Content Questions: Turning Down a Guest Blogger

Have a content question?  Submit a query and get advice from leading content marketers as part of our monthly series.

Content Marketing AdviceQ:  How do I tactfully turn down a bad guest blogger?

I host a blog that I’m pretty proud of – we get solid traffic and we are reasonably well-known in our industry.  I get lots of requests from people who want to write a guest post on my blog.

I have a screening process in place to make sure that only quality, relevant, posts end up on my site, but how do I handle it when a friend/colleague doesn’t pass the screening process?  I don’t want to hurt this person’s feelings but their work just isn’t up to the standards I want to maintain on my blog.

How do I break the bad news to them without damaging our relationship?

– Tactfully Tested

A: Oooh, this is a tough spot.  It sounds like you know that you can’t compromise your blog’s standards.  Ultimately this will only let down your audience and hurt you blog.  It’s not worth losing the reputation you’ve built over one guest blog post.

That being said, this leaves you with one option: you can’t let your friend guest blog on your site.  How you handle this depends on you and your relationship with this person.  You can either be honest and help them improve or you can tell a white lie for the sake of their ego.

I always believe in honesty so my advice is to let them know that they didn’t pass the screening process.  But be as constructive and supportive as possible.  It is tough not to feel defensive when you’ve been rejected so tread lightly when providing feedback.

Explain to them why they didn’t they pass the screening process and give them tangible steps they can take to improve. Is it a lack of previous experience?  Give them pointers on how to gain more experience and build a portfolio.

Is it the quality of the writing that isn’t up to snuff?  Give them some tools that can help them improve their work.  Try these 50 Free Tools to Improve Your Writing from Smashing Magazine or these 12 Tools to Improve Your Business Writing from Forbes.

In the end, being honest could lead down one of two paths.  One, they will be hurt, angry, and your relationship could be permanently damaged. If this is what happens, that sucks.  But you’re probably better off because if someone’s ego is such a core part of your relationship, this kind of clash was bound to happen at one point or another.

The second path is that they are initially hurt, but recognize that you are being honest and are trying to help them.  This will not only be beneficial to them as content creators, but it will ultimately strengthen your relationship as they know you are someone who they can trust to be honest with them.

Good luck Tactfully and I hope this all ends well!

– Cate


Want our panel of experts to answer your content question?  Submit a question here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *