• flipboard

The Dirty Little Secret About Guest Blogging

What They Often Don't Tell You About Guest Blogging

So I was doing my daily blog reading routine when I encountered a certain post. In it, the author was complaining about receiving a lot of guest posts with clear “client links” in the bio boxes. In other words, guest posts where the author wanted to promote a third-party company or website instead of their own personal brand.

The blogger in question was kind of angry that these guest authors “would dare” to send such posts, instead of wanting to “share with the community naturally.”

So the main question is this: Is guest posting on your client’s behalf bad?

(Well, you can see my point of view in the headline, but I’m curious to learn yours, so feel free to comment.)

Anyway, I’m going to tell you exactly why guest posting for clients isn’t bad at all, and also, what you can do when dealing with bloggers declining your posts just because your link points to a client.

Reality of guest blogging

There’s a lot of guest blogging advice circulating around. Most of it portrays the whole practice as a fairy tale. The preachers use words like: “when you guest post, you get to add to the community, reach out to other people, be part of something bigger than yourself.”


But it’s not the whole truth.

Guest blogging is always an exchange between the writer and the host.

The host gets a free post (unless they pay for guest posts, ekhm). The writer gets an audience to speak to, the possibility to spread their brand, and the chance to link some website of their choice. In a word, they get to grow just a tiny little bit thanks to the guest post.

Now here’s the kicker, I honestly believe that if there was some international law forbidding guest bloggers to link to their projects, we’d see at least a 90% drop (not that I’ve done any research) in the volume of guest posting done worldwide. And I’m not trying to judge whether it’s good or bad, that’s just what would likely happen.

Now, since the above pretty much explains that most of guest blogging is done to achieve the writer’s goals and pursuits (in other words, it’s a case of “me marketing”), let’s move on to the next thing.

A quality post is always a quality post

What I mean here is that if a given post is a quality one then the presence of a certain link in the bio doesn’t make it any less quality.

Here’s the thing…I’m a freelance writer (where I’m not a part of the company I’m working for), a team writer (where I am), a “me marketer,” and a blogging enthusiast all at once, so I do tons of different work. Some of my writing is sent directly to the client, some of it is submitted to other publishers, some ends up on my personal sites, and some of it is submitted as guest posts by me, personally.

Whenever I write a guest post for my client, I go through the exact same process (I’m sure it’s the same process you go through). Which is:

  1. I research the blog where I want the post to be published.

  2. I analyze the topic.

  3. I decide if I’m experienced enough to write about it.

  4. I pick some possible angles for my article.

  5. I craft the headline and then write the post.

At the end of this process, (if I don’t make any mistakes along the way) I end up with an article that has a good chance at being a good fit for the blog I’m targeting. The fact that it will be sent on behalf of my client doesn’t change anything when it comes to the amount of work it’ll cost me.

In such a case, I am not afraid at all of linking to whatever I want in the bio box, and you shouldn’t be either.

If you’ve written a quality post that is most likely going to benefit the audience of the blog then you’ve earned the right to use a link of your choosing.

That’s simply because writing a really good article always requires a lot of work, no matter if it’s done for your client, or as part of your own project.

The no-no links

Even though you, as a writer, shouldn’t even feel bad or awkward about linking to something, it can still get your post declined (more on how to deal with this form of rejection in a minute). The chances of this happening go through the roof if you link to a no-no site.

(Note. This is actually a warning against taking projects involving guest posting and linking to these no-no sites. Such a project is impossible to complete.)

The no-no sites/topics include things like (ordered according to the level of inadequacy):

  • Porn (it does happen, I actually had a client who wanted some guest posts pointing back to a porn blog).

  • Anything involving unmentionable private body parts

  • Gambling.

  • “Bad” dating sites (ones that trick people into signing up by promising something that’s very unlikely to happen).

  • Get-rich-quick offers and business opportunities.

  • Strange weight loss products.

  • Affiliate links in general.

Linking to anything from the list above will get your post declined most of the time despite the quality of your writing.

Dealing with rejection

So what to do if you did your job right, yet the blog owner still declined your article because of the link in the bio?

Actually, there’s nothing you can do. Just move on, and remember that there’s nothing you did wrong. Don’t get discouraged and don’t change your ways. If your post was a quality one then you have nothing to be ashamed of. Take it and send it to another blogger with the same confidence.

Okay, I know that “move on” might not sound like quality advice, so let’s take a minute to talk about the following.

