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Guest Posting – How To Piss Me Off!

Guest PostingRant warning!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been getting what I might call letters of introduction from people who say they want to submit a guest post.

There’s a certain sameness to these pitches. They start saying they’ve looked over this blog, like it and would like to do a guest post for me.

They follow with at least half a dozen links to articles they say they’ve written.

The pitch has changed – they list a handful of possible titles, anyone of which might actually be a good fit for my blog – hint: it’s about freelance writing.

But they won’t tell you who they are going to link to unless I take time to respond and ask. 

I understand linking – it builds credibility with Google and the other search engines. It turns out some companies are willing to pay writers to pitch article and link back to them. I hate it.

If I take time to ask almost invariably the link is to something I’d never link to normally. In some cases the link is to something I consider unethical. My blog, my choice.

I’ve gotten so I mostly don’t respond.

Then, some of them send a followup! How rude is that? And who has convinced them this is a good idea? There wouldn’t be so much of this happening if somewhere someone wasn’t making money and I doubt it’s the so-called professional writers who are making the most.

I’ve done some searches for things like make money with guest posts and not found a culprit. I have asked one of these people who in the world told them to ask for guest posts in this manner – if she lets me know, I’ll pass the word. But I wasn’t really polite in my return query.

Apparently I’m not alone – and I didn’t think I was. Cathy Miller has a clear policy on guest posts mostly reflecting my own feelings. I’ll get to the differences in a moment.

Why this approach fails

Although I suspect most of the readers of this blog understand, in case a few of you don’t, here’s why this approach doesn’t work with me, and, I’ll bet, many other bloggers:

  • This approach fails with me because this is a blog about helping freelance writers make more money. I don’t give a rat’s behind where you’ve been published. I want a guest post that helps writers and if this is the very first time you’ve put fingers to the keyboard and it works so be it.
  • OTOH I’ve you’ve won a Pulitzer Prize and your guest post doesn’t fit here I won’t publish it.
  • The approach also fails because although they say they’ve read my blog and like it, there is no evidence of that in the letter – not even a hint.

It doesn’t work for me because the whole intro letter back and forth is a colossal waist of time for me. Lori Widmer makes it work for writing for trade magazines, but this blog is hardly a trade magazine. Why would I want to chase a bunch of links on some industrial product just to determine someone can write… particularly for a guest post. Don’t tell me, show me!

I try to treat writers who contact me with the up-most respect. Which is why I’ve sucked into several of these ‘pitches.’ It’s really a shame folks are now trashing the whole guest posting process with this scheme.

If you want to write a guest post for me start by reading my Guest Post page. Follow those directions. Now we have a chance of something that works for both of us.

Okay, off my soap box for now.

What’s been your experience with this type of ‘guest post spam’?




Image: Spam: ttps://www.flickr.com/photos/smemon/ Guestpost: https://www.flickr.com/photos/128817307@N02/

{ 36 comments… add one }
  • I Google search their names. If I could find their Twitter, Facebook or any social media accounts that relates to the person, I will most likely reply to them and ask them to submit their guest post for review. Other wise, I will just ignore them.
    Peter recently posted..LinkedIn Hacked – How Safe are Social Networking Sites?My Profile

    • Hi Anne
      My name is Emmanuela and I’m fairly new to this content writing business.Im based in Nigeria and my website is just two days old .I believe I have the creativity and determination to succeed but I would likr slightly better ratings than I have now by writing quality guestposts for your website. If you agree to my proposal you can choose the subject you want me to write about.
      Why did I choose you?I read your comments above and I know I would probably react the same way if I were in your shoes but I’m not discouraged anyway ,it’s up to you to decide If I’m worth your time
      My twitter handle is @Ellabonor
      Emmanuella Onyemenem recently posted..HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT WITHOUT REALLY TRYINGMy Profile

  • I think I got one recently. It seemed odd, like a cover letter, and totally unrelated to my blog. I remember thinking, “Why is this person writing to me?” Reading this article and the comments, I’m wondering now, “Am I getting enough traffic (yay!) that I’ll have to watch for these?” Thank you for posting this, Anne; the timing was perfect!

