Join our Facebook Community

How NOT to Get a Guest Post Published on a Blog [in 11 Easy Steps]

Posted By Darren Rowse 4th of June 2009 Blog Promotion 0 Comments

guest-post-mistakesHere are a few quick tips on how not to approach guest posting if you’re looking to have a post published on someone else’s blog. They come from my own recent experience of interacting with a number of bloggers approaching me to write on my blogs.

I should note the most people who approach me about guest posting do it right – so if you’re one of them this post is probably not about you!

1. Using Someone Else’s Content

One of the stupidest things you can do when submitting a post to someone else’s blog is to use someone else’s content. You might laugh, but I’ve had this happen to me numerous times. On one occasion the guest post submitted was extra familiar – it was something I’d published years ago on my original blog!

2. Using Content Published Elsewhere

Don’t submit a post that you’ve already posted on your blog (or that you intend to publish on your blog in the future). This is one of the more common problems I have with guest posts. I’m not sure if people do it intentionally to try to get away with it or that they’re unaware – but having the same content appear in multiple places on the web doesn’t help anybody rank well for that content in Google. Write and submit something unique. If you do intend to post something in multiple places make sure you get the approval of the blogger first.

3. Poor Quality Writing

Let me start by saying that I understand not everyone has the same ability in this department. Let me also say that you don’t need to be the most brilliant at spelling or grammar to be a successful blogger – however one of the main reasons I reject content is around the quality of writing.

4. Content that Isn’t Useful

Successful blogs are blogs that are useful to people in one way or another. As a result successful guest posts are posts that meet needs, answer questions that people have or that solve problems. If your content is not much more than a 500 words that do barely more than touch the topic of the blog you’re unlikely to connect with the audience or make an impression upon the blogger.

5. Self Promotional Content

The main reason that you as a guest poster are likely to engage in guest posting is to get exposure to a wider audience. That’s pretty well understood by everyone – however sometimes posts go too far and become more about the guest poster than anything else. If you’re going to use links back to your own blog inside the post (as opposed to just a byline) then make sure they’re completely relevant to the post itself and useful to readers. If you’re too self promotional you’re less likely to have your post accepted and if it is you could end up hurting your reputation with those who read the post. Read more on this at When Guest Posts Become Too Self Centered.

6. Irrelevant Content

One of the things that surprises me most about some of the guest post submissions that I get is that they don’t relate to the topic of my blog. One submission for a guest post that I received last week was for a post titled ’10 Ways to Prepare for a Job Interview’. The post itself was quite good – however considering they wanted it to be published here on ProBlogger….. it was a complete waste of both my time and the author of the post’s time to submit it to me. While this is a fairly extreme example many submissions that I receive show a lack of understanding of the topic of the blogs that they are asking for a guest post on. The more tailored your post is for the audience of the blog you want to appear on the better.

7. Topics that Have Been Published on Recently

Another reason that I regularly reject guest posts for is simply that the posts submitted are on topics that I’ve recently covered on my blogs. This one is a little tricky because as a guest poster you’re not always fully aware of what the last month or two have seen published on a blog but a quick perusal of the archives or search for keywords will help you identify what has already been covered. Another quick tip to stop this happening is to email the blogger with a topic before writing it to see if it’s something they’re interested in.

8. Writing on Ideas that the Host Blogger Doesn’t Agree with

This is another tricky one that takes a little research to avoid but if you’re wanting to write on a topic that is a little controversial it can be worthwhile finding out what the blogger thinks about the topic before making your submission. There’s nothing wrong with a blog having different opinions shared on a topic – however if the blogger doesn’t agree with what you’re going to write (and has a different ideology) you might want to talk to them about how you can present an alternative point of view without it seeing as though you’re undermining them.