How not to get declined

If you’re a freelance blogger and your client has asked you to guest post on their behalf and you want to do a good job, you have only one way of achieving this:

Be honest when sending your guest post.

Honesty really goes a long way. For example, if you try to keep things stealth, i.e. you write the post, include some disguised links pointing to your client’s site, send it out, and the blog owner gets a grasp on the situation, they will feel like you’re trying to trick them. This will result in your post getting declined.

But if you’re honest right from the get-go, you have a much better chance of everything going according to the plan, so to speak.

Don’t explain yourself (remember you’re not doing anything wrong), just use simple words to talk about your relationship with your client when asked. For instance, you can say something like: “Yes, the link in my bio doesn’t point to my own site. This is intentional, it’s my client’s site.” You really don’t need anything more.

For example, currently, one of the projects I’m part of is Bidsketch – an online client proposal tool for freelancers (freelance bloggers too) working for more than one client (link). The thing on my plate is building the company’s brand awareness through guest posting.

I did have my posts declined on two occasions (maybe more, but I remember two specifically) exactly for mentioning this fact in my author’s bio. One of them was a classic “how dare you!?” -case. Yet, I’m still here and still doing it. The reason I’m telling you this story is to convince you that this stuff does happen every once in a while, but it shouldn’t have any dramatic effect on the way you work.

Quality speaks for itself

I guess that’s all I have to say. In a nutshell, make sure to write quality guest posts and be confident when sending them out, even if you’re doing it on your client’s behalf.

But hey, what do you think about guest posting for clients? Are you up for this kind of projects? Also, if you’re a blogger yourself, do you accept guest posts like this?

Guest author: Karol K. is a blogger and writer who just had his first book released (WordPress 3.7 Complete – find it on Amazon), and he is also part of Bidsketch 


Listen to this post as a Podcast!



Want to learn to master the art of blogging or even just start?

Join me in Sydney for the “Blogging Master Class” For more information and to register click on this link.

Tickets are strictly limited and with less than 3 weeks to go, time is running out to take advantage of saving 50% with the special”early bird pricing”

Look forward to seeing you!

Jeffbullas's Blog


  • Heather McLane


    Great article, scary picture. I can’t stop staring at zipper mouth.

    I’m wondering, aside from free content, what the benefits to accepting guest posts are.

    I blog for my company, and have recently considered accepting guest posts. I’m wondering, though, if that will ultimately create more headaches for me as I weed through the “good” and “bad” posts.

    In your opinion, should I accept guest posts, and why?

    • Pratik Joshi

      I am completely agree with you, same problem i have faced last month when was doing blogging for my client site.

      Very tough to do moderation and even more tough to give them approved notification.. it’s taking too much time…

    • Thanks, Heather.

      It all depends on the kind of guest bloggers coming your way. If you get only people sending you so-called quality SEO articles then you can’t really hope for anything.

      But if you get contacted by a popular blogger in their own right then you can also get some additional exposure after you publish their work. That doesn’t happen very often though. So I guess the main benefit for a site owner is still content.

      It’s difficult to give a yes or no answer. Guest posts are surely worth testing. Once you have some experience dealing with bloggers, you will be able to tell if it’s worth the effort in your case or not.

      • Heather McLane

        Thanks, Karol. I think I might stick to my own content for now. 🙂

  • Margarita Valverde

    I first got to say that I really love this blog and well you certainly displayed a good example of what you wrote with such a good quality post. I took the time to read it all and it is not that simple between the tight schedule and the second language reading. But you made a good point and showed the same quality Jeff always does. Thank you 🙂

  • On a blog I write under an author pen-name, I have accepted guest posts in the past…I’ve allowed outside links, as long as the guest blogger was upfront about them, but to answer Heather’s question, unless the post had a really compelling topic, my audience didn’t engage as much with the post as they do with mine. Even knowing that, I will allow some guest blog posts – as long as I feel like they’re a good fit for my blog – because I don’t mind helping other blogs gain added exposure.

    • Heather McLane

      Thanks for your input, Michaela! It’s helpful to read about other bloggers’ experiences with guest posting.

    • Seems like an honest and genuine approach. Thanks for sharing, Michaela.

  • That’s actually a great idea. I need to start doing it myself. Thanks for sharing!

  • Love your post Jeff 🙂

  • Martini

    Nice post, content marketing can be difficult if you don’t know how to deal with that,
    I want to recommend Commerce Monks for the best marketing solutions. Thanks for the post

  • Guest blogging is one way to share articles with
    quality yet help brand to get notice even off-page. Thanks for sharing your
    thoughts about this Karol. The article presented how guest blogging is supposed
    to look like.

