Email Pitching Etiquette for #Bloggers Requesting to Write for Other Blogs

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Do your investigating

 

Are you being inundated with email requests from personal bloggers or businesses emailing you asking if they can contribute a post to your blog? Do their offerings suggest they even know what your blog is about or are they looking for a place to info dump and sell their products?

 

I get several of these types of emails weekly from people I don’t know or have never visited or commented on my posts. Most of those emails I now just delete. Today I’m going to share with you what you should be looking out for when vetting these requests because that’s what we must do carefully before getting all excited about the prospect that somebody came to us and offered their ‘Free’ will to post on our blog. Below, I will share my list of things to look for in those emails to help you decide if you should allow or even bother responding to these requests.

 

  • Let’s begin with salutation. If someone is requesting to write a post on your blog, the least they can do is visit your ‘About page’ and look for your name to properly address you. I would say that approximately 90% of the requests I receive begin with ‘Hey’. Newsflash – hay is for horses. My name isn’t hey!
  • Don’t Small-Talk me. The most common introduction lines I receive in these requests begin with, “I really love your blog,” “I write like you,” “I want to write for your blog because we have so much in common.” After checking out many of these people, I’ve found that their articles have zero to do with anything I write about or stand for. If you really love my blog why haven’t I seen you visit it and hit ‘like’ or leave a comment? In fact, many of these offers to write are by writers for content mills trying to sell products.
  • No mention of a website in their email. There’s a big flag! If someone wants to write for us, perhaps they should include some credentials or at the very least, a link where we can check out their writing.
  • Know who you are pitching to. I have noticed that many pitches that are irrelevant to my blog come from some who must have randomly chosen me to pitch to through sniffing out SEO tags and/or keywords. I deducted this from a few requests I received who did happen to mention a post they ‘picked out’. I say picked out, not read because a few of those posts had nothing in common with the offered post they could write for me, but their offered topic was based on a tag on one of my posts instead of what the post was actually about. For example: One request email told me they write about same topics as mine and picked out a post of mine to compare their writing to. Well that particular post was written by my friend and author Tina Frisco, written about gratitude. In Tina’s bio she mentions that she is a retired registered nurse. The topic offered me to write about was selling medical supplies. You get my drift?
  • Did the email author offer any links to view their past work? If somebody wants to write for our blogs they should be including links so we can view their past post examples.

 

What to Look for in Email Requests

 

  • Were you addressed properly?
  • Does the author link to their website or link to a site where their work is featured so we can view a sample of their writing?
  • Do the author’s links to posts they include in their email demonstrate the subject matter they are selling to you?
  • Is the subject matter the author is offering to write about similar to topics you write about?
  • Does the author of the email state clearly what it is they are offering to write about for you?
  • Are the samples of the author’s writing strictly for promoting products?
  • Did the author of the email include a ‘business card’ in their signature?

 

The above bulleted vetting questions are the guidelines I use to help make my decision before I even consider replying to pestering emails. Depending on what’s missing and if anything in the body of the email captures my attention, I may investigate the author further. But make no mistake, if I’m addressed as ‘Hey’, and there is no business card (link to their website or business) in their signature or at least in the body of their email, I don’t waste any time searching who they are and just hit delete.

Don’t get carried away in the moment, thinking how honored you may feel because someone is writing you asking if they can post on your blog. It may seem flattering at first, but there is usually a motive behind these offers unless they are being honest about why they want to write for you and they include appropriate information regarding their credentials.

NEVER agree to let any stranger post a feature on your blog before you have thoroughly vetted the author. On the other hand, there are still some sincere inquiries asking to write for our blogs. And it’s always nice to feature a guest post on our blogs to give another writer some exposure and offer our readers the chance to learn about something new. But just remember, it’s your blog and you are responsible for what you allow to be posted on it. Your own following has come to expect a certain standard of post on your blog so remember to honor that before you consider allowing a stranger to post a sales pitch article on your blog.

Are any of you receiving numerous email requests to post on your blogs?

 

 

 

 

 

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66 Comments

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  1. I don’t usually get invitations from others wanting to guest post on my blog, the serious ones probably around four or five all up in the five years I’ve been blogging. The ones from SEO companies I hear from the most. As you mentioned, they probably searched for my blog with some random keyword. A lot of the time they don’t even link to a particular post or page on my blog, instead straight up asking me if they can make a guest incorporating affiliated links and perhaps offering me remuneration in return. Often, these emails don’t even address me by name and if they do, they get it wrong lol.

