Lately I have been receiving a lot of emails about multiple topics. Mostly it’s from people who want to guest post for Budget Girl. Which is fine! I love guest posts. However, the way their emails have been constructed make me immediately hit the “delete” button. They sound like spam! I don’t send emails back to spammers, so I don’t send emails back to these people.
Usually they send the email and go on their merry way. I’ve had one who has been persistent, though, and now I’m wondering if she’s a real girl.
I know a lot of people have a lot of success with sending out emails asking to guest post. Let me explain what those people are doing differently that is earning them a response and what you need to stop doing.
1. Do not email me praising my blog if you haven’t spent much time on it.
I haven’t received that many comments since starting Budget Girl, so I’m still in a position to recognize people’s names. I know if you’ve commented on my blog before (unless you’re using a different name). If I don’t recognize the name you used to sign your email, then I know all the, “I love your blog and I think my post would be perfect for it!” is complete BS.
I realize a lot of people don’t leave comments, but if you’re a blogger who is in a position to guest post, then you should understand how important comments are to other bloggers. Don’t insult my intelligence by pretending you read more than just my Contact page.
I realize my blog isn’t huge, so most people haven’t heard of it. In that case, you don’t have to pretend you’ve been reading for a while. Just say, “I stumbled on your blog and thought it was interesting.”
2. Give yourself a proper introduction.
I can’t tell you how many emails I receive saying, “Hi! I’m a blogger and I’d like to guest post for you.” That’s not enough information.
You want to guest post? You need to sell yourself. You need to explain exactly who you are, what you blog about, and include a link to your blog. In fact, the link is THE most important part. No one is going to accept a guest post from some stranger without doing a thorough writing check. The best way to do that? Look at the person’s blog.
If you’re posting unreadable crap on your own blog, then there’s no way you’re guest posting on mine. But if your blog looks professional, you have interesting content, nice pictures, and a friendly writing voice…then you’re basically perfect. Welcome to my blog!
3. Having an idea of what you want to write about is a good plan.
You don’t have to. If your introduction and your blog blow me away, then I’ll do some brainstorming and figure out what I would like to see you write. But if you have an idea, then share it. If you have multiple ideas, make a list! The more ideas you have, the more likely I am to believe you’re a real person and not a spam bot. Again, if you’re writing your email correctly, this isn’t a necessity. It’s just nice.
4. Do not send attachments.
I know you’re excited. You have a great idea for a blog post and you figure if no one takes it, you’ll post it on your own blog. It’s going to be seen no matter what, so you go ahead and write the post, just in case they want to see it immediately. But then you attach it to your introductory email and you never hear back.
Here’s the thing: I am not going to open an attachment from a stranger. Ever. Unless I requested that you send me an attachment, DON’T.
With so many people sending viruses and whatnot via email attachments, the only people who opened your attachment are probably the same people who need to have their computer restored every other week.
Wait until I have emailed you back. If I ask for the post, then you can send the file.
5. Make sure your fonts are consistent.
Let me show you an example of an email I keep receiving.
Can you spot all of the things Kate did wrong?
Strike One: “Food storage rules” is smaller than the rest of the email. Which means it was generated and/or copied and pasted. Not a great first impression.
Strike Two: “I have submitted…” I don’t have a submission form on Budget Girl. Nice try.
Strike Three: “…your high authority website…” is inaccurate, since my blog is still relatively small. But that’s a great way of not having to remember which blogger you’re emailing.
Strike Four: “Can you please tell me if you…find it relevant to your readers?” You shouldn’t have to ask this. If it’s relevant, you should already know. Whether you read my blog or my about page, you should know exactly what is relevant without asking.
Strike Five: The subject line of this email was, “Contribution to diybudgetgirl.” My website name was in all lower case, which tells me she copied and pasted the URL and then took out the .com (and, therefore, doesn’t know the name of my blog). The word “Contribution” sounds strange there, too. Like my blog is some sort of backyard barbecue and she showed up with the third bowl of potato salad.
You might be feeling bad for Kate right now since I”m making fun of her on a public website. You shouldn’t, though, because she’s a spam bot. But I’ve seen many real people make the same mistakes.
6. Don’t use my URL in the email.
I know what the URL of my blog is. You can refer to it as “Budget Girl” “DIY Budget Girl” or “DBG” and I will know exactly what you’re talking about. The only time it’s appropriate to include a URL in the email is if you’re drawing attention to a specific blog post (or the URL is for YOUR blog). Including a link to my own blog’s main page, though, is a pretty good way to get sent to my spam box.
Same goes for calling me “Admin” or “To Whom It May Concern” instead of “Chelsey.” My name is LITTERED all over my website. There’s no reason you shouldn’t know it (or how it’s spelled, for that matter). On that note….
