Why Your Guest Posting Campaign Is Failing (and how to fix it)

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Getting Guest Posts isn’t as easy as everyone says it should be. This post breaks down the parts that people usually leave out in their “Guest Posting Tutorials.”

So you want to run a White Hat site and you’re having a hard time. You aren’t alone.

Get all the templates I use for guest posting here. Be sure to customize them in your own words…

You may feel like you’re the only one that isn’t getting guest post opportunities if you read all the blogs about guest posting, Brian Dean and Neil Patel in particular.

They make it sound so easy, and you know what…I make it sound easy too, but it’s not.

I know for a fact it’s hard because I tried and failed over and over again. I said, “Guest posting doesn’t work. I’d rather build a Private Blog Network.”

That is, until I received my first Google penalty. It made me very sad. Then, it happened again.

I didn’t like that feeling so I changed my methods…Things got better.

That actually brings me to the first and most important part of executing a successful guest posting campaign.

Survival of the Fittest – Adjust. Adapt. Change.

Adaptability is the key to success. That’s not just for niche sites – It applies to everything.

If you try something and it doesn’t work, then you try again and it fails, again, you better rethink your approach.

For Example

You’ll often see that you should look for guest posting opportunities by searching for certain footprints. Advanced searches like this:

  • Your Keyword “guest post”
  • Your Keyword “write for us”

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what everyone else is searching for. One of two things will happen:

  1. Those sites get so many emails about posting that it’s likely they’ll ignore your email. If you do get to post on one of those sites, then your post will probably get lost in a sea of spammy guest posts. Do you even want to be mixed in with that kind of a site? No way – not me!
  2. Or, it’s a competitor’s site. Fat chance getting a guest post published on your direct competitor.

What should you do to adapt?

Here is what I did… (And I cover even more in my Five Figure Niche Site course.)

First, stop looking for the specific keyword or niche. Instead look to what I call “shoulder niches,” niches that are related but will almost never be direct competitors.

  • Example: You sell fly fishing lures. You should contact outdoor, camping, or hiking sites.

Second, make up your own footprint to look for. The idea is to find sites that will publish your guest post, but I hated being in the same crowded channel as other would-be guest posters. So, I looked for sites that published recently and had a healthy reader base, based on getting comment on blog posts.

  • Example: Search for “leave a comment” and “camping outfitter.” (That’s just an arbitrary example – I don’t know if it’ll work well. The point is to find your own.)

If you are wondering why one would search for “leave a comment” to get a guest post, here’s why…

Become a Friend

If you're friends, then you'll have a better chance to land a guest post.

If you’re friends, then you’ll have a better chance to land a guest post.

The number one thing you can do to improve your guest posting abilities is to be friends with the blogger. At least an “online friend.”

One of the best ways to connect with a blogger is to leave comments on their blog. Bloggers may get a LOT of emails – I know I do and I don’t even have a very big blog. But even bloggers with a huge reader base will do their best to reply to comments.

If you comment a few times, they’ll remember you.

If you sign up for their email list and reply back with a reasonable compliment and/or question, then you’re in. BUT be careful, if you ask a non specific question that’s basically a time waster, it’s not going to work. People are busy so don’t waste their time.

Once you have a relationship with the blogger, you can ask about guest posting. At that point, don’t use one of my canned templates – put it in your own words – after all, you’re friends with that blogger now!

Get Used To Rejection


Look, the reality is that you’ll hear “NO” 7 to 9 TIMES more YES. It’s a real bummer.

You have to push past that and keep trying. Adapt as needed. Just remember that you’ll get this type of a response:

  • People will ignore your email.
  • People will tell you they write their own content.
  • People will ask if you really read their blog.
  • People will ask you to pay.
  • People will tell you maybe in the future.

When you get rejected, do this…

Send More Emails

Commit to send at least 100 emails

In  a lot of ways, it’s a numbers game. Sometimes people email me asking about what they can do to actually get accepted to guest post. When I probe further, I find out that they’ve only sent 8 emails.

So, I tell them to send more emails, reach out to more people. If you’re working on getting some guest posts, commit to send at least 100 emails. That is the way to get some feedback on your approach and start adjusting, adapting, and changing.

Get all the templates I use for guest posting here.

What about you??

