I’ve been moonlighting as the content editor of Problogger.net of late, fielding all the guest post enquiries and submissions. It’s been like a baptism of fire when it comes to the good and bad of guest post submissions.
I had a bit of a head start, having completed Jon Morrow’s Guest Blogging course last year. I knew how it should be done but, with so many blog posts on how to be a successful guest blogger, I thought everyone else did too.
Man, was I wrong.
So here are some reasons why your guest post will never, ever be accepted. By The Copy Detective or any other blog (that matters, I mean).
1. You get my name wrong. Seriously. My name is all over my website.
2. You call me Webmaster or Admin. Way to get personal.
3. You offer to pay me to publish your post. If you have to pay, it ain’t worth publishing.
4. You ask me to pay to publish your post. I’m not even going to dignify that one.
5. You offer to write posts on any topic. Good blogs cover a niche so that gives you a clue about topics. Then there is a lot of thought gone into blog categories so there’s another clue. “Any topic” indicates you don’t have a niche; certainly not one that matches mine.
6. You ask me to tell you a topic. You want me to do all the work?
7. You pitch bland, generic post ideas about SEO/content marketing/online marketing. If you want to stand out in life, you have to be original. Blog post titles that are seven shades of beige aren’t going to get my blog noticed, or yours.
8. You tell me you have a team of expert writers who can craft an original post just for my blog. I’m not soliciting you for content here. Pass.
9. You’re rude and/or demanding. I’m amazed at how many people have the idea that getting their post published is a right, not a privilege. You’re asking to be a guest so watch your manners.
10. You demand a specific schedule/publish date. My editorial calendar, my scheduling decision. If it doesn’t fit in with your big launch date, I’m sorry. (No, I’m not.)
11. You follow up your “request” within a day, asking when your post will be published. Seriously, we all have other things to do – like run businesses. If you haven’t heard from the blog owner, be patient. And watch your manners!
12. You include lots of promo links. A good blog post offers insight and value. It’s not a cheap form of promotion for your business. Leave the links for your bio.
13. You tell me you want to improve your ranking. Now guest posting is part of a strong content strategy, and that will help your rankings. We both know that but don’t go blurting it out like that. It makes me feel used.
14. You actually tell me that you’re looking to promote your latest whatever. See the two points above.
15. Your email is badly written. If you can’t manage a good email that tells me all I need to know about your blog post then…what?.
16. Your post sucks. ‘Nuff said.
17. Your post hasn’t been proofread. I’m not your proofreader.
18. Your post is badly written. Most blog owners will do some editing on the way through but if your post needs more than minor tweaks, it’s not worth my time. I’m not your editor.
19. You won’t accept edits to your post. You’ve (hopefully) put a lot of effort into your post; I get that. But as the blog owner, it’s my blog and if I think some edits are needed, please accept them graciously.
20. You clearly haven’t read the guidelines. Guest post guidelines help you get your post accepted. Worth a read, don’t you think?
21. You send me a post that’s already published on your site. Most guest post guidelines ask for original content that isn’t published elsewhere. Sending through an already published post is a bit insulting.
22. Your post is actually just an infographic your company has created. Ergh. So many shit infographics.
23. Your post sucks. See above.
24. Your bio is longer than the post. You generally get 2-3 sentences and 1-2 links (if you’re lucky). Don’t abuse it or your bio will be edited and you probably won’t like it.
25. Your email address screams Spammer! Hotgirl96@hotmail.com or firstname.lastname@example.org don’t really give off big credibility vibes.
26. You expect the blog owner to promote you like my first-born. It’s in our interest to try and attract as many readers as possible but don’t get shitty because I haven’t tweeted your post every hour.
27. You’re rude. I’ve mentioned watching your manners, haven’t I?
28. You’ve clearly sent a generic email to several blogs. Generic email = generic post. I want to feel special. Make me feel special.
29. Your headline makes me yawn. How exciting your post is starts with your headline. There are zillions of blog posts about how to write great headlines (like this one, this one and this one for starters). Read them. Apply them.
30. You don’t have an introduction or conclusion. Every good story needs a beginning, middle and end. Make sure yours does too.
31. You send your post through in some obscure format I can’t open. I don’t want to spend time figuring out how to open your document. Make it easy, please.
So there are quite a few reasons I’ve rejected guest post submissions for The Copy Detective and Problogger.net.
Now I want to help.
I want great guest posts so here are some tips on helping your cause.
Read the blog you’re pitching to, including the comments.
You’ll get a feel for the character of the blog, the tone and style of writing, the regular readers and what floats their boat. Ultimately, blog owners are looking for posts that will get their readers excited so trying to impress the readers will impress the blog owner.
Look for the blog owner’s name and use it.
Using someone’s name in a friendly introduction is so much nicer than Webmaster or Admin. And it will take you under a minute to find it. If the blog you’re pitching to isn’t run by a single person, make your greeting more generic but still friendly.
Look for guidelines, read them and follow them!
As I mentioned above, blog owners write guest post guidelines to help you. They usually include what is expected and when you follow them, you’ll have a head start. Trust me. Here are the guest post guidelines for The Copy Detective.
Suggest some ideas and even include a post outline to give them an idea of what you’re suggesting.
It’s all very well and good to write and say that you’re a big fan and that you’d like to guest post but most of us have lots of emails to get through in a day. You’ll further your cause if your first contact includes one or a few magnificent ideas that show off the fact that you’ve done your research and you know what you’re talking about.
Don’t get shitty when your post is rejected or you don’t get a response within 5 minutes.
I shouldn’t need to include this but apparently some people think it’s ok to be rude. It’s not. And it won’t further your cause.
Get someone to proofread your post.
I’m crap at proofreading, which is why I get an expert on the case. (Thanks, Trish.) Here is a helpful post about proofreading, and another, to help you. You want to make sure there are no errors so get some fresh eyes on your work.
Write your best work.
I was once told that your guest post submissions should be 10 times better than anything you’d publish on your own blog. If you’re always crafting stellar posts for your own blog, that says something about how much time and effort should go into your guest posts.
Guest blogging is your chance to get in front of new audiences – audiences that have been painstakingly developed by the blog owner. When I publish a guest post, I am putting my reputation on the line by endorsing you and your opinion.
It’s a big decision. So don’t take the piss, ok?
The Copy Detective