7. Could you at least try to spell my name correctly?
My name is spelled with a Y at the end, not an A and definitely not an IE. I know that’s how most people spell it, but it’s not how I spell it. Spelling my name wrong in your intro email is a good way of telling me you don’t know how to pay attention to details, which is something I think is important in blogging. There are a lot of oddly spelled names in the blogging world and spelling them correctly will give you an immediate +10 to charisma and get you that much closer to being featured on other people’s blogs. I understand it’s confusing, but it’s still important.
That said, I have received apology emails explaining that they were in a rush and didn’t notice until they hit “send.” I understand that–it’s a mistake I’ve made a couple times (and apologized for), as well. If you make this mistake, own it. Apologizing for what the recipient probably sees as a glaring and annoying error (that they have dealt with for their entire lives from people who clearly didn’t care enough to get it right) can basically erase any impression it left on them.
8. Use a friendly introduction and a personal sign off.
Most bloggers consider blogging to be their business. But it’s a business built around personal relationships. If you come off as too professional and snooty, you might not get a response. I’m not saying you need to be completely casual or that it’s OK to use text speak or anything. But calling me “Mrs.” and signing off with “Sincerely” is too formal.
You need to sound like a real person trying to build real relationships. Just call me by my first name and sign off with your first name (if you have a very common name like Jennifer, Jessica, Kate, or Alison, then use the first initial of your last name if you feel comfortable with it…I receive a lot of emails from those names. However, you do not need to use your full last name if you don’t want to). Not sure how to end the email? Try something like, “I hope to hear from you soon!” Even though I do get spam bots who use it, it’s still much better than ending with “Sincerely” or just not ending it at all.
9. Don’t send another email if you haven’t received a response from the first one.
When a few days go by and you haven’t heard back, it’s easy to get paranoid. Did the email wind up in spam? Am I being ignored? Maybe she got really busy and forgot. Should I send a reminder?
Don’t do that.
This one took me a long time to learn because it’s so counter-intuitive, but sending a second email could actually hurt you. If it was sent to spam, your second email probably will be, too. If you’re being ignored, now you’ve wound up on their “block” list. In the case of people forgetting, that is a good reason. But there’s a better way of going about it.
When you send the initial email, be sure to find their social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and send a quick message saying something like, “Just letting you know that I’ve sent an email to INSERT EMAIL ADDRESS HERE to discuss the possibility of writing a guest post for your blog. Have a great day!”
This does three things: 1) it lets them know which email they should check, which is important if you’re dealing with a blogger who has multiple email addresses but doesn’t always check their blog email, 2) it lets them know not to empty their spam folder before checking it, and 3) it tells them that you’re not a spam bot.
For people who have a lot of social media accounts, Facebook and Twitter are usually the safest bets. Though the problem with Facebook now is that many people have their accounts set so that people they don’t know automatically get sent to Facebook’s version of a spam folder. Most people don’t realize they have this setting enabled. (If you run a blog that’s attached to your personal account, please do us all a favor and disable this.) Your best bet will most likely be Twitter. Send a PM, NOT a Tweet.
10. Include your social media profile URLs in your signature.
This isn’t a requirement, but it is really nice (especially if your email signature is all fancy and stuff like the one I wrote about here)…and another way of making sure you’re not spam. It also gives me other options of contacting you, if I don’t check my blog email very often.
Note: only include the profiles you use daily. If you don’t actively use Twitter, it doesn’t matter how popular it is, don’t include it. If your email impresses me enough to want to message you back, I don’t want to wait forever for you to remember to check Twitter for messages. You taking more than a day to email me back (unless there are extenuating circumstances) = me being not interested.
All this said, here is what the perfect email (to me) would look like. Feel free to use this as a template.
My name is Chelsey. I run Budget Girl (found at http://diybudgetgirl.com), where I blog about food and DIY. I checked out your site today through so-and-so’s link party and loved what I saw! I was wondering if you have any interest in hosting guest posts. If so, I am in the process of writing a post called “Painted Knife Block” in which I paint and re-purpose an old knife block. If you want more information or photos of the project, I would be happy to send them to you.
Thanks for your time. I hope to hear from you soon!
Why would you offer to send photos? This is to make sure they understand what the project is and they can see if it’s something unique. Not just, “Hey, I painted something blue. Want to post that to your blog?” A painted knife block doesn’t sound very interesting, but if the paint job you gave it is cute enough, I might want to post it anyway.
So then why wouldn’t I include the pictures in the original email? That would require sending an attachment, which we’ve already discussed. Don’t do that!
Hopefully this is helpful!
What tips would you offer when writing an email to other bloggers? Do you prefer it when people to do some of these things? Leave your opinion in the comments!