How Not To Apply To Guest Post (And 5 Tips To Avoid The Circular Filing Cabinet)

How Not To Apply To Guest Post

I received the above application to guest post on my blog this morning, which set my teeth on edge.

Everything about this generic, impersonal, templated application is an insult to the owner of any blog that receives it, and it would have ended up in the virtual circular filing cabinet if I’d had my morning coffee and wasn’t feeling slightly cranky.

Let me offer prospective guest bloggers some tips to avoid having your email deleted by site owners like myself:

1. Read My Blog

Read my blog, listen to my podcast, find out who I am and what makes this blog tick.

Even skimming the archives and poking around for 5 minutes would help you avoid such stupid mistakes as starting your email with “Dear Editor”  and offering  me a piece of your “comprehensive research”.

2. Flatter Me

Stroke my ego – Seriously! Tell me why a certain post is your favorite, or about something that I wrote that really got under your skin and made you want to roar with anger.  It lets me know that you’ve got a genuine interest in my site, and implies that you may have a good feel for what sort of posts fly well with readers.

3.  Tell Me What You Are Going To Post About And Why?

It’s not enough to tell me that you want to guest post, you have to tell me what you want to post about. Get me thinking, whet the sword of interest and make me want to read your post. Keep it brief, but a few tantalizing details about your post can go along way to making me agree.

4.  Link To Your Blog And Examples Of Your Writing

It doesn’t matter how good your pitch is, or how tantalizing your idea sounds, without being able to get a feel for how your writing style and see your blog there’s no way I’ll agree to a guest post.

If you’re not writing for yourself, why should you write here? Also, there’s no way that I’m going to go searching for your blog if you haven’t linked to it. Insta-bin!

5. Keep it brief

My time is valuable. While my time may not always be money, it could me my relaxing time, time spent with my beautiful wife, or playing with the kids. Every paragraph you add to your email dramatically increases the odds of it being sent to the trash.

Try to keep your email about 2 paragraphs long.

Bonus Tip: Don’t Waste Your Time (Or Mine)

This tip is specific to my site so I wanted to separate it out from the others.

Don’t waste your time applying for a guest post if all you want to do is shill a product. I make a large distinction between people who want to write guest post that bring value to my blog versus people who are trying to market a product.

Guest posts from bloggers who are writing to reach a new audience and share a genuine opinion or helpful tip, bring value to my site and to themselves.

Marketers who are looking to guest post just to have their product mentioned don’t bring value to this blog, but they can apply to have me do a paid and fully disclosed review. All reviews come with the caveat that they will be 100% honest (which may not be good if you’re afraid of criticism).