    Hope you are well, Debbie 🙂 <3

    1. Hi Mabel. Thanks for sharing your experience. That’s exactly it, no proper salutation, no offering of links or examples of their work – where on earth do they get the nerve? :). Thanks Mabel. <3 xx

  2. I turn down several spurious requests every day. Either by a simple, ‘I do not accept commercial or affiliate linked posts’ or simply. ‘By all means! I’d love you to guest post on my blog! I charge £200 per post to host your work.’ One or the other always works 😉

    1. Good one Sue. I stopped bothering answering them long ago, and some re-email several times over til they get a response. I will use your $200 charge logic next time! 🙂 xx

  3. I’ve been getting a lot of these emails lately. I just delete them. And mostly, just like you said, I delete them the moment I don’t see my name. Hey is the first stage of horse crap. Get outta here with that lol.

    1. Lol, thanks for chiming in EC, we are not alone! 🙂

  4. How strange, Debby. I was thinking about this subject only a few days ago after receiving rather a lot of emails from people I’d never heard of before, asking me if they could guest post on my blog.

    One came from somebody called Anna, who did address me by name. She claimed to be a massive fan of my blog and said she had great ideas for some topics for some guest posts on my blog. Some of the ideas did appeal to me – social media and blogging tips were two, so I replied to her email. However, I clearly stated some guidelines, including that she would not be allowed to include any affiliated links in her posts and that I would only accept links to her blog posts.

    The strange thing was, is that although she stated she was a huge fan of my blog and its content, she never replied to my email. I thought it strange but then realised that I’d never had any comments from her left on any of my posts. I went on to Google the last part of her email address, which took me to a business-related site that charges people for being listed in their business directory. Stranger still, is that the business directory wasn’t even based in the UK.

    I’m glad you highlighted these people who only want to hijack our blogs for their own means. Thanks so much for doing so.

    1. Hugh, we are often on the same page when it comes to blogging stuff lol. So yes, just about every single request I get states that they love my blog, lol, yet no sign of them ever being there.
      I suspect that your reply made it clear – no affiliate links, and she didn’t even bother replying. I think this is a new sneaky method of companies hiring writers to market bloggers to try and get their affiliate links and ads around and they receive some sort of compensation. The only thing they haven’t perfected is targeting the vulnerable solely. I’m sure they catch some less informed or newer bloggers who would jump at the chance for exposure without knowing the intent behind it. That’s why people like you and I are in blogland to call out these opportunists LOL. <3 xx

      1. Yes, I agree. I get most of these requests via the ‘Contact Hugh’ button on the menu bar of my blog. I agree that some of these people are getting more and more cleverer in the way they present themselves in the email. The one I mentioned actually mentioned me by my name “Dear Hugh”, but that may only be because my names appear in the title of my blog.
        I do like Sue’s idea, though, of replying and saying that I charge £200 for a guest post to be published. I’m sure that’s a great way to cut them off in their prime.
        Keep up the great work in highlighting these blogs scams, Debby.
        xx

        1. Thanks for adding this Hugh. Yip, they get me on my contact sheet too, and yes, the odd one will use what they think is my name – Kaye, lol. Yes, I’m going to use Sue’s approach too. Kind of like a good one I heard about answering phone calls from telemarketers. If you know it’s a telemarketer, just pick up the phone and say “City morgue’. That’ll get rid of them! LOLOL 🙂 xx

  5. Great post, Debby. I had a woman who e-mailed me saying say wanted to review Wisp but after I replied and she sent a link to which I didn’t post my book, she stopped e-mailing. People need to be aware and your post is awesome way to let them know. <3

    1. Thanks Adele. Yes, we must share to create awareness for those few targets those marketers are hoping to catch! <3

  6. This is so hilarious–it’s like so much of life with clueless people trying to do what they think they are supposed to do to market themselves but haven’t any real idea of normal behavior and etiquette. It’s also hilarious because I don’t get requests to guest blog on my site–I have to chase people to do so. LOLLLLLL.

    1. LOL you crack me up! If you’re feeling left out, I’ll send a few your way! LOL kidding! Yup, mass marketing, hoping to catch a fish! 🙂 😉 😉

  7. You are so right, Debby. I also get quite a few of these, and one of the most annoying things is when they send them to the blog that I no longer regularly write for and I clearly state there that I have moved to another blog. So much for loving my blog and reading it!
    Thanks for the advice.

