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9 Ridiculous Reasons Your Guest Post Submission Failed (And 3 That Weren’t Your Fault)

When I asked readers what they would like to know more about guest blogging regularly cropped up. Hoping to respond to your needs I’ve written this post (part one of a two part series) looking at what we as guest bloggers should consider. Part two will focus on hosting guest posts and the etiquette surrounding that.

Ok. Here’s the deal. Below are nine reasons why your guest post submission failed. They are completely commonsense factors to incorporate into your planning and writing yet so many bloggers fail to do so. If your post isn’t accepted for one of these reasons you only have YOURSELF TO BLAME.

9 Displays Of Stupidity

1. You ignored the post length requirements

If a blogger/content curator states that guest posts must be a particularly word count or within a range they mean it. It’s just like being back in school. If you had to write an essay of at least 500 words, it really meant you must follow the guideline or risk losing marks. Similarly, your work can be world leading but if it’s over the maximum word count forget it. You’ve wasted everyone’s time and energy.

2. Your topic wasn’t relevant

It’s a pretty darn simple concept. If a blog is about weddings don’t submit a post about tennis, pigs, SEO or anything else unless you can relate it back to the wedding niche. Of course some of the best posts take two seemingly unrelated topics and weave them together to sensational results.

3. Totally different voice

Bloggers develop their voice through their blog. The tone of their posts may be abrasive, calming, sarcastic, mentoring or otherwise. The key is loyal readers’ find the voice appealing or they wouldn’t return so bear this in mind while writing your post.
Guest posting criteria may specify a voice or leave it open. The best way to meet the readers’ needs is to read through the archives and get a feel for the particular blog’s voice. Let this guide you as you write.

4. Formatting requirements weren’t met

Read the instructions. Do they say to make submissions as .txt files? Do you need to find images? Are links within the text to your own blog acceptable? Dot the ‘i’ and cross the ‘t’. Check the instructions, write your post, proof using the instructions as a checklist. Only tick off items once complete.

5. Spelling and grammar issues

Poor spelling and grammar is not acceptable. If you find language challenging read your post out loud then use spellchecker. You will quickly pick up errors and any confusing text. Third, ask a friend with great writing skills to proof read it for you. Let them at it with the red pen. You’ll be glad you did.

6. Not original content

The ultimate no-no of the blogging world. Don’t even think about copying someone else’s content or idea, unless you BOTH acknowledge them and further the idea with your own comments. There is no faster way to be blacklisted.

7. Readability is poor

Long, long, long sentences containing several ideas befuddle your readers. Keep your sentences short and sharp. Use one idea per paragraph, identifying the idea in the first sentence then explaining its relevance.
Break up your text with subheadings and highlight key messages. Readers can quickly scan headings to identify whether they want to invest time reading the whole post. Images or videos not only assist visual learners, they can set your post apart from the competition.

8. Linking to competitors

Think about it. Would you like it if I wrote a guest post for your blog promoting your competitors? Not exactly rocket science is it.

9. Your bio is otherwise known as “War and Peace”

You are a potential guest on someone else’s blog. Respect the privilege and don’t abuse the opportunity. Keep your bio succinct and limit links to two.

3 Reasons Out Of Your Control

You’ll be pleased to know not every submission failure is your fault. Occasionally there are reasons outside of your control that simply can’t be helped. That’s no excuse to stop trying though.

1. Timing was wrong

Does the blog you want to submit to have an obvious posting strategy? Are there clear themes they are working through? Try to match your theme with that of your preferred blog BUT if you have a brilliant idea, don’t let it bypass you. Save the idea until the timing is right.

2. “Done to death” topic

You might think you’ve covered a new angle or perspective in your post. The blog owner doesn’t. Don’t take it personally, it doesn’t mean your work is rubbish. Look for an alternative site to submit to or post it on your own blog.

3. The blogger has lost interest

Sometimes the blogger has simply lost interest in accepting guest posts, perhaps even blogging altogether. The best thing to do in this situation is cut your losses. You’ve worked hard, don’t waste your efforts. Identify another blog you would like to see the post on, tailor it to that blog’s requirements and fire it off again.

So What Should You Do?

