Now that we've got a few years worth of content (five, at the time of writing this) in the rear view mirror, Guitar Chalk is setting about the task of refining and honing our craft.
To do so, we're rolling out a shiny new publishing policy that will impact editorial content, both in the future and the past.
While there have been some bumps and mistakes along the way, GC's written content has been born out of primarily two motivators:
- A desire to create something meaningful and significantly helpful.
- A frustration with the poor quality and unhelpful nature of online guitar-related content, broadly.
What I (Bobby) want to do is create a place where the content we create is worth something.
A Summary of Our Publishing Policy
Thus, we have some new policies in place, going forward.
- GC will never use a pop-up email opt-in or scroll window to try and obtain your email address.
- GC will never publish press releases or public relations content regarding any product.
- GC does not publish any article with hidden advertisements or pop-ups. Advertisements are clearly and intentionally marked, weather in sponsored content or otherwise.
- GC participates substantively in only two affiliate marketing programs: Amazon Associates and Guitar Tricks courses
- GC will never use donated products as prizes or giveaways to promote our own brand or to collect email addresses.
- GC does not buy or sell links to or from our domain. Thus, links in GC articles are never for sale.
- All editors, authors and contributors are paid for their work.
- GC does not run surveys, opinion polls or analysis on our readers to determine "trends" or to try and "target" certain products.
- GC does not "re-publish" content from elsewhere on the web. All of our articles are completely original.
Our Buying Guide and "Affiliate Content" Policy
I do not believe there is anything wrong with affiliate marketing, in and of itself.
However, I do find it frustrating when "guitar sites" publish content that promotes an affiliate product with little, or perhaps zero, additional information or value provided. Since Guitar Chalk's inception (in 2012) this has become extremely prevalent and is something I want the GC brand to stay away from.
Having said that:
We do believe there is a great demand for advice and input when it comes to buying different guitar gear. As a consequence, I don't believe there is anything wrong with affiliate-focused posts that recommend products. On the contrary, it can be quite helpful.
Yet, this type of content still needs to meet a certain standard of quality and to bring value to the reader, beyond providing a link and a shoddy sales pitch.
To hold ourselves to this standard (our past content hasn't always lived up to them), these are our commitments, in regards to our affiliate and/or "buying" content moving forward:
- Affiliate content is written in a "magazine-style" copy, meaning we provide a significant amount of information about the product meant to help readers discern a proper buying context. In other words, we're looking to highlight the "ideal buyer" and not to simply sell to everyone.
- In all GC affiliate content, the focus is on the buyer and aims to provide them with a helpful and relevant stockpile of information, agnostic of whether or not they spend money.
- Though we have in the past, GC is no long publishing "product reviews" in the classical sense of the term (see editorial guidelines for sponsored content).
- All product recommendations, whether affiliate or not, are made based on real-world experience and actual use. Everyone who contributes has had a lengthy (years, sometimes decades) and comprehensive exposure to the world of guitar gear and music production.
Policies Relating to Educational Content
Because they are profitable, "guitar lessons" have been beaten nearly to death in the realm of online publishing. In fact, the value of that term has, in my view, been greatly diminished because of the cheapening of music education on the internet. In response, here are our commitments concerning our own educational content.
- GC's educational content is written from a first-hand account with the guitar, not "scraped" and re-worded from somewhere else.
- GC's guitar lesson content focuses not just on the guitar, but on music as a whole.
- GC goes to great lengths to ensure that the quality and accuracy of our content is acceptable, if not perfect.
- GC focuses on music theory, both as a means to prove our legitimacy and help our readers.
- GC will not publish any content from someone who has not demonstrated an acceptable skill with the guitar or as a musician, in general
Questions, Writing for Us and Other Resources
Have questions about our publishing policy?
Perhaps you'd like to write for Guitar Chalk?
Here are a few resources that can help you out.