I know I have read thread on this before but I was recently asked to write a new article for free in return for a link.
How has anyone else handled this?
It's definitely worth thinking about what they will be getting from the article. Will they be generating revenue from advertising space or their own sales? If so, why aren't they willing to pay you?
And also, how much value is there to this link they are offering you? Surely a link and acknowledgement/credit for your work is a bare minimum? Why do they think it is a suitable alternative to payment, and do you agree with them?
Writing is often undervalued, but I know as a writer it is often hard to put a value on your own work and time and to then push for that from potential clients.
This comic from the oatmeal sums it up very well though: http://s3.amazonaws.com/theoatmeal-img/ … posure.png
It depends how much that link is going to be worth to you. To give you an example:
I have a ballet blog. If I were invited to write an article for another ballet website, with a link to my ballet blog, I would write the article for free. I would do that because readers of that ballet website are dancers, so they're likely to be interested in my blog, so they'll click on the link. Once they're on my blog, there's a good chance they will browse around and find something they'd like to buy.
But let's say someone invited me to write an article on flamenco on a news site, because they've seen one of my flamenco Hubs. I wouldn't do that for free. The readers on that news site won't all be flamenco dancers, so they're much less likely to click on my link. Even if they do click, they're far more likely to go browsing around the rest of HubPages than read the rest of MY Hubs. So I stand to get a lot less benefit from that link.
And I would never, ever write a free article if all I was offered was a link to my profile. Online, people read articles because they're interested in the subject. The vast majority of readers never even notice who wrote the article, and even if they do, very few are interested enough to click on the name and read more about the author. Even fewer feel motivated to read more by that author.
If you've got the free time and are willing to do it, go ahead - just don't expect miraculous exposure from it.
Last summer I was asked to contribute an article about Iron Maiden to a horror website's summer music report. At the end of my article they added a brief "author bio" paragraph which had links to my HP profile and my Tumblr blog in it.
As near as I can tell, it had no affect whatsoever on traffic to either site. Oh well (shrugs) I had fun writing it anyway.
Thanks for the comments folks. I decided my time is more valuable than writing for free.
Hi Stacie, glad you were able to quickly make a decision.
I definitely agree with the previous comments which I believe were spot on. It's certainly about what it's worth to you. I typically consider the social media presence and traffic size of any cold pitch similar to the one you received. Here is something that I do on occasion: If I have a bit of downtime, or the topic is of interest, I'll kick it to an outside source. Even if the backlink isn't necessarily valuable at the time, it can be a bit of good writer's karma.
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