First and foremost, if you submission is rejected ask for feedback! How will you know what went wrong if you don’t ask? Maybe you will get a response, possibly not. One thing for sure is any feedback you do receive will be valuable for your future efforts. It might also restore your confidence if you’re a bit flattened.

Secondly, don’t take rejection personally. Control what you can, make improvements where possible and forget anything outside these actions.

Finally, whatever you do keep submitting guest posts. The pay off might be increased traffic, new subscribers, brand awareness or simply improvements in your writing. All are too good to pass up.

Get guest posting now!

P.S. If you’d like to spring clean your blog before the influx of visitors arrive, get your FREE super cute printable 29 Tips To Revamp Your Blog.

Pic Source: 1. MeddyGarnet 2. Alex E. Proimos

64 Responses to 9 Ridiculous Reasons Your Guest Post Submission Failed (And 3 That Weren’t Your Fault)

  1. Great list – thanks for the insight. It’s a great reminder that courtesy and following directions are still important. Glad I found you on the UBC!

    • G’day Tor,
      Thanks for your comment! Isn’t it amazing how such simple things have such an enormous impact.
      Best wishes for UBC! Power blogging at its best ;o)
      Cheers, Caylie

  2. Cayli,
    Thanks for being so clear and specific. So many times we hear – do guest blogging to increase your list, and it sounds so simple. Yet, we jump in not knowing there is an effective way to make it work for both you and the website blogger. I’m going to print this one out and save as a reminder. Thanks again.

    • Hi Joyce,
      Thanks for reading and commenting!
      It comes back to working smarter. Get it right the first attempt and you’ve used yourtime wisely.
      Best wishes with UBC!

    • Hi Shawn,
      Thanks for reading and commenting!
      So glad I could help you a little after all the wonderful tips and guidance I’ve got from your blog.
      Cheers, Caylie

  3. Great post, Caylie!

    I haven’t done any guest blogging yet as I feel I need to get my own up to scratch first, but I’ll certainly bear your points in mind for when I do!

    • Hi Valerie,
      Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate it so much.
      You’ve just prompted an idea. I should do the points up as a downloadable checklist for everyone. Do you think that would be useful?
      Kind regards,

  4. Thanks for the great tips. I didn’t realized you needed to take so much into consideration when you guest blog. This is something I would like to do eventually.

    • Hi Jaime,
      Isn’t submitting your first guest post a real confidence issue?! The thing to remember is the worst thing that can happen is the blog owner says no thank you. And you know what, you’ve already got that post you can now submit to other blogs or use on your own site. Bit of a win-win really.
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting!
      Cheers, Caylie

  5. usually i talk to the blogger i would love to please with a guest post about her demands and necessities and so it was only once a problem … but they never contacted me.
    most times i have a personal connection with the blogger so we are going to chat about everything concerning the guest blog.

    • Hi Helen,
      I absolutely agree. As soon as a personal connection exist there is far less need for guest post submission criteria. The ongoing dialogue is likely to bring the result required.

  6. This is interesting! I did my first guest post this week and it was wide-open for me in terms of topic and voice and length. It was a lot of fun!

    • Hi Shayla,
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting.
      Congratulations on your first guest post! It’s interesting that it’s usually the larger blogs that have specific requirements, probably to assist in ensuring the quality of submissions they receive. On the other hand, guest posts on smaller blogs tend to result from individual connections between blog owners, therefore they are more likely to know each other’s work and don’t require the same restrictions.
      Stop by again soon!

  7. Hi Caylie,

    You make some really great points about the benefits of guest blogging.

    The tip about looking through their archives really resonates with me, as this is the first place I go!

    Will share:)


    • G’day Christine!
      Thank you so much for commenting on my post and sharing. I think looking through the archives helps set apart the bloggers looking for ‘cheap traffic’ and those serious about building an ongoing relationship with all involved.
      Great to see UBC is going well for you!
      Cheers, Caylie

    • Hi Marta,
      I can only begin to imagine. I’m sure you’ve come across some amazing submissions too (no doubt the ones you publish funnily enough).
      Would you like to add anything to my list?
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  8. I’ve only done two guest blog posts, both as part of a blogging challenge (not UBC). In one instance I had already met the blogger personally. In the other instance, we had a common link. Both experiences turned out well. I think you made a lot of good points which I will remember if I participate in that particular challenge again.

