Over time, you learn to spot them at first sight and ignore them. Otherwise, you would waste a lot of time replying to pitches that lead nowhere.
I made a quick overview of all the guest post outreach emails we got between January and March 2019. We received 230 pitches and 168 of them were moved to trash, which is 73% of all the emails.
After closer analysis of the deleted emails, I found 5 main reasons why we considered the outreach email so bad, we did not even respond. Here are the results:
Let’s take a look at these 5 common reasons. If you find yourself guilty of one of these outreach sins, we offer a possible solution to each of them.
1. Template and/or meaningless flattery
There’s nothing wrong with an outreach template but it should be used as a guide, not copy-pasted word by word. It saves a lot of time, but an original, witty outreach campaign will almost always bring better results (our case study is a great proof)
One of the most obvious signs that the guest post outreach pitch is a template that wasn’t even changed is the meaningless flattery it contains.
Some people believe that in order to send a guest post email, they need to sing praises of the blog first. Sure, compliments are a powerful tactic, but they need to be used reasonably.
Solution: Be specific and do not lie
Don’t get me wrong. It is nice to acknowledge that you know and like the blog (if you really do). Just don’t be too cheesy and don’t think it will help you if there is nothing valuable you can offer.
I don’t care whether you “love our blog and the unique writing style we have” or you just stumbled upon it when doing the outreach research. As long as your guest post submission is to the point and brings value, I am interested.
Instead of empty praises, try to mention one specific thing that you like about the blog. Don’t just copy the title of the article “you love”, let the author know in a way that will show that you actually read it.
There are many ways how to personalize the email:
- Be specific about what exactly you like about the article
- Refer to other activities of the author (newsletter, service they provide, etc.)
- Point out to something you have in common
If you don’t know the blog, you don’t need to lie. Believe it or not, the success of your outreach email does not depend on the insincere, meaningless flattery.
Besides, in most cases, the author of the blog can easily tell whether your compliment is authentic or not.
2. Super-boring topics
Too many authors take writing a guest post as a necessary evil when doing the link building. All they want is a quick gain, so they write a random bunch of words to wrap around the backlink and send it to hundreds of prospects.
You know the type of articles – “5 ways to lose weight”, “Top 3 SEO tactics for 2019”, “6 best tools for email marketing”. Around 800 words, nothing original, you can find hundreds of similar posts on hundreds of other blogs…
The tactic works fine. There are many trashy websites that will accept any guest post as long as it is long enough.
The question is – is this the best you can get from guest posting?
Solution: Be better. Aim higher.
Instead of writing mediocre articles and reaching out to mediocre blogs, try to be better and aim higher. Set a rule that you’ll contact only websites that are much more authoritative than yours.
Step up your game and offer articles that are at least as good as the content you publish on your blog – or even better.
Do you have a great topic? An article you are really proud of? Instead of publishing it on your own blog, try to find the most authoritative blog in your niche and offer it as a guest post!
Do not take guest post outreach only as a means to get a quick backlink from any website. There are so many other benefits if you focus on the quality rather than quantity – brand exposure, referral traffic…and of course, a super-powerful backlink that will benefit you more than 10 mediocre ones.
3. Grammar mistakes and bad formatting
Everybody makes mistakes. Sometimes, you check the message 5 times and still miss some small misspelling. It happened to me many times so I don’t care too much if I receive an email with some kind of error.
The thing is – there is a difference between somebody who made a small mistake and a person who doesn’t care about the appearance of their message at all.
Grammar mistakes, different types of fonts, random capital letters or missing commas… you wouldn’t want such a person to write an article for your blog, right?
Solution: Get help from the tools
Look at the grammar and formatting of your outreach email as if they were your clothes and personal hygiene. If you approach someone in a dirty shirt, with smelly breath and messy hair, you will be looked down upon no matter what is your message.
When it comes to grammar, I highly recommend the Grammarly extension (but there are other great tools too). It will check all the typos, bad spelling and grammar mistakes directly in your email editor for free.
Do not underestimate the appearance of your email. The first outreach email is very often your last chance to get someone’s attention…
4. Off-topic guest post ideas
Nothing says more that you don’t care about the addressed website than not knowing what it is about.
Don’t make far-fetched assumptions – just because you can create a vague connection between the keto diet and email marketing, it doesn’t mean the owner of the blog sees it the same way.
Solution: Remember that outreach is not about quantity
Spend a couple of minutes prospecting the blog you want to contact. There are basic steps you can follow:
1. Find blogs that accept guest posts relevant to your niche
Try to use specific search operators that help you to filter the ones that are relevant to you. There are plenty of them. For example: “your niche” + “write for us”.
2. Check their guest post guidelines
Most websites that accept guest posts will have some kind of guidelines that will help you to send the right pitch. The company/blog made an effort to write down their requirements for you. They give you a manual on how to succeed. Follow it.
3. Take a look whether the topic wasn’t covered before
If you have a topic in mind, make sure it wasn’t published on the blog of your prospect by searching the blog or using another search operator: site:yourprospect.com + “topic”
4. Contact the right person
If the blog has guidelines, there will be a contact form or email address you can use to send your guest post outreach email. If there is none, you can use tools such as Hunter or Anymail Finder and select the most appropriate contact.
This way is much more time-consuming than sending emails to anyone who appears to accept guest posts. Maybe you’ll find only 10 prospects instead of 100. But at least you’ll be sure they won’t ignore your email just because it is totally off-topic.
5. “Unique and Copyscape protected content”
I was always suspicious of guest post outreach emails that highlight that their post will be 100% unique content checked with Copyscape and won’t be shared on any other website.
A couple of emails we exchanged proved my suspicion – the quality of the guest posts from these people was almost always very poor. Now I just ignore them.
Imagine a pizza delivery service with an advertisement that would look like this:
“We won’t bring a different kind of pizza than what you ordered”
or “We won’t use rotten tomatoes for the sauce”.
Would you order from them?
Solution: You have to offer much more than content that is not copied
If the only thing you can offer is that your article won’t be a duplicate, you offer very little.
A serious author who is confident about his writing skills and originality of his content doesn’t need to think about making the content Copyscape-proof and definitely doesn’t need to mention it in the outreach email.
Make sure your article is top-notch, create something that genuinely creates value and you don’t have to care about Copyscape.
As you can see, the majority of crappy outreach emails suffer from ignorance and carelessness of the author.
I believe the main issue is the attitude bloggers have towards the guest posting. Many of them take it as a necessary evil and it is reflected in the quality of the outreach message and topics they send.
An interesting topic, unique data/research, and your own perspective are the only valuable things you can offer as a guest author. If you fail to provide that, you will be ignored.
Too many crappy outreach emails out there have a bright side too – it is relatively easy to shine. All you need to do is to look at the guest posting from a different angle – not as the path of least resistance, but the one of maximum effort.
Now tell us your own side of this story.
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