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7 Phrases That Make Me Ignore Your Guest Post Query

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Doesn’t it just make you cringe when you see a subject line about a guest post?

No, don’t get me wrong. I love guest posts. The world of guest posting might be changing, but here on the NMX blog, we’re guest-post-friendly! But the problem is that 9 out of 10 people who send me queries about guests posts are unoriginal and off target. What can I expect from a guest post if you can’t even write a 100-word email properly?

I do try to reply to everyone, even these poorly-written emails, but there are only so many hours in a day. So, if I don’t reply to your guest post query, it probably included one of the following phrases and made me wrinkle my nose.

“Our writers will create…”

If you’re not the person who will be creating the guest post, I probably don’t want to talk to you. I want to talk to your writer. Now, occasionally, I do work with agencies and others who relay information to a writer…but most of the time, people who email me regarding what their writers will do submit horrible posts from a team of “writers” (I hesitate to even call them that) who clearly do not have a grasp on the English language.

For a guest post to be beneficial to me, it has to be your BEST work. Your best work. If you’ve hired a team of writers to create 100 guests posts a week, I’m not going to get something high-quality from you.

“We are offering this to you free of charge…”

I didn’t come to you asking you to post on this blog. You came to me. Noting that what you’re offering is free sounds extremely arrogant, almost like you expect me to say, “No, no. Let me pay for it.” If you approach me, you aren’t doing me a favor by guest posting. I’m doing you a favor by giving you access to my audience.

Some blogs paid for guest posts, but it’s our philosophy that guest posts are freely traded in exchange for promotion. If you think you deserve to get paid, apply for a freelancing job or find a blog that pays guest posts. No hard feelings. We all gotta eat.

“All we ask is…”

If you’re asking me for a guest post spot, please don’t make demands. That’s like asking a neighbor to feed your fish while you’re out of town and then saying, “In return for getting to feed my fish for a week, all I ask is that you also clean his tank.” Yes, I know that there are benefits to having guest posts on my blog. But you are approaching me. You don’t get to make demands.

Furthermore, we have rules. If you cared enough to read my guidelines, you’d know that. Most of the time, what the person is asking for breaks the rules. No es bueno.

“Please reply in…”

I receive this “threat” all the time. If I don’t reply in x number of days, then they’re taking their ball and going home.

Listen. I’m a busy gal. I try my best to respond to all guest post queries in a week. If I don’t respond to you, by all means, follow up with me, and note that if you don’t hear from me you’ll be pursuing other opportunities with the proposed guest post. But giving me a deadline in your initial email when you have no idea what my schedule about is just rude. I almost certainly won’t reply if you make a demand like that. It just tells me that working with you will be too stressful, and I hate stress.

“Let me know what you’d like me to write about…”

I have no idea what you’re an expert on. The biggest advantage of having you guest post is that you’ll provide insight into a topic that I haven’t covered (or perhaps don’t have the skills to cover). If you don’t know what you want to write for your guest post, it tells me know of two things:

  1. You aren’t really an expert on anything in this niche.
  2. You haven’t reviewed the blog at all to see what kind of content we publish.

Usually both. If you’re pitching me on a guest post, PITCH ME on a guest post. Don’t half-hearted ask if you can write something for me and then expect me to tell you what you are capable of writing.

“…high-quality, well-researched article…”

First of all, they are blog posts, not articles. Second of all, if you have to say something is high-quality and well-researched, it usually isn’t. The vast majority of the emails I get regarding guest posts include this phrase (or something very similar) and it is always a red flag for me.

“Dear sir/madam…”

This is ridiculous, but I get it all the time. If you can’t be bothered to find my name, am I really going to believe that you read through the blog to see what kind of content I publish? Half the guest post queries I get don’t even know if I’m male or female. Come on, people.

Beyond telling me that you didn’t care enough to read my past posts, it also tells me that you’re taking the “spray and pray” technique to this whole guest blogging thing. Which means you are probably writing crappy, quick posts for everyone and maybe even “spinning” low-quality copy to take one piece of content and create dozens of versions, each worse and more generic than the last.

So those are my seven most hated guest post email phrases. What would you add to the list?

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


Feedback

36
  • Amanda Dodge

    I think what’s worse than “Let me know what you’d like me to write about…” is “I can write about a variety of different topics in multiple industries…” It’s another way of saying that they’re not an authority on any topic related to my field. My mouse is drawn to the delete button whenever I read that.

