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How Not To Write A Guest Post

writer strugglingWarning: This post is dripping with sarcasm and should only be read by people who vehemently disagree with the phrase,  “Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit”

It also has minimal self development value, unless that is you’re a self development blogger, then it’s a must read.

So if you’re still interested and not looking to be offended, read on!

I usually get sent between 5 and 10 guest posts per month and I turn the vast majority down for reasons such as:

  • Covering topics I have already covered in depth
  • Not adhering to my guest post guide lines.
  • Offering little or no real value to you the reader
  • Poor writing (often needing more editing time than it would have taken me to have written a post myself)
  • Being plain boring or uninspiring
  • Being way too sales oriented

The post I’m about to show you is the single worst I have ever been sent in over 6 years of blogging and pretty much ticks every one of the above boxes.

I’m not kidding when I say I was crying with laughter when I read it.

However, there is a serious side to this post and I’m not just looking to commit murder by sarcasm (which is why I have taken the guys name out).

If you’re a blogger or just a writer in general this is a great example of what not to do when sending your material for other people to publish.

I have removed the links to his site and I have also added some paragraph breaks because it’s really difficult to read without them.

Everything else is as it came to me including the ‘bolding’ and I shall add my notes as we go along.

—————————————-

We from #### advisors would like to submit our article for your review.  It was written by one of our good writters ##########.  Thank you and looking forward to your approval.

Tim: Well thank the Lord he’s a good ‘writter’ because the world needs more good ‘writters’ in my opinion. I have since wondered what it would have been like if they’d use one of their not so good ‘writters’.

Title: To know what Career Coaching is, find out what a Career Coach does

Tim: Nice lengthy self evident headline which would be chopped off by Google because it’s too long for SEO (search engine optimization)  purposes. Google won’t read anything past the 70th character of a headline.

A much cleverer title would have been “What is a Career Coach?” because that’s a search term that will be regularly typed into Google and thus if published on a site with a high enough ranking will be found by others interested in the topic for potentially years to come.

Body:

The coaching business has been growing in the past years and if you are interested in starting your own business a good niche in this business is career coaching.

Tim: Career coaching is not a niche, but ho-hum.

Many people are not happy and satisfied with their work and this may be due to the fact that they are not happy with what they are doing.

Tim:  No shit Sherlock? So some people are unhappy at work because they don’t enjoy what they’re doing! Wow that never crossed my mind before, I need to reassess my own coaching style because I’ve obviously been a damn fool.

They do not feel they are fulfilled with their job and career. If people feel this way, they will not be able to succeed in their career goals. Finding out how your clients feel about their present jobs is part of what a career coach does.

Tim: Just a poorly constructed sentence and we can see the start of keyword stuffing and highlighting. This was a practice that was big a few years ago. Apparently our friend hasn’t been keeping up to date on Google algorithm changes because this offers little to no value and can in extreme cases damage your Google ranking.

To know more about career coaching, one must look into what a career coach does.

Tim: To know what a career coach does you must look at what a career coach does? That was revolutionary to me and I’m so glad I was enlightened. I had planned to study Llama Farming in Northern Ecuador to get a clearer understanding of what career coaches do. Thankfully I now know that would have been the wrong approach.

A career coach helps their clients discover what they really want to do with their lives in terms of their career.

Tim: Another nugget of wisdom that few people will have realized.

They will discuss what their clients enjoy doing and what their goals are and what they can do to start on these goals. Laying out your plans and having a clear perception of what you want is the first step to reaching your goals. Having the career you want will surely make you content and happy about your work. Helping your clients in these facets is what career coaching is all about.

Tim: For such a good ‘writter’ he’s all over the place with who he’s talking to. Either talk directly to the reader or don’t, but don’t flick back and forth.

Now that we have determined what career your client wants, part of what a career coach does is putting your client on the right path that will follow the career they want.

Tim: He’s taken keyword stuffing to an entirely new level now and the highlighting of his chosen keyword phrase is ridiculous and confusing to the reader.

We must learn to place them and lead them to the direction of the career they desire.

Tim: Another poorly written sentence. Also I don’t know enough about career coaching to say this for sure so I could be wrong, but Life Coaching sure isn’t about leading clients anywhere.

Let us say your client wants to become a teacher. Career coaching will tell them, make sure you have the education you need to become one. It also is good to start them with tutoring children to see if this is what they really want.

