How to Revive and Rework Rejected Guest Posts

Rejected guest posts make you feel like giving up.

Honestly, rejected guest posts make me want to give up and get a 9-to-5 job. Is there a more depressing feeling in the writing world?
 
I can’t think of one.
 
But even great guest posts sometimes get rejected. What you wrote might be great, but it doesn’t matter if it’s not right for the site you pitched. It’s a dirty fact of online life. I know I can’t accept every guest post that comes my way.
 
So what happens when a piece speaks to me but isn’t right for my audience?
 
As an editor, I have to reject it.
 
As a writer who knows how it feels to get rejected, I offer my insights into the piece and where it might find a home. I know how it feels to have a message worth sharing and trouble finding the right platform to share it on.
 
But most editors are too busy to do help, so the standard rejection email lands in your inbox. Or you hear crickets.

To Edit Or Trash?

So, how do you know when you’ve produced a post that’s solid gold and not a squishy brown pile of poop? The short answer is you don’t know. But you do know that posts get rejected for a reason.
What’s a guest poster to do? Do you throw the post away and start from scratch on your next post?
NO!
Step away from the delete key. Keep reading to see how to review, revise, and resubmit rejected guest posts. 

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:

  1. Read the most popular posts (5-10 at least) on the site that rejected your guest post.
  2. 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.

Bonus Points:

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.

Take note of what you discover. Decide if you’re going to rework the existing post or make one point in a new, on-point post.

Pro Tip: READ THESE TWO BOOKS

  1.  The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition, by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White
  2. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King (yes, that Stephen King)
They changed my writing style and habits for the better. They’re game changers if you’re serious about getting your writing published. These tiny tomes pack a punch far beyond their light weight. When I follow the suggestions in both books, my guest posts get published. When I get off track, I reread and refocus.
 
No matter what, devour and get inspired by them.

Step 2. Revise

Now it’s time to take what you’ve learned from the Review and get to work.6 steps to revising rejected guest post writing

  1. 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.)
  2. Rewrite, reformat, and restructure based on your review and following your mission statement.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Craft a headline using coschedule.com/headlineanalyzer. Don’t settle for less than a score of 75.
  6. Conduct a kick-ass final edit.
    • Go line by line through your post and drop adverbs and extra words. If you question it, get rid of it.
    • Put your post through Grammarly PRO  and Hemingwayapp.com (in that order)

PRO TIP: What Editors Often Want

List style writing is the easiest to get published. Why? The formatting lends itself to blog reading, which is fast and scannable.

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.

Reworking Is Hard Work, But Worth It

Reworking rejected guest posts is the best way to up your writing game and publish your guest post. You have a message; the hard part is crafting a post that lets your unique message shine through.
 
So, follow the 3 R’s of Rejected Guest Posts: Review, Revise, and Resubmit.
 
Review the website’s most popular guest posts and take note of style, length, and formatting. Revise your post to create a mission statement. It is one sentence that explains your post’s message and how you’ll transfer that message to your readers. Rework the piece to include the best parts and restructure if necessary.
 
Always run your guest post through a killer final edit. Using Grammarly and HemingwayApp are no-brainers.
 
Finally, re-submit your work using a revised guest post pitch. In three sentences or less, introduce yourself, state your post’s Mission Statement, and explain your goal for publication.
 
Remember to include anything the decision-maker needs to make it easier for the reply to be, “Yes!” This includes author bio, images, and social media links. Rejected guests posts often create too much work for an editor, so do your part to help them accept your work. 

You’ve Got This

It’s hard to get inside an editor or content manager’s head, but you can get ahead by doing your homework. Staying on point helps build the guest posting relationships you need to succeed. 
 
Reviewing, revising, and resubmitting makes lemonade out of your lemon of a post. Or margaritas, because those are far more satisfying…like having a published post, instead of an unpublished one. 
 
But I digress (sorry, Stephen). What I’m trying to say is that you’ve got this. Now get to work on your guest post and let us know when your piece is live!
 
Did these tips work for you? Feel like there’s something we should add? Let’s celebrate your successes and talk about any guest post failures in the comments below.
rework rejected guest posts
Ashley
 

Ashley Trexler is Ashley is a blogger and growth coach who helps creative and driven people develop the knowledge and know-how they need to launch and monetize their passion project online.

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