Protect Your Content and Reputation

First off, before I get anyone’s feathers all ruffled, I would like to say that I know there are huge benefits to guest blogging, article marketing, and writing for user content generated sites in terms of generating traffic, gaining new readership, and of course, building valuable backlinks.

But there are a few disadvantages that are often overlooked. Depending on why you produce content for other sites, the cons may not outweigh the pros, but they are something to consider when you are submitting your article to be published on any site that you do have full control over.

Editorial Changes

Whenever you submit your content to another site, you are sometimes (unknowingly) giving the owner of the site permission to alter your content. This can be as simple as adding extra information or images to enhance your work, to having someone else fully modify anything they see fit. There are sites that will accept your article and publish it as is, sites that will not publish content if it does not meet certain standards, and sites that reserve the right to edit your article as they see fit.

Know the Policies

Is it important to you that your content stay exactly as is? If so, you may want to review the site you plan on submitting it to and see what their standards are. Read any terms and conditions that you agree to, as these may state whether your article will be modified or enhanced. If you are sending your writing to a blog, be sure to specify what can and cannot be edited before it is published. Also, make sure to check out your work after it is published, with careful attention to anything important that may have been changed to alter the meaning or message you meant to convey.

Income Generation

Some sites, such as HubPages, Squidoo, and eHow, are setup to share revenue with content providers. They will place Adsense, Kontera, Amazon, and other ads into your article, and if someone clicks on those ads, the revenue will be split between you and the site. But what about other sites that will place ads in your article without sharing the profit? This kind of thing has been known to happen all the way down to the comments you leave on blogs that are infused with text link ads. Are they ads that you will want associated with your article? Will the ads make it look like you are promoting something in your article that you do not intend to? Are you ok with someone making money off of your hard work?

Review the Ads

Again, if you have to agree to certain terms when you submit your article, be sure to go over them fully. If you are guest blogging, look at other ads on the site, and ask the blog owner whether they will be mixing your content with their ads or even affiliate links. If you are not comfortable with any income generation that will be linked to your article, you should keep it to your own site, or at least on a site that has a revenue sharing program so you will be rewarded for your work.

Reputation by Association

Take a look at the site you are writing for. Is it known for having quality content? Or is the content sub-par? Could your article be linked to others on the site? As an example, I was viewing a post that had a collection of great nature pics by a talented photographer. At the end of the article, there were thumbnails for more posts, and some of those images were quite offensive. Imagine that you were the photographer, and you sent that link to your friends and family. Would you be a bit embarrassed if they saw the offensive content attached to your post, even though it wasn’t yours?

Protect Your Image

Before writing for another website, take some time to view other content on that site. Will your articles be linked to others? Is it clear to someone who found your work that not everything on the site is yours? Does the site have good authority? Do you know the other writers in terms of their style and ideals? Just a few things to consider before sharing your thoughts and ideas.

Loss of Content

It’s simple. Any site that you do not run could change, or no longer exist, in the blink of an eye. If you write for another blog, article directory, etc., that site owner has the right, at anytime, to change their site and remove content. So if they decide to go in a different direction or that they no longer have the time to run the website that you have contributed to, you may find that your hard work has disappeared in the blink of an eye.

Backup Your Copy

Just like you (hopefully) backup your PC and your own website content, you should keep a copy of any articles you submit to other sites. If those sites change, vanish, or for whatever reason no longer use your work, you may want to publish your article elsewhere, assuming you did not give up your rights to that content.

Your Thoughts

Have you run into problems with writing or sharing articles on sites that you do not own? What other ways do you protect yourself and your content?

This post is part of our Guest Blogging contest, if you like it then why not sharing it with your friends by retweeting it? this will give credits to the author and a better chance to win one of our awesome prizes.  By the way.. you also can participate in our contest, it’s not late!

Kristi Hines is freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. Be sure to check out her eBook on effective blog post promotion strategies.


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{ 36 comments… add one }
  • Yuli Cut
    September 15, 2011, 12:07 pm

    much needed, very useful information, thank you want to share it with us all. One thing that is least preferred by google duplicate content i.e., the number of pandas, so with their eyes the content and images are the best solution, but why duplicate content still occur?

  • Dawn Conklin August 25, 2011, 1:37 pm

    Nice article! I don’t usually do guest posts on other people’s blogs but occasionally I allow people to do guest posts on mine. They email me their post and I let them know if I would prefer something to be changed. I haven’t had to ask them to change anything but that is how I would do it if I needed to. I keep it as agreed between both of and do not add any relevant links or articles to their post. Some of my own posts have relevant links but I never changed a guest post after I approved it. I don’t think that is right to do to the author!
    Dawn Conklin recently posted..Honesty Will Help Build Your BusinessMy Profile

  • Carey Suante June 7, 2010, 12:32 am

    Great resource here on protecting and securing our intellectual property.

