Guest post requests: they’ve slowly replaced emails asking me to work for free as the most annoying thing in my inbox, and honestly, I’m at the point where I’m ready to just burn the damn things with fire.
I get dozens of guest post requests every single day, amounting to at least a couple of hundred each week. I don’t reply to any of them – and here’s why…
This is MY blog, and I want to be the one who writes it
Now, I’m not dissing multi-author blogs here in any way at all: when they work, they can work really well, and having guest posters or paid freelancers contributing to your site is a totally valid business model. OBVIOUSLY.
This, however, is a personal blog. Sure, it has sections on fashion, parenting, blogging, etc, but it’s still a personal blog: so, if I’m writing about fashion, it’s going to be either something I’ve worn personally, or something I’ve learned about style. The blogging tips are things I’ve learned myself, through years of trial and error, so I know they work – or don’t work, as the case may be. The parenting section, meanwhile, focuses on my personal experience as a new parent, while the opinions are mine and mine alone. I’ve used a few stock photos here and there, when I’ve been really stuck for an image to accompany a post, but, for the most part, the photos and images are mine too: either taken by me, or taken OFF me.
It’s all my own work, in other words, and I want it to stay that way: so, unless you’re planning to don a long red wig and some totally impractical shoes, and prance around in the snow pretending to be me, then NO, you cannot contribute to my blog. It’s not that I don’t think anyone else can do as good a job as I do, obviously: it’s just that I’m proud to have created something that’s 100% my own, and as this site functions as my diary, in addition to being my business, it would feel really odd to me to have other people writing it.
I hate guest posts on other sites
I don’t want guest content on my site, and honestly? I don’t like seeing it on other sites, either. I’m not referring here to magazine-style sites which have always had multiple authors, of course, but when a blogger I follow throws up a guest post, because they didn’t have time to write something themselves? I’m almost definitely going to skip it.
I cast no shade on people who do this, I hasten to add: allowing guest posts is a totally legitimate way to keep your blog running while you’re on holiday, say, or otherwise unable to update. So, this is a purely personal thing, but the fact is, if I’m reading your blog, it’s because I’m interested in YOU: your style, your opinions, your unique way of expressing yourself. Um, I’ve just realised I’ve made myself sound a bit like a stalker there, so I’ll just quickly say here that I mean that in the least-stalkery way possible – it’s just that I don’t tend to read blogs that aren’t personal in some way, so if you remove the personal element from yours, I probably won’t read it either: or I won’t read that particular post, at least.
(Yes, I do realise I could be missing out on some amazing new content by taking this stance, it’s er, just one of my cute little foibles: my online time is really limited right now, and there are so many bloggers competing for airspace that, for me to want to invest the time in reading a post, I have to already know I enjoy the writer’s work, or see something REALLY compelling in the headline or whatever. So I won’t ignore ALL guest posts, but I will ignore MOST of them, even although I know they might turn out to be awesome.)
If I don’t like guest posts on other sites, why would I accept them on mine, then? I mean, I can’t be the only person who doesn’t like them, can I?
I don’t believe you when you say you’ve read my blog
The first thing that tells me you haven’t read my blog is the fact that you’re even bothering to contact me about guest posting in the first place: I actually state on my contact page that I don’t accept them, so if you didn’t get my details from that page, you presumably got it from a mailing list, and are NOT, in fact, the “huge fan” of my blog that you claim to be.
(Other clues that you’re not a “fan”: the fact that you, a) Don’t seem to know my name, and b) Claim to have been reading my blog for YEARS, and yet your ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE post just so happens to be the one I published this very morning, how about that! And, I mean, I’m really glad you enjoyed my review of that tube of toothpaste, seriously, but I’m just going to take a wild guess that it’s the ONLY thing of mine you’ve ever read – and you probably didn’t even read it either, did you? Seriously, I won’t be even remotely surprised if, after publishing this post, I get a ton of guest post requests from people saying, “I’m a huge fan of your blog: my favourite post is, ‘Why I probably won’t reply to your email asking to guest post on my blog.’ I was wondering if you accept guest posts?” )
If I DID accept guest posts, though (And just in case you missed this fact, I DON’T), I’d only accept ones that were such a great fit for the rest of the content that they were virtually indistinguishable from it. So, no, your guide to using Tinder probably isn’t going to cut it, really, and neither is that article on American football, tattoo parlours or raising pet llamas. Sorry.
