What’s the catch with free blog content?

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What's the catch with free blog content?

I’m all about free. BOGO. Free app with entrée. But when someone offers to write free blog content, my spidey sense tingles. Not that writers don’t love to write, but I immediately ask, “What’s the catch?” Because there’s no fairy godmother of creative content. There is a catch.

I write for a living. So I’m a little biased against the loosely associated paragraphs of rehashed content from an online search. I field free writing offers from “fellow” writers regularly. “I’ll write free content for your blog. You’ll get a photo, links and amp your search results.” Really. Hmmm.

You may have seen a pitch for free blog content in your Inbox. If you’re determined to check it out, then make no commitments, do this instead: Get them to send you a sample post.

Once you read the sample post, go back and follow the outbound links. Notice how the linked-to article has weirdly similar content to the article you were given? Often, freebie content writers paraphrase pieces from other articles, then include an outbound link to the original article. It appears appropriate, but in actuality, they’re lifting phrases and rehashing original content.

What’s wrong with that, you ask? It undermines the voice of your brand.

Say you’re a personal trainer and a freebie blogger sends you an article on nutrition. How does its content relate to your services? Does the blog article tie together nutritional tips from you with the benefits of motivational, supervised training? Or is it about how we look at nutrition has changed, that eggs are good protein and leafy greens are essential? One has the potential to be relevant. To promote your expertise and your differentiators. The other is flat, irrelevant content. Space-filler.

Any article published on your website or social media should be related to you and your business: What you sell, Who you are, or Why it’s beneficial (the “what’s in it for me” message).

Organic, search-friendly, written content is original. It gives you a voice for your brand. A voice that points out how your products and services are better than the competition’s. What you know that others may not. What being you is all about and why that’s a good thing for your customers. That’s good blog content.

As you can imagine, small- to mid-sized business owners are a favorite target of freebie content offers. Many don’t have the marketing budget to hire an agency with a cadre of writers producing relevant, on-message content. Nor do they have the time or desire to write their own search-friendly, relevant (to their business) content. Enter nhaile.

So definitely go for the buy-one-get-one appetizer offer at happy hour – I’ll join you! But take a pass on the too-good-to-be-true dangling carrot. Call me instead.