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Guest Post: Dealing with Link Requests / Sponsored Posts as a Blogger

This guest post comes from Hannah who blogs at Mummy Macaroni and is also an online marketer who knows what she’s talking about.



Most bloggers will be familiar with receiving link requests from other websites. Usually link requests are emails from PRs or SEOs who represent their client in that they are trying to gain exposure for their clients business, or more specifically, their clients website. If you’re not sure whether you’ve come across an SEO, they usually send an email along the lines of:

“Dear blogger,

I am contacting you on behalf of my client, “” who specialises in children’s products.  I’d like to provide you with a guest blog post about the benefits of children’s products, which would be completely unique and add value to your readers.  I’m happy to make a payment for this post being published, all that I would ask in exchange is for you to include a link from the words “children’s products” from the post to my client’s site which is how my client will benefit.”

Now I think it only fair to explain who I am and why I am writing this post for Scottish Mum. I am, what is known as “an SEO”.

I prefer to be known as an online marketer as SEOs often get a bad name, particularly SEOs who send emails like the one above.

Why am I writing this post for Scottish Mum?

The reason I’ve got an interest in writing for this blog is because I have recently become a “mummy blogger” in my spare time as I’m currently 7 months pregnant and when I came across this blog, I was pleased to come across someone who is keen to provide blogging advice to other mummy bloggers and help educate the community about things like PageRank and other SEO related topics because I feel it important for both bloggers and SEOs to understand each other if they’re going to work together.

Whether you started blogging because you love writing, are passionate about your subject or are keen to make money from advertising, I’m sure that most of you who care about the quality of your blog and what your readers think won’t even entertain an email like the example above, and why would you?

Purely for cash?

If that’s your sole aim then great – you’re attracting requests from people willing to pay.  Ideal right?

On the other hand, what if you are keen to make a bit of money from your blog but feel a bit uncomfortable about posting an article that is poorly written, too promotional or written in a style completely different to your own writing style that has gained you a good following of readers whose respect you don’t want to lose by publishing such as piece?

Well for one, if the content sent to you is of this poor quality, this is more likely to come from an SEO who sends an email like the above, the ones that give SEO a bad name within the blogging community.  Not all SEOs are “bad” though, and there’s lots that bloggers can gain from working with them, whether that be money, more traffic to your site or more followers.

The good news is, that these things can still be gained without simply publishing a poor post they’ve sent you.

Here’s my tips on ensuring you benefit from working with SEOs without having to jeopardise the quality of your blog.

1. Be picky about the companies you collaborate with.
You might be approached by some SEOs representing random companies who have no relation to the topic of your blog or who you don’t feel comfortable mentioning on your blog due to their reputation or products they sell. For example, as a mummy blogger, I probably wouldn’t want to collaborate with an estate agent, as I don’t think they could offer me something that would benefit my readers.  Keep the content on your blog relevant to your readers and only work with companies that are related.

2. Establish what the brand really wants to gain from you.
Sometimes an email approaching you for a guest post, or a sponsored link or product review can be unclear in stating exactly what the brand want to achieve through your blog. If you’re approached by a PR, they may be looking to build brand awareness through getting in front of your readership and followers, or they may want to promote the benefits of a new product with the help of your influence and opinion.

SEOs are more likely to want a “follow link” to their brand’s site to help that website rank higher in Google.  The best thing to do is ask them what they want – they’ll realise that you’re not just a naive blogger and will more likely respect the fact that you care about the quality of your site which in turn makes you more valuable to them.

3. Understand your options.
Once you’ve established what the PR or SEO wants from you, you need to think about how you’re going to give them that. If you’re going to accept payment for publishing an article that links to the company, or you’re accepting a product in exchange for reviewing it then you should state that the post is sponsored to make it clear that you have been paid or asked to do so. You also need to make sure any links in such posts are “no follow” if you don’t want to risk breaking Google’s guidelines.

