The Guest Post Request Zombie Apocalypse

Zombie apocalypse

If I’m honest, I was guilty of some ignorance. I didn’t realise the mountains of crap that blog owners are subject to. It’s like hordes of the un-dead have somehow got access to the internet and are making their way towards your website.

I should take a step back; Outreach emails are an important part of the work we do, so I recently decided to review all my teams outreach emails that are sent. I saw some areas for improvement but didn’t really feel like I could provide solid guidelines. There are some good guides to improving your outreach emails, but I wanted to get my hands dirty and understand the process from the receiver’s end.

“You can’t really know a person till you walk a mile in their shoes” Unkown

Some estimates put email outreach success at around 5% on a good day, so making each email count is important. To understand how it feels to get an outreach email, I carried out a little experiment on my own blog.

Important: What follows is not a scientific analysis, but general observation of what’s happening with outreach emails and some quick suggestions as to how they can be improved.

The Test


I added a “Write for Us” page on my blog. This laid out some basic guidelines for posting and information for submitting a post. The contact page is separate to the “Write for Us” page, and has anti spam measures in place, so anyone getting in contact would have to do so manually. I was/am genuinely open to good quality guest posting on my site, so these are real opportunities being wasted.

Emails – The Apocalypse Beings

Should I even have bothered to include this as an example of email outreach? Probably not, but it’s worth understanding the deluge of crap site owners recieve on a regular basis. So, what could be improved that might have convinced me to let them guest post:

  • Use my name, which is plastered all over the site
  • Get someone who speaks/is able to write proper English to send the email
  • Offer something specific (I don’t want to be referred to as a general site)
  • Use a branded email address

This really is the worst of the worst and offers me no value whatsoever. Does this look familiar?

I can’t help but think that these are names made up by people who want to sound American. The giveaway is the word “fruitfull”, used to describe my blog. The suggestion that this person is an experienced SEO consultant looking to share their wisdom with the world and just needs a place to write is an outragious lie. Ignoring these issues, what could they have done differntly that hasn’t already been mentioned.

  • Included a signature with their information and details of their site
  • Included details of their social media accounts
  • Link to examples of what they’ve written
  • Ask for something more specific. I’m not 100% what they want on an ongoing basis after reading this email.

Finally, someone used my name. This is no small acheivement for a site which is branded with my name in the logo and the URL 😉

What I like about this email is they flatter me without using the line “I have gone through your blog”. Unfortunately they lose me in the next line by suggesting an article which has nothing to do with my site (WordPress, thank you for asking), or any of my previous posts. I also find it a big turn off when an email then goes on to highlight that it will be “exclusive to your site”. Doesn’t this go without saying?

The links to examples of previous work are a nice touch, but unfortunately all of the examples link to ugly articles on low quality, generic guest post sites. So what could they have done better:

  • Offer something specific to my topic or related to a recent blog post
  • Provide example links to well written, attractive content on their site

So close, but so far. Each of these examples wasted an opportunity for a guest post.

Avoid Looking Like A Zombie

The aim of this article is not to suggest everything possible to make your email outreach better, but achieving what should really be the bare minimum. The following are a good place to start

  • Be a real person – Use branded email addresses, include signatures with links to social media
  • Give a real reason – We are promoting XYZ, related to [feature/post on your site]
  • Show value – Link to genuine examples of content, preferably on your own/clients domain. If you can’t do this, why would anyone let you post on their site?
  • Be Credible – If your writing skills aren’t great, provide an outline and pay someone to write it for you
  • Make an effort – At least try and find their name

I guarantee that by implementing these points you will stand out from the Zombie Hordes banging on the bloggers door.

If you think I missed something out, or just want to be outraged at my prior ignorance to this issue, leave a comment below, get involved on Google Plus or give us an upvote on Tell us what annoys you about outreach emails.

Dan Petrovic, the managing director of DEJAN, is Australia’s best-known name in the field of search engine optimisation. Dan is a web author, innovator and a highly regarded search industry event speaker.

0 Points

17 thoughts on “The Guest Post Request Zombie Apocalypse”

  1. Luke Chapman says:

    I welcome guest posts as well, but it truly amazes me that the huge majority of e-mails I get are wasted opportunities. At the same time, it makes the decent ones really stand out. Tips – be genuine, unique, spend 5 minutes actually LOOKING through the website and offer something of VALUE and INTEREST to the webmaster and their audience.

  2. I had one email that was generally pretty poor, but they offered me a post which was well targeted. Unfortunately it was quite bland and they didn’t really put any effort into formatting it.
    It should be super easy to add a guest blog post. if they had sent it in well marked up HTML, as I requested, they would have a link out of it. Sadly the links they included were also way off topic, so I’m not really going to put much effort into helping them with the formatting.

  3. SKI USA says:

    The thing which annoys me most whenever I get guest post requests is 100% unique posts. That is a given but what I am looking for in guest posts is for authors to provide me a perspective and an idea that they wish to write about. If you just provide me a unique post without valuable content worth sharing, you aren’t doing me any favours.

  4. Simon Bowers says:

    I try so much to utilise the points you said in your post, I’m a blogger as well as an outreach, so I get both sides of the story, I’ve had some shocking guest post emails for my own blog over the last few months.
    If you can’t bother making that personal relationship from the beginning then I’m not bothered how it’s going to pan out in the long term!

  5. Ken Edger says:

    This is a great post. Ummmmm….is there anyway I can get a guest post on your blog?

  6. Do you have any examples of your work?

  7. I always think “what can we add to the discussion”. Certainly in SEO, I think if you went to someone with an idea that was arguing with a previous post on their blog, you’d get a higher hit rate, just by genuinely adding to the discussion.

  8. nabeelt says:

    Nicely coded Chris! how about adding a case study of which email template bring the most replies? I’ve tried several of them but i am really sad to see only 2% response. Am i doing anything wrong? On a side note, I’ve done sufficient research and a follower of moz, quicksprout and many others so don’t suggest me something which is already published there!

  9. Karine Heyden says:

    This is so true…and sad at the same time. I get these type of mails and it is usually filled with buzzwords
    -100% original
    -Unique content
    -Free content
    -SEO optimized
    ……you name it. And they just need that one link that will link to “high quality site”.

  10. Aleksandar Angelovik says:

    btw i get the same mail from “Emma Alice” aliceemma7 at some kind of spam bot .. and yes guest post mail’s get rejected when they start with ( hello Webmaster) … anyway how can i get a guest post on your blog ? 🙂

  11. gregory smith says:

    I’d like to provide you with some killer content (guest post), I have tons of awesome examples of my work, and I’m sure you’ll just love me! 😉
    Greg Smith

  12. John Romaine says:

    Is there a way to get a guest post opportunity here on Dejan? (not joking)

  13. You can get in touch with me on Google Plus and I’ll run it by the powers that be.

  14. Just saw this. If you’re still interested, contact me on Google Plus and I’ll ask someone more important if it possible.

  15. yes this very great

  16. Dejan SEO says:

    I see what you did there.

  17. Your Gal Friday says:

    Just received “Emma’s” email this morning. I screen website inquiries for a client…the email is the same terrible stuff. I suppose using the shotgun approach might work…. one in a thousand actually contacts this person??