Shady Writing Tactics: Why I WON’T Place Your Articles

I’d like to thank freelance writer Alicia Rades for inspiring me to write this post. You can see her own version of this topic here.

Illustration by Ramiro Roman

Illustration by Ramiro Roman

Hey there!

I’m writing this post because it’s going to end up in my FAQ page. Because I get asked about this a lot, and I’m tired of having to explain it to each person individually. From now on, I’ll just be linking to this.

There’s a trend lately among “potential clients” wherein they want an article written (good!)…about their product (okay under circumstances)…and then pitched/”placed” for them at a particular publication. It’s that last part that’s the problem.

I don’t place articles.

Here’s why:

I’d Be Taking Advantage of Fellow Editors/Blog Owners

I’m a writer and an editor, and I love both of my jobs equally. And I have a great respect for my fellow writers and editors.

As an editor, in particular, I know how hard it is to make the tough decisions needed to keep a publication running. And how much trust has to be put in writers.

I would be betraying that trust if I approached an editor with a “placed” pitch, especially if I didn’t disclose what I was doing.

Not to mention it might not even be possible! Just because I pitch a post doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to get published. Which brings me to my next point…

I’m a Writer, Not a Wizard

Don’t ask a writer to do a head editor’s job.

The only person who can really “place” an article — “guaranteed” — is the head editor or the site/blog/publication owner. Freelance writers can try to get an article placed, but they don’t have any real control over the final results.

But freelance writers really shouldn’t be trying to get anyone’s articles placed but their own because…

It’s Unethical on Many Levels

Getting an article placed under false pretenses is unethical. Not only would I be lying to the editors, I’d also lying to the readers. And if I chose to promote the article after getting it miraculously placed, then I’d lying to my readers. That’s not cool.

Doing something like this could hurt my reputation. Badly. And it could end up hurting yours too, if you’re the person who hired me to engage in said shadiness.

There’s also a potential that I’d be getting paid multiple times for the same article, which is super shady. I’d be getting paid once by the “client,” once by the publication, and possibly a third time if there were hidden affiliate links. Oh, and that third item? Definitely illegal. Which brings me to my final point…

It’s Potentially Illegal

Most of the people who ask me about placing articles also want hidden affiliate links added into the post. But guess what! That’s illegal.

Since I’m based in Los Angeles, that means I’m within the FTC’s jurisdiction. Endorsing a client’s site/link without disclosing that I was paid to do so goes against FTC’s endorsement guidelines since this link to the client’s site would be considered an advertisement.

However…

I’m primarily a ghostwriter. I have no problem writing a blog post as you, provided that it’s under legal circumstances (for instance, I wouldn’t be able to write any educational essays or term papers).

Of course, after I wrote the post for you, it would be up to you to get it placed. After all: It’s your article.

And hopefully this is the last I’ll have to say on this subject.

Thanks for reading!

–Lauren*

 

Posted in Blogging, Freelance Life, Writing
4 comments on “Shady Writing Tactics: Why I WON’T Place Your Articles
  1. Having a go-to explanation article like this is really smart…I imagine a lot of people have some vague idea that they shouldn’t be asking someone else to place their article, but they don’t know much about the actual reasons behind it. (I certainly didn’t know.) This lays everything out perfectly!

    • Lauren Tharp says:

      Sorry I didn’t see your comment until now! Glad you enjoyed the article (and that you think I’m smart for writing it ^_^ ). This post has certainly saved me a lot of time when it comes to explaining things to potentially “shady” clients.

      And, every once in a while, the client and I can come to an agreement where I write the piece for them, but they place it themselves. Which works out great for both of us!

  2. Lizzie says:

    Hi Lauren, I literally JUST had someone ask me to place a link in a blog post I posted a couple weeks ago because I linked to a source he had used in his own post. I was like “thanks for thinking of me but no way, man!”. I thought it was squirrelly and have no idea how he found me in the first place. Thank you for posting this post since it helped me realize I wasn’t the only one who was getting this kind of contact from people.

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