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The Definitive Guide to Writing Blogger Roundup Queries

upset girlThere comes a time in every blogger’s week, when they open their inbox and groan.

It’s not because there are too many emails.

It’s not because there are spammy guest post pitches.

It’s not because of a pile of reader complaints.

It’s another roundup request.

You know what I’m talking about – a bright eyed new (or experienced!) blogger with a song in their heart and a gleam in their eye with dreams of massive traffic spikes running through their heads dashes off a heartfelt and flattering request to three dozen of their very favorite industry authorities and waits for the amazing, and link-juice rich, responses to come flooding back to them.

I can’t speak for all of us, but I think I might – these can be as annoying as heck.

It’s not that I don’t want to help – I do!

And it’s not that I don’t think these bloggers have the best of intentions – earnestly desiring to create value for their readers and build their businesses – I am sure that’s the case the vast majority of the time.

It’s not even that I’ve got a busy day, and this will take a half hour of it – I’ll always make the time to help someone out if I can – and it’s lovely to be considered an expert.

It’s that the requests are bad.

They’re terrible.

They’re vague and bereft of context.

Short and out of nowhere.

Void of almost any detail that would help me help them in a satisfactory way.

Enough is enough.

This is the ultimate, definitive reference for anyone who wants to do a round-up post of major bloggers.

Please, read this. Send it to your friends, your families, new bloggers you think might someday want to do a roundup post. Small children learning to type who might blog someday. Everyone.

The bloggers you approach will thank you.

And they’ll probably say yes. πŸ˜‰

Why Good People Make Bad Requests

I’m pretty certain, in fact, almost 100% sure that bloggers who make bad requests aren’t doing it on purpose. No one trying to build a business wants to piss off a popular blogger.

There are a few reasons I think this happens:

Part of it is simply innocence. A new blogger who is following the advice given by many marketing blogs about creating a round-up as their first big piece of content may not have the experience behind them to know what a great request looks like. Until you start receiving awkward and insufficient requests, it makes sense that you just don’t think about it.

A roundup post is recommended all the time as a killer content strategy, but the advice is more about choosing a topic, putting it together and promoting it than actually getting the contributions. The benefits are said to be so good that it’s an irresistible idea – and it’s easy to get so caught up in the value you want to provide that you don’t think through what it means for the people you need to help you with it.

Finally, and this one is, in my opinion, the most forgivable. When you’re approaching a blogging authority, you don’t want to bother them, or make it seem like a big deal with lots of restrictions and rules – you want it to be as easy as possible for them, so you leave your request open-ended to be filled as they see fit.

It’s a noble thought – really. But it’s exactly the opposite of reality.

Busy bloggers need details.

So let’s talk about how to get more of your roundup request accepted.

How to Be One of the Good Ones

Put yourself in your target’s shoes.

Introduce yourself and explain the connection. Reference something recent of theirs that you enjoyed. Link to some stuff of yours – either guest posts, a social media account, your blog – make it easy for them to check up on you a bit.

For goodness’ sake be subscribed to their list! Do you know how easy this is to check? They check! Subscribers ALWAYS get precedence over non-subscribers.

Now, as for the request itself.

Here are a couple of real requests (the ask portion of the email, these bloggers did introduce themselves and explained at least a little the connection and context) that have landed in my inbox:

  • I’m hoping you can contribute your very best guest blogging tips!
  • What technologies help you engage with your audience the most?
  • What advice to you have for new bloggers?

This is not enough information.

Here’s what you should do instead:

State your goal, and be honest. If you’re looking to collect the opinions of a lot of industry leaders to make a resource for your readers or to enhance your launch or add value to your paid product – that’s cool – just let the blogger know what the end result is going to be, so that they can make an informed decision.

Explain what you need from them and when in as much detail as you can. If you’re looking for a tweetable sentence rather than a three paragraph explanation – that’s really important information for a blogger to have, and without any details about the length and depth of response you’re looking for, the blogger has to guess what you want.

