Amateur Blogging Tip: How NOT to Request a Guest Post

I received a very amusing email a few days ago. I shall now reproduce it here for your enjoyment:

Hello Sir,

I thought I would send a quick email after coming across your website earlier today and I would like to guest post on your site. My idea for the Post is about book publishing,I believe my idea for the Guest Post will suit your website. In return, I would like to have 1 backlink in the post.

Please let me know if my idea for the Guest Post suits you, and also if there are any terms and conditions about Guest Posting.

The post will be around 400-500 words and 100% unique.

Also I would like to know how soon can you publish it?

((etc.))

In the aftermath of this excellent email, I have decided to put together a quick list of tips for requesting guest posts. Actually, these rules don’t have to apply just to requesting a guest post — they really apply to whenever you’re asking anyone for anything. So, I now present to you:

How to request writing an unsolicited guest post without brutally offending the blogger in question

  1. Get their gender right. I know that the name “Michelle” is technically a unisex name (according to nameplayground.com, it’s used for boys 0.23% of the time). But still … if you’re going to be gender-specific in your query, take the time to find a bio or picture of the person and figure out if they’re a guy or a girl. Otherwise you run the risk of calling a woman “Sir”, which is just embarrassing for everyone involved. (Pro tip: When in doubt, just address them by name, and forego the “sir” or “madam” entirely!)
  2. Know your audience. This person’s email reads like a hard-core business message. The email is laid out like a contract — “I will do this, in return you will do this. Here are the specifications of my offer, here is my guarantee for originality, what timeline can I expect for our deal to conclude?” And that works really well if you’re emailing, say, Microsoft. But if you’re contacting a part-time blogger whose content quite clearly indicates that they’re writing for fun and to connect with the blogging community, tone down the business-talk a little!
  3. Capitalization Is Annoying. Capitalization is for proper nouns. “Post” and “guest post” are not proper nouns. They are normal, boring, improper nouns. Don’t capitalize them!
  4. Run a spell check. The reasoning for this rule should be self-evident. Spelling and grammar save lives!

In other news, I’m quite excited for my book reading/signing tomorrow evening at local library. I think I convinced a few people to come, but I still suspect I’ll be babbling to a mostly-empty room. On the plus side, I talked my friend into being my “reader wrangler”, so hopefully that will up the attendance a little. Check back in a few days for my victorious/lugubrious report on the book reading!

 

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59 thoughts on “Amateur Blogging Tip: How NOT to Request a Guest Post

  1. I got something similar from a blog that revolved around childcare and hiring nannies. I sent a message to them asking how they could relate it to the subject of my site. That was a few weeks ago and I never heard back. I wonder if it’s some kind of spamming.

    • It’s very suspicious, isn’t it? Like, obviously they’re spamming assorted blogs, trying to get people to go along with them. I wonder what they do if you actually accept their request? Probably steal your identity and go on a rampage, lol.

      • I wondered that too. The one that went for me was a business, so I assume they post it and let customers come in.

      • Judging by the spam comments I get, I’m going to guess it’s a conspiracy to sell sneakers, sunglasses, and viagra to your readers.

        • And yet they promised to keep the post on-topic. So … either they’re very, very sneaky in their marketing strategy … or their marketing strategy really sucks, lol.

  2. Haha wow. Thanks for sharing this letter. Gave me a good laugh. The “Hello Sir” is just wonderful 🙂

  3. MT BLU

    [ctfu] Where the hell is the “LOVE” button? Hmm..

    [picks up magic wand] Wishing you great success for tomorrow evening. 🙂

    Michelle (Blu) ~

    • Hahaha but imagine how complicated our lives would get if there were both a Like and a Love button? Then every time you only get a Like instead of a Love, you’d get horribly depressed and wonder where the love’s at. Cue the collapse of the internet to the tune of the Black Eyed Peas “Where is the love?”.

      And thanks 😀 Heck, even if no one shows up, at least it will be a learning experience!

  4. I’ve been getting something similar. Either I get requests for guest posts that don’t fit the style or spirit of my blog – I got guest post request to blog about women’s shoes – or some guest bloggers have repeatedly asked me when their guest posts will go live. I have to remind them nicely that there are many other guest posts in the queue ahead of them, so be a little damned patient, okay?

  5. Good luck with your reading and signing. I’ve never done one before, but I imagine that I would be nervous should such an opportunity arise!

    As always, thanks for the tips, Mr. Proulx.

    • My pleasure 🙂 Haha it just occurred to me that I should probably figure out what I’m going to say. And what I’m going to read! Ack.

