Guest Blogging: 10 Reasons Why Your Submission Was Rejected

  • April 6, 2010 by Corbett Barr
  • 18 Comments

Guest blogging submission rejected?

If you’ve submitted a guest post to another blog recently, congratulations. Guest blogging is one of the best ways to build your audience and attract new visitors to your website or blog.

Unfortunately, not every one of your guest post submissions will be accepted. This is especially true of the more popular blogs out there. Some blogs receive tens or hundreds of guest post proposals every month while publishing only a handful of submissions.

If your guest post submission has been rejected, you might be wondering why. The blogger you submitted to probably didn’t provide much specific feedback.

Having recently run a guest post contest that received lots of submissions, I’ve had to turn down a fair number of guest posts. Some of them were good, some not so great. To help you get your next post accepted, I’d like to share the following 10 reasons why your guest post may have been rejected:

  1. There Was No Benefit For the Reader

    If you’re submitting a guest post to a popular blog, there’s a good chance that blog makes a habit of providing value to its readers. One of the most common problems I see with guest post submissions is that the value to the reader is unclear or not very compelling. When you write a post (especially a guest post), think to yourself “what’s in this post for the reader? Why would anyone care to read it?”

  2. Your Post Was Too Short (or Too Long)

    This is another common issue to guest posts I have to reject. Pay attention to the length of posts at the blog you’re submitting to. Is there a common range of lengths? How long are the posts that do best on the blog? Keep your guest post length in-line with standard practice at the blog you’re submitting to, and you’ll have a better chance of being accepted.

  3. Your Post Lacked Structure (Don’t Ramble)

    Some bloggers have a knack for writing unstructured, rambling or humorous posts that are well received. However, most bloggers don’t have that gift. If you’re not known for being a good rambler, make sure your post includes some structure that the reader can follow.

  4. There Wasn’t Enough Character

    If your post reads like an encyclopedia entry, you’ll have a hard time getting it published on any high-traffic blogs. Readers expect a little character, wittiness or intelligence from most popular blogs these days. Again, pay attention to the tone of the blog you’re submitting to. Study the authors’ styles. Adding character doesn’t mean writing about yourself necessarily, but make the language you use interesting or useful.

  5. You Rehashed An Old Topic Without Adding Enough

    Especially for narrowly focused topical blogs (like this one), it’s easy to beat a dead horse when it comes to rehashing old topics. If you’re going to cover old ground, make sure you’re shedding new light on the topic.

    One way to do this consistently is to write about the intersection of two topics that hasn’t been explored before. Another way is to write from an opposite viewpoint. For example, instead of writing simply about how to get more followers on Twitter (how many millions of those posts are there already?) you could write about how to get ignored on Twitter.

  6. You Wrote About Something You Don’t Sound Qualified to Speak On

    When you write about something you don’t have much experience with, it will come through in your post, causing it to lack substance and believability. It doesn’t matter if you’re a great writer, either. Write from experience to give your writing credibility and authority.

  7. Your Own Blog is in Rough Shape
    When you pass along a link to your blog along with your submission, make sure your own blog or site is worth sharing. Remember, a link from the guest post to your blog is a quasi-recommendation to check your site out. If your site is not worth recommending, a blogger probably won’t accept your guest post.

  8. Your Grammar Needs Some Work
    If you miss a little punctuation or dabble with “unconventional” grammar once in a while, I might still be interested. If your grammar or punctuation is really atrocious, don’t bother submitting. You will have a hard time getting published anywhere until you improve your grammar.

  9. The Blog You Submitted To Really Isn’t Accepting Guest Posts
    I know, it seems like most popular blogs who say they aren’t accepting guest posts still run guest posts sometimes. Some blogs really aren’t accepting guest posts when they say they aren’t. They could also be backed up for months with submissions they’ve already accepted. Yours might have been rejected simply because of that.

  10. Other Posts Were Just Better

    It could be that your post was well written, your grammar was impeccable, you were funny, you delivered awesome value to the reader, and yet your post was still rejected. What gives?

    There are thousands of fantastic bloggers out there, and sometimes you’ll be competing for guest posts against the best. It might be that other submissions were simply better than yours.

The beauty of guest posting is that the post you submitted might be a great fit for another blog, or even for your own blog. So don’t worry about being rejected. Use your post somewhere else, and submit again with something better later.

What do you think? Have any tips for getting a guest post published? Tell us in the comments!

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photo by Ben+Sam

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


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Ruth April 7, 2010 at 9:18 am

On my old site, I got a great submission by a guy who wanted to write about buying insurance. And by great I mean awful. It was about 100 words, rambling, poor grammar and the subject matter was, to paraphrase: “I never thought about buying health insurance before, but then my friend told me about [2 sentence tragic story of health care costs] and so I decided to get some so that I wouldn’t be uninsured and I went here [link].”

