Lost trust is extremely hard to regain, in some instances, never regained. A very important tenet that any blogger knows by heart is to publish as fact only that which he strongly believes is true. He should be open about his sources, biases and actions.

In a nutshell, using bloggers to push products may be acceptable to some, but others may frown on it. As for bloggers, it is a matter of choice. A blogger may be open to accepting payments to help build buzz for a product on his blog or not. If he does choose to accept compensation, transparency and disclosure are of utmost importance. His reputation is stake.

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