The Art Of Writing A Paid Post

I’ve been doing paid posts for many years now and in that time I’ve noticed that a lot of bloggers who are also doing them are going about it all wrong. While their post may be good enough to be accepted by the advertiser it’s probably not adding any value to their blog and they probably won’t be approached by the advertiser again.

Most bloggers who refuse to do paid posts do so because they feel it is unethical or because they feel they may lose their regular readers. I touched on the ethical side of it when I wrote the post called Is It Ethical For Bloggers To Do Paid Posts? That post revealed that most people thought there was nothing wrong with doing paid posts as long as certain criteria were met.

Will Paid Posts Cost You Readers

The answer to this is no it won’t, as long as you put as much effort into doing your paid posts that you do in writing your regular ones. In case you’re thinking of doing paid posts one day I thought I’d outline some of the things I do to ensure I don’t lose any of my valuable readers.

  • Choose The Right Product: This is very important. Even though you may not be writing a review on the product or service you don’t want to be linking to a site that you or your readers may find objectionable.
  • Provide Good Content: I’m shocked at some of the paid posts I’ve read. They are of poor quality and the bloggers usually only provide the minimum word count to fulfill their obligations. They should be putting just as much effort into a paid post as they do in any other post.
  • Review Only Products You Use: Just because someone is paying you to write a review is no reason for you to bullshit your readers. Unless I have actually tried a product or service I will not accept a task that requires me to give a review of said product or service.
  • Link Must Be Related To Post: I try to write the post around the product or service so that when someone clicks on the link they are not taken to some completely unrelated site. It’s not always easy to do but the it is well worth the extra effort.
  • It Must Be Natural: By this I mean that your readers shouldn’t be able to tell it’s a paid post. I don’t mean that as a blogger I am trying to hide anything from my readers, which is why my disclosure policy states that all paid posts are place in the SpecialOps category. I just don’t want those paid posts to appear like sales copy or a commercial. They have to be able to retain the readers interest just like any other post on the blog

Not all advertisers expect you to actually review their product. Most of the time they merely want a link back to their site. Even so they would prefer that link to be part of a well thought out post because anything else would reflect on whatever it is they are promoting.

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Interview With Maddy Cuttsworth Over PR Update

How fortunate was I to have run into Maddy Cuttsworth, one of Google’s big boys, and to have him agree to an interview. How lucky are you, my loyal readers, to have access to this exclusive interview with one of the most famous faces behind the huge Google machine.

Naturally, once I got him on his own I wanted to grill him, to learn as much as I could about what Google sees as important as far as PR updates are concerned.

Exclusive Interview With Maddy Cuttsworth

Sire:  First let me welcome you to WassupBlog, I’m sure my readers are waiting with baited breath to learn all that they can from you Maddy.  Before we start, how’s the cappuccino? Does the fact it’s laced with truth serum affecting the taste at all?

Maddy: Truth serum?

Sire:  Never mind that Maddy, let’s get on with the interview shall we? I’m sure my readers would like to know what Google considers important when handing out it’s PR. Take dofollow vs nofollow, for example, is it true that Google would penalize dofollow blogs.

Maddy: Nope, sure Google would like people to believe that Google would frown on dofollow blogs as it upsets the figures collected by our bots, but it’s all too hard to monitor so we don’t bother with it. It’s enough that we spread the rumors that it could harm their ranking and then we let bloggers willing to spread the rumor run with it.

Sire: So, are you saying that when I posted The Myth That Dofollow Leaches Your PR,  I the nail right on the head?

Maddy: (frowning) Yeah, we weren’t at all happy when we saw that.

Sire:  OK. Most people would agree that a blog’s PR should reflect the quality of the content as well as the popularity of the blog itself. Would you agree with that?

Maddy: Yes, of course.

Sire: Well then, can you tell me why my What A Load Of Bullshit blog has never gone above PR0, especially considering it is both popular and has good content?

Maddy: It’s because of the name of the blog. Google does not like profanity.

Sire: So you’re saying it’s because Google does not like the word bullshit. Don’t you realize that bullshit is NOT a dirty word? So you’re trying to tell me if the site was called What A Load Of Cow Manure, it would have a better PR even though the former name would be more accurate?

Maddy: Well yes.

Sire: Seems to me that Google is a bit up itself, but let’s move on shall we? I and a lot of others have noticed that the A Listers of the world tend to have a higher PR even though their blog posts are no better than many of the other bloggers out there. Why is that?

Maddy: I think I can safely say it’s because they do all the right things to make Google happy.

Sire: Oh, so it’s not all about content, it’s just that they are so far up Google’s ass that Google rewards them. Seems a little biased wouldn’t you say?

Maddy: Well yes, but how else can we get people to conform to what we want?

