There are many reasons why people decide to start a blog. Some write for friends and family, others wish to reach a bigger audience. And when your blog is small, a great way to achieve the latter is to be published on big sites. The Huffington Post is one of the sites many bloggers wish to appear on and in September, that dream came true for me!
It took a long time for it to happen, but I made it and wanted to share how I managed it. On Saturday, I had a workshop at the ABC in The Hague about this very topic. I shared what I learned but given that I am much better in writing than talking, I thought it would be a good idea to write down my thoughts on my blog as well. Many of these will apply to The Huffington Post in particular but can be used for other sites as well, no matter what your niche is.If you want to know how to get published on the bigger sites, here’s what you have to do.
1. Read the site. A lot.
I am sure this is obvious to many of you but I sometimes get questions for guest posts that do not fit my site at all and I must say it doesn’t make a good impression. Another reason to read the site of your choice is to make sure that the topic you want to write about hasn’t already been done to death. Make sure you know the site’s topics, style and post length and make sure your submission fits in. Another thing you need to know is whether the site accepts syndicated content (meaning posts that are already published on your blog or somewhere else) or whether they want you to write something new. The Huffington Post accepts syndicated content while for example Brain, Child Magazine does not
2. Read and follow the submission guidelines
Huffington Post doesn’t have submission guidelines (although you can listen to this great podcast on Beyond Your Blog for more), but many sites do. In addition to the things I mentioned above, you will find information on the formal side of things. For example, how do they want to receive your submission- as a word document or in the body of the email? Or maybe they prefer for you to send a pitch first, before you write the post. Some even tell you what to put in the topic of the email and who exactly to send the email to. In any case, make sure you follow these guidelines precisely, editors are busy people.
3. Network with other bloggers
I talk a lot to bloggers who have been already successfully published on sites I want to approach myself. They can give you the real scoop (read: things you will not find in the submission guidelines but can nevertheless improve your chances of being published), tell you whether a post is a good fit and even share you the story of how they did it. Additionally, on sites such as Beyond Your Blog, you will find everything you need to know about being published as well as submission opportunities! Beyond Your Blog has a dedicated Facebook group where you can talk to other bloggers, find information and get help being published in the end!
4. Be creative and persistent
There are many ways to be published on The Huffington Post. Some people wrote original content for them, while others send them links to their already published blog posts. Some tweeted their posts, yet others used Huffington Post’s submission form. Apparently there were even people emailing Arianna Huffington directly! Try different ways to be published on the site of your dreams and never give up. It took me a year to get published on the Huffington Post, but it finally happened because I was so persistent.
5. Jump at opportunities
Sometimes, big sites will have a call for submissions. They usually post them on their social media pages (Facebook, Twitter) or sometimes on their submission page. This is why it is always a good idea to follow the site on social media, join blogger Facebook groups and periodically check whether your favourite magazine or blog has a call for submission. Also remember to read Beyond Your Blog for more info! I was published on the Huffington Post because I answered a call for submission and was accepted. And maybe you will be lucky, the topic will fit your interests and you will get published.
6. Make sure you deliver good quality work
That means no typos, no grammatical errors, no “irregardless” instead of “regardless” and no “should of” instead of “should have”. To make sure that your post is free of typos, use the spell checker and if you are still not sure, google the word you are looking for. Take your time writing and be creative with your language. Make your point interesting and original. Have someone read your article before submitting to make sure it is good- there is no shame in doing that and you will actually learn something about submitting. Be brave, work hard and it will be worth it.
7. Believe in yourself
To submit in the first place, you have to believe that you are good enough. Or at least in the fact that you can be good enough if you work hard enough. I certainly wouldn’t send my posts out if I didn’t believe that they can work out. I wouldn’t submit over and over again if I didn’t know, deep in my heart, that I can do it. I wouldn’t deal with rejections very well if I didn’t think that one day, I will actually be published on the sites of my dreams. Believe me, there are still magazines I want to submit to and get rejected over and over again. And I still want to try because I believe in myself as a writer- even if that doesn’t necessarily translate into other aspects of my life. And I think you should too. It may not happen instantly, but at least you have to try and try and try again. Start small and work yourself up to the top! Remember that you are never too small or too inexperienced to try!
And if you are successful and finally get published on the site of your dreams, be so kind and share it with other bloggers as a way of paying it forward!
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