Guidelines for Handling Endless Guest Post Requests

 

guest-postingIs your email inbox awash with people wanting to write for your blog?

Mostly those requests are from brands and websites who want to be featured on your blog and get an incoming link to their site to improve their search engine optimisation and ranking.

The constant guest blogging requests are a problem which fellow blogger Seana Smith summed up recently in an email to me:

“I've had three queries this week from people who want to write guest posts, with links to whatever website they want to promote, and they're happy to pay.

Not feeling very comfy, as I feel I'd have to OK the copy. But some of the topics are very legit.

Do you have these requests?”

Oh, Seana, I do get those guest post requests. Sometimes hundreds of them each week. Most people don't want to pay either so it's great that you've got people who are willing to pay.

Guidelines for dealing with paid guest post requests

If people are willing to pay for a guest post on your blog then you need to check out my article on sponsored blog post rates to make sure you're not underselling yourself and are following my best practice guidelines.

I prefer to write the post myself but if they want to write the content themselves ask them to show you the guest post first. If you like it, and it will interest your audience, then tell them your rate and charge less if you're not doing the writing. I'd add a byline at the end calling the post an advertorial or paid guest post because disclosure and trust are crucial in this business.

Guidelines for dealing with free guest post requests

1. Do take guest posts from genuine bloggers

I only take guest posts from readers, friends and contacts who are genuine bloggers. I've grown my blog through guest posting so I think it's only fair for me to help other people who want to do the same thing.

But guest posting still takes time. I have to meet with the blogger, come up with a headline because I'm fussy about those, suggest guidelines for what the post will cover, then check, edit and format it. All of that takes time when I could be writing a post myself.

I'm streamlining my guest blogging submission process over on my travel blog Get In the Hot Spot to make it easier for both me and the guest blogger. I've started a new series called World's Best Travel Destinations which is based on an interview format so guest bloggers can write a post fast than format it and supply photos themselves.

I'm keen to keep accepting a few guest posts because there are some great benefits:

  • Great for building relationships with other bloggers;
  • Good chance to share a new voice and introduce your readers to a cool new blogger;
  • Gives you a break so you don't fall prey to blogger burnout.
Just make sure you write a guest post submissions page to make the process easier for everyone.
2. Politely reject free guest post requests

But what about all those guest posts requests from people who don't want to pay but are offering free content. This is a typical excerpt from one of their stock emails:

Hello,

(NOTE: Couldn't even be bothered to find out my name)

I was just going through few sites and blogs yesterday and
came across your site http://www.successfulblogging.com too.

I really liked  the way you have presented your site. I was
reading some of your content and really found them interesting
and informative. So I was just wondering if I can also do something
for your site.

(NOTE: Probably says that to everyone because these content marketers are happy to get a guest post anywhere, even on a Google PageRank O site that no one ever visits. All they care about is incoming links.)

Actually I am a freelance content writer and I love writing articles
as a hobby on topics related to business.

(NOTE: This is a blatant lie, I'm 99.9% sure this person is being paid to write and submit articles on behalf of a company.)

What if I give you an unique article as a Guest Post. An
article that will be informative for your readers. The article will be
related to your website and will be appreciated by your readers.

(NOTE: This sounds quite good. I hate it when they say they'll give me interesting content when I'm already doing that and that they “won't charge me a penny”. It's insulting.)

It would be great if you can add a small BIO of mine at the end of the
article with my related site's links. I guarantee you that the article
will be 100% copy scape protected and will be of around 700 words.

(NOTE: Copyscape means that they haven't stolen the content from anyone else which somehow makes me think they might.)

Please let me know if this sound good to you, so that we can start
working on your article.

Regards,

I hate these emails. Why can't guest post requests from brands and content marketers just be honest and say:

“I work for Big Brand. We've been told by our SEO experts to build links to our site so we're trying to do that cheaply. Can we write a post for you?”

Although my answer would still be the same:

“No thank you.”

3. Create canned responses

Gmail has a great add-on called canned responses allowing you to create various different ready-made emails to send out for all those common requests.

If you don't use Gmail you can still create a set of ready-made emails to copy and paste but I recommend forwarding all your emails to Gmail because it's a great service, even without the canned responses.

Here's my canned response to requests for guest posts from brands, businesses or content marketers who are working for them:

Hi Kristine, (NOTE: I use their name.)

Thank you for your interest in writing for my blog. I only take guest posts occasionally and then only from personal bloggers and people I know well. (NOTE: I am polite and professional. I do reply to their email even though I know they probably won't reply to mine.)If you're interested in guest posting these two posts I wrote about guest blogging will help you: (NOTE: But I'm cheeky too and suggest they might like to brush up on their guest posting and networking skills by reading my blogging tips.)

