10 writing mistakes that ensure your guest post won’t get published

This article originally ran on PR Daily in July of 2017.

You might think that if you can write an informative and interesting post,
it can be published on any blog.

You’re wrong.

Here are several common guest-blogging mistakes
writers make, along with proven practices to follow when authoring guest posts:

Thinking guidelines don’t apply to you.

Guidelines are important. They specify the blog’s requirements and why you
should take them into consideration.

They include whether you should pitch your idea first or directly submit
the completed draft for review, rules on including self-promotional links
and what topics you can write about. The guidelines clearly state what you
should do to stand a chance to be featured on the blog. Ignore them, and
you might not have another chance with the same blog again.

Remember that high-authority blogs get a massive number of requests per
day. All of them might not adhere to a blog’s
guidelines, but a large site can still receive enough excellent posts it can publish
every day for the next few months.

2. Contacting the blog owner with an email template.

When reading guest post requests, I often wonder why I’m reading the same
email more than once. Then I realize they are sent by two different people
who have copied and pasted the same email template available on the web.
When I realize this, I know the blog post attached is not worth the time or
effort it takes to review it.

If you can’t put together your own words in an email, what does it prove
about you as a writer?

You can refer to an email example (especially if you are new to guest
blogging), but if you copy the email example word-for-word, the
(experienced) blog owner will probably feel that you are not worth his or
her time.

Your email doesn’t have to be as long as your blog post. Relay who you are,
why you reached out and what you have to offer. A concise email makes it
easy for the receiver.

[RELATED: Write clear, bold prose that captivates audiences and promotes business goals]

3. Ignoring the target audience.

Here’s something us guest writers often tend to forget: It’s not about us;
it’s always about them.

Blog owners don’t care that you have a deadline to meet, want more
backlinks and must increase traffic to your landing pages. What matters to
them is maintaining the quality of their blogs and delivering satisfaction
to their audiences.

They understand why you reach out to them, but their audiences mean
everything. It should to you too, especially if you plan on getting
featured in their blogs. If you already follow the blogs you pitch and
frequently comment on posts, you’ll have an idea of the audiences they
cater to.

Find out what the needs, preferences and issues of a blog’s target audience
are. Before you select a topic, ask yourself, “Would this audience stop
what they are doing to read what I write?” If you are certain they would,
you are one step closer to getting featured on a high-authority blog.

4. Writing about an exhausted topic.

Unless you have something original to share with the masses, writing about
a topic everyone has heard of a million times is not going to get you

If you’re writing about a common subject that has already been dissected
many times, approach it from a different perspective and uncover a
little-known element. People love new details about topics in which they
are interested.

It could be based on the results of a survey or research you personally
conducted. Mention this when you pitch your idea to the blog owner. In
addition, you can also write about a recent research published by an expert
in the field (don’t forget to credit the original source). It could also be
based on your own personal experience or opinion.

Quick research on Google or Buzzsumo will reveal to
you the kind of topics that have been covered so far, and it will help you
figure out what you should write about and what you should leave out.

Are you about to suggest a topic the blog has already covered several times

It’s the fastest way to convince the blog owner you haven’t done your
research on the blog that they have specifically asked you to do in the
guidelines. It’s also the fastest way to get your pitch turned down.

Once you research a topic and find your unique perspective on it, you also
need to make sure it has not yet been touched by someone else in the blog
you reach out to.

5. Using a mediocre headline.

The headline of a post could break or make it.

The first thing any reader comes across is the headline. If it is not
compelling enough, there’s more than a 75 percent chance that he or she
won’t read the post.

Compelling headlines that steal the attention of the reader and gets them
excited have two things in common: benefit and curiosity.
Not only should the headline reveal the benefit the reader would be able to
gain by continuing to read the post, but it should trigger curiosity by not
giving too much detail.

Creating such a captivating headline is not difficult. With the strength of
power words, you can make any topic look fascinating.

6. Opening with a paragraph that loses readers’ attention.

We often come across posts that have such promising headlines, but make us
roll our eyes before we get to the end of the introductory paragraph.

The intro of your blog post should be just as important and captivating as
the headline itself. It should briefly convey what the reader can expect to
learn by reading the rest of the article and promise them that it contains
the perfect answer to their query.

Personally, I have had great luck with posts that I tend to begin with:

  • An interesting fact or a shocking statistic
  • A question that gets the reader thinking
  • A brief anecdote
  • A quote from a book or an article

To retain the attention of your reader, keep your introduction short—but
make it interesting and informative at the same time.

7. Adding too many links to your blog posts.

Linking is a tricky area in guest blogging, so tread carefully.

Not all blogs allow links in the body of the article, and not heeding rules
can get your post instantly rejected.

Usually, when I write guest blog posts, I reserve the link to my site for
the author bio. Most blogs allow this, and it’s a decent approach that
adequately fulfills the SEO aspect of your strategy.

Unless the blog specifically states you can have
self-promotional links in the body of the article, reserve them for your author bio.

Define your guest blogging goal and decide whether to submit your post as a
guest or a sponsored post.

If you’re growing your network and building your brand as a writer, place
the links to your site, blog or social media profiles in your author bio.
If your goal is to market your product or service, you can generate better
results by creating a sponsored post.

8. Plagiarizing.

Plagiarism is one of the biggest guest blogging mistakes, tolerated neither by high
authority blogs nor by search engines.

If you refer to or quote another source, remember to give credit by linking
to it. If you find it too difficult to come up with your own words, stop
writing and restart your research.

9. Grammar, spelling and punctuation errors.

Making sure your post is devoid of grammar, spelling or punctuation errors
is crucial. The slightest mistake could negatively affect your credibility.

Even though English might not be your first language, it will not be
considered an excuse by high authority blogs.

With the help of a software such as Grammarly, you can
quickly check for any errors in your post. I typically ask a colleague to
read my article, then I wait a day and read it again. Errors my colleague
or I missed earlier can be better detected this time.

10. Foregoing visuals.

Articles with visuals get
94 percent more views because humans are wired to respond to
visuals better (approximately 60,000 times faster than text).

An image, video, infographic, diagram or chart can instantly draw the
attention of your reader to the content.

When you include images (any type of visual) in your blog post, make sure
that they:

  • Reinforce the text they accompany
  • Meet the requirements of the blog (dimension, pixels, etc.)
  • Are legal and royalty-free

More often than not, guest blogging mistakes can easily be avoided. What
missteps would you add to the list?

Amanda Athuraliya is the communication specialist and content writer at
Cinergix. A version of this article originally appeared on

Spin Sucks

(Image via)

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