Monthly Archives: February 2014

Guest Blogging is Dead – let us rejoice!

Guest blogging is deadThe year started with a little panic as SEO marketing bods everywhere ran around like headless chickens screaming that guest blogging was dead. Or, as the spam bloggers would have us believe: Git bogging is dud.

“Ultimately, this is why we can’t have nice things in the SEO space: a trend starts out as authentic. Then more and more people pile on until only the barest trace of legitimate behavior remains. We’ve reached the point in the downward spiral where people are hawking ‘guest post outsourcing’ and writing articles about “how to automate guest blogging.’” Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team.

They have finally gone and done it, those pesky marketing people. In their endless quest for SEO dominance, they have filled the internet with their relentless link-bound spam articles and caused the demise of the beloved guest blog.

RIP come the cries from marketing gurus whose voices must be heard and heeded above all else. Guest blogging is dead! We have killed it!

But is the guest blog as dead as they would have us believe? Was it not just a case of mistaken identity?

The “this is an ex-blog” guest blogging camp

The raison d’être for guest blogging quickly became about getting quality backlinks to improve search engine performance – it was about blog volume and the number of links and not about quality. They even invented programs that could generate the copy on auto and so provide it cheaper.

Soon the blogosphere began to fill with countless, and largely pointless, articles. Meanwhile, search engines like Google are continuing to evolve and are expected to produce even more advanced algorithms that reward good content and not links.

To be frank, it is hard to call the type of blogging that grew out of the rabid desire to link build as anything but spamming. If you printed off all the articles written for this cause and stuck them end to end, they would no doubt reach the moon and back.

Guest blogging in the end became spam blogging and like most marketing practices something that started off as legitimate and highly valued was taken over by the illiterate, often automated, mass producing marketing packs; faceless, talentless individuals who sit in large offices and churn out crap 99% of their day.

These minions of marketing devilry have killed the guest blog.

So say the gurus. So it must be true.

The “it’s just pining for the fjords” guest blogging camp

Actually, it would be truer to say that this is the “a case of mistaken identity” camp. Lumping pure guest blogging in with spam blogging is just plain wrong. Sure, the endless stream of links-on-steroids garbage that passes for content nowadays may have had its day. We live in hope. But guest blogging, in its unadulterated sense, should, and hopefully will, remain and thrive.

The pro-survival guest blogging camp is of a view that spam blogging is evil and that the sooner it shuffles off this mortal coil the better. Proper guest blogging is quality, well-written content that is valuable to its target audience.

To this camp, the world will be a better place once busy marketing executives come to their senses and see guest blogging as more public relations than gratuitous link building. A high quality guest blog can still reach a new audience, gain brand exposure and offer something more in this ever changing world of internet marketing that we have all come to love and cherish.

Guest blogging is not dead

And it’s an encouraging time for the good freelance writers out there who have seen their value degraded in recent years. Good quality sites still use good writers and expect well-composed, engagingly written content from them.

That’s the way it should be in an ideal world.

The star of the guest blogger could be set to rise higher particularly for those who have the ability and the knowledge to spread their views eloquently and entertainingly. For those who have been doing it on the cheap, throwing a few misspelt and badly punctuated words and sentences onto the net alongside a copious strew of links, maybe their time is done.

And that can only be a good thing.

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HP Lovecraft | Inspired by Darkness by Scott Roche

H P Lovecraft

I’ve been a fan of HP Lovecraft’s fiction and perhaps more importantly of adaptations of his fiction since grade school. This probably goes a long way towards explaining the quirks in my personality. Regardless of his effect on my psychology, his effect on my writing has been profound. And I’m not the only one he’s touched. I recently received a copy of Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions by Guillermo del Toro. It’s not surprising that del Toro was also influenced by Lovecraft, to the point that he has a life sized and very lifelike statue of the author in one of his libraries.

In that first sentence up there you may notice that I put supreme importance on the adaptations of Lovecraft’s work. There are countless movies, books, games, and graphic novels that have used either his mythology or his direct writings as a jumping off point. If anyone has influenced my writing more than Lovecraft, it’s writers like Brian Lumley, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. Without the founder of the Cthulu mythos, we arguably wouldn’t have those three gents as we know them.

The impact of an artist on the world goes far beyond just the first generation of writers and readers they inspire. I can only hope that the style that I’m honing will cause future Metallicas to write music taking my lines of prose. If there’s an artist like HR Giger who takes my works and gives it three literal dimensions I would be absolutely tickled even though I, like H.P., wouldn’t likely be around to see it. And that’s even more impressive. The man died at the tender age of forty-six. He’s been dead for just over seventy five years, and he continues to inspire creators.

I suppose that shouldn’t be surprising. I did a little digging and the breadth and depth of what HP Lovecraft wrote is staggering. In addition to his short fiction and novels, he wrote a staggering amount of poetry. He also has a large body of non-fiction work in the form of letters, scientific and philosophical articles, and editorials. I likely haven’t read even one percent of everything he produced in his lifetime. When you’re as smart and/or as prolific as he was, there’s bound to be something in there worth thinking about.

The other, and to me even more interesting, thing about HP Lovecraft is that he was typically published in pulps. His writing was far from popular in his own day. He received rejections because his works were often seen as controversial, and I suspect because they were in many cases very non-traditional. As a writer who struggles to make my career take off, I take some comfort in knowing that, even if that never happens, we as writers can attain varying degrees of immortality through our work.

So how did HP Lovecraft impact my writing?

One of the things I appreciate most in the Cthulu mythos is that evil is often inexplicable and ultimate. Bad things happen in his worlds and the human beings that they happen to are tossed around like bowling pins. They lose their lives or their sanity or both in confronting the evil. I love playing around with Big Evil in my stories. It will often use human beings as pawns, much like in Lovecraft’s works. The important thing for me and the thing that stands out, perhaps more in those works influenced by him, is that no matter how dark things get or how high the odds are stacked against them the heroes of the story fight to their last breath. They may not always win, and even if they do the victory may be small or temporary, but they strive.

His heroes and mine also have a few things in common. The men and women in my stories are usually very much the products of our modern times. They don’t believe that there are things hiding behind the surface of the world that want to, can, and will eat their souls. They barely want to acknowledge the mundane “evils” of our present world, much less the ancient and perhaps unknowable evils that exist on its fringes. The supernatural conflicts that occur in my stories remove that choice from them. The heroes must look upon the face of that evil and change or die. The evil presence and the magic it uses in my stories are also often of a primitive and visceral nature.

Don’t get me wrong. As a person he may have been absolutely horrid, or perhaps just a product of his time. I don’t know. He certainly had views on women, people of other races, and religion that I vigorously disagree with. I am not and will not defend those things. The measure of a great artist transcends these things in my mind though. I don’t have to admire an artist as a person in order to appreciate the art and its impact. Whatever you think about him and the more controversial aspects of his life, I don’t think you can deny that the impact of HP Lovecraft’s thoughts and writings will echo through our culture for decades to come.

About Scott Roche:

Scott RocheSome creatures feed on blood and revel in the screams of their prey. Scott Roche craves only caffeine and the clacking of keys. He pays his bills doing the grunt work no one else wants to take, bringing dead electronics back to life and working arcane wonders with software. His true passion is hammering out words that become anything from tales that terrify to futuristic worlds of wonder. All that and turning three children into a private mercenary army make for a life filled with adventure.