5 Reasons No One Is Responding To Your Guest Post

guest post

Before starting TCM I was heavily focused on getting press coverage to establish my expertise. I submitted one off experts quotes as well as fully written guest posts to countless sites. Sometimes they were published, sometimes they were rejected.

I spent so much time submitting guest content all over the interwebs, that I wanted to give others a chance on my site. I respect GenTwenty's multi-contributor model so much (plus they were my first ever guest post accepted!) and wanted to provide people with the same ability on my site…

… until I didn't anymore. 

What changed? Well, I probably get around 20-50 emails per week from people either asking to submit a guest post or submitting the completed guest post… it's not the volume of these e-mails that overwhelms me but what's in them.

Here are 5 reasons why your guest post isn't getting chosen (or responded too):

1. It's a press release or sales pitch.

Nothing drives me crazier than a “guest post” that is really what I consider sponsored content. If your guest post is primarily a way to promote yourself or your product it's advertising! You are basically asking me to introduce you to my readers to sell them – which is so not cool on so many levels.

Furthermore, a lot of companies are doing this thing where they “want to hear my thoughts” on a topic. But then they ask for a backlink to their site and a mention of their product. Well guess what, that's ADVERTISING! Just because the post doesn't read like an infomercial, doesn't mean it's not an ad. Tricking unaware content creators to produce native advertising pieces on their site is so gross.

If you are asking for sponsored content, then that's another story and we can talk about collaborating, but do not be a sleaze and try to get me to “post your infographic” or promote your product for free. Not only is that not right to my business (yes, my blog is a business) but it's also not right to my readers to get sold in an inauthentic, disingenuous manner.


2. It's not relatable or valuable.

TCM strives to be relatable. Of course, not every person is going to relate to every post, but each post strives to have a relatability factor to connect with others mentally or emotionally. Furthermore, the post should provide readers with some sort of value and should enhance their life in some way (whether it's a good laugh, actionable advice, or whatever). Remember, your content is not all about you, it's about the reader. 


3. It's clear you've never read TCM before.

When I did a reader survey last year, I asked about people's thoughts on the guest posts. Did they notice? Did they like them? Hate them? Interestingly, most people said they didn't even notice that TCM has guest posts! The group that did notice the guest posts said they overall really enjoyed them. That was a huge sigh of relief for me since I put a lot of effort into each guest post in making sure it fits and feels as much like a regular TCM post. Which leads me to…


4. It will take me too long to edit.

I work really hard on each guest post submission published on TCM. So much in fact, that I've had past guest post contributors ask me where their content was because they didn't recognize it at first!

I will almost always change the title you submit your post under and will re-work the flow of the article and language to make it more relatable or digestible. There have been countless times where I have skimmed an article and quickly replied: “I'll post it!” Only to sit down a week or so later and start editing and realize it's going to take me 3 hours to edit to match the TCM voice & vibe. Regrettably, I usually end up sending those posters an e-mail I hate to send, “I'm sorry, but this is going to take too much work on my end to get it in TCM shape.”

Read and re-read your guest post! Catch your typos, catch your grammar errors, and ask yourself at the end, “would I share this article if I came across it on a site?” If you wouldn't then why would I post it?


5. You didn't read the directions.

The three biggest directions people miss are:

1) On the contact page, it literally says “If you are looking to guest post, click here, please do not use this form.” — Yet people still send me emails asking if they can submit a guest post. I always delete those.

I know what the rebuttal to this is going to be: “But why should I waste my time writing a guest post if you aren't interested in the topic?” So stick with me a minute…

You could have the best guest post in the world, but if you can't read those instructions that tell me a couple of things: a) you haven't familiarized yourself with TCM and it's categories, and b) you are going to be high maintenance. I get a lot of emails where people want to (or have) sent me multiple post topics or titles and asked me to choose, only for the article to not fit TCM. A title is just that, a title, there are plenty of titles that fit TCM, but the article doesn't.

