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Do You Make These Mistakes in Guest Posting?

Guest Posting is a great way to get your name out there. Today Chris Garrett from ChrisG.com (and co-author of the ProBlogger book) sheds some light on some common mistakes made my those doing Guest Posts.

You will notice this is a guest post. This isn’t Darren writing, it is some other guy filling in while The ProBlogger takes a well earned relax.

When Darren asks I always try to send over at least one guest post. Guest posting is a great way to get your name out there, build links, enhance your credibility and gain subscribers. If it is done well it is also a good deal for the blogger who posts this free and fresh content.

No surprises then that many people are out there now shopping around their guest posts. Just make sure you are not making the following mistakes, foul-ups and pitfalls:

10 Common Mistakes in Guest Posting

1. Making Demands

A guest posting arrangement is supposed to be a win-win arrangement. Making a fuss, being a diva, badgering the host, or just generally a nuisance will not endear you and don’t expect to get any referrals or even asked back. Nobody is going to give you an administrator account for their blog on the first article, and guest post means exactly that, you are just a guest so act like one.

2. Being a Doormat

The flip side of the first point is the arrangement should be fair for the writer too. One or two guest posts is a great arrangement, a regular gig might also be worthwhile for the visibility, links or traffic, but don’t be taken advantage of. There is a point where guest posting should cross over into blogging for pay. Agree on deadlines, word count, what you will do and how the content can or will be used by either party.

3. Holding Back

If you want to create the best outcome from your guest posting you need to bring your best stuff. Make sure you hold your self to high standards and work hard to create unique and valuable content. Don’t hold back your best tips, advice or humor. Otherwise you are just adding filler.

4. Ignore the Audience

There are two ways guest posters ignore the blog audience. First is not taking into account the particular likes, needs and style of the host blog, and secondly not responding to questions. Now, a good host blogger will notify their guest writers of any comments or feedback directed at their guests, but the guest should also look in once in a while.

5. Over Self-Promotional

Of course there are benefits and any writer will want those benefits, but if you make your guest article all you-you-you, full of links, or maybe dropping affiliate codes, don’t be surprised if it backfires.

6. Not Delivering

It seems some wannabe guest posters send out so many enquiries they are surprised when someone says yes. If you make an offer, ensure you can come through with the goods. Otherwise you will not be asked again.

7. Hindering Rather than Helping

The reason why you accept a guest post is because it is supposed to make life easier. If you are causing hard work for the blogger don’t expect your content to be used. Do your own spell check, read through for grammar goofs, and make sure all your links work.

8. Causing Problems

Writing one guest post does not make you a representative or voice of a particular blog. I have seen bloggers use guest posts to try to make connections or open doors that they are not really due. Also, don’t court controversy on someone else’s blog. If you are going to be snarky, damage your own brand.

9. Offer No Credibility

Why should the host blog accept your guest post pitch? What do you have to offer? What are your ideas? Do you have writing samples to show? Have you got real expertise to share? What will you add to the blog? “Just because I need the link” is not a valid reason for anyone to accept your guest posts.

10. Duplicate or Steal

It shocks me that this still goes on, but if you accept a guest post, make sure it is unique and original. As a way to short cut the writing process people are taking content from ezine directories, other blogs, or running content through rewrite software. Don’t be tempted to do it or accept it. Another aspect of duplication, much more innocent, is writing about something the blog has already covered – d’oh!

I am sure there are other guest post goofs that people make. Have you got any more to share? Please let us know in the comments …

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Another brilliant post. I’ll be sure to remember this once I venture into guest posting.

  2. What is the best way to go about getting a guest posting gig?

  3. Another Good post…still I haven’t got any chance for this. But I think this is even good for your own post I guess.


  4. Nice list, I have had mixed results with guest post in the past. Some of my guest were very intriguing, while others were very opinionated and self-righteous.

    My solution now is to get to know the person better at first. Exchange some emails, maybe even chat for a bit, before committing to any type of agreement.

  5. @Derek

    I think the best way to go about getting a guest posting gig is to make sure you avoid the mistakes of guest posting. For example, you should always present a win-win situation, with unique content. Additionally, when you get your first gig, you should promote that post like your life depended on it – if it pulls in a lot of links and a lot of traffic, the blog you guest posted for will be happy.

  6. Great article, Chris.

    I don’t know if Darren’s written something like this before, but maybe you could write how we should approach a blogger when we want to guest post.


  7. Great post. It did raise one question for me.

    Who is the owner of that post?

