Edited with an update: unfortunately, as of January 2018, Huffington Post has closed down their contributor platform. Although they still promise to incorporate contributor voices into their news site, they aren’t allowing any more contributor posts. I’ve decided not to unpublish this post because you can still use many of the tips from this article to help you pitch other high-profile sites.
Get published on the Huffington Post. That concept is a big intimidating beast that us freelancers shudder to think about. We’re unworthy. We’re not smart enough. We could never possibly think we’re good enough to get published on the Huffington Post!
Then, one day, you see a post like this and realize how approachable it actually is.
Wait a minute, what’s that? You can actually get published on the Huffington Post?
That’s exactly why I’m writing this. Getting published on the Huffington Post won’t be some big scary untouchable goal anymore! It will become possible.
Now, I will say, if you end up getting published on the Huffington Post, you’re going to have one of the most powerful writing samples for your portfolio. So make sure you’re strategic about this.
I ended up getting published at the very beginning of my freelance journey, so I had a superior writing sample for my portfolio straight from the starting line. It was genius!
Take a peek at my article: How Fitness Entrepreneurs Work Out When They Only Have 30 Minutes. (It’s a great read. Everyone learned something!)
Want the most kick-a$$ of writing samples for your portfolio too?
How to get published on the Huffington Post:
1. Come up with a killer pitch idea
Then refine it some more.
What I mean is, come up with a great pitch idea and then think about how you could make it even better, because that’s how you’ll come up with the best pitches.
When coming up with a pitch idea, make sure your post is niche-specific and of value to your ideal client to get the most out of this opportunity. Sure, you could write any old post that interests you. But if you can write a post that speaks to your ideal client, then you can maximize the platform to do some extra marketing work for you. It will become a great marketing piece for you and your business.
So, what do I mean by a niche-specific article for your ideal client?
It should be a niche-specific post directed at your ideal client.
Ok so, say you’re a healthcare blog writer for supplement companies. You are going to want to write a post that demonstrates your expertise to them.
But also remember, Huff Post is for the general public to find articles of interest. It’s not a platform for supplement sales or marketing.
So, write an article that interests the general public, that shows your ideal client your expertise. Something they could see sharing on their own blog or social media platforms that would benefit their own readers.
Instead of: 5 Major Marketing Opportunities Your Supplement Company Doesn’t Know About Yet
Try: 5 Questions You Have While Standing in The Supplement Aisle, Answered!
After that, I might even try to refine that headline even more or take an even better angle. That one sounds pretty good actually, but it will make your pitch shine if you refine it.
Cool, now that you have a topic, it’s time to work on the pitch.
2. Find out who to pitch
Next, you need to figure out who to send your pitch to. You need to find the right person, or your email will never be seen. Do NOT send your pitch to one of the Huff Post general email addresses. You can do better than that!
I sent my email straight to Arianna, but she has since stepped away from Huff Post. So, you need to sleuth out the proper editor and find their email address. Start with this page and find the name of the editor for the category your particular article will fall under. If I were pitching for the first time today, I would try to find the email addresses for Anna Almendrala or Erin Schumaker because they’re the Health Living editors.
Otherwise, you can use this Huffington Post blog pitch form. If you don’t hear back from one, try the other. After a few weeks, feel free to pitch again. If you get a rejection once, it doesn’t matter.
You can continue pitching until you get a “yes.”
3. Put together a killer pitch
Address your email to the name of the editor. “Hey Anna…” Then, create a compelling lead-in. A question or a very provocative statement is a great intro line.
The very first line the editor sees needs to make them read more. Make it good!
Try something like: “You’re doing your workout all wrong!” or “You won’t even believe what this mom did to put her special-needs daughter through college!”
Don’t gush and don’t lead in with a “why I should write for you” spiel. Lead right in with your pitch.
Next, tell the editor why this article would benefit them and how it would be different from the bajillions of other posts they see daily. “I think this would be a compelling read for your Healthy Living visitors.” Or “Everyone talks about how to save money for college, but this article has some ninja money-raising tips that your readers have probably never heard before!”
Be short and succinct. One lead-in line. One 2-3 sentence paragraph about why it’s an amazing post. Then, if you wish, you can include about two sentences at the end with your credentials. Even that is optional. The magic is in the pitch itself, not the bio. Your pitch will also speak for itself about your writing ability in how it’s written.
4. Hit “Send” baby
Take a deep breath and hit send. The cool thing is, like I said, you can always pitch again or you can try pitching someone else next time. The hardest part is doing it the first time.
Whew! You did it!
That was the easy part! Gathering all the interview guests and their quotes and pictures was much more difficult. I ended up getting over 100 responses for my post, which was a good problem to have.
If you want to know how I did it…
I’m putting together a super in-depth study of how I got published in the Huffington Post. It’s part of a bigger Freelance Freedom from Corporate course I’m putting together.
This course will go into major depth, giving you the exact pitch email that got accepted and the exact strategy for how I got over 100 submissions for my post, including a few major fitness celebrities! I’ll also spill about the residual goodies that came out of connecting with these businesses.
To make sure you’re the first to find out about it and get a tiny taste for it, sign up for my mini 7-day intro course to Freelance Freedom from Corporate. Once you see how much value is packed into that 7-day series, you’ll want to make sure you get on that list. (Click this link or sign up in the bar at the top of this post).
If you get published on the Huffington Post or another big name, put that piece in your portfolio and share the heck out of it. You also earned the right to put one of those “as seen in…” strips on your website, featuring the Huffington Post. Cool, huh?
And not quite as hard as you were thinking, right?
If you use this guide to get published on the Huff Post, I’d love to hear about it and read it, so come back and post it here;)