    1. Oh ya, I get lots on my contact page on my blog too. Delete! Delete! Lol They are like mass marketers hoping to catch a fish! <3

  8. Great points, Sis. Today, I got an email from a guy asking if I gave blogging lessons. I told him no, and emailed him back. Then, I got a notification that his email didn’t exist. GRRRR! I hate this so much! They are coming out of the woodwork lately. <3

    1. Thanks Sis. Do your due diligence, don’t reply if there are no credentials! I wouldn’t even have answered that one LOL <3

  9. Thank you! Since I run three blogs, I get a lot of these requests send via email. And yes, quite often, I have no idea why they’d even contact me, given what my blogs are about! LOL. I am pretty firm with the individuals regarding my guidelines, and if our interests don’t align, then I won’t receive a reply back. Oh, well! Now and then, though, a company or freelance writer has something to offer that might actually benefit my blog readers, and I’ll go for it.

    Thanks for this post, hon! Glad I’m not alone! 😉

    1. Hi Marie! Thanks for adding to the conversation. Kudos to you to run 3 blogs OMG I don’t know how you do it. But I am glad to hear that you are doing your diligence to vet those requests. They can be such timewasters. But if you are finding a nugget here and there, good for you! 🙂

      1. D.G., do you take a lot of time to vet out spam comments as well? Now and then, I’ll get a comment on one of my blogs that passed muster, but later I take a second look and wonder if the vague commentary meant that they were trying to get a free book out of the deal (especially if they said ‘I love his books’, when the author is actually a woman…LOL).

        1. Lol, now that is spammy, not even bothering to check the gender of the author. Actually, my Askimet is pretty good at picking up spam comments. And I’ll add that since the GDPR came in, I’m geting like 60 spam comments per day! I used to get 20 a week!. I vaguely remember only a few times a spammy comment got by the spam control. I still do my investigations when I get a comment from someone I’m not familiar with has viisited my blog to make sure they are real. I’ll hover over the gravatar and follow to their website to make sure they are a bonafide blogger. But even so, if they are spamming their links and have motive for posting other than just visiting as a blogger, I’ll delete that too. 🙂

  10. Random pitches are the worst! If a person can’t show they actually took the time to figure out what type of readers a blog has, that such a huge red flag. Even though I have guidelines posted, I still end up with guest posts from time to time where the person doesn’t share the post much or come back to leave follow-up comments. These are usually people I am not overly familiar with online. Go figure.

    1. I’ve been there Jeri. I’ve had requests and invited 3 of them as my guests because they were authors. I didn’t know them but they were authors, one very well known, and I was flattered they wanted to be featured on my blog, and thought I’d help their exposure by giving them a feature. Three of them, not one visit to comments, zero shares, and not one thank you for having me. I shall leave them nameless lol. If someone really wanted to dig through hundreds of my posts and look at guest features and scroll through comments they’d know who, lol. Now I only invite writers and bloggers I know. Live and learn! 🙂

  11. This primer proves you are both Emily Post and sleuth at vetting offers. I seldom get email requests to post on my blog. However, tomorrow I feature a guest post-er, and she has been thoroughly vetted!

    1. Lol, thanks Marian. You know me, I’m an avid investigator on the web, so I’ve learned what to look for. And I hope by sharing my findings I can save others the trouble of getting caught in these webs. I also think we’re being found through Google. Because I’m all over Google and work a lot with social media it gets my name out there in ethers. I think it would be much harder to get discovered through a blog. Just my thoughts. 🙂 I look forward to reading your guest post. 🙂

  12. Your winnowing guidelines are spot on. I get many of these posts and sometimes roll my eyes before I delete them. I make it a policy that all guest posts are invited by myself. Period. I have to have met you at a convention, in my writing circles or be a reader of your blog FIRST.

    I suppose as marketers continue to use mass apps to cold call, we will all have to deal with more of this nonsense. I suppose in a way it is flattering, you have to have enough of a following on your blog to trigger this onslaught.

    1. Hi Wendy. Thanks for adding to the conversation. I’m with you. I invite who I select when I’m doing interviews (which I really must get back to!) and I’ve never taken up any of those email offers. But as I mentioned in an earlier comment to another blogger, I did take 3 author requests who I didn’t know, and they couldn’t even bother visiting comments or sharing, so I’m back to original standards, lol. And yes, I think more they are finding us through Google somehow, more so than our blogs. 🙂

  13. Thank you for this post, Debby! I might have received emails like these, but if they are from unknown persons, I just hovered my pointer over the senders’ links. If I have doubt about them, I just delete them or mark phishing under the junk drop down.