9. Demanding too Much

I have no problem with working with a guest poster to make sure that they benefit from their guest post and fit in with their needs – but occasionally I get submissions from potential guests who place such high demands on when and how their posts should appear that I give up. Remember that you’re a ‘guest’ publisher – while this doesn’t mean you should be walked all over by the blogger you should be polite and not too demanding.

10. Biting off More than You Can Chew

Sometimes I get amazing submissions from potential guest posters who suggest ideas for posts that are so big that they’re actually unable to achieve writing them. Often it’s about topic selection and choosing a topic that is simply too big. Other times it is about saying you’ll have a post ready by a deadline that is just not realistic. Be careful not to over promise or you could leave a blogger without a post on the day you said you’d have one ready.

11. Not Following Up a Post in Comments

This one is common. You’ve written a post, it’s accepted by the blogger, they publish it, readers respond in comments with their own ideas and questions….. and there is silence from you as the blogger. One thing that can help your guest post to stand out and be even more useful is to interact with those who read it. This not only goes down with the readers but it makes an impression upon the blogger. Similarly – another way to make an impression is to actually promote the posts you’ve guest posted. Tweet links to them, promote them on social media sites, link to them on your own blog etc. This all helps your blog to be more successful which helps everyone.

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, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. I think it’s pretty common for a newbie guest blogger to hope that the guest post can be published on his/her blog as well. I mean, I had this urge as well when I wrote my first guest post.

    A solution I think is to just post at your own blog that your guest post is published in blog X rather than duplicating the content on your blog

  2. Clears all the fog that always had blinded on how to approach with the idea of a guest post or posting. Thanks for sharing the tips, always find them useful.

  3. Points 1 and 2 (“Using Someone Else’s Content” and “Using Content Published Elsewhere”) are so obvious, I wonder how people actually do this!!

    But submitting content of the same blogger as a guest post takes the cake :-)

  4. I like your tips for the self-promotion area. When I am writing a guest post, there are usually several key words that I want to link back to my site with. However, I limit them to only a few for the exact reasons that you listed. There are even some bloggers that will not publish your guest post if you include more than one link (your bio line).

    Thanks for the great post as I am getting ready to really focus on this aspect of blogging.

  5. I agree with every point you listed above. Recently people do guest posting only to promote their blogs. Actually it’s good to receive something back from sharing your experience, but basically if your write something interesting on others’ blogs they will somehow try to connect with you and search about you even if you don’t include a link to your website in the guest post.

  6. I never had a guest blogger on my blogs but I’ve always outsource a writer to do the writings for me.

    I guess accepting guest bloggers to do a post at your blog is a great idea in terms of sharing good content.

    I’m sure Darren have a lot experiences with these people who approach him to do guest blogging and adhering to his advise here will be good for the guest blogger to be…

  7. Great tips for guest bloggers!

    11. Not Following Up a Post in Comments

    My biggest pet peeve of them all!! It’s not that difficult to interact with the readers. If I have the time to promote the guest blogger, the guest blogger should have the time to hang out!

  8. I was planning to write a guest post. Its amazing that I encountered this post at exact time! :)

  9. I hate receiving guest posts that are just not up to scratch. I am terrible at saying no because I do not want to offend the guest blogger, but seriously, is it that hard to write a decent post?

  10. What about guest blogging a piece that you use to start a topic that you then continue on your own blog? Is that considered acceptable? I’m thinking that proper reference to the initial piece in the blog you guested on should make it right. But I wonder what the owner of the blog you guested on would think.

  11. How do you let someone know who has emailed you asking to guest post for you that their submission is “rejected?”

  12. Salman says: 06/04/2009 at 1:48 am

    Hi Darren
    SUperb post
    But you always say to write guest posts with our link at bottom.

    Regards
    Salman
    http://www.tips4blogging.co.cc for blogging tips and hacks.

  13. Thanks for these tips Darren. I was approached to write a guest blog on a health site about the series of articles I’ve been writing and I wasn’t sure if I should just copy it for their blog or do it in a different way and now I know the answer!

