Delete. That was the sound of me getting rid of another poor guest post pitch.
I used to respond to every guest post request I got, but lately I've been inundated with approaches that are, quite frankly, poor.
That's probably one of the reasons that a lot of prominent bloggers are refusing to accept guest posts.
I have to say that I love a good guest post. But I'm not so desperate to find guest bloggers, that I will take any old post that someone throws my way. Here are the issues that make me turn down guest post approaches.
1.The Anonymous Guest Post Approach
I have a name, and it's not hard to find. If you send a guest post pitch without a name, with a generic Dear Sir (I'm a girl, but it's amazing how many of those I get), or even worse, with the wrong name, then there's no point in reading past the first line. Because that tells me that the blogger couldn't be bothered to click one link and find out who to send the guest post approach to, which means that the post is likely to be shoddy and sloppy too.
2.The Guest Post Form Letter
Somewhere out there someone has given a bunch of people a couple of templates to use for trying to get guest posts placed. As a writer, I am very tuned into language so I can tell when someone is using a template.
I'm all for bloggers making their lives easier, but my issue with these approaches is that there is no effort to personalize the templates. I've had pitches which still have the words ‘insert topic here' in the email – that spells carelessness and is another reason to delete without reading.
3. Stop Texting Me
A guest post pitch is not a text message – and it's not a tweet either. There's no word or character limit which means there's no need to substitute ‘U' for you or use any of the other common SMS abbreviations. If you want to convince me that you are the right person to write on my site then take the time to write your pitch email properly.
4. Forget the Essays
At the other end of the scale from SMS speak is an extended ramble where I can find no evidence of what the post idea is and why I should publish it. Take a leaf out of a professional writer's book, and when you send a pitch to blogs that accept guest posts, craft the kind of approach you could send to a magazine editor. Include:
- the title
- a brief description
- how it fits my blog or audience
- why you are the best person to write it
Finish up by telling me which site you plan to link to in the bio. Bloggers who try to hide this info create another red flag for me.
5. Does The Guest Post Fit?
Let's take a look at that third point – how the post fit my blog. You know and I know that guest blogging is an exchange. I get good content; you get to be published somewhere else with a link to your favorite website or blog. But that doesn't mean that I'll take anything. If it's not relevant to my audience, there is no incentive for me to publish the post.
Here's a tip for prospective guest bloggers: it's better to spend a few minutes browsing the blog so you can find something that is relevant to my readers and not something that sounds like it came from a guest post network.
6. Novelty Value
After running a blog for several years, there are a lot of topics that have been covered in every possible way. Some of these are old standards that you can come back to time and again, but to do that there has to be something unique about your take on the topic. Better still, identify a content gap that you are qualified to fill and pitch me the post that will fill it. That will propel you to the front of the queue.
7. Poor Grammar
Assuming you get to the point where I read your post, there's still one more issue – the grammar. I do accept guest posts from people whose native language isn't English. I speak several languages myself and can easily pick up and edit the errors that result from writing in a language that is not your own. But bloggers who are – or are pretending to be – native English speakers have to get the grammar right or their blog post goes straight into the trash.
Why is this a big problem for me? Because anyone who comes to my blog will judge me by the writing that's there – and who wants to be known for poor writing? I admit that I'm hard to please, but I've published dozens of guest posts over the years. I love the chance to offer readers someone else's perspective. It just has to be well-written and interesting – I don't think that's too much to ask.
BONUS MATERIAL: Here's how to find the right guest posts for your blog!