  • Tinh March 21, 2010, 9:40 am

    Great point but I think we should consider guest blog a paid post, we receive backlinks, traffic, reputation and money (revenue-share). That means we sell it to the owner. However, editorial changes shound be carefully considered as sometimes the key point would be misunderstood by our readers
    .-= Tinh´s last blog ..Make Your Blog Faster with MaxCDN for Just $10 =-.

  • Dave Doolin
    March 16, 2010, 12:10 am

    The point about editorial control is something people don’t seem to think about very much. Some blogs require giving up copyright. Not sure how I feel about that.
    .-= Dave Doolin´s last blog ..Top 10 Traits for Finding Your League of Extraordinary Bloggers – Saturday Morning Surfing =-.

  • Dennis Edell March 13, 2010, 5:30 pm

    Very good stuff Kristi. I haven’t guest blogged anywhere yet, but have had them on my blogs with no hassles…no worrisome hassles anyway.

    Up to now, if I add/delete/change anything I send it back for approval. Now though, I will put something right on my “write for us” page.
    .-= Dennis Edell´s last blog ..Do You Have a Good Website/Blog Designer? Meet CJ – My Awesome New Designer! =-.

  • sudharsan March 13, 2010, 12:26 am

    hmmm..very nice points..

    i like it very much
    .-= sudharsan @ tricks tips´s last blog ..Badjuju just happened !? – Commentluv Problem solved =-.

  • Home Business Blog
    March 11, 2010, 12:27 pm

    This is indeed thought provoking. With the appeal of some extra exposure many bloggers do not really think of all these issues. But the fact still remains that your motive for guest posting will also determine whether you’ll be concerned with what your content is used for. If your concern is earning some money with your content then posting in sites that share income with you should be your focus. However, if you’re posting for more exposure, link back and traffic purposes then what you’ll be looking for should be different.
    .-= Home Business Blog´s last blog ..Internet Marketing For Home Based Offline Businesses =-.

  • Dana March 9, 2010, 1:24 pm

    I never think like this before — i am really happy each time my guest posting posted so never think about other aspects. But — from now on, i rethink about it.
    .-= Dana @ Blogging Update´s last blog ..4 Things That Slow Down My Blogging and The Solutions =-.

  • chandan
    March 8, 2010, 11:51 pm

    Kristi nice article, you always deliver some nice information when you write article, it may on your blog or on the guest post.

    Well I want to know that the sites who assure for revenue sharing for writing content, can we really believe on thosesites for good income?
    .-= chandan@work at home jobs´s last blog ..Few quality link can help you for get rank on search engine =-.

  • Dave Dugdale March 8, 2010, 9:36 pm

    Good point on a backup copy, wow I never thought of that. Must do that soon.


  • DiTesco March 8, 2010, 8:42 pm

    Yet another awesome post Kristi. Never fail to deliver good articles. Heads up for this awesome tips on how to better prepare for a guest post. I have to admit that I myself have overlooked some of them and thanks to you, I got this one nailed…
    .-= DiTesco´s last blog ..DiTesco’s Weekly Echo Is Back #16 =-.

    • Kristi Hines
      March 8, 2010, 9:32 pm

      These are actually some things I overlooked as well, but I realized when I lost two articles I wrote because the site I posted them on changed, I should have had them backed up to use elsewhere.
      .-= Kristi Hines´s last blog ..Valuable Commenters vs. Comment Spammers =-.

      • Hesham March 9, 2010, 1:55 pm

        For this reason I will do my best to guarantee that no one lose their guest posts here on our blog!

        I love this post 😉
        .-= Hesham´s last blog ..My impressions about Guest Blogging contest =-.

  • Jack Cola March 8, 2010, 7:44 pm

    Excellent tips.

    A few things I would like to ask the host blog before guest blogging:

    *If you edit the post, I would like to see a preview of your changes before it gets published
    *What time will the post be published
    *How many links are allowed
    *Can I include my own affiliate links in your articles – if so how many
    *Who will own the post after its published
    *What rights do I have
    *Where else will the post be published
    *Am I allowed to publish the post elsewhere.

    • Kristi Hines
      March 8, 2010, 9:33 pm

      Great list of questions! These should be standard for anyone sharing their writing on other sites.

  • Gabriele March 8, 2010, 6:49 pm

    Some webmasters who share the same host with me asked me to write an article for them.
    Now, we are not talking blogs, but real webs.

    I went through great length to supply a good title with a nice keyword combo and saw to it that there was no keyword spam by myself in my writing. I supplied a photo or 2 and all seemed perfect.
    My link always stayed as a follow link. However, after a year or so my article link showed up as a so called orphan or no good link in my host’s statistics.