Finally, give a timeline – when is this going live, when do you need a contribution for? Authority bloggers are always busy, and they’ll need to know what timeline you’re looking at to decide if they have the bandwidth.

The Anatomy of a Perfect Round Up Request

You know me, and you know I love swipe copy -so here is a template you can use (I encourage you to use!) to pitch your round up requests.

Dear [Blogger],

My name is [YOUR NAME], and I’ve been enjoying your content for some time – I first found your work through [REFERENCE, OR GUEST POST], and I’ve gotten a lot of value out of your work ever since!

I [WHAT YOU DO], and right now I’m putting together a round-up of insights from authorities in our niche that I’m going to be offering to new subscribers to my own blog. I would love if you could contribute your thoughts!

You can check out my blog, [YOUR BLOG] and a few of my guest posts [2 OR 3 GUEST POSTS] if you would like to get a sense of my style and approach.

For this project, I’m looking for a short paragraph (4-5 sentences) about how building an email list has made a difference in your business. I know that you’ve written a lot of great material about that subject, and I’m particularly interested in your ability to write phenomenal calls to action in your emails.

I’m hoping to have this roundup ready to give to my subscribers in about 4 weeks’ time, so if you’re able to contribute, having your paragraph in the next 7-10 days would be really helpful.

If you’ve got any further questions I’m happy to answer them.

Thank you so much in advance!

Sincerely, [YOUR NAME]

At the end of the day, you might get a yes and you might get a no.

Some bloggers won’t have time, some won’t love your message, some won’t feel like they have anything to contribute. These are all okay – a part of engaging on the internet.

But don’t shoot yourself in the foot by sending off a bad request.

Those ones are the easiest to simply ignore.

Have you committed any of these roundup request faux pas? Don’t be shy – let us know in the comments.

About Megan Dougherty

Megan Dougherty is an alumnus of Mirasee and is passionate about online education, small business and making a difference in the world. You can find out what she's up to and how side-hustles will take over the world at PayingforLife.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MeganTwoCents.

35 comments

  1. Paula Richey says:

    Great post! And really, the advice can be used for any sort of pitch or favor. Asking for an interview, for example, your subject is going to want to know what they’re getting into!
    And the level of professionalism in your request probably has a good bit to do with whether they want their name associated with you or not.

    1. Megan says:

      Definitely a good rule of thumb! More information almost never hurts, and you’re right about the professionalism – the first impression counts for a lot!

  2. Brian Jones says:

    Hi Megan

    Thanks for this post found it’s very helpfull, i am looking for ways to make links to my blog and traffic so will be using round up blog post .

    Thanks again !!!

  3. Hi Megan,

    I remember reading about the concept of Round Up Posts on Firepole Marketing and then when I decided to do one I wrote to YOU to ask if you’d participate. Remember I thought you were a mother and would be able to answer my Q aimed at busy mothers?! How embarrassing!

    But you were sweet and diplomatic in your reply and I’m grateful for that.

    Wish I’d had your template for writing all of those email requests, but I did pretty good and got 18 busy mothers with a higher profile than mine to answer and it brought a lot of traffic and sign ups to our site πŸ™‚

    http://www.myprojectme.com/18-busy-mamas-reveal-their-biggest-struggles/

    Thank you!

    1. Megan says:

      HaHa! I do remember. No worries – nothing wrong with being thought a mother! I’m glad you had success with that post – thanks for sharing the link. πŸ™‚

  4. Thank you for digging into this topic, Megan. I’ve thought about doing roundups, but haven’t for two reasons.

    1. Until recently, I didn’t know of a lot of people who also blogged in my niche.

    2. I didn’t know how to go about requesting it. I never “winged” it because I didn’t want to be one of THOSE people. πŸ˜‰

    I’m still not quite ready to implement this strategy – mainly because I’m already working on others – but now I at least feel like if I do try it, I won’t make myself out to be a jackass. πŸ˜€

    1. Megan says:

      Hi Lindsey,

      I’m so glad you’ve been finding more people in your Niche! Good luck with your strategies! Current and future. πŸ™‚

  5. Jason says:

    When I saw the headline I was like “is she reading my mind?”