    • Allison Boyer

      Oh, I completely agree with that one, I forgot about that phrase!

  • Anthony Carter

    lol – I feel your pain and know exactly where you’re coming from. The one that always makes me laugh is the “we are offering it for free…” one. I used to get many of these types of email, but luckily (fingers crossed) it hasn’t been so bad in recent weeks).

  • Aleah | SolitaryWanderer.com

    “We are offering this to you free of charge…” I get this all the time, and it really gets my hackles up. They must think bloggers are stupid enough to fall for this!

  • Rohan Ayyar

    Way to go, Allison! Here is my share of gloopers (guest post request bloopers):

    “Dear Webmaster”
    << "Dear sir/madam" pales in comparison to this – they don't even know if you're human or a bot, let alone male/female 😉

    "Are you accepting guest posts?"
    << I'm not telling.

    "I came across your site…"
    << And you decided you wanted to guest post on it? Cool!

    "I really enjoy your website…"
    << My website is a summer morning. Glad you're tickled.

    "if you're not the right person, please forward the mail to the concerned person."
    << Sure! Should I mow your lawn and do your laundry after I finish that?

    "Thnaks & Reagrds"
    << Your'ent wlecome. Beast regards.

    Keep loling..

    • Allison Boyer

      Oh man, “Dear Webmaster” is a good one! Who says “webmaster” anymore?? :-p Totally horrible.

  • Jessica, The Debt Princess

    I like the ones that call my website a “web log” Who in the world calls in that? Or when they say “I came across your website http://www.thedebtprincess….” as if I don’t know the address to my own site.

    I need a good canned response to send back to them but so far, I just send to spam.

    • Shereen Travels Cheap

      Jessica, this with the website is probably my favorite, too. Uh, yes. I’m aware of this blog I write, but I’m pretty sure you’ve never actually been there 🙂

    • Allison Boyer

      hahah, I love that too. And by love I mean HATE. Thanks, I almost forgot my own URL for a second. It’s clearly for tracking replies

      Though to be honest…I DO like when legit people actually mention the blog they’re talking about, because I have several blogs.

  • Stacy

    Wow you really nailed it with this article! My least favorite is “great blog, I’ve been following it for a while”, no you haven’t and we don’t allow liars to guest blog for us 🙂

  • anon

    These are just spam, why post about it? It’s not as tho the spammers are going to read this.

    • Allison Boyer

      You know, you might be right on some of them…BUT I do think that sometimes legit guest bloggers fall into these traps too because they’ve been seeing things done incorrectly for so long.

  • Shereen Travels Cheap

    Dear Sir/Madame or Hello or my name misspelled automatically gets deleted since my name is in my blog title. If you don’t know my name, you have never actually looked at my blog…and if you spell it wrong, then you must be blind, because it’s in about a hundred different places, including the about me and contact me pages. I just assume all of these are spam and delete them.

    • Allison Boyer

      I’m a *little* forgiving on people spelling my name wrong because I get a lot of “Alison”s by mistake (and I’m also the queen of typos myself). BUT…if you spell it wrong, you’re already starting from behind. You’ve got to then blow me away with your email and guest post proposal to be forgiven. 🙂

  • Carol Tice | Make a Living Writing

    Great post, Allison.

    I get hit a lot by clueless would-be guest posters, some of which don’t even seem to know that I only accept posts that I plan to pay for — I don’t do free posts for links.

    My fave is when they pitch my blog for freelance writers and tell me they’ve got a nifty article for me about a completely unrelated topic. Really? Read the blog first at least!

    • Allison Boyer

      Oh, that’s definitely a horrible one I totally forgot about…they want to post about hair products on my food blog. It’s like, come on, have you even seen the homepage of my blog??

      I also don’t like when someone wants to write a blog post that IS on a related topic…but their bio is connecting to a completely unrelated company. (Like is a hair product company wants to post a recipe…the proposed post is related, but… huh?) I’ve found that if you’re creative, you can find a link between any two niches, but most people don’t make the effort to be creative.

  • Michelle

    Wow, you got me to comment, something I hardly ever am compelled to do. This is so on target. I don’t consider myself a true blogger because I post infrequently. And I get these types of emails! With those exact phrases LOL. Right on target. Hopefully some of the offenders will read this.

    • rick

      Wow that is a compliment! Thanks for leaving the comment Michelle.

