When I asked readers what they would like to know more about guest blogging regularly cropped up. Hoping to respond to your needs I’ve written this post (part one of a two part series) looking at what we as guest bloggers should consider. Part two will focus on hosting guest posts and the etiquette surrounding that.
Ok. Here’s the deal. Below are nine reasons why your guest post submission failed. They are completely commonsense factors to incorporate into your planning and writing yet so many bloggers fail to do so. If your post isn’t accepted for one of these reasons you only have YOURSELF TO BLAME.
9 Displays Of Stupidity
1. You ignored the post length requirements
If a blogger/content curator states that guest posts must be a particularly word count or within a range they mean it. It’s just like being back in school. If you had to write an essay of at least 500 words, it really meant you must follow the guideline or risk losing marks. Similarly, your work can be world leading but if it’s over the maximum word count forget it. You’ve wasted everyone’s time and energy.
2. Your topic wasn’t relevant
It’s a pretty darn simple concept. If a blog is about weddings don’t submit a post about tennis, pigs, SEO or anything else unless you can relate it back to the wedding niche. Of course some of the best posts take two seemingly unrelated topics and weave them together to sensational results.
3. Totally different voice
Bloggers develop their voice through their blog. The tone of their posts may be abrasive, calming, sarcastic, mentoring or otherwise. The key is loyal readers’ find the voice appealing or they wouldn’t return so bear this in mind while writing your post.
Guest posting criteria may specify a voice or leave it open. The best way to meet the readers’ needs is to read through the archives and get a feel for the particular blog’s voice. Let this guide you as you write.
4. Formatting requirements weren’t met
Read the instructions. Do they say to make submissions as .txt files? Do you need to find images? Are links within the text to your own blog acceptable? Dot the ‘i’ and cross the ‘t’. Check the instructions, write your post, proof using the instructions as a checklist. Only tick off items once complete.
5. Spelling and grammar issues
Poor spelling and grammar is not acceptable. If you find language challenging read your post out loud then use spellchecker. You will quickly pick up errors and any confusing text. Third, ask a friend with great writing skills to proof read it for you. Let them at it with the red pen. You’ll be glad you did.
6. Not original content
The ultimate no-no of the blogging world. Don’t even think about copying someone else’s content or idea, unless you BOTH acknowledge them and further the idea with your own comments. There is no faster way to be blacklisted.
7. Readability is poor
Long, long, long sentences containing several ideas befuddle your readers. Keep your sentences short and sharp. Use one idea per paragraph, identifying the idea in the first sentence then explaining its relevance.
Break up your text with subheadings and highlight key messages. Readers can quickly scan headings to identify whether they want to invest time reading the whole post. Images or videos not only assist visual learners, they can set your post apart from the competition.
8. Linking to competitors
Think about it. Would you like it if I wrote a guest post for your blog promoting your competitors? Not exactly rocket science is it.
9. Your bio is otherwise known as “War and Peace”
You are a potential guest on someone else’s blog. Respect the privilege and don’t abuse the opportunity. Keep your bio succinct and limit links to two.
3 Reasons Out Of Your Control
You’ll be pleased to know not every submission failure is your fault. Occasionally there are reasons outside of your control that simply can’t be helped. That’s no excuse to stop trying though.
1. Timing was wrong
Does the blog you want to submit to have an obvious posting strategy? Are there clear themes they are working through? Try to match your theme with that of your preferred blog BUT if you have a brilliant idea, don’t let it bypass you. Save the idea until the timing is right.
2. “Done to death” topic
You might think you’ve covered a new angle or perspective in your post. The blog owner doesn’t. Don’t take it personally, it doesn’t mean your work is rubbish. Look for an alternative site to submit to or post it on your own blog.
3. The blogger has lost interest
Sometimes the blogger has simply lost interest in accepting guest posts, perhaps even blogging altogether. The best thing to do in this situation is cut your losses. You’ve worked hard, don’t waste your efforts. Identify another blog you would like to see the post on, tailor it to that blog’s requirements and fire it off again.
So What Should You Do?
First and foremost, if you submission is rejected ask for feedback! How will you know what went wrong if you don’t ask? Maybe you will get a response, possibly not. One thing for sure is any feedback you do receive will be valuable for your future efforts. It might also restore your confidence if you’re a bit flattened.
Secondly, don’t take rejection personally. Control what you can, make improvements where possible and forget anything outside these actions.
Finally, whatever you do keep submitting guest posts. The pay off might be increased traffic, new subscribers, brand awareness or simply improvements in your writing. All are too good to pass up.