7 Mistakes that Lead to Guest Post Failure

7 Mistakes that Lead to Guest Post Failure

Reader Comments (76)

  1. Nice and refreshing approach to an article. Well done Mr Nattan and I look forward to some more memorable posts from you in the near future.

  2. Andrew:

    Good post today. I like the example of the Sex Pistols interview. What is even more relevant is when the Ed Sullivan show used to censor rock band lyrics. The Rolling Stones changed their title from “Let’s Spend the Night Together” to “Let’s Spend Some Time Together.”

    But the Doors were defiant. Ed asked them to change “Light My Fire” to something else. The band agreed. But when they played live, Jim Morrison echoed “Light My Fire.” The band was never invited back to the show.

    I’m happy you also touched a bit on social media.


    • Glad you enjoyed it Randy. I’d not heard much about the Ed Sullivan show, but you’re right. Not adhering to the rules (no matter how petty they might seem at the time) isn’t going to get you invited back any time soon!

      • Actually, the Doors were proud of the fact they were “Banned by Ed Sullivan.” It proved they were not “sell-outs” like the so-called symbols of Rebellion, Rolling Stones, and brought them higher esteem with their fans.

        Although this kind of strategy is effective in certain situations, I remember a young Joan Rivers practically groveling to Ed on live TV. — I saw the clip; I’m not THAT old πŸ˜‰

        You offer solid advice for any undertaking. Be professional, treat everyone with respect, be original, and by all means—be the very best, know it deep down, and be both graceful, confident, and humble when presenting your material.

        Thanks, Andy.


        • Yeah, the Doors appearance on Sullivan isn’t a good example, because it was live television. Not the same as a guest post, which I can reject or edit before it runs. So, Andy’s advice is dead on.

          • I don’t know about Ed Sullivan days. I do know now that they build in delays on video feed, giving the tech folks time to bleep out swear words, etc.

        • I thought the Sex Pistols analogy worked as The Doors and The Who and other 60s naughty boys were edgy and daring — the Sex Pistols just took it all the way over to simply disgusting. πŸ™‚

          (On the other hand, they did make a fair bit of money by signing with labels and then immediately getting fired. Until they got to Virgin, who were unshockable.)

          what lesson you can take from that, I have no idea. “Know your audience,” maybe. You certainly don’t have to make everyone happy, but being a belliigerent little pest is a strategy that’s often used and rarely successful.

          • To be honest, The Pistols were my second choice analogy.

            There’s a band from Manchester called The Happy Mondays who were my first choice. Channel 4 in the UK has it written into their constitution that the lead singer (Shaun Ryder) can’t appear on live TV, as he’s pretty much guaranteed to drop a few F-Bombs.

            I guess having to explain that means that I was right to go with The Pistols…

  3. Reverse-psychology: it’s a bitch! πŸ™‚ Seriously, Andrew, this post rocked. At first I was saying WTF? But sometimes I’m a little slow on the uptake.

    #2 (from the post… not actual number two) is always a fine line. I want to embrace some shock value but don’t want to push too hard.

  4. Andy (and Copyblogger by extension),

    I have nothing of value to add because you hit a home run here. Just wanted to say I absolutely LOVE the “don’t do this” posts because for some reason (likely my own backwards brain and difficulty with logic) the positive points stick with me so much longer when handed out backwards with tongue firmly in cheek.

    Thanks again!

  5. I think it should also be added that including an awesome photo–like the one in this guest post of an old-time train wreck–can also spark plenty of interest!

  6. That was really funny, I thoroughly enjoyed your post Andy. Not only do you offer some great tips on NOT writing a successful blog post :-), but you do it in a way that forces the reader to go through every line in detail (not in a bad way!) while keeping them engaged and entertained at the same time!

    • Sacha, seriously it does make the reader pay attention.

      As a former developer, we used to write logic in the negative (IF NOT EQUAL TO) to force our ‘smart’ peers to pay attention. I caught myself re-reading sections of this post just to make sure I got it!

  7. Amazing coincidence that I see the tweet for this post while I writing guidelines for guest bloggers on my blog. Guest blogging should be good for both sides.


  8. Funny post!

    Funny is good! Also, actually challenged my mind to reverse think the points!

    Makes the brain do some flexing to dodge these fun curve balls!



  9. I’ve recently gotten a lot of guest post gigs. I like it a lot as as it get’s you great exposure. The number one tip I could offer is to write a better post you would write for your own blog (presuming you write excellent content for your own).

  10. Great Post! I enjoyed it and it will be helpful for beginning bloggers like myself. Thanks!

    Just FYI, I saw a minor typo. Under the first point, the sentence reads “With a bit of luck, they won’t you send so much as a read receipt.”

    I might be wrong, but I think it’s supposed to read: “With a bit of luck, they won’t send you so much as a read receipt.”

  11. Andrew, thank you so much for putting this out there. Timing is everything and I’ve actually just started doing some guest posting for a high visibility blog. I was very conscious about being a guest in the spotlight. This post has given me some direction that will allow me to simply make some decisions, put some decisions to rest, and just go write!

    Thanks again.

  12. Really boring post Andy that I got nothing from and which would definitely not encourage me to visit your blog!


    (Only kidding – just applying your great technique to my comment)

    Great stuff Andy : )

  13. Good points and written in an entertaining way. No wonder I love it so much-it was written by a fellow European. (We get the dry humor).

  14. Amazing how stating the opposite clarifies the truth. Thanks Andy. As I read your “advice” I was holding my breath, as today is my first guest post opportunity. Thank goodness there weren’t 10.