  • Jen Picard

    While not a phrase, I would never consider publishing an author with poor grammar or spelling mistakes in the original email. Like you said, if you can’t write a 100 word email properly, what can I expect in a blog post?

    • Allison Boyer

      That’s a good one, Jen. I’m forgiving of a few typos (I’m the queen of typos myself), but if I have a hard time reading your email, things are not looking good for the guest post.

  • Carri

    I love this! I have heard all of these things, but my absolute LEAST favorite is when people reach out and tell me that they spent time reading my blog and “wonder” if we accept because they’d like to post about – let’s just say – decorating.

    First, had you read the blog, it would be very clear that we do accept guest bloggers. Second, had you read the blog you would see we have a link to apply as a guest blogger. Third, had you read the blog, you would see that we post about social media and working online and that posts about decorating or educational software or making the perfect souffle are NOT a good fit.

    Great, now I’m angry. 😉

    • Allison Boyer

      Yeah, not only did they not do their research to choose a good topic, but then they lie on top of that…NEXT!

  • Kristin

    I have to say, my favorite is the offering to guest post for free. When I see that sort of phrase, it makes me wonder, wait, are they asking if I demand payment for you to guest post on my blog? Or are they saying they’re doing me a favor by NOT asking me for payment? Either way, you’re not really doing ME a favor. That’s what really rubs me the wrong way, that if I turn you down, I’m somehow ungrateful and looking a gift horse in the mouth. So, apparently, you don’t know me, don’t work with me, owe me nothing, but want to do me this HUGE favor that only benefits…me? Oh, that’s right…it benefits YOU. Once they stop treating me like a moron, we might make some headway. (Not holding my breath.)

    • Allison Boyer

      THANK YOU! I am glad I’m not the only person who is rubbed the wrong way by an offer for a “free” guest post!

  • Maria Palma

    I love these! I’ve received every type of guest post query imaginable, including all the ones here. I think I’m going to start replying back and including a link to this post – just for fun 🙂

    • Allison Boyer

      Hahaha, that would be great! Glad you liked the post, Maria! 🙂

  • Marcie

    I have read many blog posts on many topics, but his has got to be one of my favorites. I love the entire post, including the title. I am really feeling you on this one.

  • Carrie

    So true! As a blogger, and a guest blogger, I have to laugh at people’s requests….If you don’t have time to figure out what I need or who I am then I don’t have time to get back to you let alone put you up on the site!

    Great post, easy read and to the point!

  • Trisha Miller

    Spot on, Allison…..I enjoyed reading this!

    I get dozens of similar spam guest post requests every week…..what really chaps my hide though is the fact that the vast majority of them come through our Contact form, even though we have in large, bold, red letters the instruction that they should NOT use the Contact form for guest post pitches….and we even give them the link to the *correct* form…..of the few that do come in via the correct form, it’s clear that they didn’t bother the read the guidelines about what we do – and more importantly, what we do NOT – publish. Sigh.

    I used to take the time to reply to each one, albeit with a mostly-canned but polite declination, to which I would often add suggestions of other (more compatible) websites they might approach, but now i just delete them without responding. If they can’t be bothered to read and follow very simple instructions, I can’t be bothered to respond to them.

    • Allison Boyer

      Yeah, not following directions is really a pain point for me. It’s kind of a slap in the face, like I’m not worth reading a few simple points.

  • Carol Manser

    I don’ t have guest bloggers on my site, but I have had a couple of Guest Blog articles published on sites related to my topics. Do people really make these Comments when trying to pitch for a Guest Post? Really?

    I always consider Guest Blogging to be a privilege – an opportunity for me to gain more exposure for myself and my blog. I regard Guest Posting as something offered by some sites as an opportunity for me – to be honest I am surprised that some people see guest posting as an opportunity to spam. Why do they even bother?

    • Allison Boyer

      “Why do they even bother” is a great question! It makes me think…they must get SOME positive replies? Otherwise, why would they keep sending these crap emails?

  • Angela

    Great points to look out for. I also am skeptical if a link is not included back to their blog. I always try to remember to provide it to prove I am a legitimate blogger. Or if they do give you a link, it links to a commercial or advertisement site even when my guest post page says that I do not accept those kinds of posts.

  • Tendai Chakuzira

    yea great stuff here! I haven’t had a situation where I had to ask for a guest post but these will sure comein handy as things to avoid.

    Neat blog by the way !!

  • Tejas Solapurkar

    I am new to blogging, and find it worth reading before i move ahead.

    Thanks for sharing

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