Rant on Guest Post Submissions

I don’t usually rant. In fact, I’m not sure I know how. But here goes.

Bit of a Rant on Guest Post Submissions

tea cup in watercolor
I get a fair amount of requests for guest submissions on this site. I assume in part it is because I put up a page called Guest Post Guidelines, a page that gets a lot of hits according to my analytics. Feel free to hop on over there and take a peek – or just stay here and let me tell you that I welcome posts on a wide range of topics related to tech, design, websites and small business. But I do have a strong preference for posts that won’t make me fall asleep midway through the post. This is how I phrased it on the guidelines page:

A few more notes: if you make your post funny or a good story or provide great illustrations or photos (your own!) or you include simple but useful WordPress code, you may have a better chance of getting a yes to your guest blog post. Frankly, some of the submissions I have received are a bit on the, how shall we say, dull side. Spice it up, folks. Also, I am more likely to say yes to someone who has left at least two intelligent and friendly comments on this blog.

Here are some examples of what I’ve gotten as requests. One blogger described herself as a photographer. So she sent me a post on some dull topic. I said, as you are a photographer, can you send me a photo to go with your post. She sent me some dull, free stock photo (and not her own). Um, no, that was not what I meant.

Another example is a guest post request with spelling errors or grammatical errors. No, I’m not going to accept those posts. Sorry.

Many of the posts seem to be submitted by someone with a woman’s first name who is obviously just a front for a company who needs some incoming links. I suppose if the topic were really fascinating, I might consider the post. But usually it is the same old same old same old that one can read on the too many proliferating blogs of today.

Sometimes it is my fault that I miss a good submission. This has not been the easiest year for me (my father got very sick, I was his main caretaker for several months, and then he sadly died in October). So if anyone wrote to me in some of the harder parts of this past year, I may have missed a good opportunity. But I know none of those submissions where by people who have left regular comments.

I got a great post last week from a blogger who wrote on a topic that unfortunately is not really appropriate for this site. I do recommend having a discussion for me via email before writing an entire post. On the other hand, he can easily submit it to another site. It wasn’t like it was tailor-made for this one.

Many Guest Posts are Great

I just want to make it clear that I’ve greatly enjoyed many of the guest posts that we have had on this blog. I learn a lot when someone knowledgeable posts on a particular topic such as analytics or apps or social media. I hope to continue to accept guest posts as I see fit for the blog and the blogging audience.

Your Turn, Please – Your Guest Post Stories

Do you accept guest posts on your site? Have you had good, bad or otherwise notable experiences? How do you handle guest post submissions?

• • •

On a related topic (related in the way that I am encouraging positive and praiseworthy blogging as opposed to rants and negativity and rejection), I am working on a post of Favorite Posts of 2012. I will include some of my own, but I would love your help in finding favorite posts by other bloggers. If you have a favorite post of your own or even better of someone else, feel free to share the post via Twitter with @leoraw in the tweet or hashtag #favPost2012. If I get a lot of response, it may become a series of posts. Thanks for sharing!

*If you want to see a larger version of the teacup watercolor, visit this explanatory teacup watercolor post.

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38 thoughts on “Rant on Guest Post Submissions

  1. Having been an editor I am familiar with what you are saying. Most people cannot write but still consider themselves great writers. It’s even worse when it comes to blogs because then you get the negative aspects you describe thrown in as well.

    You need to be a skilled writer to make a story, any story, interesting by writing in a way that makes people want to know more. Sadly the majority of bloggers write essays and not journalistic articles. That’s where the problem lies. Not to mention that their essays are too long.
    Catarina recently posted…Africa growing faster than Asia?My Profile

    1. Thanks for the knowledgeable response, Catarina. I need to learn how to be an editor – not a role that I’ve played often, unless you count edited my daughter’s fifth grade papers.

      I often don’t even get past the original request. I feel bad ignoring some of these requests, but some of them are SO poorly written. Obviously, they did not have me as a mom when they were in fifth grade.

      1. My, my, I never thought making requests for guest submissions could be dangerous! I’ll keep quiet and just continue to ignore the ones that are not usable. Thanks for the sage advice.

