One of the very first places I tried to get published was in The Huffington Post. With so many contributors (and that being part of their structure) I think it’s a great place to start if you’re looking at getting more publicity.
Once you are accepted, you can also write as many posts as you want, without having to re-pitch your ideas to the editor. With that being said, though, just because they are always looking for people to contribute, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to get in.
When it comes to getting featured in large online publications, from my experience, there are a few key things that you need to do to be taken seriously.
Remember, at the time that I was pitching, I had no guidance or help and it was a lot of trial and error. Because of this, when I submitted my first pitch to The Huffington Post, can you guess what happened?
It got rejected.
Well, by rejected I mean I’m still waiting to get a response. They were kind and let me down gently.
Looking back at that first pitch, though, it’s so obvious why they didn’t take it. I’m going to share with you the top things to do (and avoid) so you can hopefully get published too. I’ve also tested these tips with friends who were later accepted and featured.
Fast-track tip: If you want the exact contact that I reached out to, to save you going through the general online submission form – click here to join our free community. I will be live streaming and sharing more tips there!
Ok let’s do this…
Here’s how to get featured in The Huffington Post:
1. Research + Cater
2. How to Send an Email Pitch
1. Research + Cater
Before I dive into the first step, I figure it’s best to show you the first pitch I sent in…
Ok – so at first glance, that seems like a pretty acceptable pitch, right? I thought so too. But, there is one big mistake here that I did and many other people do too.
The article did not align with The Huffington Post.
It’s basically a tech tutorial!
When you want to send in a pitch, it’s so important that you take the time to research what kinds of articles they publish and then cater your submission to that.
After doing some research, it was clear that the articles The Huffington Post published were more around personal journeys and/or uplifting or thought-provoking to the reader.
Getting a ‘No’:
Also, if you do find that your pitch gets rejected, don’t get discouraged. It could also mean that it’s not a good fit for that publication. For example, that very same article was later accepted by Entrepreneur magazine (online).
Because it aligned with their format and style.
It’s a simple thing to do but so often overlooked. Do your research = increase your chances of being featured.
2. How to Send an Email Pitch
Ah, the email pitch. When you’re staring at that blank email draft, it can be overwhelming and stressful. I get it. But, the best thing about sending an email pitch is that it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) be long. Editors are busy people, your pitch doesn’t need to be the equivalent of War and Peace to be accepted.
Crafting the Pitch:
For my pitch to HuffPost, I used this structure:
[ Subject line: Title of your article. Make it catchy! ]
[ Dear _________, ]
[ Share a sentence or two as to why you wanted to submit a pitch. Make this section personal so it’s clear that it’s not a mass copy+paste email blast. ]
[ A sentence sharing who you are and why you are credible to talk about this topic. ]
[ Wrap up with a sentence explaining where you have added the pitch and friendly send off. ]
[ Insert pitch here. ]
That’s it! Another benefit about The Huffington Post is (at the time of writing this) you can submit articles that have been previously published somewhere else (like your blog).
Attaching + Format:
Another small but very important thing to do is to always include your article in the email. For security reasons, a lot of companies block opening email attachments. Because of this, you want to ensure that you have also included your article in the email or your pitch may quickly be deleted and never fully read.
When it comes to formatting, triple check your spelling and grammar. If you can, find someone else to do the same too. You don’t want the editor to feel like working with you will cause them more work correcting all of your typos. 😉
Once you’ve sent in your pitch, if you’re anything like me, you will probably be refreshing your inbox every 5 minutes (joking, but not really). But, your work isn’t done just yet.
If you can imagine how many pitches editors must receive every single day, it’s easy to understand why they may not get back to you right away or, even forget. That’s why you want to ensure you always follow-up with them.
How to Follow-up in Email:
For my first pitch, this was the email I sent:
Looking back at this now, I probably would have changed a few things. First, I would make it much shorter and removed the line about changing the article. I’m the one that was pitching, I’m sure she knew I would be happy to tweak it!
What I did do, though, was reiterate why I felt this article would have resonated with their readers. That way, she wouldn’t have to re-read the article to understand the messaging behind it.
When to Follow-up:
I could easily say to follow-up seven to ten days after sending your pitch, however, what if the editor hasn’t opened your email yet? Because of this, I highly recommend you invest in some form of email tracking software. These tools allow you to see when an email has been opened and read.
First, if an email hasn’t been opened for weeks, you may have sent it to an old (or the wrong) email address. But, you can also tailor your follow-up email to it.
What I normally do is wait a week from the day they opened it and then send the follow-up email.
To do this, I use MailTrack (paid version) but there are a lot of great tools out there that you can use.
There you go!
So that is everything that I did to get published in The Huffington Post. Once I updated my article (to cater to their audience) and sent in the new pitch, I received this wonderful email:
My challenge for you: Please promise me you will craft a pitch and send it out (remember, it doesn’t need to be fancy or long). Can we say you’ll do it this week?
I can’t tell you how many people I have shared this exact process to who still haven’t sent in a pitch (and the ones that followed it, have been published!). Don’t push this off any longer or let fear and doubt take over.
No matter what stage you are at, you have what it takes but you need to take action to get the results.
Also, share in our community when you’ve sent in your pitch and/or if you’ve been accepted! I can’t wait 🙂
Wait! If you have 2 mins to spare… leave a comment below letting me know what your biggest takeaway was!