Tim: Really? So the best option for teachers is to practice on children? Are you kidding me? They are the last people you should be practicing on when they are so impressionable.

Your client will depend on you for guidance. What steps do they need to take to achieve this career of theirs? It is not ideal for one who wants to become a teacher to begin working as a food server. This will lead them to the wrong path

Tim: That’s a very astute point and an issue for many coaches. I’m always having clients who want to be Attorneys deciding Goat-herding is the best starting point and others who want to join the medical profession insisting they segue in via a job as a cage fighter.

That is why it advisable for you to write down your goals and how one will go about it. This is what career coaching is. It ensures that the path to their chosen career is followed and with this your role as a career coach has become successful.

Tim: It seems to me he’s saying career coaching is really just about setting goals. Cool, because if you want help just setting goals you can sign up for my newsletter and get an in-depth guide for free!

And that was it in its entirety.

The Takeaways

The sole purpose of his post was to promote his own services and gain some ‘Google Juice

In no way does it offer anything of value to you the reader, or even me the host for that matter.

It comes in at a grand total of 401 words (if he’d bothered to check, he’d have known my guest post minimum requirement is 750)  and I think about half of the words he uses are career and coach.

If you are wanting to submit a guest post to anywhere, do your research first and try and understand what will appeal to the hosts readers.

I recently spent an hour researching a popular site so a post I had planned was tailored specifically to their needs and not mine.

If possible read up on them, form connections through social media and start a relationship before you go steaming in.

And for heavens sake, read the post before you send it and then maybe get somebody else to read it too. If the other person starts giggling, consider a re-write or taking up another career.

My guess is this guy was banging out posts by the dozen whilst getting somebody else to send them out to sites with a higher ranking than his.

I’d love to know how many got accepted. My guess would be zero.

Was I too tough do you think?

I know I ripped the guy a new one and then ripped his new one a new one too, but it kind of deserved ripping.

I’d welcome your thoughts.

Letting Go

Has there been a time when you became too attached to someone or something; but later found the strength to let go?

If so, my friend Alex Blackwell of The BridgeMaker is inviting you to share your story and receive a free autographed book. You can find more details and submission guidelines here: Letting Go: True Stories of Hope.

44 comments to How Not To Write A Guest Post

  • Susan Taylor

    That sounds very much as though it were written by someone who is not a native English speaker.

    I found your commentary helpful, if maybe just a skosh more sarcastic than I personally enjoy. Reading a critique of someone else’s writing gives me specific targets to shoot for. Thanks!

  • Jonathan Shepherd

    I once used a career coach, turned out he was actually a Llama farmer in Northern Equador and was doing the career coaching to supplement his income. That was 15 years ago and i’ve been farming Llamas ever since.

  • You know, I really don’t appreciate you using my guest post submission in this manner. You could have just said NO and left it at that. Not to mention you are disrespecting writters everywhere. ::snicker:: (for anyone not sure, yes this is PURE sarcasm) lol

  • That would have been painful to read without your trenchant and sarcastic comments interspersed between the original writing.

    The great thing about the Internet is that it enables anyone to publish what they like.

    The unfortunate thing about the Internet is that it enables anyone to publish what they like.

  • Cyndi De Rossi

    I was just starting to become officially dumber from reading the guest post, when your comments saved me Tim.

  • dina mit

    I believe we all need to learn from our mistakes, and certainly – not ignore the free lessons, which I see in your comments to the post.
    Still, the sarcasm you use is maybe a bit too much… but, on the other hand – it might be considered a price for the lesson ;)

  • Holy moly, Tim, this was just terrible. You’re right – it’s clearly a spun article full of keyword stuffing. The sad part is that this article probably got accepted on some trashy rank-boosting blog somewhere. I think you were right to post it as a warning to other time-wasting authors, IMHO.

    • The really weird things, is the guy is legit. Or at least looks legit on his site. I’m not sure if he’s just employed another writer or is grasp on reality is slim.

  • Tim, You know what that sounds like to me? A typical spam comment. In fact, some spam comments I get are longer than that post.

    You were hardly too tough on him.

    • I agree but the source is, or rather was, credible. Confusing.

      • I wonder if the “credible” person isn’t confident in his/her own writing and so hired out the writing to someone overseas on eLance or something…or was taken in by fancy SEO promises…because there is NOTHING about that post that says “credible”!