(Actually, I’ll take a quick squiz at the one about the llamas: I’m not made of stone, after all…)
Your request was rude, or you harassed me for a response to it
One of the stranger aspects of the many, many guest posts requests I’m getting right now is that they’re not actually requests at all: they’re demands – and pretty rude ones, at that. Sure, some people are perfectly nice about it, and are probably decent bloggers who’ve just bought into the idea that guest posting is the best way to grow their blog (I don’t tend to get emails from those people, though, because the truly decent bloggers will already have checked out my blog, and established that I don’t accept guest content on it…), but quite a few of them are obviously from SEO companies or the like, who’ll just say, “I need to place a post on your blog: get back to me with prices.” Um… how ’bout NO?
Even if the initial response wasn’t rude, the follow-up often can be, with people starting to pester me for a response just hours after sending their initial email. A few months ago, one woman sent me a guest post request, and then ONE HOUR LATER followed it up with an aggrieved-sounding, “Why have you not replied to my email yet?” And it had been AN HOUR people. AN HOUR.
Most people DO wait longer than that, but they will generally follow-up the next day, so on day one I’ll get a couple of dozen guest post requests, and the next day I’ll get a couple of dozen, “Y U NO REPLY?!” ones. It’s exhausting – and also a complete waste of everyone’s time. I mean, wouldn’t it be quicker to just take a look at my website, and find the answer to your question there, than to keep on chasing me for information I’ve already made public? I think so.
You’re trying to hide advertising in your post
The majority of prospective guest-posters pose as altruistic souls, who seek only to “add value” to your blog, expecting absolutely nothing in return. Awww! There’s a special place in heaven for them, isn’t there?
Actually, though, they all want a backlink at least, and while, for some, that link will go only to their own blog or website, in the hope of attracting new readers to it, the majority of the requests I get these days are actually looking to bury advertising links within the text, either for SEO or affiliate purposes. Sometimes, these links can be pretty dodgy – links to gambling sites, or shady weight-loss supplements, for instance – but they’re all a form of advertising, which is worth being aware of if you’re considering accepting these posts on your blog.
Now, I personally don’t allow people to advertise to my readers for free, but although many guest posters will now offer to pay you to host their content (Normally an insultingly low amount), it STILL wouldn’t be worth it: not only could spammy links to sites Google and co. frown upon be really damaging to my blog, if the content that supports these links is anything like as badly written as the emails containing these offers, that’s not going to be great either, is it?
You’re not the only one with the same idea
With all of this said, though, the main reason I’m not going to respond to your email is because there are just SO DAMN MANY OF THEM. I know it might seem rude not to reply to people, and I’m not normally rude, honestly – but even with the best will in the world, I couldn’t possibly find the time to reply to all of the guest post requests I get: it would be pretty much ALL I’d ever do.
So, these days, I have a disclaimer on my “Contact” page stating that I don’t accept guest posts, and am not able to respond to enquiries about them, and, a couple of months ago, I put an auto-responder on my email, saying the same thing (as part of a more general message saying that I’ve just had a baby and am therefore a bit slower at getting back to people right now: it’s not JUST an auto-response about guest posts..). And now? Now I get people RESPONDING TO THE AUTO-RESPONDER to say, “Hi, Amber, do you accept guest posts?” and then to complain that I STILL haven’t gotten back to them 12 hours later. So, they literally get a message saying, “I don’t accept guest posts and am not able to respond to enquiries about them,” and reply to it to ask if I do, in fact, accept guest posts. I despair.
And, I mean, I get it: I do. There are tons of advice articles being published at the moment telling people that guest posting is the best way to grow their blog, build their online presence, and enter the kingdom of heaven. And it CAN be, too… IF you do it well. So I’m not telling people to give up on guest posting: I’m just telling them to please, for the love of God, do some research first, and make sure the sites you’re pitching to are relevant to your topic and – crucially – open to accepting guest content. Mine, for instance, isn’t – and if I haven’t managed to get that point across on my contact page and in my emails, maybe this post will finally do the trick?
*Braces self for comments asking about guest posting opportunities*