Should you still be guest blogging on Huffington Post?
If you’ve been blogging for a while, you might have heard of the “blog exposure holy grail”, The Huffington Post. Where anyone can get published (or publish a guest post), and subsequently gain authority, credibility and massive exposure. For years getting a blog post published on Huffpost was a big deal, but then the cracks started appearing. Should you still be guest blogging on Huffington Post.
The Huffington Post doesn’t pay bloggers
I was never aware of the fact that The Huffinfton Post doesn’t pay bloggers, until the tweet below popped into my Twitter timeline:
HuffPost: We’d like to publish a story you wrote!
Me: Cool! What do you pay?
HP: Oh, we can’t afford to pay, but EXPOSURE!
Me: How about no.
— Wil Wheaton (@wilw) October 27, 2015
After that I found Wil Wheaton’s blog post about how The Huffington post wanted to re-publish one of his blog posts onto The Huffintong Post, essentially also syndicating the piece to various regiolan Huffington Posts. Sounds great right? Until Wil heard that he would not get paid for the re-publishing of his work. Instead he would be getting “exposure”, while Huffpost happily runs ads on his re-published work.
I was immediately relieved that I could stop worrying about an idea to pitch to The Huffington Post guest post. If I’m blatantly honest I would tell you that I wanted to get published on The Huffington Post for the authority, for my portfolio and my Twitter bio, but in reality I’m an SEO-geek and the SEO value of a link from Huffpost was what I was really after. The potential traffic spike to my blog was a secondary thought.
If The Huffington Post really saw value in my content, enough so to publish it, wouldn’t they pay me for that piece of content? That exchange is what gives credibility to The Huffington Post and to my work. If they were not paying people like Wil Wheaton and Kate Middleton, they won’t pay any blogger. Clearly that is going to have a huge effect on the people that are willing to create content for you, especially if that person is an actually authority in their field.
Funny thing about authority
You gain authority by getting your content published on a platform that has authority. The way a media publication gains authority is by publishing content by authorities in various fields. The Huffington Post covers a vast amount of subjects: News, politics, lifestyle, parenting, tech, comedy, entertainment, fashion and that is if you just go off what you seen in The Huffington Post menu bar. Surely you would want to be part of an authoritative crowd if your content appears in any of these categories?
If you don’t pay these various authorities they will probably pass on having their content published on Huffpost, because they likely have better things to do with their time. These authorities will have already made it where it matters to them: their own field of expertise. The fact that the authoritative person spends time creating content for a publication is what gives the piece authority, and in turn gives the publication authority. This is something that is missing at Huffpost.
The Huffington Ghost a big blow to Huffpost credibility
Fake news is a term that didn’t really exist two years ago, and now it’s something that anyone who is online faces on a daily basis. The South African regional Huffington Post recently published a blog that turned out to be by an author that doesn’t exist. It was in fact someone out to prove that The Huffington Post would post content from anyone without doing any research into the author’s background. If you consider that Huffpost doesn’t pay these bloggers, it would be easy to assume that there is also very little, if any, background checking going on around bloggers who write for them.
The Huffington Ghost and the fake news scandal that came along with it is going to place The Huffington Post and their whole blogger section under massive scrutiny. It’s not the first time that The Huffington post have been accused of “clickbaiting”, and this has now placed them under a microscope.
What does this mean for bloggers
Guest posting is still really valuable to any blogger. Not only is there SEO value in the link, but you really can gain more opportunities and new audience members. But guest posting comes at a cost for you as the creator, even if that cost is time. Thus you should evaluate if your time to create the content will justify what you are going to get by getting published where it is you want to get published.
Should bloggers get paid for guest posts?
If you approach the publication with an idea for a blog post, whether you get paid for that is up to you. If you get approached to create a blog post, then you should have a fee. If whoever approached you for a guest post does not value your content enough to pay for it, you would be better off creating the content and just publishing it on your own blog.
Obviously every instance of guest blogging is going to be different, and each blogger is going to have to make their own decisions. Just keep in mind that as a creator you have to see value your own work, because if you don’t, who is? And especially if you are guest posting for a publication like The Huffington Post that is earning money off your work via advertising, you should get paid.
Should I still guest post on The Huffington Post?
Now, with what we know about payment, The Huffington Ghost and the scandal around Huffpost bloggers, should you still try to get your blog post onto The Huffington Post?
Let’s look at it logically:
- A link from The Huffington Post will still be of great value to your SEO efforts, if the link is relevant. If you blog about fitness, you should not be getting a link from the travel section of The Huffington Post.
- Fake news is a real problem on the internet and for search engines like Google. I have no doubt that Google is already working on an algorithm to combat fake news. This means that the SEO value of a link from The Huffington Post will likely be much less in the future.
- Clearly almost anything can get published on The Huffington Post, but if the content is not of good quality then it is pretty much pointless. Creating high quality content that is of value takes time. If you are not getting paid for that time, rather put that high quality on your own blog. Own it!
- The Huffington Post is currently under a microscope and the internet is starting to question their credibility, authenticity and also agenda. Do you want to be connected to something like that? Getting published on Huffpost might be a bad thing in a few years, even if it seems like a good thing now.