  14. I think a good practice would be instead of publishing a guest post on your own blog afterward is to post a little snippet of the article you posted on the other blog with a link to the full post.

    This will

    1. Give the other of the blog some credit for allowing you to post on his blog. ( Don’t put no follow on. It kind of beets the point )

    2. Increase the the reach of your post. Thus increasing the exposure of your blog.

    3. Show that you are a valued blogger as someone allowed you to blog in their name or rather, domain name.

  15. I’ve only just started guest posting, but I found the best way to approach it is in a spirit of open exchange. I suggested it to a fellow blogger and he was enthusiastic about it. We worked it out between us and now we are good blog friends, always checking out each other’s blog and posting comments. I think you make good points, but each guest post is open to negotiation.

  16. Nice post all the topic are really impressive.

  17. I’m just now starting to get requests to guest post on other blogs. It’s very exciting. I will definitely put your advice in my back pocket for quick reference and reminders!

  18. Another “mistake” that a guest might make is assuming that 100% of people will click through to their own blog. You’ll get a traffic boost, but it’s going to be a relatively small percentage of the traffic of the main blog, and most of the people who do click through to your blog aren’t going to become regulars.

    I actively solicit guests (most of don’t have blogs, just interesting life stories), so I am generally pretty happy with the content. One of friends wrote about his experience at The Masters golf tournament ( http://www.observingcasually.com/the-masters/ ) and I liked it enough to bring him on board as a staff writer.

    I’ll be adding “Write a guest article” tab to the magazine soon, though – maybe I’ll run into some of these issues at that point.

  19. If it’s the first time proposing a guest post, I think it’s always a good idea to send a small ‘pitch’ of the post. This way you introduce yourself to the blogger and the blogger gets an idea of the type of post you will send along. Just seems a bit more appropriate IMHO

  20. Darren,

    One thing that I think is relevant that you didn’t mention is to consider the audience of the host blog when you’re writing. Your guest post is really to serve them, not the host blogger or yourself. I would think audiences would differ greatly; you wouldn’t write a guest post on Problogger the same way you’d write a guest post for Cracked.

  21. Great tips, I often find myself rejecting guest posts for some of these reasons. It’s unbelievable how many I reject because of bad grammar, spelling, and overall terrible writing issues!

    What about featuring a guest post on a different blog for translation purposes though? I recently did an article for Smashing Magazine, and I understand spreading that post around the web is a huge no-no, but I just got an email requesting that someone translate my article on Smashing, and post it on a different blog in Russian. Would this still be inappropriate guest post etiquette?

  22. Number five rings very true for me. Particularly with a guest post I made on Smashing Magazine some time ago.

    I drafted the article to go live on my own blog, where it’s not so bad if things are self-promotional, but then it was published as a guest post, and I didn’t change it enough.

    The comments were harsh, and in hindsight, rightly so.

    Lesson learned.

  23. Excellent advice once again. Like Roseli A. Bakar, I figured Darren’s tips are strongly based on experiences dealing with lots of guest blogging queries, so I’ll be referring myself back to this list when writing guest posts.

  24. Well, all of these make sense. I make a guess that you would have some hard time in sorting out some meaningful guest posts.
    Some common sense and little research can get things simpler for the guest posters.
    I also believe that it is the popularity of your blog that pushes those people to send you all sorts of posts without a second thought.

  25. Most of these guidelines apply to writing articles for print magazines too.

    Editors frequently complain that would be contributors have “obviously” not studied their publication before submitting ideas or completed articles. And the reply, of course, from Ed, is “No,thanks”

    It’s a bit disrespectfully really not to study your market…

  26. I’ve only written 1 guest post and it was accepted. The post was about blogging from a restricted country so the topic was slightly unusual, but it got great comments.

