Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunday Spotlight: Guest Posting for Exfanding Your Horizons

As you may have noticed--assuming our content and layout haven't changed dramatically between when I'm writing this and when you're reading this--we've got a "Submit a Guest Post" link at the top of the blog, alongside some other neat stuff that we recommend you at least skim through. Little did I realize how much trouble such a simple link would cause.

If you're been following us long enough, or if you've been digging through the archives, you're almost certainly aware that we get excited about occasional guest posts, which have traditionally been written by close friends, family members, superfans, and coworkers. We like guest posts because they give us fresh perspectives, greater reader participation, and a day off when we don't feel much like writing. When we started having trouble meeting our regular, self-imposed posting deadlines, I began to publicize the fact that we do accept unsolicited guest posts, if anybody would like to participate and help us out.

Guess who responded? Two freelancers, within minutes of each other.

Now, we've got no problem with freelance writers. We're freelance writers, or at least we have been at one time or another. But we wanted fans, not freelancers. Our guest posting guidelines, as they were originally written, only conveyed the letter of the law, not the spirit; it simply hadn't occurred to me that anyone outside of our readership would care about posting with us.

Yet there it was, an e-mail request from a complete stranger with a beautiful prewritten post that followed our directions to a T, plus a hyperlink to some discount furniture website. I was not comfortable with posting this, but there was nothing in our directions that forbade it, and the freelancer was an honest-to-goodness person who responded tactfully and eloquently to my requests to establish credibility as a legitimate freelancer and not some spammer.

Revisions were made to the guidelines. Three more freelancers responded. Freelancers who, from the sound of it, didn't look too closely at the updated guidelines. Perhaps I was being too subtle. Also, looking back on it, my annoyance with how this guest posting plan was persistently backfiring was clearly visible in my writing. Another update.

Now, our guidelines look like this, which more accurately conveys exactly what we do and don't want out of a guest post. Assuming we haven't updated them again, in which case I have no idea what I'm linking to.


JoeReviewer said...

Look on the bright side, at least you're noticeable enough that people actually want to make money off of you!

Either in or out of the spirit of this post (one of those, I'm sure), I still do have a guest post in the works, the problem is the game I want to talk about keeps giving me new things to talk about each time I play it!

Xan said...

Stephanie and I keep discussing out planned post on the Dresden Files, but between new job, thesis, summer travel and wedding we just haven't gotten to actually writing. Hopefully after November we'll actually get something put together for you.

Matt Link said...

Gotta love the requests that sound either a little too perfect (templated cookie-cutter that could be sent to anyone), or they're just a random string of phrases like "Want to comment blogpost feelings yes magic market keyword on my site amazing?" followed by a link to some pyramid scheme or page to some miracle $47 product with a ten-foot story page of sales copy... yeesh!

I'm still working on my potential post as well. Free time seems to be a bit of a luxury at the moment. Per what you mentioned about freelancers: I've got no strings or links attached on my desire to post. I'm mostly just a fan who's commented on several posts in the last year or so, and I'm an old-school gaming/music geek wanting to spread the word of something I really enjoy in the same spirit as what you guys have got here, and hopefully start a discussion or open a few people to a new fandom to them. But of course, it's your blog first and foremost, so if I get something done and you don't want to post it, there's no hard feelings.

Beside that, at the very least I'd love to chat/discuss about Mega Man, game philosophy or whatever.

Flashman85 said...

Joe: True comfort, that. ;) Looking forward to another eventual guest post from you!

Xan: Pfft. Wedding. (Totally fine--I figured you'd been busy!)

Matt: Right on! And hey, no need to justify yourself--I think we've chatted enough to establish that you're not a robot. Well, maybe you are, but you're at least the cool kind of robot that we can hold a good conversation with.