  6. Maybe he called you “Sir” because he thinks you’re the captain of a starship? (You know, on Star Trek officers are called “Sir” regardless of gender.) I think you should just take it as a compliment that this fella thinks you’re capable of commanding interstellar travel. 😀

    • You know what, that actually did occur to me 😀 Well, I was thinking more military than starship, but I definitely prefer your version!

  7. Gwen

    How funny. Looks to me like you were spammed. Maybe you can feature said Guest Blogger sometime just for fun 😉

    • Not gonna lie, I kind of really wanted to say yes, just to see what sort of “100% original content” they could come up with 😀

  8. The first thing I would have done is go to your site and look at your picture. (Duh) might have a hint that sir may not cut it.

  9. Oh, dear. Another spammer me thinks. They are neither original nor partial to checking any details. 🙂

  10. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    OF USE TO SOMEONE????

  11. Using the name would probably be better than sir/mam/madam/etc. even if they can get the gender correct. 🙂 Otherwise, it looks like a blanket email. Personalizing the email wouldn’t be a bad idea.

    Will you be posting about how your signing goes? I’d be interested in that. Good luck. 🙂

    • Or even just use “To Whom It May Concern” — that way you’re not accidentally offending half the population 😀

      I will definitely be posting about the signing. Probably no video, but hopefully a few pictures will be involved. And, of course, my inevitable list of lessons learned 😀

  12. lol. Hilarious. I get these too.

  13. Dear Michelle.

    I am interest in doing a Guest Post on your blog. However, I have nothing to say. Are you willing to post a picture of my foot?

    Legal contract provided upon request.

    Love,

    Me.

  14. I hear that, sister! Guest post requests from people I’ve never met are immediately suspect anyway. Usually it’s someone wanting to sell their services (ghostwriting, editing, etc). Meh.

    • Precisely. I did actually get a guest post request from some green energy company. I should really respond to them at some point, lol …

  15. Well, this made me laugh this morning! Thank you! And best of luck with the reading/signing. They can be scary things but once you get into the swing of it, you’ll be fine 🙂

    • Haha no problem 🙂 I actually tested out my elite book reading skills on my critique group last night. The general consensus was that I was a quivering wreck for the first page and a half, and then there’s a point where the text goes “Eris sighed deeply”, and apparently I actually also sighed deeply as I read it, and then was fine for the rest of the reading. So … the moral of the story is to … sigh? 😀

  16. Ha ha, great fun. I’m with some of the other commentors though, I wonder if it’s spam? 🙂

  17. You had me rolling at “Dear Sir.” Great post!

    • Thanks 😀 I felt like I was back in Korea, when my students would call me “Sir” accidentally because they were trying to be cute but forgot that Sir applies to men and not women.

  18. That’s almost certainly spam. The “Hello Sir” is a dead giveaway.
    How does he guarantee a post about book publishing will be 100% unique? How do you quantify uniqueness? That everything he says in his 400-500 words wll have never been said before? Tough call!

    A got a beauty today. A WordPress comment spam. it went something like (from memory because I deleted it):
    “I’ve been reading your %BLOGTITLE% blog and think it’s great…”
    Seriously, (you can add this tip to your list) if you’re going to spam someone with the hope of looking the least bit authentic, use your mailmerge tags properly! 🙂

    • Hahaha oh, that’s just fantastic! You know how you should have responded, right? “Generic comment questioning your parentage.” That oughta get ’em riled up 😀

      • Haha, yeah that would. Except you don’t get the satisfaction of seeing their reaction. But the danger in replying is they will know your blog is real and monitored and you might just invite 100 times as much spam. 😐

  19. Ooh, ooh, I got this one too! Woo! I think it was around the time I hosted a guest post contest. Somehow the keyword must have gotten around Twitter so I had some people request guest posts. I have a rule for only published authors guest posting, so that usually filters out some solicitors. But, yeah, red flag there. “Know your audience” is huge. I’ve had people requesting a blog post about drugs and I was just like…ya kiddin’ me? And after I wrote back and said my blog isn’t about that they just said, “So…I can’t post?” *facepalm*

  20. Great post, Michelle! Your points are right on, especially “Get your gender right.” I’ve gotten a few of these, along with requests to write an article for a magazine….”We can’t pay you because the magazine is new.” 🙂

  21. Wow, do people really send unsolicited requests to do a guest post? That seems really tacky to me, must be a spammer.

  22. One other tip – do not sound so smug. Seriously, that message sounds very smug, like you should be super grateful they’re even writing to you. =/

    • Yes! As in, “Dear Sir, we both know that I’m inexpressibly amazing and am favoring you with this request. Please let me know the exact instant you’ve gathered your quivering wreck of a body up off the floor and managed to survive being in my awesome presence, that I might therefore present you with my post, aka God’s Gift to Blogs.”

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