  2. Hi Leora, funny you should write about this because I just finished putting up a guest post on my site–something I’ve only done twice. This particular post was perfect for my blog and I only edited it for SEO. No grammar or other issues glaring. So, I would have to say, my guest post experience has been good. Though, it has been limited.
    Bethany Lee recently posted…10 Life Lessons From Building a Pull Up BarMy Profile

    1. Bethany, glad it’s gone well for you! When I’ve asked people to write posts, I’ve gotten great guest submissions. Of course, I know in advance that they are great writers. Once I started advertising that I do guest posts, that’s when the crud started to flow forward. And some of it isn’t so bad, just not appropriate or not what fits the blog. I’m just surprised that the good/appropriate to not so good ratio is so low.

  3. Hi
    I don’t think it is a rant, you’ve made some valid points. I haven’t accepted guest posts as yet, and don’t think I am in a hurry to do so.

    1. Hi, Lubna. So maybe I don’t know how to rant after all … glad to read you think my points are valid. I’ve learned that accepting guest posts is a job in itself. It doesn’t mean easily getting great posts without writing them.

  4. I’m with Lubna, i don’t see is much as a rant as thoughtful and thought provoking (at least for me). I, like you, have many requests to guest post but alas most are poorly written and appear to be not from a real person. When I do get one that is of some quality and fits my site, it’s like a gift. I love you guest post guidelines page and feel that would be a great help to have that on my site as well. Thanks for the idea. Happy Holidays, πŸ™‚
    Susan Cooper recently posted…3rd Day From My Kitchen – Three Day Gravlax: RecipeMy Profile

    1. Susan, glad you find that page useful. I originally got the idea from Praveen Rajaro, whom I met online when he asked if he could write a guest post (and he wrote two great ones).

    1. I’m not sure is the number of visitors but the topics. People like writing on those topics (small business, SEO, social media). But to write something new and original … harder to do that. My other blog gets far more visitors. I do interviews there – I only do guest posts on rare occasions (interviews are rare, too, recently).

  5. I never considered accepting one of those guest post requests. But then I write a food blog. I ignore those emails asking to write any content I want, as long as they can link to a tourist company, a product, a something…just not interested. Yes, and the semi-literate ones are truly obnoxious.

  6. Hi Leora,
    Sorry for your Dad passing.

    I pretty much don’t allow guest posts on my blog unless I ask the person for one. 99% of the guest posts I get are from people who don’t read my blog, nor left a comment or at the very least liked my facebook page.

    I removed my contact page on my blog because of all the spam. But occasionally someone gets through to me and asks me if I take guest posts. So I tell them to go ahead and send it.

    It is usually a top 5 ways list post of about 500 words that lacks any creativity or imagination so I tell them no thanks on the guest post.
    Justin recently posted…Feeling Out of Sorts Lately – Try Doing Something New for 30 DaysMy Profile

    1. Hi, Justin. I remember once upon a time (maybe last spring?) I asked you about writing a guest post. I’m saying last spring, because that was the first time my father got sick and needed to be hospitalized. I haven’t felt up to writing about health issues – I’m sure it related to my father’s illness and how much he struggled with his health (and ultimately failed to find a way to get better).

      I should go back and read some of your posts again …

  7. What an awesome post, Leora! I can really relate to what you’re saying about request from guest bloggers. Too often, you can tell they haven’t even read the blog and have no clue what pleases the audience/readers. I, like you, expect that someone who is requesting to guest post might have commented on my blog at least once or twice to try and engage with the community.

    I[ pleased to say that the very 1st guest post on my chocolate travel blog is by BHB member, Patrick Huff, who has indeed been a regular commenter on my blog, and who managed to find a topic that I hope will interest my readers. I hope you’ll drop in and pay us a visit.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…does chocolate beer contain real chocolate?My Profile

    1. Doreen, glad you find it “awesome” – I wrote from the heart and got nervous when it was time to hit publish. Looks like many of you can related to what I have to say – thank you.

  8. I’m hoping to add guest posts in the coming year to my blog. Your rant is all good and it reminds me of all the times as a teacher when I would give directions only to have to repeat them over and over again. The same kinda goes for when people submit book review requests on my blog. Sometimes I just have to laugh at how awful people are at following instructions.
    Jeri recently posted…JeriWB Writes: Lost Girl Road Update #6My Profile

  9. Leora – I should say that it sometimes becomes quite a pain to say NO to a guest author. I too do that when I do not like the post and it hurts them bad. But hey, if it doesnt suit my need and my site, then I am at liberty to reject right??

