Guest Post Don’ts

What’s on the iPod: Have Love, Will Travel by The Sonics

It’s a short, slow week. I’ll be traveling this holiday, as many of you may be. For me, I had decadent amounts of free time, so I was able to get some side project work done, sift through emails, and relax a bit.

A few of those emails were requests for guest posts. I get an unusual number of requests every week, and most of them are deleted. Sound harsh? Not at all — if these emails came to your in box, you’d probably do the same.

They’re from various sources, but the majority are from companies, people pitching ideas that don’t come close to fitting, people telling me their terms for guest posting (and it’s usually terms the content generation service they work for demand of them), or the ever-personal “Hi,” with no name or obvious understanding of this blog.

So for every company, company hack, or link-seeker who’s about to pitch an idea to this blog or any other blog, this post is for you.

All my freelance writing (and blogging) friends want to send you this message — save your breath.

Here are the don’ts you need to study:

Don’t ignore guidelines. Right there to the right of this post is a link to this blog’s guidelines. If you’re too lazy to avert your gaze, here’s the link. Read it. If you see anything in the “don’t” list that applies to you, don’t bother.

Don’t go off topic. Seriously, I do not publish articles on college education, car hiring, tourism, human resources, logistics, recruitment, staffing….. It’s a writing and editing blog. If you can’t get this part correct, I’ve no faith that the final product will be relevant or original.

Don’t pretend to know me. Despite what you say, you haven’t read my blog. Compliments that are non-specific — “interesting and informative” — are a rather transparent attempt to schmooze your way into getting your link-laden article some bandwidth. Blog readers who actually read the blog are easy to spot.

Don’t be a company. Even though the guidelines here say “…no companies. At all”, you still send your ideas and promise relevance. Oh, and most of you say “We are dedicated to providing relevant content…” You lost me at “we.”

Don’t expect something in return. Here’s the best part — you contacted me. So on first contact, you’re telling me you’ll supply that “high-quality content” (the correct hyphenation inserted by me) in exchange for “dofollow” links. I like staying on Google’s good side, so don’t come at me with terms I’m not complying with.

Don’t bring up Copyscape. Any writer who works as a pro would never promise to pass Copyscape. That should be a given. The minute you promise to pass Copyscape, you reveal that there’s a question about the originality that would require Copyscape.

Writers, what are your don’ts?
What are some of the weirdest guest post requests you’ve seen?

About the author




  • Anne Wayman November 23, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Don't be a company that writes essays for folks… why the colleges etc. still want them when so many are written by pros is beyond me… and I would assume many professors have figured out how to tell pro essay from student essays… at least I hope so.

    You writing essays for others who should write their own are seriously at the top of my list.

  • Lori Widmer November 23, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Anne, I suspect they still accept them because students haven't figured out that writers who provide those essays aren't always the best writers. 🙂

    If you write essays for other people, you help them cheat. Consider yourself the person in the class with the cheater — and the professor is grading on a curve.