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 on guest blogging (currently not actively sold, so if you’re interested, contact me for details) the part dedicated to how to get your posts accepted is the shortest. (Here’s an article about the key thing that affects your guest posts’ effectiveness the most.)
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
- 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.