    I do accept guest posts on both my blogs, and I have some very good ones recently on techivy where I accept only tech related articles.

    Another main reason for me to say no to an author is when they do not respond to the comments on their articles. That is a huge turn-off for me, you have written the damn article, so better come over and reply to any comments that you receive, answer any questions that might be asked about the same…

    Sometimes ranting is good huh??
    Praveen Rajarao recently posted…Best Tech Gifts for This Holiday SeasonMy Profile

    1. “Sometimes ranting is good huh??” – yes! Instead of feeling alone with these issues, I discovered the issues that I have other bloggers who accept guest posts have as well.

      And yes, when people ask questions and the author doesn’t respond, that’s not good. I’m trying to figure out if I can detect in advance whether the author will be responsive. If they show me past posts where they have responded, for example, that’s a good sign of future responsiveness.

  10. Can I add to your rant Leora? How about people who submit unsolicited posts (I don’t have a guest posting policy on my site yet.) and then get indignant if I don’t get right back to them? I’m sorry if I don’t have the same sense of urgency as the contributor. I once received a post that was simply a rehash of someone else’s article. Seriously?

    BTW – I love a good rant every once in a while. It’s give us a chance to go off too. πŸ™‚
    Sherryl Perry recently posted…Encourage Reader Interaction On Your Blog & Reap Numerous BenefitsMy Profile

    1. Oh, dear, indignant when you didn’t even invite their post? I’m glad this is a mutual problem. Just yesterday I got another request with misspellings … I actually feel bad for the person. If English is not their native language or they never had decent schooling, submitting guest blog posts isn’t a good venture for them.

    1. Dan, oh, I so agree about the “it’s crazy how many companies there are whose soul missions seems to be getting their links on other sites!” – there doesn’t seem to be much real interest in the social, the interaction, the teaching and learning. It’s all just part of the marketing plan.

    1. Thank you for the condolences on the loss of my father. Yes, he is missed.

      Glad to read the percentages you get on guest posts! FYI, Atish, if you want to guest post on this blog, I would love you to submit some topics.

  11. Are we in such a hurry that we no longer proof before we hit send? That being said, Dan Kennedy, marketing guru to the affluent and obsessive success fiends, said he can read his own material 100 times and never see an error. He reads what he expects to see rather than what is actually cast in letters upon the page.
    If available, have another person with “eyes on” before a major broadcast goes out.
    I recently read my book over twenty times before I gave it the final “ok to print.” That is after paying two official editors to check every letter and detail. Immediately upon receiving the printed bound copy, I found an error. Ouch.

    1. Elaine, I have a feeling some of the people who write in with grammatical and spelling errors may be writing in a foreign language (the foreign language being English).

      Sometimes it’s hard to catch one’s own errors. If I had to wait for someone to proofread my posts every time I wrote a post, however, I would give up blogging. Hard enough to get to publish as it is. I’m fairly good at doing my own proofreading, fortunately.

  12. Leora,
    I haven’t visited your site in a bit, and while perusing your December posts this one really made me sit up and take notice. Why? Because I get at least one unsolicited guest posting request a week, and at least two press releases a week about something that I might want to write about. I think it’s because my blog is a nonprofit Alltop blog, since the solicitations began in earnest about that time.

    My policy is to never accept unsolicited guest posts. I want to know the writer’s quality of work and point of view before accepting one. I also have a very specific POV for my blog, and 99.9% of the solicitations aren’t anywhere near that POV.

    After reading the comments on this post, I’ve begun to think that I should add a page to my blog stating my guest post policy. It would be easy to set up an automatic email reply pointing them to that page.

    This issue of unsolicited guest posts is something that has been bothering me for a long time, and this has been wonderful to read that I am amongst a group of other bloggers who feel the same way.

    1. Debra,

      Thank you for relating your experiences about guest posts. I’m not sure I would suggest you put up a Guest Post Policy or Guidelines – I’m afraid that would attract more unsolicited posts. People search for guest posts, look for blogs with higher ranking, and then submit, regardless of whatever it is you say on that page. Well, maybe they will pay a little attention and then complain that they did meet your guidelines.

      I’m glad you are back here for a visit. I feel like I’m still developing my niche and feel as a business blogger. It takes a fair amount of effort to write the better posts, and each time I work to muster up the energy and courage to write the next one.

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