A lot of bloggers, writers, and business owners dream of getting published on The Huffington Post. There’s an excellent reason for this. The Huffington Post is one of the most successful international news sites going, has won a Pultzer Prize and other prestigious awards, and been named on several influential lists, including eBizMBA Rank 2012 list of Most Popular Political Sites, one which it achieved first place. Its creator, Arianna Huffington, in an award winning author and business woman, and has herself been ranked among the most powerful and influential women in the world. Add to this the fact The Huff Po has some of the highest website traffic going, and regularly features articles from all walks of life, on a variety of subjects – in fact its known for its liberal attitude – and having a blog post or two published on The Huff becomes a very enchanting prospect.
But how do you do it?
Well, it’s not as difficult as you might think!
[Tweet theme=”tweet-box-shadow”] As a special treat, I’m sharing with you my complete guide to getting On The Huff. [/Tweet]
This was originally published in The Uber Author Planner, my super fabulous resource and planning book for writers and bloggers, and hasn’t been shared in the public domain before!
Follow these simple steps and you will soon be seeing your articles published on The Huffington Post (just like me!).
How To Get Published On The Huffington Post
You may be sat there thinking that it’s all very well saying, ‘Put yourself out there’, and ‘Write for some news sites and blog sites’, but how does one do this, exactly? Well, I’ll give you an example.
I had my first article published on The Huffington Post in 2015 year. I’ve since gone on to have several more published on The Huff, and at the time of writing this, I have others in the pipeline elsewhere. But how did I do it?
Let me break it down for you.
STEP ONE: POUNCE!
You need to be quick like a cat for this process to work. Tigeresque. LIKE A NINJA, do you hear? No, a cheetah. A NINJA CHEETAH.
Seriously, for this to work you really have to be on the ball. This is true throughout each of these steps, but especially so for step one.
Keep an eye on the news.
Bear in mind your specialist subjects and your target audience, your Perfect Reader. What kind of news articles will they be interested in?
Let’s take the example of my first article on The Huff, and run with that. My Perfect Reader (as an author, not a copywriter) is either a writer or reader of FANTASY. That’s my main genre. I write urban fantasy, dark fantasy, speculative fantasy, steampunk … you get the idea. It’s all fantasy based.
WARNING: GAME OF THRONES SPOILERS AHEAD
So, when the world exploded as a result of THAT scene between Sansa Stark and Ramsay Bolton, I POUNCED. It was the perfect subject for me to write about for two reasons: 1) Game of Thrones is something that the majority of my Perfect Readers would be interested in. Even if they haven’t read the books or watched the series, they are interested in the popularity of the books and the show; 2) What I wanted to say on the subject related directly to one of my main areas of academic research: societal attitudes to rape in medieval society. This was a headline that appealed to my Perfect Reader, but more than that, I had something of value to say about it. Something that added to the discussion. I was putting my own spin on it, rather than simply repeating what had been said elsewhere.
This is the key.
You need a subject that is CURRENT, which you can write about AUTHORITATIVELY, while adding something NEW to the discussion.
STEP TWO: WRITE!
Do NOT hang around here! Once you see that headline, whatever you’re doing for the rest of the day goes on hold until this is DONE. Completely done. Not ‘almost done, I’ll finish it later’, but POLISHED, SHINED, SENT, GONE!
Write the article.
Keep it between about 500 and 700 words, but absolutely no more than 800.
Make it the best thing you can possibly write on the subject. Include outbound links if you can, and if you reference anyone else’s work be sure to link directly to it.
STEP THREE: SHINE IT UP!
Don’t just fire this off, give it a quick once-over and send it. You want it to SPARKLE. Keep your writing as tight as possible—no superfluous words here! Check it for errors, then re-check it. Go and treat yourself to a cup of tea, and check it again. You’ll be amazed how often you check something two or three times, swear blind it’s perfect, then read it again an hour later and find there are glaring errors left in it. Under any other circumstances I’d tell you to leave it at least a day before doing anything with it, but you are being a NINJA CHEETAH, remember? So you have to be quick.
That said, the need for speed does not supersede the need for quality, so take your time and get it right.
STEP FOUR: LET IT GO!
You’re now going to do one of the most terrifying things imaginable. You’re going to write an email to Ariana Huffington herself and include your sparkly new article.