Brands who are looking for increased exposure or brand awareness through your readers should be happy with this and you’ll be happier being honest with your readers and complying with disclosure laws.  SEOs however, are after follow links, so they won’t want you to add the no follow tag or label the article as ‘sponsored’. It’s up to you whether you publish the post as sponsored without adding the no follow link – you won’t be breaking any disclosure laws but you will risk losing PageRank on your site. Losing PageRank shouldn’t affect your site’s rankings in Google but it will likely make your site less attractive to other SEOs who are willing to pay you for a link as this is one of the factors they look at when looking for potential sites to get links from.

You don’t always have to go with their suggestions so if you don’t want to publish a guest post without labeling it sponsored then don’t do it, but don’t just turn away the opportunity either. Try asking yourself what you can gain from the collaboration and be creative in suggesting something different.

Ask yourself why you would naturally write about that brand, or naturally link to them. Build a relationship with them, research their products or services and find out if they have something worth linking to. Perhaps the company has experts in child safety for example, and you could provide your readers with some great insight into child safety by interviewing an expert.

Final Thoughts

Working with SEOs and PRs can be rewarding so don’t always be so quick to dismiss their requests.  The most important thing to remember is that you only do what you’re comfortable with.  If someone asks you to publish something and you’re not sure whether you’re allowed or will get into trouble with Google, then run it past someone (like Lesley aka Scottish Mum) who can help keep you right.

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Guest Post : Chloe from Cookie Jar Life takes my ticket at Britmums Live in London

Last weekend was the Brit Mums Live conference event for bloggers.  I couldn’t make it so I gave my ticket away for someone who wouldn’t have been able to go otherwise.   Chloe from Cookie Jar Life went instead of me, and I’m not sure how she dealt with having my badge to tootle along all day with her, so hopefully she remembered a nice thick marker pen to write over it.

Chloe has written a post of how she found the day, and I’m glad she had a nice time as it can be a little daunting entering a room of 500 people when you don’t know anyone.


Saturday 23rd June I put my usual routine to one side as I set off to London at the crack of dawn for the event of the month #BritMumsLive.

To say I was a little nervous was an understatement. By the time I reached The Brewery I was already a bit shaky, this was to be my first ‘big’ blogging event.

Welcomed by lovely people I soon headed off into the hub to observe and see what was going down.

Wonderful people everywhere, feeling a bit taken back by it all I kept my space at first then @helloitsgemma and @northernmum1 turned up and I felt more settled.  Walking around the businesses tables there was so much to offer, and of course brilliant freebies as well.

The first session I attended was the ‘Blogging for the Greater Good’ which I found very informative, and I hope some amazing things come out of what the ladies said.  I learned that we can of course help many charities if we wished, but a message will be stronger if you focused on that one thing close to your heart.

Next I disappeared off to ‘Secret and Lies – bad behaviour online’ which to be honest opened my eyes up to how people truly react to trolls and abuse.  I having only experience being sent hurtful comments once, just went for the ‘ignore and delete’ method.

At lunch I was joined by the lovely @dorkymum who put up with me for the rest of the afternoon, and we had some fun having a look round the tables again in the hub and attacking the photo booth. We also found the fruity cocktails and cake!  I was in love 😉

The afternoon workshops of ‘sod the stats’ which I love it was an amazing group of ladies talking, and it was plain and simple to see why blogging should just be about what makes you happy.  Finally I went to ‘writing about your life for non-fiction and memoirs’ which to be honest wasn’t for me.  I did feel a little bored and realised that I wasn’t far enough ahead in my blogging ‘career’ to have any use of it.

The evening was by far the best part of my day, totally shocked by the fact I actually got speaking to Cherry Healey, put me in a great mood.

To listen to the blogger’s keynote speeches, well what can I say… I have never laughed and cried so much in the space of an hour or so.  There were some truly beautiful words read up on that stage. Overall I just loved meeting so many new faces, having the opportunity to experience it all.

I will definitely buy a ticket and return next year.

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Guest Post – How much money can I save by switching energy provider?

This is a featured guest post.  Who couldn’t use a little extra advice these days about their energy costs. 

With energy prices still rising from the big six suppliers, it’s hard to know exactly how much you should be spending on your energy bill – and, more importantly, how to lower that. There are so many things that you can do around the home such as turning games consoles off to trim the spending, and through changing provider you can save as much as £420 on your tariff!

