How NOT to Submit a Guest Post


So, you want to submit a guest post to a big blog? If you make any of these mistakes, you won’t even hear back from them.

It’s not all that hard to submit a guest post—and get it accepted—even to one of the best guest blogging sites around.

You really only need to get three things right. Even in my in-depth training (Rapid List Building with Guest Blogging) the part dedicated to how to get your posts accepted is the shortest.

But some people just mess up their initial pitch. Badly.

If you want to avoid making mistakes and increase your chances of guest blogging success, let’s take a look at the five most critical—and sometimes entertaining—guest post pitch blunders.

Lots of people complain it’s hard to get guest posts published on the big sites. Sure, there’s plenty of competition. But if you make any of these mistakes after reading this, you can only blame yourself.

Mistake #1: Contact unrelated sites

If you write about knitting, should you submit a guest post (about knitting) for a site focused on sports cars? Or should you write for knitting sites instead?

Why would the sports car site’s owner want to publish anything about knitting?

Maybe you think I’m making that up, and there’s no way anyone would actually suggest topics that far off. Well, they do. Enjoy this short compilation of topics people have pitched to me for my marketing site:

  • How to make a 3D printed gun
  • Organic farming
  • Car audio systems
  • Male “enhancing” products
  • Hydroponic gardening
  • Home insurance
  • Nature travel
  • Technology
  • Investments
  • Water coolers

Every now and then someone submits a guest post about marketing. Unfortunately, however, I get more pitches that aren’t worth the time to reject than anything worth considering.

Mistake #2: Don’t suggest a topic

When you pitch a guest post, don’t ask the blog owner to come up with a post topic for you. You might as well write to a Fortune 500 company and ask what kind of work they have available.

They don’t know you. They don’t know what your knowledge is or your level of expertise. And they certainly don’t have time to figure out what you should write for them.

If you’re not sure of a topic to pitch, brainstorm a couple of ideas, outline the main points, and ask the site owner which would work best.

You can mention you’re open to writing about something different, too. But don’t expect them to do your job.

You’re the author. Come up with your own topics.

Mistake #3: Lie

People don’t like liars. Period.

For example, if you don’t regularly read the site you’re pitching, don’t call yourself “an avid, long-time reader.”

Or if you haven’t read the latest posts, don’t refer to them; the site owner will notice something is off. Remember, big sites get loads of guest post submissions—hundreds each week or month—and it’s just as easy to see sincerity and truth in an email pitch as it is a lie.

And don’t claim you saw guest posts on the site if there are none. If you’re pitching to a site that hasn’t previously published guest posts, they’ll instantly know you’re lying. And they’ll probably laugh or roll their eyes as they click “delete” or “spam.”

All these might sound like rather harmless marketing lies, but if you get caught, you lose your chances with that site forever.

Mistake #4: Say you’re writing for a client

Every major site knows what that usually means. You might be the exception—the one author who “writes on behalf of a client” and does it well—but blog owners definitely don’t expect it.

In case you don’t know what I mean, SEO companies often offer to write guest posts for popular (and some not-so-popular) sites. Their posts are usually utter crap. I mean completely un-publishable useless wastes of words.

They have “copywriters” who know just enough about a topic to put together a few thoughts. But the posts aren’t good enough for any serious site.

As I said, you might be the exception. But the site owners you contact have very little reason to assume you’re any different from the dozens or hundreds of people before you who have wasted their time.

Mistake #5: Call yourself unqualified

This is intended all too often as a form of flattery.

Hopeful guest authors write something like, “I know I’m not the expert you are, but I’d love to write a guest post for your site.”

When you submit a guest post, you should write about a topic you really know. You should know it at least as well as the blog owner. If you don’t, but you’re sure you know it well enough to write a solid article on one particular facet of the topic, why put yourself down? Your lack of self-confidence or attempts to flatter impress no one.

Plus, if they know your topic better than you, why would they publish your guest post instead of writing one themselves or accepting someone else’s guest post?

Sure, maybe you can offer a fresh perspective. But even in that case you should be at least as knowledgeable about your specific topic as the blog owner.

How to submit a guest post (and get it accepted)

Guest-Blogging-Success-ebookYou really only need to get three things right to pitch a site for a guest post and get it accepted.

You can learn these three things and much more about successful guest blogging with my free “7 Key Steps to Guest Blogging Success” manual.

You’ll learn how to

  • Find good sites to write for
  • Pick great topics for your guest posts
  • Get accepted (the three key skills)
  • Attract readers to your site and compel them to subscribe to your list
  • Build relationships with the owners of big sites


Peter Sandeen

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  1. Carolynne Melnyk said:

    I really enjoy reading your posts. I am new to blogging and at present in the Firepole ABM class. This post is very timely for me as I just beginning to venture into the world of commenting and pitching guest posts. Much of what you have written is common sense, but good reminder to be honest and well prepared. What keeps coming up for me is ‘know thyself”. Thanks for insights.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Carolynne,

      Glad to hear that, thank you 🙂 Let me know if you have any questions I can help with.


  2. Penny said:

    Great advice! Thanks! I’m casting about for some guest blogging opportunities, and the link to your list gave me some travel blogs to follow, and perhaps pitch something to one or more of them. Your help is really appreciated. Now, let’s see if I can put it into practice. 🙂

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hey Penny,

      Thanks, glad to hear that 🙂 Hope you get through and great results from your posts.


