Why We Won’t Run Your Guest Post


If you run an even remotely popular site, you likely get submissions for guest content. And while I will always allow passionate people to share unique ideas here, I haven’t built a community for 6+ years to let anyone spam you. I ruthlessly guard the signal to noise ratio.

I thought my guest post guidelines were simple enough but clearly most people still don’t get it. I’m up to anywhere from 3-5 guest submissions per day and can use essentially none of them. So with that the best way to solve a recurring issue like this isn’t to respond to each individual user. It’s to write one post and publish it (this post).

I do apologize if we haven’t responded to your guest post submission. Here are the reasons why:

1. You clearly just want a link 

Many guest post submissions up-front say “we’ll write a story for you in exchange for a link” or something similar. Not only do these people not even bother to look at where I work (if they looked, they definitely wouldn’t try this) it’s insane to think generic, free content is so important anyone would share it with readers in exchange for a link. Who would sell a hard earned reputation to the lowest bidder?

2. You have no idea what we cover

Some people seem to think I will cover anything that even remotely has to do with technology. That’s not how this (or any publication) works. We have a narrative and if you’ve even been half awake you understand what we cover. If anything, we might actually cover your awful pitch to show others what not to do.

3. You didn’t even ask if you could write something / this is your first email to us

Would you ask someone to marry you on the first date? Of course not. You’d be seen as desperate. Insane even. Don’t do this to a publication (for example, send a written post without actually confirming the topic first): you’re wasting everyone’s time. Build connection and trust first.

4. You want to write something completely unrelated to what you do

It’s frequently a total non-sequitur: I get pitches from people in consumer goods who want to write about SEO or social media. What? Oh, that’s right, you actually have no interest in contributing anything thoughtful on this topic. You are simply another type of spammer. It’s amazing these people don’t even try to hide this.

5. You have no presence on social / any place for a bio link

If I can’t connect our readers to a legitimate human publishing ideas, the ideas have no merit. We can’t take them seriously without context because they lack authority. Why should we listen to you when you have no social proof or history of participating in any industry?

6. You want to trash my employer / hype your competing brand

You would be genuinely shocked at the number of companies and PR professionals who send me pitches blatantly asking me to write takedowns on my employer or our products. Or, hype a competitor. They either are clueless or pure spammers. Either way all it does is succeed in making their brand or client look bad. I don’t forget this stuff and neither do other bloggers.

7. Your post is more generic than a top-40 radio station

This is a pretty bad offender: would we ever run a story sharing “6 social media tips,” “5 content marketing ideas,” or any other random series of generic tips with a number in front of them? Of course not. But many people who pitch this site didn’t get the memo and think we’ll run anything. Sad.

I think you get the idea. But what’s crazy is the notion of digital guest content is well over a decade old. Yet almost no one understands it and it has to be one of the most annoying things I deal with as a blogger. Truthfully, I would recommend you not open up your site for guest content unless you’re prepared to sort through a lot of junk. It’s probably more trouble than it’s worth unless you perhaps build a system to handle it …and even then.

Most people are definitely just playing a numbers game in the attempt of webspam. But I do think long-term, the sites that allow trash to run on them will eventually self-implode anyway. It’s only a matter of time.

In the meantime, if I didn’t respond to your guest pitch it is likely due to the above. To end on a positive note: if you’re not a spammer and have quality, unique ideas you are willing to personally stand behind we’re always happy to hear them.

image credit: Shutterstock.com