When you’re relatively new, it’s easy to become excited that someone–anyone–wants to contribute to your blog and accept them all. Unfortunately, not all of those guest posts will make a good impact with your audience. Some might even bring down the quality of your blog. Most bloggers need time to learn the difference between a good guest post and a useless one.
In this article, we’ll pinpoint good and bad guest post requests and how to pick and choose the ones that are worth it from the ones that aren’t. We are assuming that you have already decided to accept guest posts but aren’t sure how to go ahead with it.
Let’s get started!
When To Accept Guest Post Requests (Or Not)
So you’ve decided to accept guest posts on your blog. Maybe you have a “write for us” page or the emails are coming in on their own. It’s important to remember that not every guest post request deserves a follow-through. Let’s see the reasons why.
Receiving The Standard Guest Post Request Email – First Impressions
As you know, a large part of content marketing is guest posting on other sites. The main purpose of guest posting as a content marketing strategy is to receive a link back to a pillar page or website.
Guest posting as a trend in content marketing has grown exponentially thanks to content marketers like Neil Patel. A few years ago, Neil Patel published a post all about guest posting and included an email template for getting in touch with blog managers on other sites.
This email template has been used and reused so many times that it’s easy to recognize. Receiving many types of emails that look the same starts getting old pretty fast.
Knowing when one of these emails is worth your response and when it’s not, takes a bit of time to master. Here are some tips to help you know when they deserve a follow-through and when they don’t
An initial decision to respond to the original email does not mean that you will publish their guest post. This is only the first step. It’s only a follow-through at this point.
This is what a generic guest post request email looks like:
Subject: Catchy Headline with the word “guest post” in it.
Dear (Blogger’s Name),
(Start with a compliment)
I’m contacting you to submit a guest post to (name of the blog). The post’s headline is (blog title article).
I’ve noticed that articles on this topic are popular with your readers.
I’ve previously written for (titles of blogs where you’ve been published).
Here are some links:
Let me know what you think. I’d love to hear back from you!
When Not To Follow Through
Most guest blog requests will arrive as a version of the template above. There are many variations of the same idea but you can be sure they have sent the same template to many other bloggers simply changing out the content.
Do not follow through if their email has any of these:
- An unchanged placeholder
- The wrong blog name, or any content that isn’t correct
- A lack of personality in the way the email is written
- When the content of the email shows that they have no idea about what your blog is really about.
- No signature in the email (no website link, no social media, etc)
When To Follow Through
Following through and responding to a guest post request email depends on first impressions. As most of these emails will look the same, it’s easy to notice the differences. When an email is unique you will notice it.
Consider following through if the email includes these:
- The email shows personality as early as the first line. Anything from a funny comment about the generic guest post email to an inside joke
- The links to their published posts include a title and a short blurb
- When you recognize the writer’s name or the publications they’ve written for
- Their signature includes their website and social media including Linkedin
All these make good first impressions.
Assessing The Writer – Is It A Real Writer Or A Content Outreach Persona?
Guest posting email outreach has a level where you can’t always be sure if the person contacting you is a real writer or an invented persona for a content outreach company.
Content outreach companies create content and send guest post outreach emails to as many blogs as they can find. At first, this possibility doesn’t stand out as much. But when you receive these emails for a long time you start to notice that suddenly the same profile image is showing up with different names.
Here are some tips to know if you’re being contacted by a real writer or a fake persona.
- Search for the writer on Google. Do they have a website? Active social media profiles? A proper Linkedin profile?
- Conduct a reverse search on their image and see if the results match their name.
When Not To Follow Through
Don’t follow through if:
- Their image turns out to be a stock image
- The image shows up with different names
- They don’t have any social media accounts or a website
When to Follow Through
Go ahead and follow through if:
- The writer has been published on sites you recognize and look up to
- Their social media profiles are active
- The image and the name show up together in search results
- Their Linkedin profile shows off their expertise
- You already know the writer and what they write about
Deciding If The Content Suits Your Niche And Audience
Even if the writer is real and their email was great, you still have to consider if their suggested titles fit your niche and will appeal to your readers. More points if their ideas fit your content marketing plan and publishing calendar.
When Not To Accept
Don’t accept the guest post if:
- Their suggested titles have nothing to do with your blog niche and they are unwilling to consider other options
- If their previously published articles aren’t that great
- They want to write about a product that clashes with your values
When To Accept
Go ahead and accept their pitch if:
- Their suggestions are innovative and thought-provoking
- They are willing to compromise with you about the topic and the direction for the content
- The previous articles they’ve published elsewhere are in the same niche
Recognizing If It’s A Sponsored Post Disguised As A Guest Post Request
Guest posts come in different styles and with different purposes. For example:
- Websites and blogs offer guest posts by their founders and content managers in order to get links back to their pillar pages and top articles.
- Authors offer guest posts in order to build a writer’s curriculum and find work in freelance writing.
- Outreach companies offer guest posts on a massive scale for clients.
Adding on to these guest post styles are sponsored posts. The line between sponsored posts and guest posts is a little blurry. This creates confusion for some bloggers because they initially think that they are being offered a guest post while the only purpose of the contact is to get a backlink.
Sponsored posts are best accepted when they come from companies that are clear in their intent. Many bloggers make a good amount of money from sponsored posts.
As a blogger, you have the choice to accept sponsored posts for payment or simply accept guest posts. A good way of differentiating if a guest post is a sponsored post in disguise, is to be honest with the contact and tell them what your guest post guidelines are and see how they respond.
How To Accept Guest Post Requests On Your Blog
After putting any worthy contacts through the first trials you can start accepting their guest posts. Remember that this is your blog and you make the rules. There is no reason for you to publish content you don’t believe in or that you don’t think is good enough. You also don’t want to waste time editing silly grammar mistakes and formatting errors.
Here are some tips to follow for when you are ready to accept guest posts.
Set Guest Posting Guidelines
Send the potential guest post author your blog guidelines. Make sure it’s clear and easy to understand. If needed, offer a visual outline with headings and an estimated word count. Ask them to spell and grammar check their work.
There is no need to give a guest post writer a login for your blog. They should send you the text in a document that you can then copy onto your CMS. In some cases, if you have a well-organized permission setup in your CMS, you can invite the guest post author to add their post as a draft.
Consider Co-Marketing or Guest Post Swaps
When you accept a guest post to your site, also consider doing a guest post swap. They post on your site and you post on theirs. If the niche is the same or close enough then it can be a positive collaboration.
Ask The Writer To Share On Social Media
Make an agreement with the writer to share their guest post on social media. If they are happy with the process of guest posting for you, they will gladly share the final product on their socials.
You should also share on social media and tag the writer.
Last Thoughts On Accepting Guest Post Requests
We all know that guest posts are a huge factor in content marketing. The power of link building in guest posting is its largest appeal. Unfortunately, it has turned into a waterfall of unwanted emails in your inbox.
What side of the coin are you on in terms of guest posting? Do you write guest posts for other blogs? Do you accept guest posts on yours?
Share your thoughts about accepting guest post requests with the community.
Featured Image via Sammby / shutterstock.com