Guest Blogging Guidelines: How We Compiled Ours
All blogs that accept guest posts have some form of guest blogging guidelines. And all would-be guest bloggers have to navigate them. Ours have evolved slowly and will no doubt be changed more.
A Little Background On Our Guest Blogging Guidelines
A lot of the reason our guidelines are what they are is because I’m a particularly fussy Englishman.
Us Brits fall largely into two groups when it comes to written English. There are those whose grammar and spelling fall some way below those of many people for whom English is a second language. (Newsflash: This goes for Americans also.) And there are those who throw fits every time someone writes ‘Your’ instead of ‘You’re’, or any of many other common errors.
I’m not really one of the Grammar Police. But when it comes to posting on Curatti, I have to try to correct all of the mistakes. Actually, I’d far rather these were caught before posts are sent here. But nobody (except for Alice Elliott) is perfect, and typically, even two sets of eyes will miss some things.
But I’ve seen things. There will be no naming or shaming here, but it can be shocking what some people will submit.
How our Guest Blogging Guidelines Evolved
I confess that I took some hints from other blogs before I started compiling our guidelines. But for the most part, they grew out of sheer frustration and disbelief at how people send in posts.
The last thing I added followed this timeline:
- Potential Guest Blogger sends an email saying s/he will thrill and delight our audience with original, informative content
- Potential Guest Blogger sends in article beginning with the words “Content Is King”
- Andy issues silent scream and immediately opens the guidelines to add the first bullet point you will see below
Hint: I’ve seen the advice given to would-be guest bloggers that they should make grand claims about their content. But we’ve had some amazing writers on here! And we follow some phenomenal writers, republishing some of their work. Don’t contact a blog with high-level contributors, and promise the world. And don’t over-promise on anything, ever! If you promise the world then delivering mind-numbing words that have been written thousands of times, do you think the person reading will see what you promised, or what you sent?
What’s In a Name?
We have a lovely, relatively new blogger from Ukraine, Anna Rud. She basically confirmed something that had been obvious to me for a long time. When people have names that sound foreign, many blogs will not respond to their outreach. Daft, of course, because the world has changed, and not everyone in the US or the UK has names as simple as Smith or Jones anymore!
So what do they do? They take on Anglo names.
I have wanted to say to people with prernatururally English sounding names, but who overuse the word ‘the’ (among other obvious giveaways), what their real name is. Have never done it though.
My take is that if your name sounds Italian, Indian or Russian, for example, I’m going to cut you more slack than if your name is Stephen Perkins.
Most Common Rejection Reasons
There have been quite a few reasons we couldn’t post articles that have been submitted to us. Here are the most common ones:
- Written with far less knowledge than the people who are likely to read it
- Weak opening, then not picking up from there (a nice way of saying rubbish article)
- It made the voice in my head scream. (OK, I’ve never stated that as a reason)
- Incomprehensible English
Here They Are, Word-For-Word
All that said, here is what we send to those who want to contribute to Curatti. Yes, these will finally be put online soon!
The Curatti Guest Blogging Guidelines
Curatti’s readership is largely quite experienced. This provides opportunities for recognition for would-be guest authors. It also means that pretty much everything you will want to write has been seen before, and most of it has been posted on Curatti.
We are primarily a B2B, small-to-medium sized business blog. We post articles that relate to various aspects of Digital Marketing. We love Inbound Marketing/Lead Generation/Social Media Marketing/SEO and are happy to post articles on eCommerce and B2B Customer Service. We will not publish articles that are primarily retail or corporate, or based on special events such as Super Bowl or Holidays.
Our hopper size is typically 2-4 weeks, but highly variable. We’d rather people send articles in when they are happy with them, as opposed to based upon deadlines. So as much as we can, and as much as makes sense, we schedule articles in inquiry order, not delivery date – naturally giving precedence to regular contributors.
Clearly, many people who submit articles to us had them written by Fiverr or some other budget offshore content writing service. If you do this, it is very obvious. Grammar and sentence format will not be to English usage, and your article will need a lot of proofreading. We will not do this editing for you. You need to do that for yourself. We WILL reject such articles.