  27. I confess here that the first draft of my guest post ( How Listening to a Waiter can Jack your Profits up 33% ) effectively violated No. 6 – relevance – because it was too sales-oriented and not enough related to blogging. Fortunately, Darren pointed that out and I was able to make a few simple revisions that tied it back into the topic at hand.

    It’s not hard to be relevant if you’re paying attention.

  28. I’ve had the opportunity to guest post on a number of great blogs, including Problogger, and each time I am amazed with how fun it is.

    I love publishing a great article on my blog but the rush of getting something published on a blog like Problogger is tremendous. Then you can comment and really feel proud of what you did.

    My only suggestion would be to make sure to email the blogger with the topic, brief summary of your blog, experience online, and then easy contact info. After that give them some time to contact you back. Otherwise you just become pushy.

    I love guest posts on my blog though. It is great as a blogger and guest poster.

  29. I hate it when I see copied content from another blog on some fake blog just trying to milk AdSense.

    You’re right about responding to comments, it really makes the readers feel like they are part of a community.

  30. I hope I can write a guest post some day in your blog. My main problem is that English is not my first language… so I think that I have good writing skills in my original language but when I try to translate a post into English, I often make some mistakes and that doesn’t look good for the blogger.

  31. Personally I think that the best way to self-promote yourself in a guest post is actually to write an awesome post that will get the attention and respect of the readers.

    This way, I feel that there’s much more to gain than just through optimized links.

  32. @myddnetwork

    Just get someone to sub it. You should be able to find someone to do it for almost nothing.

    If you like, send me your next post and I’ll sub it for you for free.

  33. Darren,
    Really worthy tutorial for guest writers.

  34. I was excited to read this post because fortunately I got the great opportunity to guest post on ProBlogger before so I wanted to see what his guidelines are. Thankfully I didn’t make any of those mistakes and am damn proud of it. Thanks for the post and I’m really surprised that so many people make the mistakes you outlined, specifically numero uno and 2.

  35. Thank you for this. Some of these are pretty obvious (I can’t believe someone sent you your own work. Ha!), but others are not immediately intuitive and should be taken seriously.

    The “biting off more than you can chew” really resonates with me. It is easy to feel like you have a unique opportunity to create a great impression and be tempted to write the most epic post of all time. Generally better to scale back and focus instead.

  36. It is truly amazing when perusing the web for topics and finding the same exact content on 2 or 3 different blogs with no credit given to the original author.

    I can see where in #2 that the guest blogger would want to post the same blog to their site to get maximum results however the point of being a guest blogger is to be on a blog that is relevant to your industry, highly trafficked (yet credible) as readers will see it is a guest post by (guest name).

    We read blogs to be educated and write them to educate.

    Great post.

  37. Some valid and obvious points, although they are not obvious to some.

  38. What upsets me no end is the pathetic attempts at writing by some of these bloggers that don’t even speak Ingwish as their first language! Why don’t they get their stuff proofed by someone who knows better?

    Nothing worse than ugly writing – it should be banned, or better still a law against it!

  39. well said. really useful.
    and I think, if a blogger allow comments with comment owners last post title & link after their comment or near their name, than the they wont post the comments as a guest. I see this technique in many blogs.

  40. I think this is a great post all the points are explained well and I know what not to do so there are so many things I can do when I feel like posting as a guest blogger.

  41. I use guest bloggers on my photoshop/photography blog at http://mcpactions.com/blog. My biggest pet peeve is scheduling. I have a calender that goes out about a month.

    When someone agrees to be a guest blogger we schedule around when they say they can have an article done. So many times, they do not – and then I have to use a filler or scramble to find quality content on short notice.

    I think this is because many blog when they have something to say. Spur of the moment – unplanned. But for serious bloggers – most plan. And the casual guest may not have understanding or respect for that.

    Any ideas on how to get around that?

    Jodi

    PS. I also had a question to ask here – maybe a future BLOG post for your blog Darren. How do you decide if you should pay your guest bloggers – and how do you decide how much? I have never had to pay mine as they have felt the attention and link to their site is enough. But I know some sites do. So just curious if you have guidelines on this. THANKS!