    I was thinking about inviting guest posts from some of my favorite bloggers and online friends, and it might be a good idea to do guidelines and work on a personalized way to do this, so they don’t think I myself am a spammer.
    Elizabeth West recently posted..Prometheus: Afraid of its Own Ideas?My Profile

    • I’ve got guidelines… so when these come in if I think they might be legit I say something like ‘read the guidelines.’ 😉

  • This is absolutely a scam. I’ve been on the receiving end of said guest post emails on my many blogs, but I’ve also been asked to write them – for several hundred dollars! These companies are just trying to get indefinite link juice, and it’s much cheaper for them to place them through someone else who is being paid and feels there is an incentive. What they are are sponsored posts, not guest posts, and they’re becoming more rampant across the internet. Definitely beware of any requests you get for guest posts, and make sure you know what they want to link to before agreeing to post anything.
    JoAnna recently posted..Life List: Own Colorful LuggageMy Profile

    • Not only is it a scam it can wreck havoc with google listings.

  • Wow, you were really serious with this rant; you were so mad that you made more mistakes in this post than I’ve seen in all the previous posts I’ve ever read over the years combined. lol

    On the one blog I have where I accept guest posts, I have a policy written as well, and in it I tell people what I want, which many still miss, but there’s one thing in particular that’s not debatable. If my name isn’t in their email to me I just delete it and move on. That’s the true non-negotiable because it proves that they didn’t read the policy.

    And yes, I get those same standard emails, and sometimes I ask the people when I write the back why they go with that style; only one person has ever addressed it.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted..Should Your Business Be On Google Plus?My Profile

    • That many? Maybe I’ll reread it… except I’ve got a few other things going on 😉 I haven’t heard from any of the folks I asked about their guest post approach.

  • I would say, just ignore ’em.

    You cannot stop spammers, can you?
    Ron – SEO Copy-e-Writing Blog recently posted..Which Is Better – Short Blog Post or Long Blog Post?My Profile

    • I do Ron… except, of course, when I get bamboozled.

  • Anne, this is totally a grey hat SEO technique (maybe… black hat! who knows?).

    They want to submit a crappy blog post stuffed with links to their sites or wherever. Although I have no idea why they want to pay so much for it. Because your blog gets lots of traffic maybe?

    It’s a dumb strategy doomed to fail because your readers are going to see this lousy guest post with links for some totally unrelated something-or-other and think, ‘what the hell is Anne doing??’, but these are probably amateur Internet marketers (I mean, ‘webpreneurs!’) who don’t understand even the basics of marketing (put your offer in front of people who are interested in it).

    I’ve had people contact me through my site asking me to do this. They wanted me to guest blog using a fake name and cram a bunch of links for their coupon sites or whatever in the posts. That’s totally spamming.

  • My $0.02: They are either

    (a) Indian/Philippino/C-class workers hired for pennies by “employers” who only care about the number of links (owners of very low-quality sites who try to make a “quick buck”), something like spam commenters (do you check your spam folder, just out of curiosisty, some times?), or

    (b) newbie bloggers, instructed by careless “teachers,” “gurus,” etc who preach sthg like, “I made thousands of hundreds of dollars in 3 months, buy my program and learn how to do it too” & then leave their “students” out in the cold with some very questionable “formulas” in hand — ugh!

    I believe it is mostly the first, though.
    WritersWritingWords (Eleni) recently posted..Writer For Hire: Please, Convince Me!My Profile

    • I’ve had a run of the newbie type I think. And no, I never look in my comment spam… too discouraging.

  • Jim

    As an individual who has written a number of guest posts for other blogs, I believe there is a place for guest posting and when done properly, it can be beneficial to both parties. The problem is that with the continuing changes to Google, it is becoming harder and harder for SEOs to game the system. Where article spinning and posting to article directories used to work, many are turning to guest posting as an alternative.

    Pitching a guest post should be no different than pitching a traditional print publication. I have found a short hello with a quick summary of the topic and a possible headline is very effective. I also only pitch to publications that I know use guest posts and for which my article would be a good fit.

    I do know of one course that is pitching guest blogging and no, I haven’t taken it. His presentations are compelling though and I could imagine that is may be one of the next trends in get rich quick on the Internet schemes.

    • Jim, that works for me too… it’s this spam stuff that made me a bit nuts yesterday.

  • I relate to this! I received a guest post request from someone who offered to pay me $75 per post that they put on MY website. It felt like a good idea, except I asked if they planned to write anything that had to do with the content of my website and they were wishy-washy with the answer. I then asked for sample posts and got terrible spammy kind of writing.