  • Really interesting hearing from someone who blogs for brand awareness.
    Like Michaela, I’ve found that guest posts on my blog haven’t had any comments or feedback from my readers, compared with those written by me. A couple were obviously on behalf of brands, others were from newer bloggers starting out. With guest posts now I generally decline because I’ve not had anything back from them with regards to my blog – with no traffic increases. This is unsurprising as most guest posters just wanted to prove the post had gone live to their client, rather than helping drive traffic to it, like other bloggers might do
    The only guest posters I would now include would be those who are definitely bloggers, already with a decent following of similar demographic to my own.

    • Sounds like an honest approach, but keep in mind that every blogger is only as good as their next blog post. So in the big picture, who they represent doesn’t really matter that much.

      Of course, provided that we are talking about real people wanting to share real articles and not just pure SEO nonsense.

  • Shelley Webb

    Because my blog deals with a broad subject (caring for aging parents and loved ones) and I can’t be an expert on all aspects of it, I accept guest posts. It’s important that my readers have accurate information. It does annoy me when guest posters try to hide links within the body of the article and I either advise that I’ll be deleting those or I just don’t accept them. It also irritates me when guest bloggers clearly haven’t scanned the blog for the type of content on it. For instance, I sometimes get posts about child care when clearly there is nothing related to children on my site.

    • Those problems do happen, and we will always have to deal with this kind of people. That being said, there are clearly some good writers out there who will get it right and bring something of value to the table.

  • If you are guest posting for a third party, try to guest post for sites that are consistent with what that third party is doing. I get guest post offers with topics listed that aren’t even close to what I write about, that doesn’t benefit my readers or that third party.

  • james

    hi, this a great site

  • John Philip Mamaril

    Hi, I’ve been receiving emails too from people who want to guest post on my blog. I allow some after I review the content they want me to publish, also, I asked them about the links they want me to include. Actually I decline whenever the links are from a third party and obviously it’s a paid post from their client. Do you think I am offending them?

  • Keri Houchin

    I think you hit the nail on the head. Guest posts that are good quality are great, even if they link to a brand. I get pitches regularly from writers wanting to guest post on my blog, but they mostly just read like spam.

  • Nina Amir

    I don’t guest blog for clients, but I often guest blog, especially when launching a new book. And I often have guest bloggers on my sites–and I don’t restrict their links. It’s supposed to be a win-win. Yes, there’s all the nice stuff about expanding reach, which, as you said is true. But we all want something out of it–and get something out of it, and that’s why it works. And guest posting does work. Great piece.

  • In an arena where your personal branding is so close to your business branding, you have to ask yourself how wise it is to punt other companies in your guest posts. As a ghostwriter, I can tell you I would never damage my readers trust like that, new or old. One click to something weird, and you lose that reader forever.

  • Late to the convo but just found this article and had to make my points. As a parenting blogger I do NOT accept guest posts that link to 3rd party sites. This is for a few reasons. 1) I get nothing from it. I do not need the content as I write my own just fine. I don’t get paid for the guest post, but the freelancer who writes the post on behalf of the company does. 2) The links in the article are a form of advertising for the site. Again, I’m not getting paid for that advertising, the freelancer is. 3) The days of gaining SEO through “do follow” links (which most people require) are over. Google has been cracking down on sites like mine for “unnatural links” such as those in these guest posts. Both my site and the site which is linked are at risk of getting their Page Rank and SEO stripped for the practice of allowing links such as these. In my opinion, skip the freelancers and go straight to the bloggers. Pay the bloggers and do your advertising the correct way so that both parties benefit both in advertising/money and in SEO done the right way.

  • Juergen

    I think guest posts enrichen a blog if they are related to the topic of the compan and even if the author takes a different opinion.I share the statements: quality speaks for itself and be honest!

  • When first on twitter someone with a blog simply took my content and re-posted it, then told me. I was quite green and just went with it though I thought it odd.

    My question is, can you guest blog using already written content? I have a decent twitter following and readers of my travel stories in a digital publication but few people following my blog,

  • Interesting article. As a porn tube website owner, I can confirm that it is very hard to get good posts on blogs. Not only are the blogs rarely discussing about this content, but the industry is also filled with spammers tarnishing the reputation of the whole industry on the web.