The trick to this is that through the right research you can compare electricity prices and hit the perfect sweet spot for your family. We can save on anything from energy bills to travel insurance when it comes to comparison, so have a look here and see how managing your bills better can lead to a reduction in expenses.

How to manage your consumption

Global warming is a hotly debated topic as the UK – well, the world – look at ways of moving to renewable energy. And, while it may not be the right time for your family to move to renewable services there are ways that you can help the environment and your bills at the same time. Have a look at these top four ideas:

  • Insulation – Make sure that money isn’t literally going out of the windows and doors by ensuring that any cracks and leaks are stopped. Just by doing this, you can save as much as 30% on your energy costs.
  • Cold water washing and air-dry – Calculators on energy usage have suggested that just by using cold water instead of hot to wash all of your clothes, you can save more than £100 a year. What’s more is that once this is done, try to save extra by leaving your washing to dry naturally – good for the clothes longevity and good for your pocket.
  • Light fittings – If lights are left on for a full year, they cost more than £100 to run. So, with that in mind, if you turn off the lights every time you leave a room and switch to energy saving products then you will be ready to save money on your lighting.
  • Unplug – An absolutely crucial one, especially in a full property. Do you leave the television on standby when you leave a room? Is that Xbox running all the time? Anything from this to mobile phone chargers being left in can cost you money, and studies have found that as much as 10% of electricity is used by appliances on standby.

Reducing your bill

Because there is no one company that can possibly claim to offer the cheapest electricity and gas services, finding out how to switch can be extremely cost-effective. Once you’ve understood how to use as little energy as possible, you can look at the other options for who should be your energy provider. To do this, all you need to do is follow a three step guide.

  1. Compare the market – Figure out what you’ve been paying in recent months, use a comparison website and see how your tariff compares to others on the market. Calculate how this works in your budget, and then;
  2. Choose the new provider – There are plenty of options in the market for you to choose from, and there are many variables to look at. Different areas can have different prices and you need to look at things like tariffs, discounts, incentives, extra charges, payment options and testimonials to ensure you’re getting the right deal.
  3. Switch – Contact the chosen supplier and you will be sent a contract to sign. If this goes to plan, then you will be able to switch in about six weeks. Be aware that 28 days notice is needed for the old supplier and any outstanding bills should be paid so the direct debit can be stopped. Then, the new supplier with come, the meter will be updated and you’re good to go.
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Guest Post – Cash in the attic? Turn unwanted items into extra pocket money.

This is a Featured Guest Post, and it makes sense to look at our old dusty belongings that simply ship from home to home with us when we move.  Perhaps these dusty old relics could be put to better use, and really turn into cash in the attic. 

Many people feel that to make a house a home, they need to fill it with all the earthly possessions they’ve ever come across. And, while it can be nice to be surrounded memories and lovely items, they could probably be put to better use.

There’s a reason that things tend to go in the attic, and it’s not because you want everybody to see them. Sure, photo albums of weddings, your children growing up and Christmas decorations are placed there to save room, but in the attic and across the home there will be items that could add to your pocket-money.

With the economy not looking likely to change anytime soon, cashing in on these things can do anything from helping the kids go on school trips to raising money for the holiday fund. Whether it’s time to get the antiques down to the auction room or you can start selling DVDs with musicMagpie, now’s the time to start the Spring clean. Read on for five of the best items to sell.

