Guidelines for Handling Endless Guest Post Requests

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Is your email inbox awash with people wanting to write for your blog?
Mostly those requests are from brands and websites who want to be featured on your blog and get an incoming link to their site to improve their search engine optimization and ranking.
The constant guest blogging requests are a problem which fellow blogger Seana Smith summed up recently in an email to me:

“I’ve had three queries this week from people who want to write guest posts, with links to whatever website they want to promote, and they’re happy to pay.
Not feeling very comfy, as I feel I’d have to OK the copy. But some of the topics are very legit.
Do you have these requests?”

Oh, Seana, I do get those guest post requests. Sometimes hundreds of them each week. Most people don’t want to pay either so it’s great that you’ve got people who are willing to pay.

Guidelines for dealing with paid guest post requests

If people are willing to pay for a guest post on your blog then you need to check out my article on sponsored blog post rates to make sure you’re not underselling yourself and are following my best practice guidelines.
I prefer to write the post myself but if they want to write the content themselves ask them to show you the guest post first. If you like it, and it will interest your audience, then tell them your rate and charge less if you’re not doing the writing. I’d add a byline at the end calling the post an advertorial or paid guest post because disclosure and trust are crucial in this business.

Guidelines for dealing with free guest post requests

1. Do take guest posts from genuine bloggers
I only take guest posts from readers, friends, and contacts who are genuine bloggers. I’ve grown my blog through guest posting so I think it’s only fair for me to help other people who want to do the same thing.
But guest posting still takes time. I have to meet with the blogger, come up with a headline because I’m fussy about those, suggest guidelines for what the post will cover, then check, edit and format it. All of that takes time when I could be writing a post myself.
I’m streamlining my guest blogging submission process over on my travel blog Get In the Hot Spot to make it easier for both me and the guest blogger. I’ve started a new series called World’s Best Travel Destinations which is based on an interview format so guest bloggers can write a post fast than format it and supply photos themselves.
I’m keen to keep accepting a few guest posts because there are some great benefits:

  • Great for building relationships with other bloggers;
  • Good chance to share a new voice and introduce your readers to a cool new blogger;
  • Gives you a break so you don’t fall prey to blogger burnout.
Just make sure you write a guest post submissions page to make the process easier for everyone.
2. Politely reject free guest post requests

But what about all those guest posts requests from people who don’t want to pay but are offering free content. This is a typical excerpt from one of their stock emails:

(NOTE: Couldn’t even be bothered to find out my name)
I was just going through few sites and blogs yesterday and
came across your site too.
I really liked  the way you have presented your site. I was
reading some of your content and really found them interesting
and informative. So I was just wondering if I can also do something
for your site.
(NOTE: Probably says that to everyone because these content marketers are happy to get a guest post anywhere, even on a Google PageRank O site that no one ever visits. All they care about is incoming links.)
Actually I am a freelance content writer and I love writing articles
as a hobby on topics related to business.
(NOTE: This is a blatant lie, I’m 99.9% sure this person is being paid to write and submit articles on behalf of a company.)
What if I give you an unique article as a Guest Post. An
article that will be informative for your readers. The article will be
related to your website and will be appreciated by your readers.
(NOTE: This sounds quite good. I hate it when they say they’ll give me interesting content when I’m already doing that and that they “won’t charge me a penny”. It’s insulting.)
It would be great if you can add a small BIO of mine at the end of the
article with my related site’s links. I guarantee you that the article
will be 100% copy scape protected and will be of around 700 words.
(NOTE: Copyscape means that they haven’t stolen the content from anyone else which somehow makes me think they might.)
Please let me know if this sound good to you, so that we can start
working on your article.

I hate these emails. Why can’t guest post requests from brands and content marketers just be honest and say:

“I work for Big Brand. We’ve been told by our SEO experts to build links to our site so we’re trying to do that cheaply. Can we write a post for you?”

Although my answer would still be the same:

“No thank you.”

3. Create canned responses
Gmail has a great add-on called canned responses allowing you to create various ready-made emails to send out for all those common requests.
If you don’t use Gmail you can still create a set of ready-made emails to copy and paste but I recommend forwarding all your emails to Gmail because it’s a great service, even without the canned responses.
Here’s my canned response to requests for guest posts from brands, businesses or content marketers who are working for them:

Hi Kristine, (NOTE: I use their name.)

Thank you for your interest in writing for my blog. I only take guest posts occasionally and then only from personal bloggers and people I know well. (NOTE: I am polite and professional. I do reply to their email even though I know they probably won’t reply to mine.)
Best wishes,

Those are my guidance for staying sane, dealing with emails quickly and making sure all the guest posts on my blogs are top quality.
What are your guidelines for dealing with guest post requests?

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