How to Score a Guest Post on a Top Blog

Have You Hit a Wall? Get Over it With Guest Blogging

Alternatively, if you wish to market, advertise or gain incoming links for a company or brand I recommend paid advertising or a sponsored blog post.
You might like to find out more about travel blog advertising on Get In the Hot Spot  or email me if you're more interested in the Successful Blogging.
I will be happy to send you my media kit which includes site statistics, reader demographics and rates. 

(NOTE: I know it's unlikely they'll pay for advertising but they might pass my email on to someone who will.)

Best wishes,

Annabel

Those are my guidance for staying sane, dealing with emails quickly and making sure all the guest posts on my blogs are top quality.

What are your guidelines for dealing with guest post requests?

Comments

  1. says

    Interesting and timely post, we have started to see an increase in similar emails since the Google updates, as you say, emails are vague and general, I can tell they have not read my posts. I have allowed people to send over the articles they have pre written and so far turned them all down.

    One woman writing for an online merchant account did write back and ask what kind of article could she write, so I said I would happily accept a long screen shot filled post about setting up a merchant account, I wanted it to be educational with a lot of value, I wanted her to outline what the benefits were of using merchant accounts etc as long as it was not focused to much on that site, it would have links and can be mention as examples. My suggestion had more in common with her clients site than her earlier poorly written basic SEO article.

    Now you might ask why I knew the website was her client and not one she worked for directly. I gave her an excellent opportunity to create an educational post that could bring business to that site, bloggers and online marketers need merchant accounts but what I suggested required work, a lot of work, far more than what she would be paid for and funnily enough like many of the people who I reply to with similar emails… I never heared back from her 🙂

    Speak soon
    Andi

    • says

      Hi Andi,

      That’s a typical story and very disappointing. I just wish companies knew what they were hiring people to do and how they are annoying influencers because sometimes the company is even named.

      I’ve also had a problem with a genuine blogger who I agreed to let guest post on my site and then gave me a post which seemed to have been written by a non-native speaker (not him). He denied it though!

  2. Michelle says

    It is great to see that good writing and editing skills are coming around as a key skill. I see so often on resumes people who think they have “great communication skills.” Everyone thinks they can write, communicate and market. And, as Andi describes, they think they’re doing you a big favor to get what they want on your blog with little work or expense on their end. Now if Google could only analyze the excellence of the writing, we’d really have something.

    • says

      Hi Michelle,

      Ugh, I have that they think it’s a favour to all bloggers! Unlike Andi I haven’t actually read any of the posts content marketers write but it sounds bad:(

  3. says

    Hi there Annabel, I saw this post title and thought: ‘Just what I need!” And it is!! And funnily enough there’s a guest post in my inbox which I have read and which is perfectly fine for my blog, it will be paid for and I will mark it as a paid post but it’s not a sponsored post.

    I will add a few bits here and there and links to relevent posts I have on the blog already.

    Still waiting for that email inviting to cruise around the world writing about all the exotic locations I visit, but can feel in my waters that it’s imminent!!

    • says

      Hi Seana,

      Well, I did write it for you:) Glad to hear you are earning some money and hope the cruise comes your way soon… it can only be a matter of time;)

  4. says

    Too funny Annabel,

    Even one request to write for someone would be cool!! Hope all well at your end.

    David

  5. Fahad says

    This is awesome.Thanks for the post. I just got an email today asking me if I would like a guest post and that ‘all I want is a link to my blog’. I did not know what to make of it so I googled it and luckily got to read your post. Lucky for me. Now I can turn him down before they become a headache.

    Thanks again.

    Regards,
    Fahad

  6. says

    I feel the rate you’d charge someone to post on your site should be disclosed before agreeing to allow them to post.

    Seems kind of unfair to have a person go work on something for you only to end up charging them more than they’re willing or able to pay. Best to be up front about fees so everyone is on the same page from the get-go!

  7. says

    This is so timely for me. I am getting a lot of requests from people/companies who seem to have no connection (or knowledge of our blog’s niche) and have written letters such as the one you described above.

    I have got myself into emails going back and forth trying to work out if they actually knew anything about camping/outdoors!!

    I want guest posts, but I want them from people who actually know what they are talking about and not looking for those links who mentioned! So, I will take your lead and be more assertive when these emails come in.

  8. says

    This was really helpful, thank you! I’ve just got an email from someone claiming to write ‘occasionally’ for a company’s website and it was almost exactly like your example above. Only, they said they’d “noticed on Twitter” that I was looking for guest posts, when I’ve said no such thing.
    Obviously just chancing it by sending emails to any and every blogger they can find. But I wasn’t sure how to deal with it, so this was a really well-timed find!

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