I was an editor for a large online publication for a little over year. Nearly 85% of the articles published weekly were guest posts. Some were regular writers and some were new. In addition, I was contacted continually daily from people that wanted to guest post. After I left this position I started helping other blogs with guest posting and even tested it out for my own personal blog. I am going to break down the things that turned me off as a publisher and as a business owner in the hopes of helping the quality writers out there.
In my next article I am going to review how publication and business owners need to treat guest writers. Because I have been on both sides of the table I see both sides clearly.
1) Contacting a Large Publication Requires Respect
I am not a narcissist. I don’t think everyone needs to bow down before me. However, I did deserve some respect for the knowledge I brought to the table, for the large responsibility I had to move the publication in the right direction and managing a site that was that large and had that many writers. An editor’s job is a large responsibility and requires a lot of skill. They don’t just do data entry.
While I understand that many writers work hard to create guest content on the side I think it is important for writers to understand that they are basically competing for a spot amongst some very smart people. There is no room for ego.
Lesson to learn, everyone deserves respect, especially editors of sites that could publish your work. Give respect and you will get it. Lose the ego.
2) Demands Suck
An immediate turn off for me were/are demands. Someone emailing me about guest posting on a respected publication shouldn’t demand that I respond within 24 hours, that I publish within 48 hours and I give them 3-4 links to their business under heavy, keyworded-anchor text.
When you are contacting a large publication you have to keep in mind that you are not the only person contacting them. There were times when I would have 100 people contacting me weekly. All wanted an article published. This meant every single article submitted needed to be reviewed and each writer had to be contacted individually. This takes a lot of time. We used an auto-responder that informed writers that it might take up to 2 weeks to hear from us, yet I still received insulting and demanding emails.
As a Business Owner
As a business owner I can tell you that I am already turned off at the idea of guest posting. Just checking into guest posting for a week made me decide to forget it and the main reason why was inflated egos, disrespectful emails, and demands. I worked really hard to create a respected name for myself and my business. I don’t work with clients that talk down to me and I will not publish an article from someone talking down to me.
Lesson to learn, the person choosing who gets published should be contacted at all times in a respectful manner. Why would they publish someone that disrespects them when there are so many people that know how to behave professionally? Be humble. You have to prove you know your stuff when contacting large publications and business owners that need to protect their brand.
If you haven’t heard from an editor in a say, 7-10 days and you are wondering about your article, there is nothing wrong with sending in a respectful “checking in and making sure you got it” email. I appreciated those because I had a lot going on and sometimes I missed an email.
3) New Article in Subject
We all get a lot of email and things get missed easily. Publishers get so much email that at times it is overwhelming. When current and new writers contacted me and didn’t let me know they had attached a new article it really messed things up for me.
With something like “New Article for December week 2” or “December Guest Post” in the subject it was really difficult for me to go back through emails and find articles. Things were easily lost.
Lesson to learn, make finding your article easy in email for whomever you hope to publish it. They will love you for it.
4) Not Attaching an Article / Pasting Article into Email
There are several reasons why I liked receiving articles in a Word doc or attachment. Spell checking was easier. Formatting and layouts were easier to replicate and extracting images was easier for me. Plus, I could save new articles to my “schedule” folder and organize my publishing calendar easier. However, there were those that insisted on pasting their article in an email.
What most people do not understand is that in many content management systems (CMS), most of the time, you can paste from Word and the formatting will be saved and there is not extra HTML coding that comes along with it.
Often, when a publisher is required to copy and paste from an email there is a lot of extra HTML that gets pasted in. When that happens an editor is required to go into the HTML editor and clean out all the un-needed coding. This is time consuming and irritating.
The other option is to paste the article into the HTML editor and then go back and format everything like it was pasted in an email. This means every bold, italics, headline, links and colored text needs to be re-done. This requires going back and forth between the email and editor to make sure all is right. The most irritating part of reformatting in this manner is having to click on each link in an article and copy the URL and then go back to the article and add the links where the need to be. Again, this is time consuming and irritating.
I think from the above paragraph you can see that no matter which way an editor handles it a lot of extra time is spent adding an article that was pasted in an email. Lesson to learn, send articles in an attachment when possible and find ways to save your editor time. If they publish 4-5 articles a day imagine the time they have to spend on each article. Save them time and they will love you!
5) Don’t Send Me a New Article in a Replied Email
I mentioned above that adding “December New Article” or something similar to an email subject helps out publishers, but when you keep replying to old emails to attach your new articles it makes things really difficult and time-consuming.
Not everyone uses the same email program you do. I use gmail for business and when people reply I see all the replies in a thread format. So if a writer and I had communicated 23 times and then they replied with a 24th communication with an article attached I had to scroll through all conversations to get to that article.
Lesson to Learn, send new articles in a newly created email each and every time (and don’t forget to make an easy to notice subject for the editor or publisher).
6) Review for Grammar, Mistakes and Typos at Least 3-47 Times
The bottom line is we all make mistakes and editors expect them. However, they hate having to rewrite many sentences, properly format paragraphs, fix tons of grammar issues and correct typos.
It is important to re-read paragraphs slowly and make sure the idea you wanted to get across was spelled out perfectly! Always write like the person reading your article doesn’t know your thoughts, because they don’t. Break everything down for them.
Another thing that was irritating at times is writers would put something in the wrong place or give a wrong job description to someone they interviewed or even add the wrong picture of a person, but not notice until after the article was published. Then they emailed in a panic and no one was around to fix it right away.
Lesson to learn, just check your article a few (or more) times please. It saves everyone involved time. Plus, sometimes there are people helping an editor add posts to CMSs, they don’t notice the mistakes and they don’t fix them. Then you have a published embarrassment on your hands.
7) No Stealing, Rehashing or Double Posting
The only time I really got really angry as an editor was when I saw blatant stealing of other writers’ work. I am a writer and I work hard to write good posts and when people steal my work it is very upsetting. Once a person contacted me with stolen work I would never consider publishing them again. We check for that sort of thing J
Rehashed content enraged me as well because it is stealing and a waste of time. I don’t want a different variation of “4 ways one can become a master at SEO”. I have seen all those kinds of posts and they are waste of everyone’s time. Create something intelligently unique or don’t bother. Rehashers were never published.
Double posting is bad. People that submit an article in two different places for publication are hurting both publishers. Google has made it clear they don’t want duplicate content or stolen content. When you post an article on two sites you are putting both sites at risk for Google’s wrath. More importantly, it isn’t fair to either site to not have unique content.
FYI, editors talk. In fact, most are friends and hang out together. You might slip something by them for awhile, but once both parties notice you have destroyed your chances of getting published again.
Lessons to learn, do not steal content, do not rehash your content and don’t try to get your article published online in multiple locations…please!
8) Don’t Create Content for Sites Out of Your Expertise
It is painfully obvious when a writer submits an article and they have no idea what they are writing about it. The content comes across as rehashed and stolen. It is also obvious there are those that are looking to get links from as many sites as possible. Don’t try to guest post for every site you can find. There is no benefit to that at all! You need to write in your niche to build respect and your brand.
The only way people create content out of their expertise is to look at other articles and basically copy the idea. You can’t get published on authoritative sites with junk and rehashed content is junk; and I thought the whole point was to be published on authoritative sites.
Lessons to learn, Stick to what you know, guest post for sites within your niche and make amazing, unique content.
Bonus Tip for Businesses Paying Cheap Writers to Guest Post
You don’t want anything published in your name that is not outstanding. You don’t want people reading crappy content and seeing a link to your website. If you need good content and don’t know where to find it use a service like CopyPress.