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August 23, 2011

Giving It Away: (Possible) Guest Writing Opportunity at Running and Rambling

Administrative note before today's post: You've got two more days to take advantage of Patagonia's cool summer clearance sale. Go get yourself a bargain, people. Also, if you haven't done so already, leave a comment on yesterday's Marathon Bar contest post for your chance to win a sample pack.

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“Give it away, give it away, give it away now –
I can’t tell if I’m a kingpin or a pauper.”

- Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Give it Away” (video after post)

I know that I promised each post this week would give something away, but in this particular case I’m not sure I’m actually going to go through with it. It’s something that’s in the “just thinking about it” phase, and furthermore, the thing I have to offer isn’t really anything tangible.

The short version is this: I’m thinking about giving away space on my blog. For the longer version, read on – and stick around at the end for the audience participation segment.

Over the past year or so, I’ve probably been approached dozens of times with inquiries about whether I allow guest posts on my website. Every single time, my response has been the same: I haven’t really thought about it. So I’ve progressed from not thinking to thinking - which is never a bad thing, I suppose – but suffice it to say the question is far from settled.

What’s driving this whole issue is that fact that I’ll be out of the office – WAY out, as in no online access – for a full week in the middle of September. Yes, I’m terrified. However, I thought it might help to slightly diminish my withdrawal seizures if I knew someone was taking care of this space in my absence. Because my blog might get lonely without me around. Or you might get lonely without my blog around. As sad as it is to admit, these are things I tell myself sometimes.

Guest posting is definitely a loaded subject around the blogosphere, for reasons I don’t have the time or energy to go into right now. There is some very reasonable upside to it, however, and I figure that a couple of posts would be enough for me to get a sense of whether this is something that feels right. So that’s the deal I’m offering: one blog post to two different writers during one week in September - free of charge to the right person. If you’re interested, contact me and I’ll throw your name in the hat.

I’m open to proposals from all comers: if you’re thinking about starting a blog and want to get a taste for it; if you have a small blog and are looking to grow your audience; or if you already have a huge blog and want to pull some new traffic your way, make me an offer. If you’re chosen (and if I actually go through with this), I’ll include your name and a link to your webpage, and invite comments from readers just as I do with any other post. That’s not exactly good news, by the way.

But before anyone starts blasting me with e-mail, here are some ground rules …

*  Your subject has to be a good fit with my typical website content, and something that would be of interest to my regular readers.  However, don’t write to ask me what kind of topics my readers would like; if you’re familiar with this website, you know the answer already.  Also ...

*  You're not me - so don't try to write like me.  I'm not looking for another me (God forbid.)  You be you.  Let me be me.  That sounds like an after school special, but you get the idea.

*  Your post has to be an original submission for my website; it can’t be your favorite post from your own site that nobody commented on, or a great article your friend wrote for the running club newsletter last year. But if I end up deciding not to go through with this whole idea, you’re free to publish wherever you like.

*  By submitting an article, you give me full editorial freedom to revise, cut or otherwise modify the content as I see fit. However, don’t rely on me to be your spell check or grammar consultant; if your submission is full of errors, it’s automatically bounced.  My hope is that I won’t have to exercise this particular stipulation – remember, I’m trying to do less work here, not more.

*  Your article must be submitted in its entirety by September 15, 2011.

So those are the guidelines, and I also reserve the right to add more ground rules as I think of them.  (Can you tell that I haven't entirely thought this through yet?)  If you want an opportunity to post here, send me an e-mail with your proposal, and let me know why I should pick you. If the response is strong, I’ll whittle the entrants down to a final handful before notifying the winners. If I don’t get anything I like, I’m scrapping the whole project. But I have high hopes for you all, so go ahead and dazzle me.

Now for the audience participation part: Is this a terrible idea? Do you have strong feelings one way or the other about guest posts on this website? Any words of wisdom or caution for me? Like I said, this whole post is something of an exploratory effort, so I’d love to gather as much feedback as you’re willing to share in the comments below. Be honest - I can take it.

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If nothing else, the subject at hand gives me the perfect rationale to play one of the most memorable tracks – not to mention one of the craziest videos - from one of the absolute best albums of the 1990s.

Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Give it Away” (click to play):





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4 comments:

Richard Averett 8/24/11, 6:11 AM  

I think offering to publish guest posts on a limited basis is a net good idea. As long as your followers know it's for a short duration and that you'll be back, the downside is managed. And who knows, you might pick up a few more eyes.

Jeff 8/24/11, 6:33 AM  

I like the idea of having guests bloggers on a limited basis. I think the tact you are taking is a great one - you'll have high demand and little availability, ensuring you'll get the highest quality writers. Fat Cyclist has done this and gets AMAZING guest posts.

And as soon as I get a really good idea, I'll be shooting you an e-mail. :)

Michael Shane Helton 8/24/11, 9:14 AM  

I think it could be fun, but make sure you know where the guest bloggers live...just in case you need to hunt them down! ;-)

Another thought is you could just have someone post random shots of beauty all week.

Ric Munoz 8/30/11, 4:13 PM  

Sarah Lavender Smith would be an excellent candidate (assuming she'd be interested). She's a respected member of the marathon and ultra communities, she knows the Bay Area running scene like the back of her hand, she's an accomplished writer and her blog recently underwent changes, so it would be a good chance for her (and her re-designed website/blog) to be exposed to a wide audience like yours. And, finally, from a diversity perspective, your readers would enjoy the (expert) ramblings of an elite-level female runner.

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