I'm just curious. Has anyone else noticed the trend where "big" bloggers seem to be blogging less and less while relying on guest posts more and more? Does that bother anyone else?
In some cases it feels like the original blogger isn't a blogger at all anymore, even though that's the persona they maintain. Don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with deciding that you'd rather be a publisher than a blogger. But sometimes I feel like these sites are still riding on the authority status of someone who's barely present anymore, where far too much actual content is coming from relative newbies.
I don't know. Maybe it's just me who's bothered by this. But I feel like it's a part of the trend that led to bigger publications expecting writers to write for free (or under revenue-share-only schemes). And honestly, I think Google's to blame.
They put so much emphasis on the authority status of sites someone contributes to that these older publications and blogs are now exploiting newer contributors by waving their authority status around as being more valuable than actual pay. And in turn we end up with less professional content being published on what are supposed to be pro-level resources.
It's not just in the writing niche either. This seems to be an increasingly widespread issue. And it annoys the hell out of me because I feel like I can't trust sites I've read for years because suddenly more of their content is coming from people who have barely dipped a toe in their respective industries. Yet they're given this veil of credibility because of the site's former authoritative content.
Has anyone else who's been around a while noticed this in any particular niche?
6 thoughts on ““Bloggers” Who Don’t Actually Blog Anymore (or at Least Not Much)”
I actually stopped reading some bigger blogs for a while because of it, Jenn. I’m not against reading content from new bloggers, but if the point is to learn from the people with authority, it’s less interesting when they don’t publish content themselves.
Exactly. It’s great for those newer folks looking for exposure. But it’s not terribly helpful for readers when most of those guests seem inexperienced. I feel like too many bloggers are abusing guest posting as a way to look like authorities rather than actually working to become them these days. If I follow an individual it’s because I want to hear what they have to say. If they stop saying much, I stop paying attention.
I’m noticing that, too. Like Sharon says, it’s nice to hear a new voice now and then, but some of these bloggers seem to bolster their own reputation off the posts of others. There are exceptions to this — Peter Bowerman does a great job with his blog, and the guest posts are always top quality — but the exceptions are few.
In my niche, I don’t see that happening. Then again, if you don’t know it going in, it will show instantly.
That’s a good point. I think in a lot of industries it would be tough for someone to get away with a move like this. I tend to see it mostly on blogs about writing, marketing, social media, and SEO (niches dominated by the misguided “anyone can do it” mentality). And you’re right. Peter handles guest posts well. The blog still feels like his own, he’s heavily involved in discussions, and he brings in people with interesting stories to share rather than taking any old pitch that might attract links or pageviews. I never feel like content on his blog is hyped up. He’s the very definition of what a true authoritative blogger is.
You’re right about writing, marketing, SEO, etc. being the areas where the worst offenders are. It’s really strange, too. While it’s great to have a unique voice now and then, it’s kind of strange to see it constantly. Unless that’s your original business model, it feels like you’re cheating the reader. That said, I’ve seen some guest posts that sound like parroted voices of the blog owners. I’m all for editing, but I’m not a big fan of requiring guest posts to sound exactly like the writer who owns the blog. It seems odd to me. I may be the only person who thinks so, but I’d much rather allow a writer to maintain their own unique voice.
There’s another area that bugs me, and it’s with the design blogs. I’ve seen design blogs that recommend hiring writers for $5; “repurposing” existing content (Hello, copyright infringement!); building those gawd-awful content-scraping sites; trying to get the writing for free by setting up competitive bidding, and; simply lifting the content you need and reprinting it on your own blog.
In fact, it’s the design blogs where I’ve seen the majority of the really heinous sins.
That’s silly. You’d think designers would have a better understanding of copyright and a bit more respect for other creative professionals. But you’re right. While I don’t work for any design firms currently, I have in the past. And while I ended up with some good ones who were willing to learn about the importance of a site’s copy and content, there were also plenty of duds. They saw our work as just something to fill the page and satisfy their aesthetic goals.
Then again, I’ve seen plenty of writers say that design doesn’t matter and it’s all about the content. Both are dead wrong.