    • Hi Alana,
      Thanks for sharing your experiences. Guest post opportunities come from so many different avenues.
      Do you mind telling me which challenge you were participating in? I find blog challenges so valuable!
      Best wishes for UBC!

  9. This is an excellent post. I haven’t done much guest posting, but now I know what to look for when I finally do! Maybe that will be a goal for me during the upcoming weeks – to see out guest posting opportunities!

    Thanks for the lesson that is actually an inspiration in disguise.


    • G’day Gwen!
      So glad this post was a little help to you. I love your idea of setting a guest posting goal. Why not incorporate it into UBC? I’m sure you could write a 100 word intro then link to your guest post. Tick off your UBC post of the day and guest post goal at once ;o)
      Thanks for your readership and comment!
      Cheers, Caylie

  10. Thanks Caylie! I think I’ll bookmark this and refer back to it as I begin guest posting again. Nothing worse than having posts rejected and having no clue why. I’d rather minimize my risk in advance! Bookmarked, and shared! ~ Loralee

    • Hi Loralee,
      Thank you so much for your thoughts. I really appreciate the tweet as well.
      I think of making submissions as if they were a job interview i.e. make sure you are a good fit, present well, fulfil any requirements. If successful then celebrate. If not, ask for feedback so you can learn and improve read for next time.
      Say g’day again soon!

  11. Hi Caylie,

    Excellent list. Not only to apply to guest posting, but also for our own blog.

    I LOL’ed at the War & Peace item 🙂

    This one is getting bookmarked for when I take up guest posting.

    Thanks for such a quality article.



    • Hi Dee,
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
      Can I ask what has stopped you from guest posting so far? Is it confidence, time or something else?
      Loved your 7 Blog Blunders post! Keep up the great work!
      Cheers, Caylie

  12. I’ve had a few guest blogging opportunities. I’m just starting to do these so really can judge the effectiveness of the posts. These are all great points I especially like the emphasis on “guest”. You are visiting someone’s ‘home’ on the web think of it as visiting their real home. Treat your time on their site with the same care and respect your would treat your friends home when visiting.

    • Hi Sara,
      You are absolutely right. We are in someone’s online home so we should leave it in the same condition or even better.
      Congratulations on your guest posting success! Have you set guest posting goals?
      Best wishes,

    • Hi Grace,
      Thanks for your comment.
      I think the posts I have coming over the next week will be helpful and probably answer some of your question. They will cover how to recruit guest bloggers for your site and what to do once you’ve received submissions. I can definitely do a post specific to interviewing as well.
      Cheers, Caylie

  13. Hi Caylie,
    Recently I was asked to write a guest post but I had to turn it down because I was given order how to write, a topic I don’t know anything about. 🙂
    So it never happened

    anyway, thanks for the tips!


    • Hi Akos,
      Thanks for reading and commenting. I think you make a really important point in that you shouldn’t accept a guest posting opportunity unless it is relevant to your work and you know or can access excellent quality information regarding the topic.

  14. Fab post Caylie and a reminder that I still need to write that guest post for you, I promise I have some time coming up in the next couple of weeks and will drop you a line! 🙂

    Love the post though, will add it to my Buffer so it’s posted across all my networks…

    • Hi Jo,
      Thanks so much for popping in again! I’m really looking forward to you writing your guest post.
      Also, thank you for adding my post to your Buffer – truly appreciated.

  15. This is a great post and you’ve hit all the top reasons!

    I reject guest post submissions from people who pretend to be bloggers and then link to sites that don’t fit my niche; or they use a different name in the bio. That just seem suspicious to me – if you write under a pen name, be up front about it.

    • Hey Kimberly,
      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!
      Yep, those submissions definitely sound suspicious to me. We have to be so careful not to publish anything that doesn’t add value for our readers. If people are generous with their time reading our blogs we should respect that by trying to always provide the very best content.
      Pop back soon!

      • Ah Nicole, you did give me a heart attack initially ;o)
        I totally understand what you are talking about. In fact I’ve got a post in draft form dealing focusing on this very issue.
        It will be up shortly – I’ll let you know when it’s published.
        Cheers, Caylie

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