The 7 Sins Of Guest Blogging (Based On True Events)

I totally understand why Matt Cutts is pissed with how guest blogging is turning out — a complete pain in the rear. The culprit that triggered the response was an unsolicited email that offered to pay for a post to show up in his blog, and in return they ask for 2 (spammy) backlinks. Smooth, guys. Real smooth. Granted that many multi-authored blogs depend on (ok, maybe welcome?) guest bloggers submitting in their insights and advice, there are some things that some guest bloggers do that really, really push all the wrong buttons. The basic ones are already covered in this post 10 tips to distinguish good guest posts from the bad but it is more fun when you have real-life accounts to share with everyone.

Let’s just say truth is way stranger than fiction. *(No real names were used in these stories because… I can’t remember any of them.)

1. You overlook small but real important things

There are a few things that really gets you off on a bad start, the moment it turns up in your pitch. If you have like an 80% chance of making a good impression, these will cut that down to half, almost instantly.

I Can Spellz?

One thing is misspelling things like your liaison’s name (for instance, mine), the site owner’s name, the blog name (if I get a nickel for every time people refer to us as Honkiat), your own post title, popular brands like “Facebook” and “Google” or basically, anything inside your email pitch.

These are small problems, but if your situation is near that last straw on the camel’s back, this is what’s breaking those humps apart.

Don’t Diss The Reader

Secondly, you talk down to whomever that’s reading your post. Inside the post you use words like, “WRONG!”, “That is a ridiculous way to design a site,” “Are you stupid?”. If you’re not going to say it out loud (due to common sense, not shyness) why in blazes would you put that in a post that is supposed to impress the person(s) reading it?

The last thing anyone should be doing is getting on the wrong side of the Internet. Period.

2. You are Inexplicably Rude

Rude guest bloggers exist — like kids who throw fits because their parents got their iPhone in the wrong color, they shouldn’t. You don’t get to write in and say “here is my 1,500 essay on woolly mammoths… check it… make sure it is published.” No. Trust me, if we publish just anything we get in the mail, you don’t want us to publish you.

(Image Source: bloggingwithdani)

After getting a rejection email, don’t demand to know what kind of title that can ensure you get published. These blogs are not here to make sure you get published.

Be Professional About It

But if you submit a really good guest blog, like this one, or this one, or this or this, we will be contacting you and arranging to put the post in queue for publication.

Additionally, each of the contributors of those highlighted posts were a delight to work with. They were accommodating and patient, very professional, and will make any changes required to make sure we can help them put their work up on the site. They “get it” that this guest blogging thing is the result of an alliance, not a take-it-or-leave-it.

3. Your pitch was way off-key

If I could tell you stories about the submissions I received, I’d talk about the time when I got submissions about hiking trips in Nepal, why Hitler needs your love, hotel bookings in Mumbai, how to get out of a traffic ticket, an actual business portfolio, how to choose a receptionist, how to buy lingerie online in India, how much it costs to refurbish your office etc, but I can’t.

If you go to a tech site and read about how to change a car tyre, you’d raise an eyebrow too. So before submitting your post to a blog, take a minute to think if it will be something you expect to read on the site (from a reader’s POV). If it is not, don’t submit it.

If you submit it, don’t expect a reply because if you couldn’t be bothered, don’t expect the blog owner to be bothered either.

4. You want Fast Answers

The thing about visiting guests is that the hosts go out of their way to make things comfortable for them — that’s called hospitality. Even when you are visiting your Aunt Ellen, you don’t expect her family to wait on you, hand and foot. They have lives to lead, schools and jobs to lug themselves to and at the least, errands to run.

It is the same with guest blogging. Most blogs work on a publication schedule, which is why you get “regular” updates at the same time every day. It’s organized and efficient. To achieve that, a lot of things happen in the background. Long story short, your guest blog, no matter how important it is to you, is a “guest” in the mix. And pushy guests can really make the blog owner wonder if it is worth putting up with their demands.

Everything can still go smoothly on the blog without your submission, so it would be good to not throw a diva fit. If you are really that good, some blogs may put up with you but again, there is only room for one diva, and if Aunt Ellen can kick you out of her home, she gets to be the diva.

5. You do Everything except guest blog

The idea behind receiving guest bloggers is to get good content and in return, you, the awesome author, get great exposure of your work and what you do (and if you are lucky, the readers may click in to check out your site or product).

But when you come in asking to exchange links, or to pay the blog to publish your post, or to demand a backlink (not ask, demand), it’s hard to expect blog owners to be courteous with your requests. If you want to throw money about, do check out the site’s advertising options. Big writing teams that “can write anything you want” can consider setting up their own blogging site (the way I see it, they already have the writing team, so technically they’re halfway there).

Guest blogging is a win-win situation for the author and the blog owner. It’s a beautiful formula that works right when all the ingredients are there in the right amounts, so let’s not go ruining a good thing.

6. You try to pass off someone’s work for yours

It happens a lot. Like a lot, lot, lot. Yet I never thought that it could get any lower than mere plagiarism, until a guest blogger submitted an “original” post he ripped off a site, which ripped the content off our site first.

(Image Source: edtechreview)

It’s like you being at the car dealer, shopping for a new car to replace your stolen car, only to be showed your (still stolen) car by the salesperson. I mean, come on! That is so wrong at so many levels.

Wasted Talents

There are those that try to dilute the work by grouping several writer’s work into the same post. Others spin their articles, changing the tenses, every fourth word or the arrangements of the words. Sometimes they do such a good job with it, you can’t really tell unless you have a really good eye, or really good luck (nature blessed me with the latter). Kind of makes you wonder why they don’t just write an original piece from the get go.

All great relationships start off with trust and understanding. No blog owner wants to feel cheated or scammed into accepting a forged guest blog. And while we are on that subject…

7. You pose as someone else

Like any other sane person, I’d like for the person I go on a blind date with to not turn out to be a serial killer. Ditto with guest bloggers. If you are accepting guest blogs and the submission comes in with a really (almost too) photogenic photo, run an image search with the photo. Some of them may be from a stock photo library.

Also be wary of submissions that come in with two first names. Either their parents were really in a rush to pick their names or they themselves were in a rush to pick two english names to go with their fake identities. It happens often but that’s not the worst.

Multiple Personalities

The worst case I’ve ever encountered involved an author with “multiple personalities”. I had accepted a submitted post for publication but upon closer inspection, found that the author lifted content straight from the product descriptions.

It’s no big deal, in fact, it happens all the time, so I do what I usually do in these situations and confront the writer, officially rejecting the post.

The author did not take to the rejection well, and demanded that I honor the initial approval and not fall back on “a shameful reason” to pull the post from publication. Right… it is shameful of me to withdraw from publishing his copycat post, but what’s this — he signed the email with another contributor’s name (and of the opposite gender).

The guest author had lost track of who he was impersonating, messing up who was whom and effectively helping me develop my allergy to BS submissions from then on.

Wrap Up

In spite of all this, we continue accepting guest submissions because it is a great source for talented writers who are really here to produce good content. In fact, some of these guest bloggers eventually become regular contributors. Being a little stricter with the filtration of post seems to be a better strategy than totally closing the doors to guest blogging aka killing the golden goose. And so far, it’s still working.

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