  8. An excellent article. Guest posting is a great advertising method.

  9. Excellent points-
    I once had a guest who REALLY went overboard with the self-promotion (#5). That was quickly taken care of.
    I know that nobody’s perfect, but this was extreme!

  10. I’ve had one guest blogger, and two on the way. I put a call out for guest bloggers, and luckily, I got bloggers I enjoy.

    The next guest I actually invited. I invited this person for two reasons: 1. I want a different voice participating (and one less post for me doesn’t hurt either) and 2. I admire this person’s blog.

    Luckily, I haven’t run into any real problems so far. I hope this continues.

    Now, I would love to do a guest post for someone. Would just emailing them help?

  11. @jhay – thanks :)

    @Derek – Get involved in forums and twitter, let it be known you are open for guest posts, also look out for blogs and sites that accept submissions. Making great comments on blogs is also a way to get noticed by bloggers.

    @Jeremy – Getting to know people is important, it gives you a chance to thrash things out and also get an idea of if the other person is reliable or a flake

  12. Great advise. I’m finding that just by being there some people are starting to ask me for quest posts and I make sure to ask what they need as well as if the article I submit is acceptable to them. I’m finding it harder to get people to quest post for me but I’ve only been at this for a few months too.

  13. Great guest post. I’ve found that the best way to find ways to guest posts is simply ask. Not at random, but the blogs you regularly read and follow. That way what you write for them will already come from a relationship with them.

  14. Guest posting is all about trust. It will often be the first time you contribute a post to that particular blog. Hopefully you already have established some kind of relationship with the owner of the blog. Otherwise, your guest offer is coming out of the blue.

    I’d say do a bit more than just agree to the headline. Depending on how much you know each other, send a draft ahead of time, or let the owner edit the final result. Ideally, make this informal, simple and friendly and everything will work out.

    Again, do it for advertising purposes, but don’t advertise in your blog. Great content will sell itself. In fact, use the exact same rules you use on your own blog.

    If the guest blogging becomes more frequent, then it’s time to work out a more formal arrangement.

    fairbloggers.com – where bloggers team up and share ad revenue

  15. I’ve got to admit that I was shocked when I read that some bloggers just use duplicate content from somewhere else and put it up on another blog. What’s the point of guest posting anyway? Guest posting is done to fill the blog with useful content when the owner is away. Writing guest posts with duplicate content seems dirty and cheap to me.

  16. Excellent points for guest posting. It would be nice to have these kinds of arrangements in my niche, but unfortunately most of the blogs in my industry are basically just ads and spam.

  17. @Yanik – Darren and I both own it but he gets first publishing rights, so it has to appear first then I get to use it – that’s the most common agreement

    @Sandra – Emailing is a good move, but make sure you make it about them not you, and it is better if you make yourself known first through comments, blog posts on your own blog and things like twitter

  18. @Ganesh – You have to remember not everyone has the ethical and fair view you do, some folks are just out for an easy link off a high profile blog, and they count on the owner being too busy (or away) to notice till it is too late :(

  19. Duplicate content is such a terrible idea. If their blog is read at all then sooner or later they’re going to find out it’s duplicate content, if not then it was a waste of time anyway.

  20. Thanks for a great article. I have just started accepting guest authors on my own blog and have been considering looking for some guest spots on other blogs myself. This article has been really beneficial and helped me to see exactly what I need to do and what not to do.

  21. Nice one Chris. Just spotted on Twitter…

  22. I have done a few guest posts at several sites but have yet to really get any guest posting at my own site. This article is a great summary of pointers to take note.:)

  23. Good advice, particularly to remember the host blog’s audience when writing a guest post. I write in the personal finance niche, but there are several peripheral topics I touch on from time to time (careers, parenting, relationships, simplicity, even blogging). If I wrote up a guest post on a blog about advancing your career I wouldn’t want to include directions for making a frugal dinner menu. Know your audience, or in this case, their audience!

  24. @Chris Garrett

    Have you actually seen a high profile blog post something that was “duplicate content?”

  25. Thanks for this post. I think thus far I have done pretty well as a guest poster, but you drove some really valuable things home for me. I think it’s essential for those who want to guest post to really get to know the blogs you want to post for. Start by commenting and be useful in that capacity. In the beginning I made the mistake of not doing that, and I paid for it.

    As a guest poster as well as with my own blog I remind myself often blog world is a real community, with real people on the other end. Really knowing your “employer’s” audience and striving to give them useful thoughts and information will make you a sought-after poster.

