Do you run a blog as a business?
If you do, you may have wondered whether you should pay bloggers to write for you or if you should use one of the many forms of free content (including guest posts).
It’s an understandable dilemma.
As someone who has been blogging for five years and whose blogging career has spanned six different blogs (not including guest posts at various blogs) I can say that while free content can be nice, nothing beats a paid blogger.
Let me explain.
If your blog is a business then you need to publish quality fresh content, probably at least once a day. While free content may seem like a great solution to that need, it’s really not.
Here are some of the drawbacks I’ve personally noticed when working with free content:
- Timing. An unpaid blogger works on their own schedule. While some may work with you to deliver on a specific date, many deliver only when it is convenient for them. Since they aren’t being paid I certainly sympathize with that–paid work has to come first. But, this can wreak havoc with your blog if you truly rely solely on this type of content daily to get something published.
- Agenda. Let’s face it, unpaid bloggers have an agenda. While a few of them are just trying to get some experience, most of them are trying to promote something. It’s either their own blog, their business, a product or service that they sell (or someone else’s product or service), or something else. It’s important to consider whether their agenda lines up with your goals for your blog.
- Quality. While there are many excellent guest bloggers who will write a high quality guest post, you will also receive many more poorly written guest posts. Some free content you receive will even be plagiarized, so always check for that if you use this type of content. Plan on spending up to an hour editing and formatting each “free” post that you receive.
- Involvement. While most (although not all) unpaid bloggers will come back and answer comments on their own post that is the extent of their involvement with your blog for many of them. A few of guest bloggers will read other posts on your blog, but many do not participate again and do not become part of your permanent community.
In contrast, most paid writers who blog are professionals. (If you do run across one that is not a professional, you should look for another. There are many good writers out there.)
When you have a good paid blogger, you can rely on them to produce regular posts at assigned intervals. A paid blogger generally doesn’t have their own agenda to promote (in fact, most paid blogging assignments prohibit this). As far as quality goes, while all bloggers have a few “off days,” generally speaking, you know what you are getting. A good paid blogger should be able to produce content that is ready to publish. As far as involvement, a good paid blogger understands that being involved with your blog community is part of the gig. They should answer comments and help you promote your blog.
So what’s a blog owner to do? Paid writers are clearly desirable, but they can be expensive. Free content may be of questionable quality, but as I’ve shown, free isn’t always cost-effective.
An ideal (and profitable) solution may be to include both types of content on your blog. For quality, community, and reliability you should rely on a core group of paid bloggers. For variety and spice, you can throw in the occasional high quality guest post.
Do you run a blog for profit? Do you pay your bloggers, or do you rely entirely on unpaid content?