Here are our simple guidelines for prospective guest bloggers:
- If we see the words “Content is King” in your article, we will stop reading it and reject it. Enough with that already!
- Don’t send articles in Google Docs format! It is incompatible with Word and WordPress, dropping links and images, as well as losing much of the formatting.
- Please provide at least 3 relevant writing samples and at least 3 article ideas.
- Do not send us an article on your first contact
- Articles should be original (we do use the Grammarly plagiarism checker), at least 1,000 words and well illustrated.
- We waive this minimum when a post is to accompany an Infographic. In that case, they should still be no less than 300 words, and preferably at least 500.
- Articles must not be self-promoting (unless they are paid)
- They must stick to the basic content marketing tenet of not selling, but demonstrating knowledge and value
- They must have a positive intent. No name-calling. No swearing
- They must be original in 2 ways:
- Not previously published – this includes no passages lifted from other articles unless attributed and presented as a quote
- Injecting something into them which stands them apart from the many thousands of other articles written about every subject within Digital Marketing. This is key.
- Remember, most of our readers are already aware of, if not expert in, your subject matter. Give them a reason to read your article.
- ALL sources must be attributed and hyperlinked – this includes images
- We happily provide featured images but encourage liberal illustration within articles
- DO NOT include any images that originated as stock photos
- Using Stock images without paying for them can result in a hefty bill for the blog they are posted on.
- Please avoid run-on sentences. Whereas Yoast suggests that no more than 25% of sentences should contain more than 20 words, we certainly frown on single sentences pushing or exceeding 2 lines. We live in an ADD world. Don’t make people work too hard to read your post!
- Yoast also suggests that no more than 10% of sentences should be passive. The reason for this is simple. People like to be able to personalize what they are reading. This is a great rule for Curatti and all sites.
- Punctuate well (Again, don’t make people work to guess at your sentence flow) and be consistent with your use or lack of use, of the Oxford comma.
- Please avoid using overused terms like “Today, ……”, or “In 2018, …..” . In almost all cases, such words are proven irrelevant by whatever follows them.
- We will only publish pieces containing a year in the title until the end of February in any given year, in a retrospective article in the last few weeks, or a preview of the following year.
- Including a year in the title also limits how long people will click on your posts. Removing the year can make it evergreen
- If your article is to do with visual marketing, include plenty of images. If it’s about video marketing, include videos. If it’s about SEO, make sure it has SEO friendly text. No point in talking about the value of an aspect of marketing, yet not using those to demonstrate your argument.
- Whereas we do naturally proofread articles, our time is limited. So we hope that by the time you send your articles in to us, they do not require major editing. We will probably send back articles that require too much work on our end.
- If people leave comments on your post, you should be happy to respond.
- For those wishing to become regular contributors, we provide Contributor IDs. For one-time contributors, we use our guest ID. Either way, if we post your article(s), you will need:
- A bio Social network handle(s) – at least Twitter, as this has been proven to help with sharing
- A Gravatar account (for guest bloggers, please tell us an email address associated with your Gravatar account)
- A Disqus account, to respond should there be comments
We will proofread all articles and run them through a plagiarism checker. Similarly, whereas we love publishing good Infographics, these are not purely about looks. We have been known to turn down great looking graphics where statements were questionable and/or not attributed.
We share your posts to all of our channels and you should do the same, in order to get the biggest possible audience.
One last note:
Due to the volume of inquiries we receive, we are very picky about what goes on our site. A clear majority of inquiries we receive are turned down. And from there, most articles we receive do not make it onto Curatti. It is really important that your article is written with experienced marketers in mind. It must contain elements of originality. And as we’re very busy, it should be proofread before we receive it. We simply can’t spend 2 hours editing articles.
You may find this article on guest blogging helpful
So what are your thoughts on the above? Too fussy? Did I miss anything? Please share your comments, below.
Here was the interview I did for the Summit on Content Marketing
Additional related reading: 6 Common Blogging Blunders (And How To Fix Them)
Image attribution: Copyright: ‘https://www.123rf.com/profile_lculig‘ / 123RF Stock Photo
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