The Importance of Guest Blogging Can Never Really Be Understated.
Whether you are seeking to submit blog posts, infographics, product reviews or other creative content to blog owners, your outreach is an important part of the process. I’ve made about every mistake in the book when reaching out to blog owners, but through trial and error I now know what works.
As William Saroyan once said, “Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure.” Make sure you’re not drinking anything while reading this because it’s likely you’ll spew beverage out of your nose due to laughter.
Here are 11 dumb mistakes I’ve made while doing blog outreach that you should avoid:
- Writing a lengthy request: Keep your request brief. Blog authors who accept guest posts typically get hundreds of emails everyday from people requesting posts? Be short and to the point.
- Sending generic emails: Nothing looks worse than an email that looks like it was sent to 20 other blogs requesting a post. People feel insulted and they don’t want to accept a guest author if they think you aren’t genuinely interested in their blog and its readers.
- Being too casual: Don’t send an email with “textisms” like, “I look 4ward to hearing from u.” It shows your poor literacy skills and could be perceived as disrespectful. You’re not making a request from your best friend who you’ve known for years. Make sure your tone is professional and polite.
- Being too formal: People usually can sense when someone is trying too hard or being “fake”. You’re not writing your Master’s thesis, rather, you’re writing a simple email that makes you look like someone who is genuinely interested in contributing to a site. Avoid words you wouldn’t use in a normal conversation.
- Dear Webmaster: Never send a guest post request that starts with, “Dear Webmaster” or even the word “Dear”. Always try and find the name of the person you are emailing. If you’ve searched everywhere on the site but just can’t find a name, then just put “Hi” or “Hi there”. It makes you seem more like a person and less like a robot. It might surprise you how much more these emails are responded to.
- Leaving a request as a comment: On some blogs it might be hard to find an email or any kind of contact information. When people see the open comments at the bottom of the “write-for-us” page, some decide to go ahead and make a request for a post via the comments. Don’t be the person who makes this mistake. Everyone who comes to the site will see it and think you’re desperate and incompetent to boot. It’s possible that the blog author will never check the comments for that page anyway.
- Being overly confident: Don’t send an email that sounds like you’re doing the author a favor by graciously submitting an article to their site. Yes, guest posts do benefit the blog owner, but you should still show a little humility when requesting a post. It’s a request, not a demand. Always let them know how appreciative you are.
- Not suggesting a topic: When you write your short and concise request, make sure to include a potential topic idea that you want to write about. Assuming they do allow guest posts, they’re only going to respond to your email and ask what your proposed topic is. Again, they have lots of emails to respond to. Make their job easier by cutting out those extra emails and send them a topic or two the first time. If for whatever reason they don’t like your proposed topic, feel free to suggest another or ask them what they would like to hear about for their readers.
- Suggesting a topic that isn’t relevant: Sometimes people get so desperate to submit a post that they submit to a blog with content they know little or nothing about. They try and get creative with a catchy topic, but instead they suggest something that is either too general, or has nothing to do with the reader’s interests. If you think your topic might be a stretch for a particular blog, don’t suggest it or think of a better idea.
- Sending too many follow-up emails: If you’ve sent a request and haven’t heard back from anyone after a few days or even a few weeks, don’t panic and send them several emails asking if they’ve received your request. Most blog authors are busy and can’t quickly respond to every email in a timely manner. It’s not necessarily bad to send one follow-up email, but don’t overdo it. If you harass the author, you’re only hurting your chances for acceptance.
- Sending a request without proof reading it: If you send an email that has grammatical errors, what makes you think the author won’t assume your guest post will be of the same quality? Always proofread your email before sending it.
If you read the guidelines for guest post submissions on most blogs, one of the biggest determining factors of whether or not you’re guest post will be accepted is the content. If you aren't submitting good content then even the most effective blogger outreach will be a waste of time. Building relationships with blog owners is an important part of building links and good outreach is the first step.
I’d love to hear about any mistakes you've made and how you've learned from them in the comments below.