  • “I have also added some paragraph breaks because it’s really difficult to read without them.” I knew I was in for a hearty chuckle.

    Sarcasm – well you’re English, it’s in our DNA.

    On reading the post through again, I was left wondering if this had been written by a child? And I’m not being sarcastic with that comment. It has the flavour of a poor answer to an exam question.

    • I’m starting to think it was outsourced and then never proof read. There are plenty of people on places like oDesk and eLance with a fragile grasp on English but prepared to do this kind of thing for next to nothing.

  • Keyword Stuffer

    Thank you for the guest post which has educated me about the educational benefits of educating life coaches about benefits of their guest posts. I have been practising on children all my life (I am a clown specialising in birthday parties for children who have a party on their birthday and want a clown for their personal entertainment clown birthday purposes). Lead me in the direction of your best children please.

    I am considering becoming a writter but I need you to tell me the goals which a writter needs to understand their goal writter life coach teacher writter goal.

    Life coach coach coach coach what coach life direction.

    GOALS!!!!!!!!!!!! coach. does?

    ### Error 506(c): Auto Blog Post Generator Malfunction. This program has self-destructed into a black hole of its own shitness ###

  • Sara

    Well anyone who reads your stuff should know what to expect in terms of wit!

    It seemed to me to be written as a Ladybird guide to Social Media. There were no pictures however, so I didn’t understand it fully.

  • 1. Hilarious
    2. Why I use a spam blocker (crap shield)
    3. I do feel much better about my own blogging after reading this “guest post” I understand that it’s not exactly nice to rise on the shoulders of the fallen, however, that’s jist plane ‘ol ig-nernt. Bad writting, is bad writting.
    But good snarky commentary makes bad writting funny :)
    4. This post is best enjoyed while sipping a fresh cup of coffee, wearing fuzzy slippers and a @#$% eating grin.

    I just couldn’t decide which reply was most appropriate…I was laughing too hard

  • Reading this gave me cancer.

  • Jamie

    I’m sure it’s this guy that sends me emails all the time asking me to help him get a Nigerian Prince out of Africa for a percentage of a £300,000,000 fortune. ( all for only £500 stake money)

  • Apologies Tim – didn’t get time to edit that last guest post I sent over. Thanks for the critique here. Looking forward to polishing it up and sending it over again.

    I’ll be changing the title to You may not be happy with your career but you will be happy with your career coach.

    And I’m going to add a couple more paragraphs about the pitfalls of hiring the wrong career coach. It’s going to go viral!

  • Scott Byrd

    Tim: He’s taken keyword stuffing to and entirely new level now and the highlighting of his chosen keyword phrase is ridiculous and confusing to the reader.

    Just thought you would want to know you used the wrong word somewhere in this sentence.

    Now, that I couldn’t resist!!! :)

  • Unfortunately I’ve run across sites that contain too many posts like this when I’ve researched some random topics. I couldn’t finish the articles because the keyword stuffing inhibited my ability to focus. I applaud your ability to actually finish reading all excruciating 401 words of it.

    IMHO, you didn’t rip a big enough hole on this one.

    I recently had a company offer to write a guest post for my site where they would “strategically” plant links to their client’s site. There were three different email exchanges where I asked what their client’s business was and they would only reply as if I had never asked the question. Then I finally got an answer: They wanted the links to go to a home security system company. Why yes! This firm had obviously done tons of research to know that every site about personal development and mindfulness should be full of links to home security system sites! My reply to them was not so kind.

    • You should have commented with your response!

      I get request for text links on a regular basis and on a couple of occasions when it was relevant to the post I’d written I have taken them.

      Then I had one company e-mailing me and begging me to take it down as Google was punishing them for too many exact anchor phrases linking in.

      That was about 3 months after Google did the update so I have no idea who was their SEO strategist. The office cat maybe?

  • This is brilliant. I don’t even read them, the guest post offers that come my way, and I feel pretty mean about that. But it beats having to tell writers, You just don’t make it, okay?

  • sue

    amazing. That is indeed a terrible post, and painful to read. I love the comments from your blog readers though – they are brilliant, really made me smile :)

  • Now way too scared to approach Tim : ) ..ever LOL. How to make a point…with a very sharp stick! No BS on THIS BLOG!