In the past, when people would email me with a list of titles or topic ideas, I would always take the time to respond with what I preferred… only to receive the article and it fell into one of the previously stated issues almost every single time. I quickly realized if a person is asking me to hold their hand about the title of the article, they are going to need me to hold their hand through the entire publishing process and I am sorry, but I don't have time for that. Plus it's always difficult sending someone an email passing on their article after you already approved the topic, but at the end of the day, a title is just that, a title, there are plenty of titles that fit TCM, but the article doesn't.

2) You submit previously published content. On the guest post submission form, it literally asks you to verify that the content has never been published elsewhere. So why do you think it's a good idea to send me already publish work? I plagiarize check all pieces before hitting publish!

3) You make claims but don't give me the research. If you are going to make claims that aren't common sense, then you better insert a link to your research.


Past guest post submissions that have done exceedingly well:

McVal Osborne is an author and has written for TCM a couple of times. Both of his posts have done extremely well and neither were self-promotional. His posts are excellent examples to check out. Anytime he sends me a guest post now, it immediately jumps to the front of my queue.

Kevin King a recent graduate has also written several posts for TCM. His post “12 Books Everyone Should Read In Their Twenties” has been one of TCM's most popular posts of all time.

5 Ways Minimalism Can Change Your Life by Sophia Smith – Sophia can probably tell you this post is very different than her original submission. I spent a lot of time editing this post and she even re-wrote the introduction. I knew this post was extremely special which was why I put the extra time and effort into it and it has performed very well on TCM.

3 Areas To Focus On When Feeling Lost As A Millennial by Inka Mackenbrock – Another post that I knew would be extremely relatable and has performed very well. Inka can tell you that after her post was published she sent me an email asking when she could expect to see it on TCM. She didn't recognize it since I had changed the title, structure, and a few others things. Her perspective was too valuable to pass up so I put in the extra TLC.


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112 thoughts on “5 Reasons No One Is Responding To Your Guest Post”

  1. So many good points that can be applied to submitting a guest post anywhere. I love when blogs are open to guest posts, but I can’t imagine going through the process myself of trying to figure out which ones to publish. Thanks for sharing this! I might actually pitch a couple ideas to you later 😉

    1. Thank you! It’s a lot to sift through! I sift through them all since TCM is all about living a well rounded/balanced life, and in turn, I cover a lot of categories. Sometimes I am just not inspired to write content for all the categories and one will fall short so I normally use a guest post in that category (for example, I was traveling a lot so I had a travel post every month or week coming out but then stopped a couple of months ago, so more recently my guest posts have focused more on travel to fill that section out)

  2. Alissa Carpenter

    YES! Thank you for speaking all of the truths. I just started a guest section on the blog about a specific niche and it’s much harder than I thought to sift through (both in volumne and content). Please, please, please read the prompts and instructions before submitting a guest post and please have read at least one post so you know what I’m trying to do. Thanks for saying #allofthethings!

    1. Yep! It’s SO hard to get through them all! I started batching it, and only read through them the last week of the month. If it doesn’t hold my attention after the first paragraph I normally reject it.

  3. This is SPOT on! I get a ton of requests for guest posts and honestly, when I can’t tell if you’re legit or if it’s a spam email, I’m just not going to take the time to respond. I love your successful guest posts – I just checked them out and they’re great!

    1. thank you Adriana! I always respond just because sometimes they turn out to be legit — buttt i have started responding with this post a lot too now haha

  4. OMG YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS to this x a million. I cannot STAND when people don’t read basic directions and then expect things in return. I just send people my FAQ page, where one of the initial Q’s is the answer to the question “Do you accept guest posts?” Do your research, peeps!

    Coming Up Roses

    1. lol thanksss girl! Lol I just started sending this! It’s so crazy to me because literally the sentence above my contact form they submit under says, DO NOT USE THIS FOR GUEST POSTS, click here to guest post lol #SMH

  5. This is a much need subject that needed to be addressed. Big irritation is not reading the directions. People can’t even get the directions correct when posting. Hope this post gets many hits and reads.

  6. I love your point that a guest post should fit with the tone of the blog! I visit each blog for a specific reason, and it really throws me off to visit a blog and see something that I would NEVER normally see there and that just seems really out of place. I’ve gone back and forth on accepting guest posts and have opted to not just because it seems like more work than it’s worth – I can ensure the quality of the posts I write myself!

