Out of the hundreds of emails I receive every day, many requests I receive are from writers who would like to contribute to Consumerism Commentary in some form, such as a blog guest post. Many bloggers, particularly those whose websites are popular, can attest to receiving similar requests. They come from a variety of sources: freelance writers looking for work, other bloggers looking for exposure, and companies looking to get links back to their websites.
Although there are some periods of time I don’t accept any guest posts, I’m usually happy to entertain all requests. I’m busy, so it can be a great relief when I have the opportunity to let someone else write. I’m not able to respond to every email, though. I often spend as much time — or more time — proofreading and editing an article by a guest blogger as I would writing my own articles. In fact, guest articles often result in being more polished and more professional than the articles I write for myself! I am certainly not a perfect writer and I don’t expect anyone else to be perfect, but I tend to ratchet up the standards just a bit when it comes to guest articles.
Who is suited for writing on Consumerism Commentary
I do not accept guest articles from companies looking to advertise their products or services through the use of editorial content. Even a link back to a website is a form of advertising, and I do not accept link advertising. Consumerism Commentary does offer other options for effective advertising.
Before you ask to write an article for Consumerism Commentary, become familiar with the community. Participate in discussions on the website, become a fan on Facebook, and be engaged in other social media aspects of this website.
The right pitch for the right article
Sometimes, the first email I receive from an interested contributor contains the article in full. This is not a good thing. There’s a reason that television studios or producers don’t read unsolicited scripts. If they were to read a script, and they happen to use an idea that they received, whether intentionally or not, they could be exposed to legal issues. I will not read any article sent to me without communication beforehand.
I’m looking for topics and concepts that are somewhat original — anything that wouldn’t necessarily appear elsewhere. I appreciate relevant personal stories, detailed and well-thought-out analyses, and exercises in opinion if it’s clear why your opinions are exceptionally valid (for example, you’re an expert in that particular field). Some controversy is fun, but Consumerism Commentary is not a political blog. Rants and one-sided criticisms would not be appropriate for the website.
I’m open to any topics related, even tangentially, to personal finance except marketing, blogging, and earning income online.
It helps to understand the demographics of the Consumerism Commentary audience. According to Quantcast, the audience is weighted slightly above 35 years old, though there is a strong showing in the 18 to 35 age range. The audience is heavily weighted in favor of high income and graduate-level education. I won’t accept articles written to appeal to a fourth-grade reading level.
In your message to me, briefly explain who you are, why you’d like to write an article for Consumerism Commentary, what you expect to receive from the experience, and offer your idea. If you have several ideas and are willing to let me choose one, that is fine as well, but make sure you have at least one solid idea before contacting. Here’s a nice checklist to help ensure your message will make it through and I’ll respond to the request:
- Who are you? Offer a brief introduction, particularly if we’ve never spoken before. If we have, remind me just in case. I meet many people, and I feel like my brain is shrinking on a daily basis.
- Why would you like to contribute? If your intent is advertising, don’t try to hide it. I’ll see through that right away and I will simply ignore your email.
- What are you expecting in return? I will link back to an author’s website in a bio or byline. It’s rare that I allow any other links unless they are highly relevant, pointing to research, academic studies, or non-commercial content. Guest authors are not paid.
- What are your ideas? Usually, proposed article titles are enough in the initial email, as long as they are descriptive. If you want to offer more than a title, that’s fine, but do not send a full article.
- Where can I find your writing? If you’re a published author, let me know. If you have a website or a blog where you write frequently, share the link. If you have any exceptional articles that reflect the type of writing you’d provide to Consumerism Commentary, please share.
- What do you know about Consumerism Commentary? I would much more welcome a guest article from a frequent reader of this website than one from someone whose first visit was yesterday.
Be sure to proofread your message to me, as grammatical errors or a poor command of English could reflect negatively on your ability to produce an article for Consumerism Commentary. I’m not immune to typos, and I forgive them easily. With a large volume of requests, I pay attention to detail.
Once you are ready, you can contact me here with your idea.
Providing the article
Once we’ve agreed to a topic and discussed expectations for timing, send the first draft when it’s ready. Most of the time, only one draft is necessary. I don’t have specific guidelines for writing the article, but I do have a few small restrictions.
- Don’t include any affiliate or SEO links.
- Don’t promote a company’s product or service.
- Don’t unfairly criticize a person or company.
Have someone proofread the article for you.
It is rare that after accepting a proposal I would reject the final article. By accepting the proposal, I have a good suspicion that the result will be suitable for Consumerism Commentary. I would not require a writer to go through the effort of writing and revising only to reject the outcome.
In terms of format, I prefer receiving articles in plain text with HTML tags if necessary. I will add appropriate styles and formatting. We use Gravatar for profile avatars, so make sure you have a high-quality Gravatar image associated with your email address. You may also provide a three or four sentence bio that will be included in an “About the Author” section. This bio will contain the link to your website or book, if you have one.
The legal bit
If you submit an article for publication on Consumerism Commentary, you must be legally allowed to do so. Primarily, you must own the copyright to the material you provide, and by providing material to Consumerism Commentary, you are transferring to us all your rights and interest to the content. The content you write must be completely original and never published anywhere else, online or offline, and it must never be published anywhere else in the future.
Benefits of contributing a guest article
Contributing an article to Consumerism Commentary can be a great way to reach a broad audience. Contributors and partners have benefited from increased traffic to their websites, more RSS and newsletter subscribers, and stronger brand awareness. Your content will reach over 15,000 RSS subscribers, Twitter followers, and Facebook fans, and through syndication deals, your article may appear on websites such as Forbes, BusinessInsider, MSN, Yahoo, and others. Quality articles will easily convert Consumerism Commentary readers to your own fans.
Here is a selection of the articles provided by guest bloggers at Consumerism Commentary from the past few years:
- Leo Babauta, author of Zen To Done: The Ultimate Simple Productivity System and creator of Zen Habits
- Donna Freedman, columnist at MSN Money and creator of Surviving and Thriving
- J.D. Roth, author of Your Money: The Missing Manual and creator of Get Rich Slowly
- Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich and creator of I Will Teach You to Be Rich (blog)
- Penelope Trunk, author of Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success and creator of Brazen Careerist (blog and social network)
If the above sounds good to you and you’re ready to move forward with an idea for a guest post, contact me.
Updated May 15, 2012 and originally published July 25, 2011. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @flexo on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.