The Anatomy of an Awful Guest Post

Not all guest posts are created equal. Learn the anatomy of a bad guest post and how to write and submit a valuable guest post.

When people reach out to me about writing guest posts I get genuinely excited. Link Building and SEO in general can also be very exciting things for me, so when I receive something like the following I can do nothing but smirk at my laptop and mutter “are you f*cking serious?” Let’s talk about how to go about guest posting exactly the wrong way.

Wednesday February 22, 2012 was a fine day in New York City. The sun was shining. It was 50+ degrees all day. I think I skipped down the street and hummed a show tune on my way to work. I definitely helped an old lady cross the street. Once I arrived in the office I dove through my mountain of email only to come across this:


Spam Guest Post Email from Alia


Woohoo! A guest post pitch! I thought to myself, “Hmm…well Alia that sounds intriguing.” Of course I assumed it was some sort of spam or at least just a really weak form letter, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt. So I responded with the guest posting guidelines for the blog.


My response to Alia


If you haven’t seen the guest posting guidelines I’ve laid out, I specifically ask for new ideas based around on SEO, CRO, Personas, Web Development, UX Design, Digital Strategy, Social Media, Gameplay and Analytics. I basically ask potential guest posters for something in the same vein of what I try to write. As you might have guessed, I replied operating under the assumption that if Alia was a spammer she’d probably just give up since she didn’t have anything that met those parameters. Oh boy was I delighted to see that she responded!


Alia's spammy guest post response


Granted both of her emails clearly lacked the color that would make me think she was truly a high caliber writer looking to spread a new digital idea. However I know that I often come across as short in my communications so I took the plunge, opened the document and hope for the best.

Without further adieu ladies and gentlemen, here is “The Future of Mobile Advertising: Have a Look” in all its glory sans links and Alia’s surname:

The future of mobile advertising: Have a look

You can see a paradigm shift in advertising. From tiny text and banner ads to more sophisticated endeavors. Some are trying to catch with few games and contests while other offer some specific deals as per your location. Today, the mobile advertising is approximately 4 billion dollars business. Despite some perception of gloomy picture, you can consider the future of mobile advertising as a safe choice. To get a clear picture of its future, let’s explore the trends associated this marketing method which will help you understand its compatibility factor in the coming future:

Better interactivity with apps and ads: The use of a cell phone goes different than your laptop or TV. Hence the ads used in this medium should be different by taking the advantage of some unique things like touch screens and camera which you can do with your cell phone devices. This is considered to be the basics of interactive mobile ads, or the ideas of building ads like partial ads. The Apple’s iAds are considered to be the best in interactive ads. It helps you explore a tiny virtual world inside the ad, watch video, allow you to enter in contests and even help you in playing games and so on. Others too are joining the race with similar kinds of tools and apps for ad agencies. You can expect more powerful and interactive kinds of ads in the coming future for mobile advertising which will engage the consumers unlike the other ads do.

Awards are not empty pitchers: There are few companies like Kiip which are seen with ads based on mobile games. As you play and reach at higher levels or secure higher points you get a number of rewards like having a substantial amount of discount in their various products. Or you win a cup of coffee or sandwich with your friends for free. Hence with these short term rewards based games and some more ideas, you can expect the mobile advertising to grow in the near future. In fact the idea will work on giving people rewards or save their money for using these ads.

The rising mobile search: The mobile search advertising is already a big player of ad spending. This is the same place where Google is making huge money in mobile. In the coming years, you will see people using the mobile search for products and services with the help of their cell phones. In the coming future, you will see the advertisers embarking with more relevant and focused ads with not only based on locations but also with very precise predictability engines.

Improved analytics: Today, the tools for measuring mobile phone ad campaigns lag behind with sophistication which advertisers expect. Thanks to the regulations set forth by a number of regulatory agencies. However, in the coming years, these standards will turn mature. The companies will give their consent for what gets measured and the effectiveness of analyzing the mobile campaigns will not be a big deterrent factor.

With different devices, operating systems, screen sizes you require different mobile ads. Hence to say that the future of mobile advertising is not great cannot be justified by any means or methods. Today, the mobile ads are doing well, where we see 60 percent of cell phone users clicking these ads in their messages boxes. In fact for the coming years there is enough room for enhancements in this sector as discussed above in the article.

About the author: Alia [REDACTED] is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology and autos. Beside this she is fond of cameras and watches. Recently an article on Nikon Coolpix L120 attracted her attention. These days she is busy in writing an article on LED Watch.

Naturally, the bolded text in the author profile is the keywords she’s looking to build links for and the underlines are the bad grammar. I didn’t finish because the article is so bad I couldn’t get through it.

Obviously, I wasn’t going to give this post the proper burn “Alia” was looking for – it being complete garbage and all – but just for kicks I threw a line of text into Google because I was just a little suspicious due to the awesome writing and grammar. And as you might guess, it’s a completely spun article:

The corpus for the spin

The highlighted text should sound mostly familiar if you were able to make it through Alia’s “guest post.”

The Right Way to Guest Post

Here’s what a proper guest post email looks like:

That is not to say that I need my ego stroked or what have you, but Anthony makes it quite clear that he is reaching out to me with context around the SEO community. He also did it via an SEOmoz private message which again shows his context. He makes it clear what he is looking to write about and why. Anthony shot his “Sweet Titled Tweets Fit the Wit in Twitter” over to me and it’s great. I’ll be posting it tomorrow.

So Alia, you got the guest post that you wanted. I’m not posting your links but what I will do is give you links to a variety of resources you can used to become better at link building. Here you go:

Link Builders let this be a lesson to the value of the knowing your audience when you do outreach. I imagine to this person I’m just another prospect found by yet another link building tool. However if you don’t realize who you are talking to there is a large possibility that your link building efforts will result in a lot more than you bargained for.

All that said…I’m still accepting guest posts! :]

Mike King

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