  42. I’ve violated more than one of those on a guest post. The one I’ve screwed up big time was the reposting a guest post on my blog, though I did it a good bit later.

    Another is relevance. I’ve seen guest posts on blogs that when I read it, although it’s interesting, it’s definitely off topic for the blog.

    This list could be reversed slightly in context and be an excellent guide as well for those seeking guest posts for their blog. Perhaps turning it into a series of questions to ask. Obviously it is for you. ;)

    I’m likely to do that article myself. From the host bloggers side that is.

    Another great post. Thanks, Todd

  43. I have done guest posting for a few times.

    Before you want to be a guest author for a blog, make sure you check the blog’s page rank and most importantly – traffic.

    If both are low – you might as well submit a post to ezinearticles.com or hubpages.com. You’ll get more traffic and referrals there.

    Nash
    http://www.nil2million.com

  44. I especially agree with the last one. When I write a comment and it warrants a response I’m very impressed if I get one.

    When I guest post, I make sure I respond to all comments to foster new relationships with readers.

  45. I strongly agree with you with the point #3, quality of the content. I’d received few guest posts this few days and I noticed that some of them were really poor with their quality of content, I was not really like the post, but still I accepted them since it was their first time. Seems that I gonna reject their poor quality of post.

    Regards,
    Lee

  46. OMG I wish this article would have been available a month ago. When I first got invited by Ann Smarty to become a guest blogger at Search Engine Journal I scrambled to learn all I could about guest blogging best practices and etiquette! You sum up some of the most important things I had to go digging for!

    Darren, great job and I like the “what not to do” angle. Super!

  47. haha. i agree with that. You really know how to tackle readers. hehe..

  48. I have a question regarding guest posting. To me, it seems like we’re the only one’s facing these issues, but I’m sure you’ve all felt that way at some point ;)

    I think it’s awesome how people in other industries work together. Sites like yours, Copyblogger and the thousands of others that share information for the better of your readers and the industry you share.

    Our industry however (Credit Repair) doesn’t seem to matured to that level of professionalism yet. While we think it’s a shady industry ourselves and anybody who reads our content can clearly see our message is different, I can’t even imagine a competitor wanting to be a guest blogger on our site (or allow us to be a guest on theirs).

    We’d love to chat with a competitor, or somebody in a lateral market on our blog or theirs, about a topic that is useful– but we’ve had every door slammed in our face. Most of them have a “your my competition” attitude and will not have any of it.

    So my question is this: Was there a time when you faced this type of problem. If so how did you break the barriers? I’d really love to hear any experience or advice you may have on this subject..

  49. I know I have already asked a question which is something similar in your latest eHow sponsored post.

    Not to sound selfish or something – But I am sure many will have this question at the back of their minds –

    Suppose I have a great quality post – but doesnt it make sense that i publish that in my own blog which would attract more people….instead of guest writing for someone else which would get more ppl to their blog (which they already have!)?

    I agree that I dont want to give sub standard content when I write for someone else…but how does this help me…Do readers actually keep a note of the guest blogger and go to their original content later on? Wont they just read, forget and move on?

    I have just started thinking on the lines of guest blogging and wanted to clarify. Sorry for the long query. Appreciate your help in this.

    • DK – the thing about guest posts is that they work best at building your profile and driving traffic if they’re of a high standard. While it might seem odd to give your best stuff away it’s certainly in your best interests to ensure that your guest posts are as good as what you do on your own blog. Personally I think your guest posts AND your posts on your own blog need to be as high as is possible – that’s the ideal.

  50. Well to get a guest post on problogger, you need to do everything opposite :)

    Cool stuff there Darren, seen the opposite side today.

A Practical Podcast… to Help You Build a Better Blog

The ProBlogger Podcast

A Practical Podcast…

Close
Open