  26. Great tips for somebody like myself, who is just beginning his venture into the land of guest posting. Thanks!

  27. Sadly, I’ve never had the opportunity to guest post. :(

  28. I am not going to out anyone but yes I do hear about this going on, both with guest content and paid. Obviously I only hear about the ones that are caught, and it is a small minority of folks who try it on :)

  29. Unreal. The lack of morals in people never ceases to amaze me. You would think people would understand that the best way to become successful is to put integrity first…

  30. I think so many people make these mistakes when they guest post. I think most people just don’t write good content with a guest post and it hurts them more than it helps them. I know if I’m the one guest posting I try to make sure that it is one of my best articles I have written. Trust me, your first impression on people is everything.

    I also see people promoting themselves too much in their guest post. I get a lot of guest posts on my blog where they are promoting themselves way too much. It looks like spam more than anything.

    I think write your best content when it comes to guest posting and do not promote yourself too much. If they like your content, then they will probably go to your web site.

  31. @Blogging Millionaire – Yeah, plus you also need to think ahead to your next guest post, and if you will be invited to do one. Over promoting in the current guest post makes your chances of getting more opportunities less promising, and the cumulative effect of lots of guest posts is far greater than any single over-promotional article.

  32. I tried to invite guest bloggers for a while but it turned into MUCH more trouble than it was worth – all because of the issues you point out here – so it’s obvious Chris that you’ve “been there – done that”.

    By the way, if you wonder WHY you’ve never been contacted to guest post – read through the list above. I’ve only invited a dozen or so guest posts and I’ve experienced each and every issues listed here.

    By the way, the MOST annoying was the dude who after his first two guest blog posts were rejected (the first was duplicate content- the second was so self promotional is was of no value to my readers) wanted to schedule a free consulting session with me so I could help him to write an acceptable guest blog post for my blog!

  33. I have not done any guest posting yet but these are great tips you have listed here.

  34. I had an idea for a guest post, so I asked a blogger that I had met on Twitter. She agreed, and she has ten times more readers than I do. I want to finish writing it before I promote it, though.

    As a guest blogger, you need to act as you would if you were an actual houseguest.

  35. Excellent tips. While I do not commit these errors, it does bring focus on the whole guest posting.

  36. Points noted Chris. Well.. our my case, we’ve had guest posts but we’ve never guest posted in someone else’s blog.

  37. I haven’t done any guest posting yet, but have plans to do it. I can refer this article in advance when I’m ready for guest posting in any blog :) Thanks for the information

  38. @ Chris and Derek – Thanks for the ideas on getting a guest posting gig. I just started blogging about 2 months ago and I really enjoy so far.

  39. Some great tips to keep in mind. In the end it’s about relationships, you’re more likely to be asked or have your offer accepted if the blog owner is aware of you and your own blog.

    For myself, I want to keep building my own brand over the next few months and then venture into guest posting.

  40. Great post, thanks!

    Guest posting is one thing I have not done yet as a blogger. Sometimes I feel like I use up all my strength just writing posts for my own blog. The well of inspiration dries up easily.

    However, guest posting is something I’m seriously considering. I’m gonna bookmark this post so I don’t make these mistakes. Thanks for the advice!


  41. Everyone, when do you think is the right time for a blogger to get into guest posting??

  42. This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’m about to start my next Reader Challenge which focuses on guest posting and these are great rules to live by when it comes to guest posting.

  43. Good advice, and much of this can be applied to bloggers looking for media attention as well.

  44. Great post Chris! Thanks for the advice!

  45. I agree with what you say.Probably there will be much mistakes while writing a guest post.Some of them are the above which I surely agree.But Main us of guest posting is traffic

  46. natural to make mistake for the first…..and next more better, thanks for learning……..

  47. Great tips. These tips will help as I am starting to find blogs for writing guest posts.

    Personal Development Blogger

  48. Number 10 is a tricky one, but I guess you have to find another angle. Most established blogs on a well-defined niche will already have written about most topics, but there’s always room to revisit a topic or add your own insights as a guest.

  49. I would really like to post on someones blog, I don’t think I am an authority or anything just think that I have something really good to add, but I have only been posting on his blog a little while and don’t want to offend him by approaching him with my review post which I think is good to be rejected because he doesn’t recognise me.

  50. Ha I just contacted this blog about a guest post, probably should have read this article first! :)

    Luckily I don’t think I committed any of the mis-steps you mentioned above.

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