    I received many from the comment and they are usually get caught by WP and put in the spam folder. They always say what you mentioned in this post, or say your blog posts are what we’re looking for…

    Your message is very relevant to bloggers and authors. Thank you for sharing. <3 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Miriam. I’m glad to hear you’re doing your due diligence to avoid these scammers. 🙂 <3

  14. I haven’t received as many offers since I moved my main site over to wordpress dot org. I don’t know why the difference, but there you have it. The offers I really like to get are from people who want ME to write a post for them and post it on my blog. No one pays anyone else, and the topic is writing-centered, and I just have to include some links to the person’s site. This doesn’t happen often, and actually not in the past year, but those were not bad gigs. They gave me ideas to write about if nothing else!

    1. Good point Kate. But I am on .org and that doesn’t seem to stop them from coming. Maybe once your new site gets more recognized in Google et al you will be hounded again. In the meantime, you are always most welcome to write a guest post for my blog any time! 🙂

  15. Good ideas and spot on with what I look for. Wearing my other hat, I actually charge for sponsored posts (another term for guest posts) because they linkback to the writer. Once I mention the cost, 90% of them go silent!

    1. Lol, exactly what Sue Vincent says. 🙂

  16. Debby, this is excellent advice presented with clarity and your personal experience. I just saw Sue’s comment about charging and think that’s a great approach! 😀 I’m with you on the ‘Hey’ greeting … if they can’t even take the time and interest to find out your name why should your waste your precious time considering the request. Wishing you a lovely weekend.
    Hugs xx

    1. HI Annika, lovely to see you back making the rounds. 🙂 So glad you enjoyed this. Seems many of us are getting spammed with these emails so it’s important to know what to look out for.:) Happy weekend to you too! <3

  17. That is such a sweet and unexpected offer, Debby! I want to extend the same offer to you as well. I used to do more guest posting blogs years ago, but I fell out of it because there seemed to be so much extra work involved. At the time I was squeezing in the blogging, and I really didn’t have a specific blog time carved out. That’s probably why it felt so daunting. 🙂 Now that my schedule is more “mine” I am able to blog without losing my mind, lol.

    1. I hear you Kate. Up until last year I was hosting weekly, then bi-weekly, author interviews. It became too much to organize in the midst of publishing another book and the madness that was going on in my life so I haven’t done any specific author interviews on my blog this year, but I’ve invited a few writers with an open invitation to guest post and had a few wonderful guests. I think the structure for regular interviews is to set up guidelines and a list of potential questions for writers to choose from and leave open the standing invitation for writers to request to be featured. But I know you write some fabulous articles on the subject so I thought I’d ask if you’d like submit one of them to share on my blog. You have my email right? We’re linked on Google 🙂

  18. I get a few of these every week. Most of them just want to market their product.

    1. True Stevie, but some are sneaky, pretending they ‘love’ our blogs, lol. 🙂

  19. Hi Debby! When I get emails like that I don’t even open them because they could be hacks. If they don’t address me by name or the subject matter is iffy I simply delete the email. Thanks for the tips! 😀 xx

    1. Thanks for chiming in Vashti. Glad you’re on top of things! 🙂 xx

  20. I got sucked in by one of those who seemed to be genuine but when I got her post it was just linked to other things..Funny enough when I pointed that out to her and stated I wanted recipes she had made she didn’t respond…We really have to be so on the ball now don’t we some good tips Debby 🙂

    1. Arg, sorry you got caught, but at least caught on when you saw the linkedup post and of course, no reply when you email them back. Spare yourself the trouble next time Carol. We live and learn! 🙂 xx

  21. I’m still amazed at the pitches I get every week. Cat food and garbage bags for a blog about leisure and photography, really?? This is a great post about how to handle this, Debby, thanks for sharing your experience. Funny, my recent guest post about cycling rules was pitched to me a few months ago. It fit in with my blog topics. He finally got back to me but when I published the post and left him several messages, I still haven’t heard from him and he is a local attorney!! Someone else promoting a national dog event wanted me to leave her link in one of my posts, over the summer, which I finally did, and she never replied to the messages I left her. I doubt I will do any more of these, but it made for a couple of decent posts. I didn’t spend a lot of time, so no harm really done here!

