How To Ask To Guest Post on a Blog

There is an issue which is huge problem in the world of blogging. That issue is: how to ask to guest post.

guest posting

Almost every day Faithful Bloggers receives emails from people requesting to guest post on our site. I know what I’m about to say may sound harsh or shocking but the reality is, most of these emails are deleted without responding.

You may be thinking we delete them because we do not allow guest posts, but actually we do. They are deleted for one simple reason…the manner in which the request is made.

I suspected that Faithful Bloggers was not the only website frustrated by these requests so I sent out a survey to some of the Faithful Bloggers community who I knew participated in guest posting either on the giving or receiving end.

I asked them 4 questions about guest posting and how they believe the request should be made. The responses confirmed I was not the only person who saw this as a problem. 

Some people consider it such an issue they have taken drastic measures. Like this site for example which has actually gone as far as creating a “wall of shame”. He actually posts right on his site the entire email he received complete with the person’s name. We've actually received emails from some of the same people on his "wall of shame", some are word for word exactly the same email. Now, I’m not saying you should create your own “wall of shame” but this does show how website owners view these types of emails.

Let’s take a look at some bad examples of how to request a guest post, these come right from our own email files (I have removed names and identifying details).

With each bad example I will explain to you why it’s a bad example. After the bad examples I will share with you the correct way to go about seeking guest posting opportunities by sharing with you some suggestions from those who participated in our survey.

Bad Example #1

"Hi there,
I checked out your site faithfulbloggers.com and thought I would reach out! If
you are open to it, I'd love to pitch a guest post. 
Let me know! I'd love to send over a few ideas.
Thanks!"

Why is this a bad example?

We do not know this person at all and this is the first email we have ever received from them. The Faithful Bloggers website receives a lot of traffic therefore there are probably lots of people who would love to pitch a guest post for Faithful Bloggers. It is not OK to assume you can just have access to a platform which someone else has worked hard to build just because you send one email.

Bad Example #2

"Hi,

I’m __________ and I came across your blog https://www.faithfulbloggers.com/ and I just want to say that I LOVE your blog, it’s amazing!

Also, I’ve been writing articles relevant to what you post hence I would love the chance to write for your blog.

I'm really excited to work with you.

Looking forward to your response."

Why is this a bad example? 

Again, we do not know this person nor have we ever received any other correspondence from him. In addition, I visited some of the social media links which were at the bottom of his email and he has never once posted any content which is faith based which makes me wonder what he "LOVED" about our site. 

Bad Example #3

"Hello Ediitor,
I recently came across https://www.faithfulbloggers.com/blog/christian-haiku-group-writing-project and saw that Christian Haiku Group Writing Project. That was awesome.

I’m writing to you because I’d love to contribute a guest post to to your website faithfulbloggers.com
I will create unique great content for your website.
It will be great pleasure for me if I able publish a guest post for your website. 
I’ve been brainstorming some topics that I think your readers would get a ton of value from:

- tips to encourage kids to clean their room
- tips to get your kids understand the value of cleaning

If you have other topics to write let me know, I will write for you. .
Cheers,"

Why is this a bad example?

This type of request email is extremely common. First they choose some random link from our blog to say "hey, I loved that article", then they say, "hey can I guest post".  But this one doesn't stop there...he suggests two topics for articles. His suggestions only prove he has no business guest posting for us because he obviously doesn't understand our site if these are his suggested topics. 

Bad Example #4

"Hello, 
My name is _________. I am the content marketer for ______ Towing___, and I also contribute to _______ Jewelry and ________Visitor Guides.

I know you’re incredibly busy, so I’ll be quick. I have an article that I’d like to contribute to your site. It’s about roadside safety. I think your readers would like what I have to say. Naturally, if you choose to run the piece, I’ll tell my readers about and promote on social media, so you’d get a traffic boost (and hopefully some new readers, as well).

Let me know if you’re interested and we can talk about the next steps. One way or another, thanks for your time, and keep up the awesome work on .

Take care,"

Did you catch that? This is actually a request to post an article about roadside safety to Faithful Bloggers. Seriously? It actually says "I think your readers would like what I have to say." This one wins the prize for random request from someone who is only seeking links and has no idea about our audience and has obviously not even looked at our site other than doing a google search to find sites who take guest posts.

In addition to the above bad example of random unrelated topics for a guest post we also have received the following suggested topics (yes, really):

  • why golfers make good lawyers
  • the forex market needs regulation 
  • 5 Healthy foods that will reduce inflammation
  • and many more

Now that you have a good idea of how NOT to request a guest post, let's talk about how you should go about seeking guest blog posting opportunities. 

1. Seek to understand them and their audience. 

Spend time on their site reading. Do not send them an email until you feel you honestly understand who they are writing for and what type of content they regularly post. Do not ever suggest an article which would come across as random and unrelated. 

Jamelia Blackman from www.jbsinspires.com said this:

"Be sure that what you want to write about will benefit not only your readers but also the readers of the website you would like to guest post on. Make sure you're familiar with the writing style and voice of that particular website."

Jamie Weibel from www.jaimewiebel.com had this advice:

"My number one piece of advice for guest posting on someone else's blog would be to know their niche and their work and make sure your post could benefit their audience."

Kim Hood from curtainqueencreates.com provided these words of wisdom:

"Give a link to an example piece you’ve written for someone else as a guest posting. If the content isn’t relative to what you’re applying for, write something that shows the site owner that you are knowledgeable on topics in their niche – their type of content. Even better, write an entire post and send it by email. Tell them this first post is free for their use with credit given to you. THAT could knock their socks off and get your foot in the door – if your post is accurate and well written. They will hire you again if your work is worthy."