Sire: So Google is more into conformity than it is about quality? Now, let’s tackle those bloggers who have been Google Slapped because they decided to do paid tasks or accept paid links on their blogs. Why is that?

Maddy: Well, it upsets our statistics so we let it be known that we don’t like it.

Sire: So it has nothing to do with the fact that it also affects your bottom line?

Maddy: Yes, that too.

Sire: So once again PR is more than just ranking a site on quality it’s also about making sure they once again conform to Google’s rules.

Maddy: Why am I all tied up, and who the hell are you?

Sire: Oops, looks like you’re all out of cappuccino there Maddy. Reckon that concludes our little interview. Thanks so much for being part of Wassup for today.

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In Defence Of A Bloggers Right To Review A Product

Ever since my famous post Why I No Longer Link To The Likes Of ProBlogger And John Chow, I haven’t had all that much to do with the so called ‘A Listers’, but unfortunately I was brought face to face with one of them who, like Darth Vader, seems to have joined the dark side.

I was reading Lis Sowerbutt’s a review of Brian Clark’s Scribe SEO, and for those of you who know Lis you know she is a no nonsense blogger. She doesn’t hold back when she has an opinion and this review was no different. She was up front and told it just as she saw it.

Unfortunately Brian Clark, the author of the plugin, that you have to pay through the nose for, took umbrage at Lis’s review and rather than being diplomatic about it and discussing the issues that Lis, his customer, had with the plugin in the hope of getting them resolved, he went straight for the jugular. He ended his first comment to Lis by saying;

Also, I read your meta description of this post, and it says the opposite of your on-page conclusion regarding “scam.” I’d advise you change that, or our next conversation will be about libel.

This was in reference to her meta description, which can be read at the top of the browser, that stated ‘Scribe SEO – Review Of Scribe SEO – is it a scam?‘ Notice she didn’t say it was a scam, she was merely asking the question, and she was obviously targeting certain keywords. Anyway, I found this article listing the top 10 definitions of libel and as far as I could tell Lis’s post  doesn’t fit any of them, not by a long shot.

Brian’s left several comments in that post and the bulk of them says little for his character. But this post is not an attack at Brian at all. I wanted people to see how his reaction to a bad review has caused him more harm than good.

I’ve been involved in the retail industry for some 35 years and no matter what part I played in it, whether as a salesman or as a business owner, the one consistent thing I’ve learned is that the customer is always right. There has been many a time when I’ve known them to be 100% in the wrong but I’ve never made a point of it. I would try to point them in the right direction, but if they insisted I let them have their way. They are the customer and they’re the ones that butter my bread.

I was taught right at the beginning that if you gave a customer a good experience they may tell one or two others about it, but you give them a bad experience and they would make sure the whole world knew about it. Brian’s actions in the comment section of that post was about as bad as it could get. More than once he called Lis a liar when she did nothing but give her honest opinion.

Heaven forbid it had anything to do with the shortcomings of the plugin itself. Heck, he even went so far as to say;

SEO experts like Rae Hoffman, Michael Gray and Stephan Spencer have reviewed the Scribe technology, and they give a thumbs up. Much more credible sources than you given the topic.

as if throwing around the names of some bigwigs would lend credence to his argument. I reckon his biggest failing is that he doesn’t recognize hie own customer base. The plugin isn’t aimed at the SEO experts who know what they’re doing, it’s aimed at SEO newbies who have no idea how it works and perhaps if they failed to get the settings right it would give a false result.

I know of many occasions when, as a hi-fi TV/ Video salesman I got more than one call from an irate customer who accused my of selling them some dodgy equipment. Rather than going off the deep end I paid them a personal visit and found that the fault was because they didn’t install it properly. Rather than berate them I showed them where the problem lay and assured them it was a common mistake, even though it wasn’t, and left behind a satisfied customer. You know, most of them turned out to be repeat customers who always asked for me and being as how commissions was a big part of my salary, that was a good thing.

Another thing I’ve learned about business is that a very important factor is PR and I’m not talking about Page Rank, I’m talking about Public Relations, and while Brian may know a lot about Page Rank, his actions in that post shows he knows stuff all about Public Relations.

I would like to make one last point and that is one about public perception. I discussed this in my post Perception Is Important To Your Blogging Career! As a person who has previously had no knowledge of Brian, my judgment of his character can only be made from the way he carried himself while commenting on Lis’s post. My perception of his character may be entirely wrong but that’s all I have to go on because that’s the only side he’s shown me. I can tell you one thing and that is because of this, possibly flawed, perception of his character, I would never purchase anything from this bloke.

I would really like to see what your feelings are in regards to the way he handled himself. Am I looking at this all wrong? Am I merely taking the honorable knights actions by defending a damsel in distress?

On the other hand, if you agree with me perhaps you’d like to spread the word by tweeting the post or by using one of the other social websites below. Either way I would really like to know what your thoughts are?

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