Are You Targeting the Right Blogs for Your Guest Posts?

I sympathize with the most popular bloggers, such as Chris Brogan at Copyblogger, and Darren Rowse at ProBlogger, who no doubt receive hundreds of requests to write guest posts on their sites that have nothing to do with the subjects they cover. It’s got to be difficult to find the gold nuggets amidst all the dross.

I am quite amazed myself — and I don’t count myself in their league — when I receive guest post requests that are totally off base. I received this today:

Hi Jeannette,

I came across and found it insightful during my research as a contributor to an online resource about important aspects of home security and safety. The website that I contribute for offers many tips in improving your home through better safety tips and provides inspiration for many things homeowners can do themselves including articles, a home security checklist, and a helpful blog. I think providing safety not only helps a household protect its belongings but also creates a sense of homeliness.

Please let me know if you’re the right person to get in touch about sharing my resource with your readers. Thanks, and I look forward to continuing the conversation with you.


I write about social media, employee engagement and branding. He writes about home security and safety. There is no link in his email to his website so that I can check out his writing style — or if he can write at all. No contact information included in the email. No ideas for topics. He says safety creates a sense of “homeliness.” The modern definition of homeliness is “ugly.” I believe he meant “homey.”

How to Pitch a Blogger

If you want to pitch a guest post to a blogger, here are a few simple guidelines:

  • Research blogs that write about your areas of expertise. Don’t pitch your idea for a post about security to someone who writes about social media.
  • Read through recent posts for style and topics. Use the search box to type in the title of a potential post you might pitch to see what’s been written before.
  • Look for posting guidelines on the site you’re pitching. For example here is the link to ProBlogger’s guidelines which will give you a good idea of what most bloggers want.
  • Finally, here is a post I wrote about the guidelines for Write Speak Sell.

Sorry to disappoint you, Mr. home security and safety. But I did do a search for other blogs in your field and you might try ADT. The company is a national leader in security services and no doubt its blog has thousands of readers. Good luck!

Leave a Reply


  1. Jeannette I love it!! How can a man who writes about home security and safety believe that he would benefit your site? What on earth was he thinking about? Can’t help to be cynical – most likely he hoped he could get some clients on Manhattan interested in home security or safety?:-))

    Personally neither guest blog nor accept guest bloggers on my site. If, for some reason, I wanted to do a guest post I would contact a blog that a post of mine would be of value for. For instance one about international relations.

    Had one Asian approach me in the past and he wanted to guest blog about politics on the Subcontinent. His writing was in Hinglish (a mix of English and Hindi) and what his ideas or political beliefs were he didn’t mention. Having such guest posts is much more work than writing an extra article yourself.

    Not to mention that if his opinions were not suitable to your blog you would have to turn him down. Not sure if you have noticed but when I write about political issues I never state what my opinion is – merely ask the reader for his/her. To print the Asian in question’s articles could have caused a lot of trouble for me.

    • Catarina — like you, some bloggers do not accept guest posts. I do. Most often I request a post, but I have published posts by guests who approached me — in fact, have a guest post scheduled for next week.

  2. It funny that you have written about this now. Very recently, I have been contacted by a number groups and individuals about offering to guest posting on my blog. The emails were poorly written, riddled with typo’s and misspelled words and other difficult things that were hard to overlook. All I could say was REALLY? Because I struggle with these issues because of my dyslexia and work hard to avoid them, makes these errors particularly offensive to me.

    Some of the requests had absolutely had nothing to do with my blog subjects. One was about car repair and smog checks. I had to laugh.

    Generally I reach out to the people I would like as a guest post on my blog or they reach out the me to do one for them. We know what we’re getting and it usually matches and compliments what our blogs are all about.

    What you have given me is an idea. That I should post clearly what I will and will not except as a guest post. 🙂

    • Susan — it’s depressing when people pitch a post and their writing is so bad you wonder why they think you’d be interested. I need to post my guidelines in a more prominent place myself. Now when people write to me I send them the link to the blog post that lays out my guidelines.

  3. Bethany — there is a school of thought that says you should have commented on a blogger’s posts before approaching the blogger with a guest blog. I think, though, that the top bloggers who get hundreds of comments, are not tracking all the people who visit. I still think the topic and great content is what will sell the blogger on publishing your post. Also, if you don’t know the blogger, you might want to write the post first and then send it. Of course, you take a chance that s/he will publish it without attribution to you. But you take that chance in any case, even if you’ve submitted a summary first.

  4. Jeannette, oh, this sounds so familiar! Sometimes they might be on topic, but their writing makes me sleepy because it’s SO boring.

    I get a lot of proposals for guest posts, but few are good enough to even respond to, never mind get a good post in return.

    I like your idea of accepting people who have commented – but I’ve never, ever gotten a request from someone who has commented. I’ve asked people myself who have commented. The requesting parties mostly seem to want to get a link. Sigh.

    • Leora — your last comment is right on target. The potential blogger is so intent on the link they forget that the content is what’s important.

  5. I think we must post a suitable caveat on our blogs (not that it may keep all enthusiastic guest bloggers away, but it could deter a few). I always used to get plagued with requests for guest posts on my tax blogs by new CAs (CPAs). To those that send intelligent requests, I wrote back encouraging them to start their own blog and use appropriate tax groups on LinkedIn to get an audience. Some did that and were happy with the results.
    I just hated it when service providers such as software product companies (that created tax return software) posted comments on my blog just to drive traffic to their own blog (after I had refused their request for a blog post which was a mere advertisement).
    Good post, Jeannette.

    • Lubna — I’m curious about the service providers that post comments on your site after you have turned down their posts. Are the comments useful and add to the conversation? If not, you don’t need to print them and give them a link to their post they don’t deserve.

      • I began to moderate comments post this experience. So yes, these comments no longer appeared. Else it was a tiresome process to find these comments (sometimes on really old posts) and delete them. Moderating comments is much simpler.

  6. Like most tasks in online marketing, the guest post outreach process has become the prey of “magic bullet marketers.” Everyone’s looking for a shortcut. I’d be willing to bet good money that Mr. Home Safety is using a pre-constructed (and fairly poorly designed) pre-formatted message that he sends out in bulk.

    The notion of the “numbers game” is easy to swallow if you don’t pay attention to the details. And no matter how many people realize that online outreach isn’t like playing the lottery, there will still be people who insist on sending out spammy, formulaic emails. Alas: Welcome to the 21st century. I’m afraid this is just part of what we get to deal with.

  7. Hi Jeannette,

    I get a few a week and what I have noticed is not only are many off topic they also come back in a few weeks under a different name. I think a number of SEO firms send them out on behalf of clients and unfortunately are not doing the best for them by emailing randomly.

  8. Great post! I know it’s something I need to do more of! Reaching out to bloggers for guests posts is not only a great way to increase traffic but also credibility.

    Question for you… Would you write the article first or wait until they approve your request?


    • Sarah — Thanks. As I replied to Bethany, some people think you should send a note with a summary of your idea(s), and others think that if you are not well known to the blogger that you submit the complete blog post. Once you’ve had one post accepted by a blogger, s/he will have the confidence in your writing a very good post if you first only pitch her the idea and follow up with the blog. No hard and fast rules here.

  9. HA! I can only wish that I was plagued by any requests by bloggers wanting to do guest posts on my blog. I know it will happen eventually given that I’m now more focused on books and writing and have stopped posting on teaching and traveling.

    Audience awareness is so key. The guests posts I’ve done for other blogs have been writing related. It’s so silly that people waste effort barking up the wrong blogging tree, so to speak.