  • Memorabilia – Remember that time you were lucky enough to go and watch Queen on tour and bought some items, or you were given that Bruce Springsteen Born to Run t-shirt as a present? Well, do you still need it? Are you a big collector? Of course, it brings back great memories to you but do you really need to keep it? T-shirts, especially from the bigger bands and the special tours, sell at a great price to serious collectors. With some items going for as much as £100, surely it’s better off out of your hair and put the money in the pot. Don’t forget signed football t-shirts either because they are sought after products by many – especially the vintage ones.
  • Electronics – Technology hasn’t half continued its meteoric rise over the years, and the odds on you having something in the home that you don’t use because you upgraded is pretty much odds on. Anything from a laptop to a digital camera or a smartphone could be lying around, unused. Let’s be honest, once you’ve stopped using it, you’re not going back so stick it on an auction website and see what money you can get in from it.
  • Entertainment Collection – Mixed with both of the first two points, you are bound to have CDs, DVDs and computer games that aren’t needed anymore. So, with that in mind gather them up and decide whether you should continue to have them cluttering up the home. If it’s an old LP then you might be able to get a fair amount for it or if you’ve just got a lot of average discs to get rid of then you can get a little extra pocket-money using musicMagpie to get rid of them.
  • Wedding Gear – One of the biggest sections on auction websites is for bridal wear, and there are plenty of other things from your wedding that could be sold. From ring-bearer pillows and decorations to bridesmaid and bride dresses you can usually get a few pounds for anything you had. Even if you don’t want to sell your dress, there may well be other items that are taking up space – get them shifted.
  • Exercise Equipment – Remember that time that you said you were going to go on a fitness drive? Probably not, but if you did ever invest in an exercise bike, elliptical or treadmill that is now collecting dust in the roof – consider selling it. They cost a lot brand new, so trim the price and second-hand should go for a good few quid. Tightening the belts is starting to turn into a cliché, we’ve heard it that many times. But, with everyone needing to cut back a little, there are always ways and means of earning a few extra pennies.
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Guest Post – Adoption & Drug Users

Firstly, thank you very much to Scottish Mum for letting me guest post on her blog.

I wanted to write something relevant to her readers and I wasn’t sure which route to go down. However, I was listening to a debate on a radio show the other day about adoption and the lengthy process it has become and how this in itself is causing more potential trauma to children in care and I thought this seemed a good topic.

According the BAAF statistics, from April 2010 to March 2011, there were 3660 children under the age of 1 in care. Yet, only 60 babies under 1 were adopted in the same period. The average age of a child at adoption is 3 years and 10 months. To me, this seems rather old to have such a massive change of circumstance. They will have started at nursery and be not far off starting school by that age. If children were placed earlier in their lives, surely there would be less risk of them being scarred mentally by the whole process.


Whilst the adoption process is long for prospective adoptive parents, it needs to be, to ensure that the right number of checks have been carried out, and steps taken to prepare those wanting to adopt. However, the court process to get a child into an adoptive family is what seems to hold the process up. The reason for this is that the court puts the mothers needs above that of the baby. Whilst this is reasonable (they might be able to look after their children once they have dealt with issues), what kind of impact is it having on the child? What, I thought, about the babies born to drug users who are unable to look after their baby? Well, it appears that the interest of the mother comes first in these cases too. The courts will keep the baby with the mother (or in foster care) whilst the mother sees if she can ‘get clean’.

Now I may be cynical but, having worked with drug users (and previously covered the topic on my blog here), I have never once met someone addicted to drugs who didn’t put the next hit before everything else in their lives (however much they insist otherwise). So should the interests of these babies not be taken into account? They have potentially already had a rough start in life, like many babies born to drug users, they might have already had to withdraw from the drugs passed to them in the womb by their mother. How many times does a baby or toddler need to be taken into care whilst the mother ‘gets clean’ and is then returned to the mother only to be taken back into care when she falls foul to addiction again?

Research by Drugscope back in 2003 suggested that there were between 250,000 and 350,000 children born to drug misusing parents. With the numbers of drug users rising year on year, the number of children affected is increasing. The only way to stop this, is to offer effective, realistic treatment to the parents.

Whilst I appreciate that there are drug users out there who desperately want to stop taking drugs and will do anything in their means to make sure this happens, they really are the minority. Unless the mother moves away from her current situation, contacts and friends, she will find it all too easy to slip back into the old habits. It is possible to beat addiction and fight for your children, as the article here shows. 

I am absolutely not advocating snatching babies from drug users as soon as they are born, but maybe the balance needs to sway towards what is best for the baby. The first three years of their lives are so valuable in how they are shaped as individuals and how they judge the world in the future.



Written By
@helpfulmum from You”re Not From Round Here