How Not to Pitch Guest Blog Posts

Recently I’ve received several pitches for guest posts on this blog, all of which I’ve had to reject. My guidelines, http://www.emmalee1.wordpress.com/guest-posts/, aren’t proscriptive but give an idea of what I’m looking for in a guest post.

Reasons for Rejection of Guest Post Pitches

I’m not going to identify individuals who’ve sent pitches or specific reasons for rejection. However, the pitches were rejected for one of more of the following reasons:

  • Failure to demonstrate how the proposal related to my blog.
  • Failure to demonstrate the person proposing to write for my blog could write
  • Expectation that I have the time to click through on various links supplied and read articles posted elsewhere when the topics of those articles have nothing do to with my blog
  • Failure to actually state the topic of the proposed article
  • Failure to recognise that the pitch is a sample of writing and if I’m not given enough information to make a decision within your pitch, then rejection will follow

How to Avoid getting a Rejection for a Guest Post Pitch

Read the guidelines (if any are given)

Mine are here: http://www.emmalee1.wordpress.com/guest-posts/.

I don’t want to waste my time reading pitches that aren’t going to be successful. You don’t want to waste time preparing a pitch that’s guaranteed to be rejected.

Pitch on a relevant topic

If you can’t tell me what your proposed guest article is about and why it’s relevant to my blog, I will reject your pitch. You may have a great article about the automotive industry, but it’s not going to fit here so why not target a more relevant blog instead?

State what Your Topic is

One pitch stated the writer wanted to write a guest post, but didn’t say what the post would be about or why it was relevant. The links to samples of work sent were on articles that wouldn’t fit here.

I don’t have time to get back and ask why you’re pitching or ask you to supply your proposed article to read unless I can be reasonably confident I’m going to use the article.

Why would I suggest a topic for you to write about when I can write it myself?

Respect a Blogger’s Time

Blogs usually get written around other work and commitments. If you include links in your pitch to other articles you’ve written, make sure they’re relevant or explain why you’re including those specific links. If you’re proposing to write about poetry but the links are to articles about parenthood, how do I know you can write about poetry?

Your Pitch is your Writing Sample – get it right

I don’t have time to read every single word of your pitch. I’m looking for a pitch that tells me what you’re proposing to write about, that you can show your proposed topic is relevant to my blog and that your writing is going to interest my readers.

I’ll know by the end of your first sentence whether I’m going to reject or accept your pitch. I might read on just to confirm my initial decision, but I’ve never changed one yet.

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Relevant Post:

How to Pitch a Guest Post for a Blog

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Guest Posts

Writing guest posts for other blogs can be a useful way of raising your writer’s profile and can help boost search engine optimisation, SEO, for your own website or blog if you include a relevant link back to your site within the article or author biography accompanying the article.

However, proceed with caution and treat proposals for guest posts with as much professionalism as you would when submitting work to editors and/or publishers. An ill-judged proposal can backfire.

Finding Suitable Blogs

  •  A search engine’s blog search will find plenty of blogs on writing or on a specialist topic;
  • Read a few articles and ask if this is the company you want to keep, does the blog have a professional appearance? Association with a scraper site or badly-written blog will harm your reputation so it’s worth taking the time to assess the blogs you’ve found first;
  • If you’ve found a suitable blog, subscribe – most blogs have an RSS feed or email subscription – this way you can keep up to date with what’s happening without any effort on your part. You may also learn some useful tips or find useful contacts.

Research

When you’ve found a blog you would like to write a guest post for:

  • Check for any guest posting guidelines and adhere to them;
  • Check the frequently of posts;
  • Check post length;
  • Check topics covered;
  • Map out or note down some ideas for topics and how you’d approach writing your article;
  • Note whether there’s any house style or specific format for presentation;
  • Does the blog include author biographies and, if so, what length and are author photos included?

Guest Article Proposal

When you have an idea for an article that you know fits the blog, draft a brief email to the blog owner proposing your guest post.

  • Double check for guest post guidelines and ensure your proposal and article conform to them – no point in setting yourself up for a rejection;
  • Start by mentioning you’d like to submit a guest post, briefly outline what the post is about and its approximate length;
  • Say why you are sending this guest post to this particular blog (demonstrate that you’ve read the blog);
  • Outline how your guest blog aligns with and brings benefits to the blog – your proposal is unsolicited and the blog owner may not be looking for guest posts so you need to answer the “what’s in it for me?” question and “well, I’ve saved you writing a post” isn’t the answer, especially if the blog owner is a writer;
  • Give a reasonable deadline for response eg “if you don’t response by [a date at least two months in the future if the blog is updated daily or weekly] I’ll assume you’re not interested”. This way you know if you don’t hear within your set time, you’re free to offer your guest post elsewhere;
  • Don’t attach your guest post, let the blog owner ask if they are interested as the file format you’ve submitted your post in may not be the file format the blog owner wants;
  • Finish your proposal with a link to your blog or website or site you wish your article or author biography to link to in your signature block;
  • Check your spelling and grammar before hitting send – if your proposal contains errors, will your guest article be any better?

Do Not

  • Ask the blog owner to suggest an article topic for you to write about – why would a blog owner (particularly one not familiar with your work) bother to ask you to write an article when they could write it themselves?
  • Waste the blog owner’s time – your proposal should provide enough information for the blog owner to make a decision;
  • Include links to on-line samples of your work and invite the blog owner to read them – they haven’t the time and your proposal is a sample of your writing;
  • Say “my article and link to site will benefit your blog readers” – demonstrate what the benefits are: if the blog owner can’t work out the benefits of you writing for them in time it takes to read your proposal, you are setting yourself up for rejection;
  • Send the same proposal to 50 different blog owners hoping that one will accept – if you can’t be bothered to tailor your proposal to the blog you are submitting to, expect the blog owner not to be bothered to accept;
  • Think that because your article is being published on-line by a blog owner who is not a professional editor that you can cut corners – your on-line submissions should be as professional as your off-line ones;
  • Think your articles will raise the standard or stand out if published on a blog filled with low quality articles – your own reputation, both on-line and as a writer, will be diminished by poor quality associations.

Guest Posts on this Blog

Every single article posted on this blog from Autumn 2007 to date has been written by me. This doesn’t mean I won’t consider guest posts, but I expect any proposals to be relevant, written with care and beneficial to a blog that contains creative writing tips, articles on aspects of literature and poetry news, book reviews, occasional film reviews and even more occasional music reviews, with a strong bias towards poetry.

I’m happy to include an author photo, link to the author’s site/blog and relevant links within the article if they support the article. If I accept a post, any edits I do will be agreed with the author before posting.

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