Every week, I get several requests for people who want to do guest blogging for my site. I turn down nearly every single one of them. It’s been close to a year since I let someone guest blog here, aside from someone I sought out for a cool Halloween-related post.
Let me tell you why. If you’re into guest blogging, take notes!
You Lie Your Ass Off
Nearly every guest blogging pitch starts with flattery and, often, an entreaty about why the writer is interest in guest blogging on my site. These are from actual pitches:
Your blog “wanderingjustin.com“is by far the most interesting I have come across in the recent past, hands down!
I am keeping an eye on your blog since long and found your content very unique and informative. I guess you are working hard enough to get such an awesome content.
I am a freelance writer looking to gain more experience and boost my portfolio by contributing to blogs and sites such as yours, http://wanderingjustin.com/ . I loved the articles on your site and would love to be able to contribute some of my work!
Now, when I run across a blog I like, I comment. I give some love. It might even be worth a tweet or a Facebook post. If I don’t recognize the name, I doubt that I’m getting the truth in all the flattery. And notice how two of these look like form letters? That’s an extra sincerity points deduction.
Here another funny one: Sometimes, people sign their emails with names that don’t match their byline. That’s a “dishonest guest blogger” red flag, right there, it surely is.
You Want Me to Lie, Too
A for-real example, and hardly the only one of its kind:
I am working on the SEO campaign for a travel agency, and I’m interested in finding out if there is any possibility of having a sponsored post on your site http://wanderingjustin.com/. I can provide the content, but the live article can’t be labelled as ’sponsored / guest post’ or marked in any way that indicates that it was paid for.
No. No. No. Nyet. Nein. Dishonest. Unethical. Wrong.
You’re Guest Blogging to Build Links
Businesses hire people who do “guest blogging.” The idea: Offer “free” content in exchange for links back to the companies who foot the bill for their efforts. So you’re not really interested in building your reputation as a writer or boosting your portfolio. You’re just building links – and worse yet, treating me like a rube who doesn’t know what you’re up to. There are many bloggers out there who are green enough to foot the bills for hosting and maintaining their sites … and will still let you take advantage of them. I’m not one of them. Jog on.
You Don’t Show Your Work
When I apply for a job, whether full-time or freelance, my prospective employer/client wants to see what I can do. I even say on my site that anyone interested in guest blogging needs to show some work. I can’t believe that people get even this simple step wrong.
You DID Show Your Work, And It’s Awful
If someone links to their work, I’ll read it. And often regret the misspent minutes of my life. So much guest blogging is generic to the point of depressing (“Have you ever thought of a holiday in beautiful Cypress? This post will tell you all about why it’s one of the most enchanting destinations in the world” … bleh!).
Your Pitch is Weak
I admire people who speak and write multiple languages. People who can’t master one earn my ire. Guest blogging pitches are often petri dishes for passive voice, run-on sentences, tortured punctuation and so, so many other writing problems. Quality is most important.
Or maybe you asked what I want them to write about. If I have to think of a topic for you, I’m better off writing the post myself.
Why I Hate Being Like This
This all makes me mistrust every guest blogging offer I receive. They’re guilty until proven innocent. Guest bloggers like Rutger, who wrote this super guest post about SCUBA diving, deserve better from me. Quit spoiling it for them.