Guest blogging has been a very hot topic lately. It is not at all a new word in the blogosphere: the concept has been around for ages. But only recently it has started to gain real power: more and more businesses use guest posts to reach targeted audiences via providing high-quality content.
With the concept becoming more and more popular, it is quite obvious that related projects start popping up across the Web. Today we are featuring an interview with Ann Smarty, owner of one of the first (but still new) guest-blogging-related projects My Blog Guest.
1. Ann, tell us a few words about yourself: what brought you to blogging and the Internet marketing world?
I entered the Internet marketing world about 6 years ago (maybe more: about two or three years ago I stopped counting :)). I graduated from the university in Kharkiv, Ukraine and got a job as a customer support angel for an ecommerce shop (that was a great job for a university graduate with the good knowledge of English here, in the Ukraine). About six months later I was promoted to their in-house SEO expert – and I spent about a year or two working there and learning as much about SEO as I could.
It was a coincidence that I got in the field. A happy coincidence. But I got so passionate about what I was doing that I couldn’t stop. After a couple of years working in-house, I started my own SEO consulting blog, left the day job and started my own business.
I found blogging exciting and soon it became my first source of income: I got a paid blogger position at Search Engine Journal and blogged for a few clients as well. In a few years I was also invited to be Director of Media at Blueglass and started MyBlogGuest.
So here I am: I am an SEO expert for BlueGlass. I run my own SEO company called SEO Smarty. I am Editor-in-Chief and blogger at Search Engine Journal. I also share my passion for free tools at MakeUseOf. I own and operate MyBlogGuest and I manage a small network of blogs which includes social media and viral marketing blogs.
2. When did you first come up with the concept for My Blog Guest and how long did it take to launch the project?
It was a long time ago. Shortly after I began blogging on SEO, I started to get invitations to guest blog for other sites. So I quickly grasped the beauty of the concept which creates a win-win situation: the blog owner gets free unique content and the author gets a chance to expose his or her brand to a new (large) targeted audience.
I started doing guest blogging for clients (on my behalf) and found that plenty of bloggers were happy to publish my posts. But the process was long: emailing back and forth was tedious. Besides, a lot of emails were trapped in spam filters or lost… I thought there should be a better way for guest authors and blog owners to get connected. And that’s when the idea of MyBlogGuest was born.
It took me a year or so to launch the site. Many of my contacts who I had shared my plans with thought it should be a market place (ala text-link-ads.com) where a blogger comes, chooses his category and adds the best blogs “to cart”. I thought this would diminish the most important role of the project (and guest blogging in general).
The main goal of the site is not to help users build free links with content: it is to connect people to bloggers in the target niche for more benefits in the long run.
So I started it as a forum and developed other additional and essential features on the way.
3. How can MyBlogGuest help bloggers who want to start accepting guest posts?
The community is already close to 9000 members and most of them are willing to guest post on a variety of topics. I myself run three fairly large blogs that regularly feature guest posts (and even depend on them). MyBlogGuest has worked great for me in terms of feeding my blogs with frequent quality content, so the system works.
The important thing I would like all bloggers to be aware of before they start accepting guest posts (either through MyBlogGuest or otherwise) is that there is a lot of spam in the industry. People are trying to boldly get free links to their (clients’) sites distributing spunn or low-quality content. It’s the downside of guest blogging. (I guess spam exists in any Internet-related business and niche, so guest blogging is no different). So what you will have to learn is to introduce high-quality standards and learn to reject content that doesn’t fit.
We are doing our best to ban any spammers from the community – but, as you can imagine, you can’t kill all the spam out there. So what I always ask members is to use our rating and report tools to warn me (and each other) of bad guys if they come across any.
4. How can MyBlogGuest help guest bloggers who need blogs to contribute to?
MyBlogGuest unites thousands of members owning both powerful and tightly niche-targeted blogs. The platform can cover any needs in terms of topics and blog authority. Besides, this is the easiest way to get in touch with influential bloggers and arrange a guest post.
Yet again, even with the platform like this, not everything is that easy. MyBlogGuest is the community in the first place. It only works if you are willing to commit. Guest blogging is about networking. If you only want the list of blogs that accept guest posts and their contact details, you will be disappointed to find that MyBlogGuest won’t work like this. MyBlogGuest has been created to build connections through guest posts
5. Is it just a forum? You mentioned some additional features. Are there any alternative ways to exchange content (besides emailing it)?
For sure. We’ve been building the resource for a year now. We are still in the start-up mode but we have already built some pretty innovative features. One of such features is Articles Gallery. Basically, it allows members to expose their content to the gallery for blog owners to come to offer their blogs to publish the posts. It gives authors one place to publish the articles for blog owners to come and apply.
Thus, guest authors write a good post and then choose the best blog from the offers they receive. On the other hand, blog owners always have the place to go to grab some unique relevant content whenever they have a gap in the publication schedule, get ill, go on holidays, etc. Here’s a quick video how the gallery works.
6. Are there any important rules people need to be aware of before joining?
When I was only launching MyBlogGuest, I intended to create a very democratic community where people are allowed to do anything except for hurting each other. Soon I realized, you can’t do without laws.
Rules have become stricter over the year.
The most important requirement is to commit. I ask all the members to get back to each other (either to reject or accept an offer). I ask all members to provide quality and treat each other with due respect. I also ask members to report those who don’t reply or who spam (for example, re-publish their guest posts elsewhere).
I have outlined our requirements in this post on what guest blogging is NOT.
7. Lastly, where we can read more about MyBlogGuest?
I’ve been collecting featured mentions here. Here are also a few reviews from our members:
- MyBlogGuest Review: A Place for Guest Bloggers to Call Home (with case study)
- 5 Reasons To Love MyBlogGuest.com
- My Blog Guest Guest blogging Platform Review