  3. I dunno.

    Suppose my pitch asked you to consider this topic: “What a 70-year-old knitting expert can teach you about hot, sexy cars.” wouldn’t you be tempted to take a second look? What if you do, and you get a guest-post with a spellbinding story of this widow and the lessons she learned from her husband before he died in a drag-race?

    I think we can broaden our reach and influence with this sort of creativity. You may even find out that in some remote corner of the world, thousands of car enthusiasts are into knitting… or ore realistically… that some company that specializes in knitted craft-work is looking for distribution channels for the coolest knitted steering-wheel cover embroidered with leather.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hey Rodney,

      Of course I’d take a look as the car-blog owner. But only because your post promised to be about cars 😉

      And yeah, there are lots of interesting opportunities around. But when people pitch a knitting post to a car blog, they just don’t know what they’re doing. As in your example, the connection to the blog topic is clear, so it could work 🙂


  4. srinath Jayaram said:

    realy very good information thank u very much

  5. Alex said:

    I heard that Google stopped guest blogging, because the practice was too ‘spammy’

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hey Alex,

      Yep, they’re doing at least something about it. But what they said was just that they’re going after spammy guest bloggers and that you shouldn’t rely on guest blogging as an SEO strategy. Both fine by me 🙂


      • With Google not paying attention to the practice, do you feel there is much value left in Guest blogging?

        Have you driven many conversions or much traffic from previous guest posts?

  6. This is a guide to guide me through my guest blogging aspiration.
    Thanks Peter for sharing.

  7. […] This post outlines 5 things that you really shouldn’t do when looking for a guest post opportunity.  My favorite was “Don’t Lie.”  Yes! I receive slews of requests that I can tell right away are not legit.  Check out the post for more of what not to do and why. […]

  8. dinesh said:

    Hello Peter, points to be noted I really impressed with your points here. I oftenly used to do #Mistake 2.I will start to apply this and wait for result……. Thank you

  9. Elita said:

    Hi, your article was informative. Since I am an editor, I got some ideas how not to submit an guest post.

  10. Jonathan said:

    Hi Peter,

    Great advice and tips. I guess for many new writers the challenge is to consistently produce content for their own site. And when they do come up with a really great topic, it can be tempting to want to keep it for themselves on their own blog.

    Well at least that’s how I’m thinking.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hey Jonathan,

      Yep, creating content takes a lot of time. That’s the reason I urge people to spend most of their time guest blogging—not writing for their own site. The guest posts are likely to help them much more than the posts on their own sites when they don’t yet have large readership.

      But I understand the temptation 🙂


  11. Very helpful and instructive article Peter. I liked it very much, actually it helped me to understand how to pitch for guest blogging and what are the things we shouldn’t commit.
    Peter, I am a beginner in search engine industry & blogging with lots of enthusiasm and expectations. Thought, I am not planning of writing guest-posts right but I have one question. Do you think guest blogging is safe for a new and fresh blogger like me or should I wait for few months? BTW the suggestions are noted.


    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hey Sonia,

      As long as you have valuable information to share and you can write it into a post so people understand it, you can use guest blogging effectively. Being “new” in an industry isn’t a problem in itself; it’s all about how valuable (and effective) posts you can write 🙂


  12. Bob said:

    +1 – don’t lie. Just be honest.

  13. Peter,

    Great article on guest posting. Although I already abide by the rules you have set up here, it is always good to know that there are like-minded people out there who are willing to share their thoughts and help out those who are making these mistakes and becoming frustrated at a lack of results. Very kind of you and thank you for taking the time to do it.

    All the best,


  14. Great info. I’m realizing the power of guest blogging now, and boy does it reach a lot of people who are dealing with my anxiety niche. Thanks for the tips.

  15. Great article! I stumbled across it looking for ways to bring traffic to my site. This will definitely help me with trying to get my posts published on other sites.

  16. Hi,Peter

    Very glad to meet you over your blog it’s very interesting and helpful. I’m William Wu, an digital marketing experts from China. I’m wondering that whether you offer service for writing and submitting guest blog. I have many cross board e-commerce firm clients want to do that, but they can’t find a channel, can you help me to do that?

    Looking forwad for your reply.

    Thank you.

  17. Melissa said:

    Thanks for your post, it is really helpful to know how to submit a guest post.

  18. Alex said:

    Hi Peter,
    I just want to create first guest post and I am glad that I came here before it happened. Many thanks, your article saved my and blog owners time.

  19. Hey Peter, Nice informative post, I have started doing guest post but found it little difficult, but thanks to you for sharing these ultimate tips.

  20. So the most important thing to guest blogging is the right place for your material . If you are a literary writer you submit your work to literary magazines not sports magazines .

  21. Paul said:

    Great post, will be getting into guest blogging soon, i am glad i came across this first. Really liking this blog so far!

  22. Hello

    My name is Jenny Harisson a website blogger.I really enjoyed your blog and I wondering if you would be interested this

    Let me know if you’d be interested in reading and possibly hosting the article, we’re excited about the possibility of working with you 🙂

    Best wishes,
    Jenny Harisson

  23. Hi

    Great advice and tips.Let me know if you’d be interested in reading and possibly hosting the article, we’re excited about the possibility of working with you 🙂



  1. […] This post outlines 5 things that you really shouldn’t do when looking for a guest post opportunity.  My favorite was “Don’t Lie.”  Yes! I receive slews of requests that I can tell right away are not legit.  Check out the post for more of what not to do and why. […]

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