    For two years I’ve had a post I wanted to write and I was going to shoot for some really big names, like Tim Ferriss, Robb Wolf, and Leo Babauta. I’ve gotten a few responses from some of my friends in the niche (natch I want to give them some “association” with the big names), but I’ve been mostly ignored.

    It’s been a while since I last asked (I just haven’t gotten enough responses to finish the post), so I’m going to take this advice and try again. Woot! Thanks, Megan!

    -j

    1. Megan says:

      Hey Jason – confession time – you know that little prickly feeling on the back of your neck sometimes? That’s Firepole, reading your mind, πŸ˜‰

      Good luck with your requests – please let us know how it goes!

  6. A. Michael Bloom ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Megan,

    I love the approach you have so well explained. I am going to start employing your template right away to land (fingers crossed) some guest blogging opportunities with some of my most respected blog sites.

    Thank you!
    -Michael

    1. Megan says:

      Hey Michael, thanks for the kind words! This is pretty specifically for round-ups posts though – for guest posts, use the template from lesson 7. πŸ˜‰

      Good luck!

  7. Graham Smith says:

    HI Megan

    I have not had my blog long yet but found your article helpful for when the time comes .

    Thanks

  8. Mike Seddon says:

    Hi Megan,

    Your post made me laugh. I thought I was the only one who got annoying, vague posts like that.

    To be honest, my main gripe are actually guest blog post requests. On my previous blog I accepted guest posts but we had a clearly laid out set of guidelines that people needed to follow if they wanted to be accepted. They were quite simple guidelines but it was amazing how no one (and I mean no one!) ever adhered to those guidelines.

    Originally I used to right back to people and explain why we couldn’t use their post. I’d point them to the guidelines and suggest they had another go.

    After a few weeks, I used to just send the emails back saying “read the guidelines!” and include a link to the page with the guidelines on it.

    Eventually, I didn’t even bother doing that.

    Now with the new blog I’m loathed to start accepting guest posts again. Oh dear. Any advice?

    Thanks again for your wonderful article. It put a smile on my face.

    Mike

    1. Megan says:

      I think everyone gets them as soon as they’re big enough to be asked!

      I hear you on the guidelines issue as well – adding specifications is a good way to weed out those who aren’t serious or real. It can be disheartening to see how few submissions actually follow them. I think the best advice I can give is stick to your guns! If someone doesn’t follow guidelines – well, what can you do?

      If you’ve got a bit of an audience – I always like to give them the opportunity to guest post first – they are people you know are interested and genuine – even if there’s a guideline miss. πŸ™‚

      Good luck! Let me know how it goes for you. πŸ™‚

  9. As someone who’s planning on a huge round up post to launch my new blog – this is insanely helpful.

    I’ve asked bloggers for their comments and interviews before, but they’ve always been people I had some interaction with. Your template’s going to be very helpful when the time comes for me to send a few cold emails πŸ™‚

    One thing I always try to do is to make my request unique or find an angle that hasn’t been extensively covered yet. Popular bloggers get tons of interview requests. So asking run-of-the mill questions isn’t going to get you noticed.

    1. Megan says:

      So glad the timing is good for you, Samar!

      And great point about making your questions interesting – that’s an excellent thing to keep in mind – too many round up posts are the same old thing.

  10. Lynn Silva says:

    Hi Megan!

    Not sure if I should admit this, but it’s the truth so here it is. I started getting responses to queries and letters of interest when I started using a very popular blogger’s templates (shhh…it’s Sophie Lizard, but don’t tell anyone!)

