I’m not sure whether I set my standards too high or whether it is something else, but I cannot help but feel a certain level of disappointment over the (few) articles which have been offered as Guest Articles. Not just those offered, but also those on offer through certain writing sites which claim to maintain a high qualitative level but which, when the article can actually be seen, fall far short of what anyone should expect. It is fair to say that almost every single article I have seen has been lacking in two of the most important attributes an article must have: depth and quality.
Depth. The writer needs to know what they are writing about. They need to show their knowledge, their own insights, their opinion and experience. When writing, for example, about sights to see in a city as widespread, as interesting as London, a single sentence will not do. When writing an opinion piece about, for example, a political theme simply saying that the writer disagrees is not enough. When reviewing a product of any nature a quick listing of color and size does nothing to show what the product is about. There needs to be considerably more, and that often means limiting a piece to one attraction, to one facet if there is a word limit involved. Writing a piece on five memorable attractions to visit in London, New York, Paris or wherever within a limit of four hundred words is not going to show any depth whatsoever.
Quality. Everyone expects at the very least that the sentence structure is correct, that proper grammar is used, that words are correctly spelled out and fit within the overall context of a sentence or complete article. An article with a good layout – using subtitles as appropriate – rates very highly against a piece which has simply been written and thrown towards the prospective publisher. Keywords should be appropriate, as should any links included. Writing a good article takes time and attention to detail. It is not something that can be thrown out over a couple of minutes, no matter how much experience a writer may have or believe they have.
A Guest Writer is selling themselves as much as anything, but also portraying their work on a foreign site. The two have to fit together without any form of rupture, without readers seeing that something isn’t quite right or stumbling over what they wish to read. The Internet is a short span system: if what is written and presented doesn’t catch the attention of a reader within the first few seconds, for whatever reason, it will be discarded. The reader will move on elsewhere, and that defeats the object.
I have now rejected considerably more articles than I’ve accepted, partially because works submitted simply do not live up to the claims of their writers, partially because they do not match with the simple criteria noted above, but mainly because it is clear that the writer is merely attempting to get a back-link to their own site and has given no thought to their work whatsoever. Sadly I suspect this will always be the case. I do not intend lowering my standards to accommodate those who cannot achieve even the first rung on the writing ladder.
- Viktoria Michaelis.