Leave a comment and tell me:

  1. What are your tips for guest posting?
  2. What issues do you have with guest posting?


About the Author: Doug Cunnington is the founder of Niche Site Project. He shows people how to create Affiliate Sites using project management and a proven, repeatable framework. Doug loves creating systems, using templates, and brewing beer (but usually not at the same time).

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • That’s exactly what I’m talking about. People tend to follow the same steps “Copy” “Paste” template research. I noticed when the known bloggers post or talk about any steps, in this case, guest posting, its not really to show you how you can do it as well why? Because those guru bloggers used it maybe over a YEAR before SHOWING you how to DO it. And I completly agree with you Doug, bloggers will do the same query search on Google. Cheers

  • kanishka sameera

    I agree with you.we need to send more than 100 emails. but the success rate is 8% or 9%. any tips to increase that?

    • Hey Kanishka, That’s a great success rate!
      Are you developing a relationship with the blogger first? If not, try that…

      You have to look at what’s faster or better too…so you might be better off with 8-9% if that’s faster.

    • Roman

      I think, one of the ways to increase your success rate – is to make your own site better, more informative. Maybe to hide your money articles from the home page.
      So, to make your site to look like more as a personal blog than an affiliate site.

  • Doug, good tips, especially the “shoulder” niches. I agree that these blog owners that are found through the standard methods are innundated with guest post pitches.

    Also agree with it being a numbers game. For every 100 emails I send, I’m getting about 5 solid guest posting opportunities.

    It’s exhausting, but worth it. Best way I’ve found is to hire a VA to do outreach for you. Just make sure you have the process down before hiring someone.

    Nice article, thanks again!


    • Ted, Thanks for reading! 5 seems about right depending on the niche and who you’re reaching out to.

      Great point about the VA. Do you have any tips about working with a VA for guest posting?

      • Doug, this is what I’ve found. You must have a “script” where everything is detailed to the letter. I learn and refine all the time. For instance, on the first few go ’rounds I noticed that I was receiving opportunities from low DA blogs, 25 or 30, so I made an adjustment to screen for Domain Authority. I ended up with less prospects for guest posting but better link quality.

        It is definitely a numbers game for me. Your tip about thinking outside the box and picking “related” niches is pure gold. 🙂

  • David

    I send about 200 emails per outreach campaign. Of those 200 emails, I typically get 15-20 guest posts published. Do you consider this average, below average, or above average? Thanks Doug.

    • David, That’s a tad above average for what I’ve seen. Remember some people warm up the bloggers first and others just blast out emails… That’s 7.5% to 10% so that’s very good.

      • David


        What’s your stance on paying for a post?

        Whenever I email some site owners, they’ll say, “Yes we accept guest posts but we charge a $100 service fee” (or something similar).

        Is it best to avoid these sites?

        • Hi David,

          You can negotiate with blog owner to down the price. I think the price from $20-$30 for blog with DA >=20.

        • Good point about negotiating… You may as well ask about it.

  • Shaun

    Hi there Doug,

    I have been really going deep into guest posting and like what you mentioned above, I read through all the guest posting tutorials available on the internet. I even go through some courses.

    I find that the number one problem about scaling guest post is that you will soon be running out of prospect. I tried sending out more than 2000 emails and opportunities are going thin (I have used up shoulder niche opportunities as well).

    Honestly, I haven’t seen even one person in the online community addresses this issue. Would be great if you could share your thought about it.

    Thanks 😀

    • Shaun,
      Wow! 2000 emails. I haven’t hit such a limit…But I’d go back and guest post on the same blogs again and target different posts/pages to build links to.

      I know people will disagree and say it’s not worth it – diminishing returns and all that. But it works for me so I’ll keep doing it.

      The other answer I have is to keep going wider, to shoulders of shoulders…

      • Wong Shaun

        Hey Doug,

        Yeah, I have a list of websites that accepted my guest post before and I do go back to high quality ones to secure a contributor account so I get to guest post on those sites whenever needed. Diminishing return if you constantly build links to the same page but if you send links across different inner pages of your site, it helps a lot. Guess that’s just the way to go.

        When we use shoulder niche, it means that we are going to sites with less relevancy. For example, I might have a running site and since running provides health benefit, I would go out and pitch the health community for links. I am doing things like that now but I do think that too many links from less relevant sites might be dangerous.

        What do you think?

        Thanks again for your answer 😀