  15. #8: Make Them Feel Stupid
    Include industry jargon, acronyms and inside jokes only you and your co-workers use (and no one else understands). This is sure to make readers think you (the author) are super smart and on a higher level than they are. Who doesn’t like feeling inadequate?

    • Great comment Jayme. If you’re making your readers feel stupid, inadequate or confused, you need to stop blogging. Because you’re not offering any value whatsoever.

  16. The post is very informative and helpful. But, I am still struggling to have guest post on my my blog. What can I do to attract guest to write on my blog.

  17. Wow! This post is perhaps the worst I’ve
    ever read from Copyblogger. The worst because it really tells you how to fail and assumes that everyone who reads it is going to know to do the opposite of what your preaching. But we all know not everyone who reads Copyblogger is from California (I can’t help it that we are smarter than you) and they will most likely go and do what you are telling us to do.

    It’s not wise to guide people into the dark. I don’t know how your pitch for a guest post got accepted on Copyblogger but I do know that you are a bad bad man. So bad that you’ve sparked this slew of creative juices flowing in my brain and now I’m going to go off and guest post like crazy and do everything the opposite of what you said to do in your post.

    ….wait…doesn’t that mean that you did your job and your post was actually really good?

    Darn pros! Good job man!

  18. I love it Andrew! You’ve driven it home. Awesome.

    Just for the record, I guest posted an article at Problogger last week. It was edgy, controversial, informative, and, as one blogger wrote, a bit “smarty pants.”

    It was a home run. Over 400 RTs. I got like, almost a hundred subscribers.

    All I’m saying is, what you’re saying here is ABSOLUTELY dead on, Andrew. Congratulations!

    Ok, off to check out your site. πŸ™‚

  19. Andrew,

    Some good advice here. Guest blogging is super-useful, and sometime just getting in the door is the hardest part. I think you’ve done a great job here, explaining what not to do! Thanks for sharing.

  20. Great post Andrew! It’s very beneficial to me as I’m just starting to really get into the practice of guest posting.

    I think #3 – copying content – is a big issue. Not necessarily that people do it on purpose {well some do}, but it seems like topics are covered over and over. I personally think that makes it difficult. One thing that I do that helps me, is to make an outline of my post content, then expound on each part in my own words. Most of the time it works to help me “make it my own” and not be a copy of someone else’s words. Do you have any other thoughts on this specific point…how to give saturated topics your own twist?

  21. Great post. I see so many people try to make those mistakes. I wish they would put themselves in the shoes of the blog owner before they post. They should always ask, would I allow this comment on my blog.

  22. Great advice, Andrew. Sorry to see you didn’t manage to take it yourself…..

    Seriously though! I have not tried guest posting anywhere yet but I am definitely keen to get a couple of my posts out in my niche that are not on my own blog. I will bear in mind what you say here and do a 180 away from it.

    It is good to get a giggle but learn at the same time.

    Very helpful, thanks.

  23. Useful post Andrew. I haven’t ventured into the world of guest posting yet, so it’s always good to read posts like these to prepare myself for the day I do write my first guest post.

    But I imagine the A-list bloggers out there must get bombarded with offers to guest post?

  24. Very funny Andrew, I liked your PS, I suppose you had to insert that for people who may have taken your words too literally. I’ve only written one post but I’m glad to say I think I avoided the mistakes you listed. I felt very honoured to be asked, so I wrote the best post possible. It was so good I wanted to use it on my own blog. πŸ˜†

    Leamington Spa, England

  25. I had to read this soooo slloowwly, coz my brain hurt, trying to reverse the logic.
    Think I need a lie down now.
    I’d write a longer comment, but, well, what’s the point?
    I know exactly what not to do, seems I’m still doing it.


    Alan πŸ™‚

  26. Very entertaining, thanks! And a good reminder of the important points to remember when doing any kind of post (guest posts, and those for my own site).

  27. An entertaining read. I really enjoyed the approach to this article, offering very useful information with a twist. By injecting a bit of ‘tongue in cheek’ humour has made it all more enjoyable to read.

    I have never had a guest post published so I have bookmarked this post for future reference. Many thanks, Phil

  28. Haha! So refreshing to have a good bit of humour injected into this post!
    BTW, if you are looking for places to guest post on, take a look at myblogguest.com and guestpostexchange.com, both communities for connecting bloggers with guest posters.

  29. Very informative and funny post Andy. Point no. 5 is a very good one – I read lots of blogs and articles it’s all too common for them to end with a whimper like a soggy firework on the 6th of November.

    A call to action is such a simple thing to write but it’s not a universally adopted strategy online.

    I wasn’t going to end my comment with a call to action but people are of course free to visit my blog if they want to.

  30. Andrew,

    So I have been in interactions where people have been both rude and insulting. When “checked” on their inappropriate behavior, the response is usually “Well, I was just telling you how I feel…” or “Oops, I didn’t know I came across like that.”

    At what point do you decide to iron out the situation to keep opportunities open or ignore all future communication from that person?

  31. thanks for your tips Andrew! Engaging titles make also the difference and give an extra value to the post. I ‘ve seen that a call for action, as you say, at the end of the guest post, always adds a special nice pitch and the readers feel like the read something helpful.

  32. ‘Run like mad and don’t ever look back’ – fantastic! Great article, most of it common sense really, nice to have these things reminded to us regularly.

    I’ve heard that you should use your best material on a guest blog rather than your own, does this make sense? Would like to hear your views.

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