That really doesn’t do justice to the godawfulness of it. So I sent him a little constructive criticism about guest posts, organization, and grammar & he wrote back saying that he didn’t want to right on my third-class blog anyway (blog in question wasn’t a top pro-blogger site, but it was a hell of a lot better than his poorly-templated Blogger site and getting 1k visits/day).

Shared the story with some other bloggers on a private network and we found out that he’d sent half of us the same kind of rambles, always a different story that convinced him of the error of his uninsured rambling ways.

I’d forgotten about it, but reading this brought it to mind in all its…glory. :)

Corbett Barr April 7, 2010 at 10:30 pm

Great story, Ruth. It’s pretty obvious when someone wants to write a guest post purely for the link value and not at all for connecting with your audience.

Tinh April 8, 2010 at 12:41 am

#5: Yes, many bloggers use software to rip old posts and tried to make it theirs and submit to me and rejected!

#6: Sometimes they wrote for something and could not respond to readers’ comments, too bad!

#8: Grammatical mistakes usually happens to non-english speaking bloggers and I am non-english bloggers. However, the mistakes sometimes acceptable if the message was not changed.

Thanks

Corbett Barr April 8, 2010 at 9:19 am

Excellent points, Tinh, especially about non-English speaking bloggers. There are exceptions to every rule.

Ileane @ Blogging April 8, 2010 at 9:01 am

Hi, I found your blog through Blog Engage. This post is very true and I shared it on Google Buzz which will end up on Twitter. Keep up the good work, it’s nice here. ;)
@Ileane
btw – you might want to add a Digg button because I think this post would do well there.

Corbett Barr April 8, 2010 at 9:18 am

I Ileane, thanks sharing the post. I really appreciate it. I’m new to Blog Engage, but it seems like a strong community. People I’ve met through there are passionate about blogging. I may add a Digg button shortly. I’m doing some experiments to see which social media channels are most effective for Think Traffic.

Tola F. April 8, 2010 at 9:31 am

Great tips for guest blogging…
Guest blogging is something I’ve been poking around with but haven’t actually gotten around to yet. I’m still working on No 7, because I can definitely relate to that. There’s no point you guest blogging somewhere else if what you’re indirectly advertising is worthless. So until I’m happy with my own blog standard, I’ll continue to observe guest blogging from the sidelines and that way, when I get with it, it will be a bang!!

Corbett Barr April 8, 2010 at 10:50 am

Hi Tola, thanks for commenting. Don’t take too long in getting around to guest posting. It is one of the best ways to get your site out there in front of bigger audiences. Good luck!

Dana @ Blogging Tips Blog April 8, 2010 at 11:52 am

It is so true. I experience rejection for my guest posting in popular blog because I forget to think why readers should read my article — why they need to do what i suggest in my article.

steve April 14, 2010 at 1:39 pm

What if the guest post is better than your own post?

Corbett Barr April 15, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Hi Steve, not sure I understand your question completely. Are you wondering what to do if other people submit better guest posts than you? In that case, you have two choices, try writing better posts and resubmitting, or submit to other blogs where the standards aren’t quite so high.

Nasrul Hanis July 8, 2010 at 7:23 am

I agree with your points especially when you’re mentioning about maintaining our own blog. Yes, it’s important because some readers will look for your blog/site if they got interested with your article so get ready for it.

There is a lot of factors actually and the major mistake that some guest writers do are writing guest article which is not related to the blog niche thus it had been rejected by the webmaster.

The only thing to do is revise and keep writing because that’s a crucial way to improve!

Corbett Barr July 8, 2010 at 7:34 am

Hey Nasrul, that’s definitely true. If your guest post submission isn’t related to the target blog’s topic, it most likely won’t be accepted. That’s about the most basic rule of guest posting, isn’t it?

Nina Yau November 30, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Thanks for the tips, Corbett! I’ve been approached a few times to do guest posts as well as to accept (or reject) guest posts and those 10 reasons you spoke about hold true.

I find that the more you work on yourself (and your blog) the better you can deliver to someone else’s blog. Because truly, our blogs are our babies, are they not? We love it and sometimes we want to slap it (especially with any technical issues!). Whatever we do with it, guest posts or not, it better be damn well worth it.

Zach Turner June 14, 2012 at 9:33 am

What’s the rule on the same post for multiple blogs? If I wrote a kick ass post that will work for multiple blogs I have connections with, can I send them the same post? Or can I just change it around a little but keep the same topic? Or is that considered taboo or even unethical? Thanks.

Corbett Barr June 14, 2012 at 11:51 am

Each submission should be unique. Most blogs will have a requirement that your article be completely original and unique if they are going to run it.

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