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The Wrong (Yet Common) Way to Request a Guest Blog Post

on February 18, 2014

About once a week I will get an email from someone I don’t know asking me if they could offer up, for free, a post for my blog, Spark Minute. They tell me what a big fan they are of my blog and then provide a link to a sample article, or in some cases show me the article that I could just post on my blog.

This is an incredibly common pattern. I see it time and time again, and its success hinges on me being a complete moron.

  • If they were truly a fan of my blog, they would have expressed their appreciation previously through sharing one of my posts, commenting on any individual post, or contacting me directly. They would also notice I don’t have any guest bloggers on my site.
  • Nobody gives away something for nothing, especially to someone they don’t know. Whenever I’m presented with a fully produced post to publish on my site it is obviously paid for as there are links to the company in question that paid for the post. When I confront the “blogger” with the question of “Who paid for this?” I have been met repeatedly with “we can’t reveal that information.”
  • The sample post and the fully produced post ready for publication are always horribly written. If they were well written the person would already be writing for a successful blog.

It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to deduce this person is full of shit.

If you truly want to guest post for someone’s blog, there are only two ways about it:

  1. If it’s a big enough blog, they most surely have a guest blogging policy. Ask for it first and then pitch your post according to their guidelines.
  2. If there is no guest blogging policy, check to see if the blogger accepts guest posts. Simple to tell. Just see if any of the posts are not written by the main author(s). Then show your interest in the blog by commenting on posts and sharing the content. Even reach out to the author with a personal message. Once they get to know you, ask if you can guest blog.

That is the only appropriate way to do it. I don’t have a guest blogging policy, but I would be open to guest blog posts if anyone did #2, but they never do. They’d rather just assume I’m a moron.


Creative Commons photo attribution to jjpacres and churl.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Stevens February 19, 2014 at 2:13 pm

It’s encouraging to see that there are still some of us left who can tell the difference between good and “horrible” writing, per the third bullet point. I fear it’s a fundamental problem of U.S. education, and not easy to fix. The quality of writing that gets passing grades in all but the top universities is horrible.

David Spark February 19, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Good writers never come to me offering their content for free.

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