Over the past few weeks, I’ve had quite a few inquiries on how I got my small blog into The Huffington Post. I’ll tell you: I had some great advice and tips from other bloggers. I believe in passing along good karma, so I’m going to share with you my experience getting in and the advice that helped me land front page on my first try.
My blog has been around for a couple of years, but until about 3 weeks ago I hadn’t posted much or done essentially any networking. I had 33 Facebook followers, 9 Twitter Followers, 34 Pinterest Followers, and 1 Blog Follower. Yes, I was that lame.
Then one night I wrote a funny article about sick kids and posted it on facebook. It was 11:30 at night, but I started getting comments telling me how funny it was. I had seen people sharing humorous Huffington Post articles and thought, “How cool would it be to be published by them?” Then next day I did some research, contacted 2 established bloggers, and watched a podcast about how to get into The Huffington Post. I planned the perfect article and submitted it using the tips I had learned. Less than two days later I was accepted. My first post went live a couple of days later and hit the front page. Since then I’ve been published internationally and been invited to be on daytime television. My followers on social media have grown anywhere from 200- 4500% in just 3 weeks, and every article I’ve submitted to The Huffington Post has been published by them.
So how did I do it? Here’s the scoop:
Write a Great Article
The Huffington Post is swamped daily with post submissions for their site. Does yours stand out? Is your piece something only you could have written? Does your title grab a reader and force them to finish the story? That is what the editors will be looking for when choosing articles for their sections. I would recommend listening to this informational podcast with Senior Editor Emma Mustich from HuffPost Parents from Beyond Your Blog for more tips on what and where to submit. In the podcast, Emma says they are looking for pieces ideally 600-800 words long, so save the wordiness for your journal and stick to the point.
Edit Your Article
If you’re like me you may need to pick up an old grammar textbook, brush off the dust, and do some light reading. Editors are not English teachers, and they don’t want to spend their day correcting your mistakes. Before you submit your article, call in a favor with a friend or relative who knows how to edit. If you don’t know someone who meets those requirements, message me and I’ll share the name of mine. For a small fee you can put your best foot forward to the editors. Once you’re in they will probably use your work often. Demonstrate to them that you won’t be a high maintenance author who needs major grammatical overhauls before each publication.
Include an Image
A picture is worth the 1000 extra words you couldn’t include in your post. The perfect image makes your article eye-catching and sharable across social media platforms. If you don’t provide a great photo, they have too. The less work it takes for them to publish you, the more likely they are to accept your article.
I chose to submit my article via email instead of the online submission form. The email route gave me more freedom with regards to formatting my message and including all of the items that went with my article. Because I write in the parenting and children’s categories, I sent my email to firstname.lastname@example.org, but in the Beyond Your Blog podcast mentioned earlier, editor Emma says that you can send any article type to that email and they will forward it to where it needs to go. My first article actually ended up in the Weddings section.
I used the tips in this blog post from PigandDac when writing my submission email, and included a small excerpt from my article that I hoped would catch the interest of an editor. Then I included the full text of my article as an attachment so that it would require very little effort for them to continue reading. Here is the email I sent:
I recently wrote an article for my blog that I think would be great for your site. It is a Valentine’s Day themed post about chronic overuse of the phrase, “I love you.” Here is an excerpt:
Do you remember the first time you said the phrase, “I love you,” to your spouse. I do. It was at night, on a beach, underneath a beautiful moon. Speaking the phrase was so significant at the time; it represented such hope, commitment, and promise. Now, more than 12 years down the road, it seems the words have essentially become a daily habit, much like brushing my teeth. Have the words, “I love you,” become the slogan of our marriage rather than the expression of my appreciation, respect, and regard?
Here is the link to the full post: http://planningplaytime.com/2015/02/why-i-wont-tell-my-husband-i-love-him-on-valentines-day.html
Thank you for your time and consideration, and I hope to hear from you soon.
If your article is chosen for publication, The Huffington Post will need your author bio, a profile picture, and any images that go with your article. I included these in the submission email so that an editor could easily visualize what they would all look like together.
As I was going through this process, I reached out to a couple of bloggers who took the time to help me out and give me tips. Jennifer at The Deliberate Mom directed me to the PigandDac article and the podcast, and Melissa from 4 Boys Mother talked with me throughout the process. I appreciate that they took the time to help out a blogging nobody like myself, and point me in the right direction.
You may not get in on your first try, but don’t give up. Most of the bloggers I talked with or read from during this process submitted repeatedly before being accepted. Keep submitting your work, and hopefully someday you will get that coveted invite to blog for The Huffington Post.