    1. Thanks Erin!! It really is a lot of work! I only do it because TCM covers so many topics, that sometimes I am lacking in coverage on one (for example, I was traveling a lot for a while, so travel posts were really easy for me, but I haven’t been recently, so more of my recent guest posts have focused on travel since I don’t feel like I can write that perspective right now or I will go through waves where I just don’t feel like writing career or business tips so I use a guest post to keep the content in all the categories fuller).

  7. I get so many requests for guest posts that it’s overwhelming especially because their ideas are never relevant to what I blog about.

  8. These are all great points! Making sure it fits with your blog is so important! I hate when I frequent a blog and find a guest post on something totally random one day.

  9. I do love how well your guest posts stream into your overall content flow. You’re right, they are hardly noticeable and always quality content!

  10. I really savored reading this post, Rachel. I love your honesty and can really relate to what you said about the sheer volume of guest post requests, and how rarely they ever really reflect the feel of our sites (it’s always so clear when it’s a longtime reader vs. someone who found me 3 minutes ago on Google). Do you find that people understand when you have to say you can’t publish a post after all, or are they hostile?

    1. Overall they are really cool about it! I make it VERY clear from the beginning for sponsored “guest posts” that I reserve the right to nix it in our formal agreement if they just can’t get it to where it needs to be (I do this for brands with a limited budget and let their people write the article then I fix it up to match TCM) — for non formal guest posts I’ve given the green light to but end up nixing, I usually give them the reason why I am going to have to pass (typically it’s just taking too much time) and will often send them what I’ve edited thus far — a good number continue to submit or rewrite actually! But I am superrrr picky! Sometimes it’s also just bad timing which has happened to another guest poster, where she submitted something that was too similar to a post I had in my queue, but then 3 months later I did post her submission. So i focus on building a relationship with them, rather than just saying “no”

  11. never really thought about guest posting but I’ve seen a ton of other blogs do it! I think you have to be careful to stay authentic and honest with guest posting tbh and your write up explains it well

  12. I enjoyed reading your perspective on this. I haven’t thought about guest posting anywhere yet, but I’m sure it’ll be something that I explore in the future. The tip that you highlighted about having content really fit your blog makes total sense and looking through those examples you provided, you can definitely tell that each post fits nicely with your TCM voice.
    Katie | Millennial on the Move

  13. Kept me interested all the way through – interested enough to notice you have edit problems in the 4th point on editing. (Irony!) You repeated a few sentences. A sister will tell you when you have metaphorical spinach in your teeth, right? Fix your post and trash this comment. 😉

    1. That keeps happening!! I don’t know what is going on with my WP but EVERY ARTICLE duplicates a paragraph — do you know why?? it’s been driving me insane for the last two weeks!

    2. Wow. I wish I knew. Sometimes when I have a bulleted list in a post, WP will randomly put the last bullet AFTER the text. It looks fine in the editor, but preview/publish is messed up. I feel your pain, girl.

    3. I found the culprit!! It was the grammarly plugin! It duplicated a paragraph in every post for the last 3 weeks! (One would be the unedited one with the spelling mistakes, and the other would be the duplicate of corrected spelling mistakes!)

    4. I have the Grammarly plugin too! What are you going to do? I’d hate to delete it. And WOW am I impressed you were able to discover the cause. 😉

    5. I deleted it! I hate to do it, but I was spending all day going in and fixing it (whenever I would update it, something else would duplicate) — my husband is just proof reading now until i find a better solution haha

  14. This is really new knowledge for me. I have never done guest post before, although i have several request before. I guess I am not too ready yet. But reading this help me a lot to prepare myself to write guest post in the future. Thank you for a very useful tips.

  15. Like you, I am happy to have some guest bloggers, but sometimes it is clear that the person is just not a fit for some of the reasons you mentioned. I might just start linking this post to them in my response email.

    1. HAHA I love it! I literally linked this post in 3 emails yesterday! I hysterically laughed when a company emailed me at the end of the day saying they loved my site and have read articles and wanted to guest post and how to go about it… I was like clearly you didn’t even look at my home page today because this should’ve caught your eye!

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