[EDIT 2/13/12: I won’t be updating the blog this week.] I’ve gotten several emails from people in the last few weeks asking about guest posting here. I’ve said no to all of them, and here’s why.

Almost all of them say something like this:

Hi,

I was surfing the web and I ran across your blog and I think it’s great. I was wondering if I could guest post on your blog. I’ve written blog posts here, here, and here.

Regards,

John

This isn’t an exact email, and I just randomly chose the name John.

There are two main problems with this message.

Problem 1

It’s spammy. I can tell that you’re using the exact same message to inquire about guest posting on other blogs, too. Copy and paste, copy and paste. It’s impersonal. You don’t mention my name and you don’t mention my blog.

You’re being too self-serving. Remember that the bloggers you’re approaching can write another blog post in half an hour. They’re doing you a much bigger favor by publishing your post and giving you exposure to their audience (that they’ve built up over months or years) than you are by writing a single blog post for them.

Solution 1

Be a real person. Use my name and my blog’s name. Just give me 2 real sentences instead of copying and pasting from a template.

Problem 2

I don’t care about what you’ve already written. I don’t care what sites your guest posts have appeared on. The only way I can know if I’m comfortable with you guest posting on my blog is if I see what you’ve written for me. Don’t send me an email asking me if you can write for my blog, then send me another email with the topic you’re going to write about, and then another email with the finished article.

Solution 2

Just send me a finished copy of your blog post, asking if I’d be willing to publish it. I’ll either say yes, it looks good and I’d love to publish it on this date, or I’ll say sorry, I just don’t think it’s the right match for me. It’s quick and easy for both of us. If I don’t publish it, you’re of course free to pitch it to someone else, so it’s not like you’ve wasted time writing it.

Final words

I kind of feel dumb writing this post. Geeze, this isn’t freaking rocket science. Just be a normal, amiable person!

End rant.

[PS: I’m generally not looking for guest posts and am very picky with what I publish here. But if you have something great to say that is beyond simple “How to get Twitter followers”, “Top 5 WordPress SEO plugins”, and “How social media will benefit your business” stuff, I’d love to see it.]