    So now, I have a wonderful addition to my successful templates now. Thanks so much for a great post. I haven’t tried a ’round up’ post yet…but this post has removed the fear of trying now. : )

    1. Megan says:

      Now, Sophie can always be depended on for a good template! I’m honoured if this one can be ranked with any of hers. πŸ˜€

      Let us know how that round up goes when you try it!

  11. Valuable ideas. This is pretty much my approach. What I focus on in what is in it for them to contribute. Because I often get requests to blog on my blog it’s a sensitive issue. Some often say they can contribute and like my niche – of which they then NEVER mention my niche or give me an example of what value they could contribute in a post. They don’t ask for my guidelines either. Others lead with their idea which displays their understanding of my nice. And, they ask for my guidelines too!

    I email my guidelines to most requests but guess which ones actually follow through? Yes; if you guessed the people who lead with their ideas and demonstrated they know my audience. The others, I never hear from again.

    I love this post because it reminds me, it is almost time for another round-up post for me! Thanks.

    1. Megan says:

      Yeah – spam pitches are getting “smarter” – but still totally lack substance – only a passing mention of a niche is a good warning sign – and guidelines in general are a great filter. Thank you for your insight and good luck with your next round-up!

  12. Them putting in the time to create quality interview questions, benefits EVERYONE. It’s not just aggravating for the person who has to fill them out, but as readers it’s uninspiring to read through some dull post that has the same boring questions that we’ve seen time & time again.

  13. Carol Mortarotti ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Super helpful post Megan. We all lead busy lives and I feel it’s important to respect the persons time we are asking to help our readers. The awesome template you so kindly provided will definitely get more yeses for me going forward. Thank you!

  14. Debbie Morella says:

    I didn’t even think about doing a round up on my up-coming blog. What a great ideaβ€”thanks for the tips (and especially the template). I tend to be one of those types who don’t want to ‘bother’ busy people, so this is a nice gentle reminder for me that’s it’s all about setting up win-win’s. Off to the future-reference file it goes! πŸ™‚

    1. Megan says:

      I’ve found that busy bloggers don’t mind being bothered so much – as long as you’re meeting them half way by providing all the relevant info! I think a round-up would be good for your blog – there are lots of different angles you could cover!

  15. Alex Gastel says:

    Short remark: Shouldn’t it be ‘enjoying your content FOR some time’ in the template?
    Sorry, I usually don’t comment on typos, but I thought because it’s in the template… please don’t hate me πŸ˜‰

  16. A couple years ago I did a series on dealing with spam comments and I thought it would be good to see how the big guys handled it. So I prepared a couple of questions and sent it out.

    It is important to look at the guidelines that the blogger has for contact as it will tell you what they want from you. You may have to have a different email approach for each one you contact. Some want a query first, others just want everything up front (kind of like submitting a guest post).

    Also, don’t forget to let them know when your post goes live and thank them for their time.

    1. Megan says:

      So important to read guidelines! And it’s also amazing how often people neglect to follow up with the post or eBook once it’s live… wasn’t getting people to help promote part of the point?

      I bet that spam comments resource was interesting! Thanks for commenting, Bill!

  17. Steve Roy says:

    Good stuff, Megan.

    A few years back, I compiled an eBook to offer as a free resource to my email subscribers. I emailed a number of high profile bloggers and much like you suggest here, I was very specific with my questions.

    The response was great and I got a number of great responses. I also happened to receive quite a few solicitations myself, many of which were very vague.

    I actually received one such email where the blogger was very aggressive and basically told my how great he was and that I should be honored to accept his guest post.

    Not the way to get attention in my book..

    Anyway, thanks for the tip here. I have recently relaunched my site and am basically starting over from scratch, so this info will come in handy.

    1. Megan says:

      Hey Steve,

      Thanks for the kind words. And oh man – the angry and indignant guest post pitch! I’ve had the you’re describing – also annoying when people react like you’ve told them their child is hideous when you request and edit. lol

      Good luck with your re-launch!

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