Lately I’m getting lots of requests to do guest posts. Most often these come from generic cold-calls of the form “Hi I’ll write an article on whatever you want and then I want a link back to my site make-money-fast-by-writing-generic-articles-with-adsense-in-them.com” and the like. But every now and then a fellow Shakespeare author makes a more honest request.
So I thought I’d write up my thoughts on the subject such that I could link to them later and maybe answer some questions.
My Thoughts on Guest Posts
1) I’m not against guest posts. Not only is KJ from Bardfilm a regular contributor, but I’ve gotten some posts from Carl Atkins (catkins) as well, and I remember Alexi did a cool “ask the director” piece. (One of these days I plan to pin down JM and get him to write me something which I will then TL;DR into unrecognizable oblivion.)
2) The point of a post above all else is that it should be interesting content to the Shakespeare Geek audience. Look, I’m in the web business for my day job, I know full well that every “building traffic 101” guide says “Do guest posts! They’ll create links back to your site!” The problem is that nobody properly understands this strategy and ends up a) writing an article solely for the purposes of generating links, and b) highlighting random words inside the article so that there’ll be more stuff to click. This is what those “I’ll write whatever you want me to write” people expect to get away with, and it’s why I never take them up on it. It is very jarring to the user experience, and I can’t see how any regular reader doesn’t look at it and say “What the heck, is this article here just to get me to click on stuff??”
3) What’s in it for the guest? Hey, I’m not against links. I just think there’s places where they belong. “This post was written by X from site Y<—link.” Or, “For more information on this topic, please see previous articles of mine here, here and here <— link, link, link.” See any of the past posts by Bardfilm for an example of how it can work.
4) I’m not in it for reciprocal links, and I’m not going to say “You can post on my site if I can post on yours.” If you’ve got good content that will be valuable to my readers I’m happy to provide you some exposure.
5) If for some reason you think that there is value on me writing something for your site, please go ahead and make that a separate invitation. I’m open to the idea.
Want to guest post for Shakespeare Geek?
* If you’re already a regular contributor in the comments, you can pretty much just send me something you’ve written and I’ll very likely post it. I appreciate the contribution to our community and would welcome the opportunity to show that by providing you some more direct traffic.
* If you’re new to the site, pitch me an idea and tell me a bit about your credentials for writing the article. As mentioned above, I have no real interest in the “I can write on anything you need” crowd. I’d much prefer to hear from people who are already writing about Shakespeare from their own knowledge of the subject, and want to get some more exposure to their work.
* Even if the idea sounds good and you write the article, I cannot guarantee that I’ll post it on Shakespeare Geek. Sorry, but this is for my own protection. While I might like the idea, the resulting article might just turn out poor. If this does turn out to be the case there are other ways I can help out (such as Twitter traffic to the article posted directly on your own site).
* Guest posts will get some extra attention on Twitter/Facebook, to drive their traffic better. A popular link on Twitter will generate hundreds of clicks.
Right now I’m very interested in information that puts Shakespeare in context relative to what we know today. For example, what was Shakespeare’s relationship to the Pilgrims (if any)? Would he have known about them, would they have known about their work, is there evidence that they loved or hated his work? Similarly, this morning I heard a reference to astronomer Johannes Kepler who lived at the same time as Shakespeare. What discoveries were being made around that time, what would Shakespeare have known about them, and how did they affect his work?
Resources for teaching Shakespeare, particularly to younger children, is always a winner. Real-life experience doing so would be awesome. Video? Great idea.
I recommend staying away from the heavy academic stuff. That’s not the audience here. Point back to it if you like on your own site, but use this space to give the high level summary.
I’m also not terribly interested in one-time events that most of the audience will never have the opportunity to experience. So while I’ll accept book reviews (since people can go get the book), I’m not too keen on reviewing individual performances at the local playhouse unless they’re doing something really extraordinary.
Thanks for listening this far. Hope I haven’t turned everybody off, and there’s some folks out there ready to pitch some ideas!