Yes, you read that right. DO NOT SUBMIT IT THROUGH THE WEBSITE. You might get it picked up that way, but your chances are much better if you go through Arianna. The reason for this is simple. When accepting new bloggers, the editors look for a current, preferably controversial, post. I’m harping on about it for a reason: it’s essential. You may get something picked up if you write a very good guide post, such as ‘Top 5 Marketing Strategies’, or ‘5 Ways To Tell He’s Cheating’, but the easiest way is with a well-written, current, controversial post. The problem with this is that in order for it to still be current when the editors get to it, they need to get to it sharpish.
This is why submitting through the website rarely works. They have such a multitude of posts to wade through that are sent through the site and to the general email that by the time they get to the piece you’ve poured blood, sweat, tears, and several jars of coffee into, it’s old news.
News becomes old overnight.
For this reason, you always, always, always send your posts, emails, queries, whatever to a direct email address for the most senior person possible.
At The Huffington Post, that is Arianna Huffinton.
“But … I don’t know Arianna Huffington personally, how the hell do I get her email?”
I hear you, quit the caterwauling.
The thing is, Arianna’s direct email is not a secret. I’m quite certain she has a private email that is, but for business purposes there is a direct email that goes to her and her team. They’re the top of the chain, and that’s what you’re aiming for. Do a little digging. Ask around. See if you know anyone (as I did) who has already been published in the publication you are trying to get into. Ask them—politely—how they did it, and if they have a direct email to use. It’s usually alarmingly obvious once you find out what it is. For example, Arianna Huffington’s is email@example.com.
Now you know it, you’re wondering how you could ever have considered submitting through the website.
Write a cover letter to accompany it. Keep it brief. State who you are, what you do, and then say you’ve written an article that you think may be of interest. Include links to your profiles, then sign it.
Now you’re all set. You have your amazing, sparkly, current and controversial article, you have the direct address to send it to, and you’ve written a brief, polite, and professional cover letter.
You are NOT going to send the article as an attachment.
No. You are going to copy the whole of it and paste it directly into your email, after your signature.
Now hit send.
Ah, go on, what’s the worst that can happen?
STEP FIVE: KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON WRITING
Here’s what you should do:
- Ignore your email inbox.
- Remain positive.
- Keep writing. Whether your article is accepted or not, it’s not the end of your writing or blogging career. Just keep swimming. If you’re not accepted this time, don’t despair. Try again. Make it even better next time.
Here’s what you shouldn’t do:
- Check your email every five minutes while chewing your fingernails off.
- Obsess over whether or not it will be accepted.
- Immediately re-read it to double check for mistakes, find one, and send a second email apologising and enclosing an amended version.
- Freak out the second the reply lands in your inbox. This WILL HAPPEN. You will be sat there one minute, minding your own business, and the next thing you know there’s a new email and it says it’s from Arianna Huffington.
ARIANNA FREAKING HUFFINGTON!
No, really, calm down. It’s an auto-response. Everyone gets it. I know, it’s very exciting—I went totally nuts when it happened to me, but it doesn’t mean anything, so chill out. Go walk the dog.
If/when you get a real response, it will almost certainly be to say that your article has been forwarded to the appropriate editor for consideration. Again, this doesn’t mean anything, it’s not a sign that someone has read it, likes it, and is sending it on. They are all assigned to an editor for consideration.
If/when you get an email from the editor telling you that they love your article and will happily accept it, then you can start doing your happy dance. They may ask for some changes. Don’t sweat it, just stay calm and make them. QUICKLY. You’re a NINJA CHEETAH remember, you’re being speedy. Again though, be quick, but be thorough. Check your work. This is your chance to make absolutely sure you didn’t miss anything the first time. They don’t like to make changes once posts have been published so if you notice errors later you’re stuck with them unless they’re serious (factual mistakes, as opposed to typos).
If you are accepted, once your article is live, don’t sit there smiling to yourself. SHOUT ABOUT IT. Post it. Post it everywhere. Advertise it if you can. At the very least, set up a Facebook ad to get it out to your existing fans and, if you have the budget, your target audience, your PERFECT READER.
This post is the perfect means of attracting NEW READERS. But if they don’t see it, all it will do is sit there redundantly, all your hard work gone to waste. I know, it seems unfair; it’s bad enough The Huff doesn’t pay you, now you have to pay for your own advertising? Suck it up. This is how you build your profile. Eventually you will gain a following that spreads your content organically without much need for advertising, but at first, that’s just not going to happen. Don’t let it stand in your way—you can get a long way with a small budget on Facebook, especially when you’re promoting a single post.