    I can’t help but wonder what people have to gain out of their guest post ploys?
    Barbara recently posted..Cancer Survivors PlazaMy Profile

    • Yeah, I’ve had those… google really doesn’t like that sort of thing so tempting as it is sometimes I avoid it.

  • Right on, Anne! Been getting a lot of these lately and I delete them. If they can’t make the effort to use my first name (just got one that addressed me as “Meryl K. Evans”), then I’m not going to make the effort to reply.

    If they past the first name test, then it’s easy to tell from the first paragraph whether it’ll be worth reading or deleting.

    I created guest post guidelines for those who may have something worth sharing — I send them to the guidelines. I’d rather have no content for weeks than a brand new post that’s simple and states the obvious (which most are).

    Also — I make it clear that the topic cannot appear elsewhere as I learned the hard way. I JUST happened to catch a post from the same author that was similar to the one she wrote for my blog — and it was within days.
    Meryl Evans recently posted..Are You Memorable?My Profile

  • I’m not the only one! Initially, I responded with “the sorry, doesn’t fit blog ” sort of deal.. as Anne advises, I simply delete…A scam for sure!
    Clara Freeman recently posted..Interrupting R&R For Good News!My Profile

  • Danielle

    It can really be annoying. However, the solution is quite simple – delete and ignore.
    Danielle recently posted..best way to learn photographyMy Profile

    • Agreed. Except when they fool me, then, when I figure it out I get to rant. I love to rant.

  • As a paying guest-post market, you can imagine I get an avalanche of these. Two folks I trust, Sean Platt and Danny Iny, both told me the same thing: Just delete.

    Do not expend time on. Do not try to help or train them. They are not really your readers, anyway…they’re just doing traffic-ranking searches and querying everyone above a certain level.

    You could be driven insane reading about how they promise their post could be on ANY topic like technology, SEO, etc. (rather than the topic of your blog)…and how it will pass Copyscape…like man, the minute you bring that up to me I KNOW you’re never writing for my blog!

    I always want to be responsive, so it’s hard to turn that off…but really. We only have so much time. And these are not readers…they’re just backlink-seekers.
    Carol Tice | Make a Living Writing recently posted..The Two Kinds of Fears Freelance Writers Face — and How to Slay Them BothMy Profile

  • A lot of so called online marketers take on the job of link building for their clients. Guest posting with their client’s link is their way of doing it. I feel sad for the clients who fall for these marketers and their tactics.

    I’ve learned to ignore such emails. I read them and then delete them. I’m not nice enough to respond. If you can’t be bothered to even notice that I haven’t updated my blog in a while and my last post says I’m taking a hiatus from freelancing then I’m under no obligation to write back to you no matter how many times you send me reminders.
    Samar | The Writing Base recently posted..Email Course: Break Free From Content Mills – In Just 6 Weeks!My Profile

    • I delete them too, now… this particular approach got me several times before I tumbled.

  • So glad you said this, Anne. I’ve had a LOT of those requests too and all they do is annoy me. I love having guest posts on my blog, but I wish people would read the guidelines and follow them instead of sending irrelevant information. In the past I’ve responded to explain how the procedure works, but often it results in a flurry of pointless emails, so I have to confess to deleting one such email I got today. 🙂
    Sharon Hurley Hall recently posted..How To Succeed As A Part-Time Freelance Writer – Part 1My Profile

    • lol, I probably deleted the same one from my machine – thanks Sharon.

  • I wrote a guest post about guest posting for All Freelance Writing on this subject. It goes live next week. So, I feel your pain. As I said in my post, it prompted me to create my Guest Post Guidelines.

    I, too, have been buried with these types of requests. The ones that really annoy me are the ones that make it very obvious that they have not read/followed/or cared 2 cents about my blog.

    Because I am not that far removed from newbie blogging status (2008), I try to understand a newbie who doesn’t know how it works. I used to respond to every request (in the event they are an innocent newbie). Now, I don’t, and my Catholic guilt meter worries I’m missing an opportunity to help a newbie.
    Cathy Miller recently posted..How to Create Executive Summaries That Invite SuccessMy Profile

    • How about a brief reply, like “Please, read the Guest Post Guidelines on my blog” ? Nine words.
      WritersWritingWords (Eleni) recently posted..Writer For Hire: Please, Convince Me!My Profile

    • Cathy, I totally reject the idea you’re a blogging newbie. I think you and I are wise enough to spot the scams – at least the ones that are close to the same each time… I do have to see them a couple of times before I get it.

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