Elizabeth Cottrell of heartspoken.com shared this: 

"Makes sure you are familiar with the type of content that blog contains and that your own offering will add value."

2. Take some time to get to know them.

With this suggestion I'm not talking about the same thing as in #1. I'm suggesting you actually take the time to send them an email to build a relationship with them personally before you ask to guest post on their blog. 

I know this may sound like too much work but I promise if you take the time to build online relationships they will greatly benefit you. However, it is important you do not go about building online relationships solely to benefit yourself. Most of the email requests we receive come across as very selfish in nature. They have a tone of "hey, can you tell people to look at me?" (some don't just have that tone, they've actually asked it).  As Christians we are called to seek the interest of others before ourselves. You should always be striving to build give/give relationships.

Juliana Pace of somethingbyjuliana.com shared these words of wisdom:

"Share how it would benefit them first.  Always be positive, personable, and willing to go the extra mile."

Elizabeth Cottrell of heartspoken.com shared this: 

"Think about how you would like to be pitched and act accordingly. Bloggers like to know you appreciate what they are doing and how you feel you can offer "win-win" content that makes them look good and provides value to their readers."

Let me share with you a couple lines from a Facebook message I received during the time when I had purchased Faithful Bloggers and we were going through the transfer of ownership and making many updates and changes on the website. The transfer of ownership was at times overwhelming so imagine how nice it was to receive these words. I responded to this message positively because someone reached out to me in Christian love with a complete lack of "hey can you promote me?" These words are from a message I received from April of aprilmae.net.

  • "Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help."
  • "I freely offer my time, I truly mean that."
  • "Praying for a smooth transition"

Because of the way in which April reached out to me, this message was the start of a friendship which I believe will last for years. April and I have spent time in prayer on the phone for each others businesses, families and ministries. We have brainstormed ideas together and yes she has been given the opportunity to guest post on Faithful Bloggers (although she just had a baby so this hasn't happened yet). This is the type of thing which can result from one act of reaching out in humility and friendship and not with self seeking.

3.  Don't mention your need for promotion...at all!

Everyone knows that one of the reasons you would want to guest post on their site is for your own promotion. There is nothing wrong with hoping for that promotion, but you'd be better off leaving it out of your email. 

Jamelia Blackman of www.jbsinspires.com had this to share:

"Don't mention anything about getting your following up or getting publicity. Be genuinely interested in sharing with their readers."

Juliana Pace of somethingbyjuliana.com shared this thought:

 "Don’t be pushy or overbearing!  Always with an attitude of gratitude!"

#4  Know their guidelines

If you would like to guest post on someone's site at least give them the courtesy of taking the time to read their guest posting guidelines. 

Jamie Weibel from www.jaimewiebel.com shared this:

"I believe the best method is to look for guidelines they may have listed on their site. They may be looking for a theme or have specific times you can make requests. They may also share specific details of how they want to receive requests or posts. I would make sure to start there to save yourself some time. I personally don't have my guidelines listed but I do e-mail them out when I am ready to work with a guest. I would request them because these guidelines help both the guest and website stay on track."

#5 Be yourself, be professional, don't try to be someone you're not

Our survey respondents had this to say on it:

"Be yourself and don't be afraid to reach out you never know what might happen"

"The biggest error is to pretend you’re an expert on a topic – when you’re not.  A site owner knows his/her topics extremely well and usually has years of experience in their industry.  You cannot fake it and pretend you know what you’re talking about.  Only write about things you have researched thoroughly or have worked with extensively."

"Be yourself, be honest, and be relaxed – not a fake."

"A well constructed, professional and friendly email can work. It should include who you are, why you'd like to write for them and how what you have to say will benefit their readers."

"Just be you!"

"Do not use any of the form type emails circulating around the internet to request a guest post spot. Write a well written personalized email."

"Don't write a generic inquiry that is obviously being sent to many other blogs too."

Here are some additional words of wisdom from our survey respondents:

From Kim Hood of curtainqueencreates.com:

"Give a link to an example piece you’ve written for someone else as a guest posting.  If the content isn’t relative to what you’re applying for, write something that shows the site owner that you are knowledgeable on topics in their niche – their type of content.  Even better, write an entire post and send it by email.  Tell them this first post is free for their use with credit given to you.  THAT could knock their socks off and get your foot in the door – if your post is accurate and well written.  They will hire you again if your work is worthy."

and

"I’ve never actually hired anyone to guest post for me.  Know why?  I get emails all the time from people pitching for a guest posting.  No one has ever given me an example article with accurate information and one that’s not filled with grammatical/spelling errors.  Details matter."

From Jamie Weibel of www.jaimewiebel.com

"The one thing I would advise not to do is try to sell something to them when contacting them to guest post. I allow the guest to mention their newest book or latest product but I look for posts that add value and not just sell a product."

and

"I enjoy sharing my space with new faces. I hope my audience comes to my space for what they are getting from me but I also know there are many gifted and talented people that would have something wonderful to offer. If you are looking to guest post, find those sites and don't be afraid to ask. Go for it!"

From Elizabeth Cottrell of heartspoken.com

"The inquiries for guest posting that I am most likely to accept are those that show clearly they have read my blog and understand the kind of message I try to convey. They then specifically suggest how they can help me add value to my readers."

So there you have it, words of wisdom from others who have forged the guest posting trail before you. I hope you have found their input to be helpful. Please stop by and visit the sites of those who have shared their input for the Faithful Bloggers readers. Be sure to comment on their blogs and tell them you appreciated their insight on this topic. Thank you so much to those who participated in our survey. 

Please share in the comments what your experiences have been with either requesting or receiving requests for guest posts? 

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