There are three distinct (and equally important) sides to seeing success in blogging:
Being consistent, expanding your audience, and gaining authority in your niche.
While the first two are kind of self explanatory, it can be difficult trying to figure out how to gain authority in the blogging universe. There are the slow and steady methods (write tons of awesome content), the effective yet tedious methods (take part in features on other blogs), and the one-shot no fucking around method (get your writing on a high authority site.)
Simply put, being able to say “I write for Huffington Post” or “You can find my work on Huffington Post” packs a certain punch that makes everyone (even non-blog people) take notice.
Even if you’re a newb at submitting your writing for publication, sites like The Huffington Post and Elite Daily are great places to get started.
Q: What should I write?
A: If you’re planning to write a specific piece for a website, I recommend searching their archives before you start. This is a good way to make sure that a) the piece hasn’t been written before, and b) your story topic is inline with what they publish.
Why write for Huffington Post when another, similar content driven website may have more of your wanted audience?
Do two different searches: one with keywords very specific to your story, and then a second with more generic keywords related to your overall story topic.
Not sure what to write? Make sure you’re familiar with the type of content posted on the site you’re looking to submit to, and then check out their submissions page if you’re still drawing a blank.
Q: What websites should I submit to?
A: That’s all up to you! I recommend figuring out what your niche is, and going from there.
Even when I’m not actively submitting content to other websites, I keep a spreadsheet list of sites that I come across in my web travels that I’d like to submit to in the future.
Keeping an ongoing list makes it way easy to actually concentrate on writing when the time comes around to submissions season.
Q: Should I pitch my story first?
A: When it comes to pitches, I always recommend reading the publication’s submissions page first. Some publications ONLY accept pitches, and won’t read a full length story until they’ve approved a pitch in advance.
I generally do not pitch stories before submitting them, as long as the story topic is within the publication’s guidelines.
If I happen to write an article that isn’t accepted to the first place I submit it to, I’ll simply move down my list of publications until I find one where it does.
Q: What about articles I’ve already published?
A: If you have a blog post that you’re totally jazzed on and would love to see on a super high traffic site, there’s absolutely no harm in submitting it for publication. That being said, remember to live and die by the submissions page: if pre-published work is not accepted, don’t submit it.
In the event that you reeeeeally want to submit a piece you’ve already published to a website that doesn’t accept pre-published work, you can remove the post from your website and re-write or re-work it. As long as the story is fundamentally different than your original post, and can no longer be found in its entirety online, it should be fine for submission.
As a rule of thumb, if you feel awkward about something, I recommend sending an inquiry before you submit asking “hey, is it okay if I do this?”
Q: How can I track my submissions?
A: I’m glad you asked! In the world of freelance writing, tracking your various submissions and pitches can get real messy real quick – if you let it.
For a very long time I was working out of a Gmail folder. I would move all of the receipts of acknowledgement I received into the folder, and use those as reference. Gross. Once I started submitting my work to The Huffington Post (and other sites that don’t send receipts), I realized that my system no longer worked.
I started compiling all of my on-going submissions into a spreadsheet, which I still use to this day. Download my “Personal List of Blogger Friendly Publications” spreadsheet to get your copy.
Q: What if I don’t hear back? 😥
A: Just keep on truckin’.
For real. There are so many different stories you can write, and a practically infinite number of websites to submit them to – no need to stress over this one! Even if it takes you a few months to write for Huffington Post, there are other sites you can publish on in the meantime.
If one publication doesn’t get back to you, move down to the next one on your list, tweak your submission, and try again.
BONUS: Influencer Networks
As time went on, I realized there were more places that I could use my creativity than just submitting written word to various publishers.
I recently started collecting links to influencer networks and creative marketplaces as well, which accept other fun content like reviews, videos, photographs and graphic materials.
This is still a new arena for me, but it’s a fun one – and well worth the payoff.
Ready to Get Started?
Yesss, it’s time to get to work! When you’re ready to start submitting your content (and even if you’re not!), you can use my handy-dandy list of publications, influencer networks and creative marketplaces to speed up the process.
This spreadsheet comes with three tabs – one for each category – and tons of tons of space to take notes, add links, and whatever else you’d like. Download it right here, no opt-in required!