    Why that?

    Most articles are treated like comments in blogs. They move into archives dated by year and month. Obviously, the more far back the less traffic they generate.

    What is the conclusion?

    Submitting articles or comments is not just about helping PR but mainly for traffic, in my mind. Therefor, I wonder sometimes if a nofollow article or blog comment, which may be found, would not be worth more in that context.
    .-= Gabriele´s last blog ..Mar 8, Entertainment Tenerife by Loro Park or Loro Parque – News and views =-.

  • Peyton Farquhar March 8, 2010, 6:23 pm

    Who submits content without bothering to due diligence where it’s going to be published and/or who owns that particular site? This is fundamental common sense here to me, particularly, since the Internet makes it that much easier to check on titles & names. Personally, I would not arbitrarily upload my content without first having gotten to know the person who is going to publish it. This can be as simple as an email and/or Facebook page or both. I’ve guest blogged on several different sites and have never regretted having done so, but just like anything else in life, if you’re lazy and don’t bother to open your eyes, then it’s only going to come back to bite you.

    • Kristi Hines
      March 8, 2010, 9:36 pm

      Even if you know the person well, you still have no real control of what they do with your content. I really wonder, without some kind of signed contract, how much rights you have once you hand over your content.

      • Peyton Farquhar March 8, 2010, 10:24 pm

        For starters, there is your copyright. (c)2010 Joe Blow All Rights Reserved usually spells out precisely the manner in which content can be used. There are also several different types of Creative Commons copyrights as well. No legitimate website owner who wants to be taken seriously will infringe on content, and, if there is a fear that it will be, then that’s where the contract part comes in. However, I find that contracts of this type tend to have to be with larger entities with deep pockets who can fight off an infringement suit because they’ve got an army of attorneys.
        .-= Peyton Farquhar´s last blog ..Amazing Icebergs =-.

  • Ileane
    March 8, 2010, 6:19 pm

    Hi Kristi,

    I had a situation once where I did a guest post for a good friend. I rushed to get the post done and neglected other things, like my own blog, to get the post done on time!

    What I thought was “on time” and what my friend thought were 2 different things. The post was held for well over 3 weeks and I was very disappointed. But it was really my fault because I “assumed” that the post would be published the same day or at least within 24 hours.

    I learned that it’s best to be sure that you and your host are on the same page when it comes to timing.

    I’ve heard that some bloggers consider the Alexa rank of the host blog before guest posting. I think this might be a good idea for a new blogger, but for more experienced bloggers, I see nothing wrong with giving a newbie a helping hand if their Alexa rank is on the rise.

    Thanks for these other valuable tips.
    .-= Ileane @Blogging´s last blog ..Diigo Extension for Google Chrome Browser =-.

  • Tom March 8, 2010, 5:31 pm

    I know a lot of bloggers use the text in their articles to link to other articles of theirs. I make sure of the quality of these links by doing the research myself and including additional links in the post so the blog owner doesn’t need to. Saves them time and gives me peace of mind cause I know what my article is linking out too.
    .-= Tom@Free Squeeze Pages´s last blog ..Affiliate Marketing – NoFollow and Content Is King =-.

  • Garen March 8, 2010, 4:55 pm


    Good information. For me guest blogging should be taken from an approach of not just doing it out of the blue. For instance, participate on their blog about a week or so with “valuable” content. Really, it is NOT always about building backlinks, but rather building a solid business relationship.

    You could have ALOT of guest post, and could also network to find more contacts. This is essentially how you beat your competitors. Once, you guest post ask them if they would be interested in guest posting on your blog. Its like you scratch my back, I will scratch your back.
    .-= Garen @ Best Web Hosting Service´s last blog ..Best Wordpress Blog Plugins – Plug It In, Plug It in =-.

  • Agent Deepak March 8, 2010, 4:25 pm

    Great tips and suggestion. I do backup all my article and keep track if someone is copying my content.
    .-= Agent Deepak´s last blog ..Interview with James Richmond – The InfoPreneur =-.

  • Jack March 8, 2010, 4:05 pm

    Great tips! Another great way to see if anyone it copying part of your content and pasting it in Google. You can contact the webmaster and ask them to at least reference your content back to your site.
    .-= Jack@Online Marketing Blog´s last blog ..7 Blogging Mistakes You Can Avoid Right Now! =-.

  • gautam March 8, 2010, 2:35 pm

    Those are great suggestions Kristi, I liked the idea of backing up your copy so that you don’t lose on any data. I think I don’t edit the content of my guest post unless there are spelling mistakes because that can put off some of my readers
    .-= gautam´s last blog ..5 Golden Rules of Relationship Blogging =-.

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