The Seven Sins of Guest Blogging: Real Stories

Learn the do's and don'ts of guest blogging with real-world examples.

It’s easy to see why Matt Cutts is displeased with the current landscape of guest blogging – it’s become problematic. The catalyst for his annoyance was an unsolicited email that offered money for a blog post, along with two questionable backlinks. Clearly, not a wise move.

Although many multi-author platforms depend on and even appreciate guest bloggers for their valuable insights, there are some behaviors that are simply not acceptable. This post elaborates on how to differentiate between good and bad guest posts, enriched by real-world examples.

Let’s just say, truth is often more bizarre than fiction. (Note: Names have been omitted as they are not remembered.)

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1. Paying Attention to the Little Things Matters

Getting off on the wrong foot during a pitch can have severe consequences. Even if you believe you have an 80% chance of winning over your audience, certain blunders can quickly reduce those odds. In this section, we’ll discuss these common errors and how to sidestep them.

Don’t Underestimate the Impact of Spelling Mistakes

One common error is misspelling crucial details, like the name of your contact, the site owner, or even the blog you’re pitching to. For instance, our blog’s name is often misspelled, which may seem trivial but can be the tipping point in a sensitive situation.

Common spelling errors to avoid
Treat Your Readers with Respect

Another frequent mistake is using patronizing language towards your readers. Phrases like “WRONG!”, “That’s a foolish approach,” or “Are you uninformed?” have no place in a post meant to impress. Always be courteous and considerate in your language.

2. The Pitfalls of Being Unnecessarily Rude

Discourtesy has no place in guest blogging – much like a child fussing over the color of their new gadget, it’s not acceptable. You can’t just submit a lengthy article on an unrelated topic and expect it to be published. No. Trust me, if we publish just anything, you wouldn’t want your work featured.

If your article is rejected, don’t pester the editor for the “magic” title that will ensure publication. Blogs are not required to feature your content.

Keys to Successful Guest Blogging

If you submit a top-notch guest post, like this example, or this one, we will reach out to discuss publishing your work. The authors of these exemplary posts were cooperative, patient, and professional, making the guest blogging process a mutual endeavor.

3. The Importance of a Relevant Pitch

Some of the submissions I’ve received would astonish you. Topics have ranged from trekking in Nepal to hotel reservations in Mumbai, and even peculiar subjects like “why controversial figures deserve your affection.” Clearly, these are not suitable for our blog.

Before submitting, ensure your article aligns with the blog’s focus. If it doesn’t, it’s best not to submit it. Sending an irrelevant article will likely result in silence, as blog owners are not obliged to engage with off-topic submissions.

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4. The Art of Patience in Guest Blogging

Being a guest, whether in someone’s home or on their blog, requires a certain level of patience and understanding. Just like you wouldn’t expect immediate attention from your Aunt Ellen, you shouldn’t expect instant responses from blog owners.

Guest blogging operates on a set schedule, and your contribution, no matter how important to you, is still a “guest” in this system. Being overly demanding can make the blog owner reconsider your submission.

The art of waiting for a response in guest blogging

Remember, the blog can function perfectly well without your article. So, avoid being high-maintenance. If you’re truly exceptional, some leniency may be granted, but remember, there’s only room for one diva.

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5. The True Objective of Guest Blogging

The main reason blogs accept guest contributors is to obtain high-quality content. In return, you gain valuable exposure. However, if you come with demands like link swaps or sponsored posts, don’t expect a warm welcome.

If you’re considering a financial investment, look into the blog’s advertising options. If you have a team capable of writing diverse topics, perhaps starting your own blog is a better route. Guest blogging is a win-win situation when everyone brings the right elements to the table.

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6. The Unacceptable Act of Plagiarism

It happens more often than you’d think. Far too often, actually. I’ve even received a guest post that was a direct copy of an article from another site – which had originally taken the content from our site.

Related: Check out these plagiarism tools to detech bot generated content.

Imagine the absurdity of being shown your own stolen car at a dealership. It’s unacceptable on multiple levels.

The pitfalls of plagiarized content in guest blogging
The Wasteful Use of Skill

Some individuals attempt to dilute their work by merging multiple authors’ pieces into one. Others spin their articles, changing tenses or sentence structures. Sometimes, it’s so well-done that it’s hard to catch unless you’re particularly observant.

It raises the question: Why not produce an original piece to begin with?

All successful relationships start with trust and understanding. No blog owner wants to feel deceived by accepting a fraudulent guest post.

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7. The Dangers of Identity Deception

Just as you wouldn’t want to go on a blind date with someone hiding their true identity, you wouldn’t want to accept a guest post from an impersonator. If a submission comes with a suspiciously attractive photo, perform an image search. You might find it’s just a stock image.

Be wary of submissions featuring two first names. It could be a sign that the individual hastily chose two common names to create a fake identity.

The most egregious case I’ve encountered involved an author claiming to have “multiple personalities.” After initially accepting the post, I found that the author had copied content directly from product descriptions.

The dangers of identity deception in guest blogging

When confronted and officially rejected, the author reacted poorly. He insisted that I honor the initial approval and accused me of using “an unjust reason” to withdraw the post. Ironically, he signed the email with another contributor’s name, revealing that he had lost track of his own impersonation.


Despite the hurdles, we continue to welcome guest submissions as they offer a meaningful platform for skilled writers genuinely interested in delivering quality content.

Many guest bloggers have even transitioned into becoming regular contributors on our platform. Implementing a stringent screening process for submissions has proven more effective than completely eliminating guest blogging opportunities.

By adhering to this approach, we maintain high content quality without sacrificing the fresh perspectives and diversity brought by guest bloggers. This strategy has been successful in achieving our objectives.