How do I respond to someone requesting to be a contributing author on my blog?

Siyanda Mava March 13, 2012
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Yesterday I received an email from someone requesting to be a contributing author on my blog. She even included 3 links to guest posts she wrote on other websites. I only had a chance to read one post and it was good. It received a number of comments – both positive and negative. That’s great!

But now I dont know how to respond. I am new to blogging and my site has been online for only three months. Am I supposed to pay her? Or is their some kind of reward I should give her? Do i create a user name for her on my site?

I have all these questions and I wish I could get some answers, I want to act as professional as I can. She also mentioned that she’s been a journalist for three years.

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  1. Siyanda N. Mava
    March 14, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Hi guys. Thank you both for taking your time to respond to my question. I value both your opinions. I knew the was only one place to get my question answered - makeuseof! 

    @tbrookes:disqus, since my site is only 3 months online now, I haven't made much to pay someone $15 per post ( i know it was just a suggestion). I am only expecting my first pay check from google sometime this month. "
    If your site is currently not making money yet she's still interested and can perhaps get a few freebies out of it then be honest, explain the situation and remember to reward the staff that stuck with you from the beginning when you finally do start earning. " I loved that statement, thank you.

    @muo_jamesbruce:disqus , Spam was one of the first things that came to my mind after I read that email. And because of your words, I'll be extra careful on finding out her intentions for writing for my site. About the links, I already saw an article here on MUO to create a footer info for the writer. So i'll definitely go with your suggestion. Thank you about the username part too, as I wasn't sure which one wont give her too much rights.

    Thanks again to both of you, I now have an idea of what kind of response I'll give her.

  2. James Bruce
    March 14, 2012 at 10:04 am

    I'm going to give a completely opposite view to Tim, because we often have people wishing to guest write for MakeUseOf, or on my personal blogs. Generally, I avoid them like the plague. Most are interested only in spamming their links on your blog under the guise of contributing content. It's all an SEO ploy I'm afraid - geuine inbound links are very valuable, even from a new site such as your own.

    Since your site has only been only for 3 months, I doubt you've monetized it enough to actually pay her.

    I would say set some ground rules - ask about whether she plans to link to other content. If she has a personal blog or something, allow a small footer link at the end of the article, similar to what we have here on MakeUseOf. Don't let her add links to the main body of text. If she's happy with that, go for it. 

    As for username, certainly create a new user with only contributor status (in wordpress). Once published, she wont be able edit the articles to adjust link text, and wont be able to change blog settings. 

  3. Tim Brookes
    March 14, 2012 at 12:17 am

    First up, great question!

    As a writer/editor currently employed by this website I'll try and provide a decent view of what I think you should do.

    We've all heard "pay peanuts, get monkeys" tossed around, and it's generally true. Depending on the volume of work she will be producing then yes, I think payment is important. I have no idea whether your site is making money and how much of that goes straight on server fees, but if you've got a source of income that's steady and will benefit from extra copy then payment is essential. How much you pay depends on the content, think how long it would take to produce the articles you're after and then work out a fair hourly fee.

    Short posts might only warrant $15-$20, whereas well-researched top-quality content takes a good few hours research and thinking.

    The other way of doing it would be offering freebies, e.g. if your site reviews games then a steady stream of free games, equipment, subscriptions to services like Xbox Live should keep your writer happy but only in a part-time position. If this is her sole occupation then she's going to need some cash money. 

    Paying writers well (without bankrupting yourself) is very important as it builds loyalty, morale and a dependable staff. If your site is currently not making money yet she's still interested and can perhaps get a few freebies out of it then be honest, explain the situation and remember to reward the staff that stuck with you from the beginning when you finally do start earning.

    Don't forget to run through some sort of interview process first too, maybe a probationary period to make sure you're both on the same page and things go to plan. Good luck!

    Tim

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