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience Ter. Yes, it seems many of these requesters want to get their links and info out and don’t bother showing up once they get what they’re after. A lot more vetting must be done with these people who are mostly out for themselves. 🙂

  22. Hi Debby, Great post. I’ve also been getting a lot of requests to guest on readilearn but not on my eponymous blog. I think this is because I have a contact page on readilearn but not on the other. Very few of the emails have been genuine. Although they tell me that they love my blog, they have never liked or commented on anything. Also, if they had read my blog, they would realise I don’t have guest posts (a rare few) and don’t have paid advertisements. Some of them have been persistent, emailing four or more times. Only one did I attempt to respond to and, like Colleen, got a notice telling me the email address doesn’t exist. I just read first to ascertain whether it is genuine or not (I do get a few genuine enquiries) and delete if it’s at all suspect.

    1. Hi Norah, thanks for adding to the conversation. Sounds like you are getting many of the same ones I receive. Yes, they mostly begin with ‘Hey’ “hi” ” I love your blog” LOL. Just delete! And yes, we (mostly) all have contact pages, but these spammers go through email so they are sniffing us out through SEO. More legitimate offers would come through contacting, but still, there are spammers there too. When in doubt, delete! Lol 🙂

  23. If I’ve never heard of them I can’t see how they can possibly help me or my blog- delete 🙂

    1. Exactly Jacquie! 🙂

  24. No one makes requests of me (!) but I do ask people if they would care to post on my blog. I’m very selective at that.
    Now, I WAS going to humbly request a book review from you, but you might give us rules about that, too, Debby!

    1. I’m with you Noelle. I am more than happy to have author and blogger friends want to guest post on my blog too. I don’t run ads for random spammers to inundate me with requests. And lol Noelle, I don’t have rules about reviewing, lol. But I will tell you that I have 2 of your books in my big fat busting at the seams TBR, reading a tome right now and 2 promised beta reads in cue, but I promise I will get to your books and of courseeeeee I will review!!! And any time you feel like being a guest at my blog you are welcome to! <3

  25. Now I feel left out. I don’t get lots of requests, just a few requests from fashion, makeup, or baby sites. This is good info. Never hurts to be polite.

    1. Lol Linda, be glad you were left out. Although I’m sure your turn will come. LOL 🙂

  26. I am getting rather a lot lately and just haven’t trusted any or really known what to do about them, so have just ignored them. Thank you for sharing this post Debby, nice to know what you and others do with them. Glad I’ve ignored them 🙂

    1. Hi Samantha. Thanks for popping by. I’m so glad I could give you some helpful advice on how to go about these requests. Remember, when n doubt, delete! Lol 🙂

  27. Well said advice, Debby. I do get a few of these, and as soon as I read them, my common sense sends up a big red flag. I delete, and sometimes mark as spam. I never reply.

    1. Good for you Jennie, you’re already on top it! 🙂

  28. Thanks Debby. These are great tips, especially for bloggers responsible for corporate sites. It’s hard to come up with new content, and having a guest post often sounds like a great idea. You really do have to be careful.

    1. Hi Dan. Thanks for dropping by. So glad you found this helpful. It’s up to us to learn how to vet these requests. Knowledge is power! 🙂

  29. I’ve been receiving more and more of these “offers” via my blog in the “feedback” section, not by email. My first reaction is always to immediately delete them, since they are most always spam. Just people who want exposure or to advertise.

    Your tips are spot on. When someone doesn’t address me by my name, I detect nothing personal or the message is based on self-promotion, I hit delete without thinking twice or even reading the message.

    I love it how some of these emails start with “Since you have had many guest bloggers,…” while I have had zero guest bloggers in the past. 🙂

    1. Lol you are so funny! You know exactly what I mean! 🙂

  30. Hi Debby – I’m sure I’m like your commenters – if I know the blogger – then fine … if not I hit delete. Also I hardly do any, or let anyone come on the blog – I’d rather keep ‘my voice’ on there …

    If I’m not sure I always check the person out just in case … so true what you say though – cheers Hilary

    1. Hi Hilary. Thanks for adding to the conversaton. You are doing the right thing. 🙂

  31. Great info, I generally don’t even bother responding to them at all. But great writeup and yes, if someone is interested in the offer they must check the points you mentioned.

    1. Thanks for dropping by Raj. 🙂

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