How About a Free Guest Post?

I’m sure other bloggers get pitches like this all the time:

I’m __________, owner of Since noticing you’ve accepted guest posts on in the past, I wondered if you’d extend me the opportunity to also write a guest post for your website.

If so I will research and compose an original article specifically written for your site, on any topic of your choosing. I only ask that you let me put a discreet link to my own website,, at the end of my post.

You wouldn’t have to do anything other than review/approve my completed article to make sure that it coincides with the theme of your site.

If this sounds like a possibility, simply respond to this message.

Please let me know if you are interested in seeing some examples of my work.

Her website is motorcycle-related, and it’s true I blog about motorcycling.  I also publish guest posts.  So she’s done some homework, at least to the extent of learning something about my blog, and her request might well be legitimate.

Here’s what bothers me.  The content of her site is generic and puts off a strong content farm vibe.  I moused over some of the links there and didn’t see any suspiciously spammy URLs, but the formatting is bungled and blocks of text are superimposed on other blocks of text.  That to me is a red flag, as is the writing:

Despite there being sustainably less motorcyclists than passenger vehicles on United States’ roads, 11 percent of all accidents involve a motorcycle.

Um, okay.

The biggest red flag of all, however, comes up when I Google free guest post pitch.*  Remember multi-level marketing?  This is what the kids are doing nowadays, apparently.

I should be flattered someone thinks my little blog has enough of a readership to make a pitch like this worthwhile.  I bet big-league bloggers are inundated with free guest post pitches.

So yeah, thanks for the offer … but no thanks.

* Unrelated postscript: When I was at US Special Operations Command in the mid-1980s I worked under an Army colonel who had learned a valuable lesson at West Point.  What he learned (and had never forgotten) was that you never used the word “however” in a sentence without putting a semicolon in front of it.  We staff officers, naturally, delighted in finding reasons to use however without the semicolon, submitting papers and memos with sentences like the one I used above: “The biggest red flag of all, however, comes up when I Google free guest post pitch.”  Invariably our papers would come back with big red semicolons inked in.  God, I miss those days!

© 2011, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.


2 thoughts on “How About a Free Guest Post?

  • Re: Unrelated postscript. Shades of my shameful past! In my first staff job, I worked for a Lt. Col. who felt obliged to correct a very important message we sent out everyday, “Status of the Censor Field”, that reached the White House. I learned early on to give him an obvious typo/spelling error to correct in the first sentence or two so he would leave the rest of the message alone. But he was a terrible speller and treated commas as breath pauses. Creating an error for him to find, and satisfy his lust for change, was the hardest part of writing the message; however, we did manage.

  • Dick, what a great story! I’m so glad to hear I wasn’t the only one. Between the two of us we could probably name several fighter pilots who would rather have gone into the merge with a bent radar and a couple of FAIL flags on the armament control panel than sit down to write a report.

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