How to Revive and Rework Rejected Guest Posts
Rejected guest posts make you feel like giving up.
To Edit Or Trash?
Step 1: Review Your Rejected Guest Post
The Review answers two important questions:
- Question #1: Did you submit your work to the right publication?
- Question #2: Does the post need to reworking or rewriting?
Figuring out if you should rewrite rejected guest posts is the first step.
Go through this section and jot down your thoughts as you go.
1. Is your message clear?
What, exactly, are you trying to prove or say? Write it down. Trying to make too many points is one of the most common reasons for rejected guest posts.
2. Is the guest post customized to the site you pitched?
Do the following:
- Read the most popular posts (5-10 at least) on the site that rejected your guest post.
- After reading the top posts, figure out where your style varies from the rest. For example, did you write an essay-style post, with long paragraphs and clogged up screens, when the popular posts are lists or how-tos?
3. Check Your Tone
If used, is your humor appropriate and natural? Or did raunchy come across as crude? Check the tone of your guest post and take note. Raunchy, helpless, and misinformed are three of the top reasons I can’t accept many guest posts.
4. Would Your English Teacher Like It?
Did you conduct a final edit and grammar check on any rejected guest posts? Free apps like Grammarly and HemingwayApp have changed the way we edit writing. Get on board the editing train and make teachers everywhere happy.
5. Check Your Length
One of my best-performing guest posts was less than 350 words. Viral posts often clock in at around 700-850 words. Google loves in-depth articles that are 1800 words or more. Figure out who the site is publishing for, first. Is it organic Google rankings, readers, or shares?
6. I Gotta A Feeling!
How does your reader feel after reading it? Do they walk away with a message and a plan? If not, it’s time to brainstorm a stronger close. Aim for uplifting or inspiring if you’re starting out.
Answer this question: What could be better about this guest post?
And here’s one last tip: Know that stories are a hard sell. Too often, the point of the post gets buried in the plot. Is your post a story and not a message? Uncover the message, which will become the Mission Statement of your guest post when you Revise in Step 2.
Pro Tip: READ THESE TWO BOOKS
- The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition, by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King (yes, that Stephen King)
Step 2. Revise
Now it’s time to take what you’ve learned from the Review and get to work.
- Write a Mission Statement to clarify your guest post’s message. In one sentence, what are you going to say and why do you mean it? (e.g.,. This post is about the exact steps a writer can take to rework a rejected guest post and get it published.)
- Rewrite, reformat, and restructure based on your review and following your mission statement.
- Tighten up your post. Each sentence should support the mission statement. Remove words, sentences, or paragraphs – the more, the merrier! As Stephen King said, “…kill your darlings…” Cut the dull and excessive.
- Get rid of the passive tense. Period. No ifs, and’s, or buts. I’m serious. Hemingwayapp.com is a free, online tool that does this. Here’s a great guide to what passive tense is and when you to use it.
- Craft a headline using coschedule.com/headlineanalyzer. Don’t settle for less than a score of 75.
- Conduct a kick-ass final edit.
PRO TIP: What Editors Often Want
Step 3. Resubmit
1. Submit The Right Pitch
Keep it short and to the point, with:
- one sentence introducing yourself
- a single sentence with the mission statement of your guest post (what and how)
- a word about how the post will help the site’s readers
2. Cover Everything In Your Pitch
Be sure to include anything an editor might need to publish your work, including:
- Author Bio (1-3 sentences with link to your blog or other work you’d like to promote)
- Author image (a clean headshot works best)
- Social media links
- Paypal account details, if applicable
3. Send It Off
Now it’s time to resubmit your reworked piece! Remember, it does not (or should not?!) go to the same publication unless you’re sure the site is your guest post’s forever home.