I’m over the moon to have had my first article published on the Huffington Post today. Yay!! Major milestone ticked off the list.
I thought I’d share a quick step by step on how you can get published on the Huffington Post in case it’s something that’s on your goals list but you don’t know where to start. I hope it helps.
You can write an article from scratch or re-purpose one of your old blog posts. HuffPo don’t mind if you’ve published your article on your blog already. If you have I recommend changing it a bit so the articles aren’t identical. Having said that I don’t recommend repurposing articles you’ve written and had published as guest posts on other people’s websites. For this HuffPo article, I repurposed this old blog post.
Articles should be between 500 and 1000 words and can be about pretty much any topic as long as it’s not offensive – keep it clean and positive. The cool thing is too that the Huffington Post covers so many different topics so you can write about almost anything you like. Choose a topic you love, that you have lots to say on and write in your own, natural voice. You don’t have to write a certain way and it’s ok to write in a conversational way. Make sure you spell check it, tidy up your grammar and you can always have a friend read it for you if you want a second pair of eyes on it before you hit send.
Once you’ve written an article you’re happy with, email it to Arianna Huffington herself – arianna[at]huffingtonpost.com include a short hello, a sentence or two about your post and include your post. I sent it in the body of the email (below the sign off) AND as a Word document just to make it easier for her/her team to read it. I just wrote “article submission” in the subject line.
This is the second time I’ve submitted. The first time I didn’t hear back – if they don’t want to publish it they won’t reply. This time however, I received a reply within 4 days. I have heard of it taking up to 2 or 3 weeks for people to hear back.
If you get the yes, you’ll receive an email from Arianna saying they want to publish, then you’ll receive an email from the blogging team with your log in details. You then log in, set up your bio, add your photo, add your post and format it (simple WordPress style formatting where you can add numbering, bold/italicise text) – it’s easy to do. You can also add a photo to be used with the post but it must be one you have permission to share – so not something you’ve just grabbed from the web or Pinterest. As far as I understand photos from free stockshot companies like Unsplash, Death to the Stock Photo etc. are ok.
**Important note: make sure you add your bio at the bottom of your blog post at the time of formatting. The HuffPo instructions don’t make it clear but if you don’t type your bio into the same box where you type and format your blog post it won’t show on their website.
Once you’ve formatted your post you hit the save button which submits it to the editing team. They check it and if it’s all ok it’s usually live within 24 hours (unless they’re crazy busy, then it can take a couple of days). For me it was less than 24 hours.
Update May 2016: Some bloggers have mentioned that they didn’t see a “save” option for their blog post, just a “publish” option and their post seems to have gone live without going through an editing veto. While I still see the same screens and options as I did when I first submitted my article, it looks like HuffPo have changed the way they do things and opened things up to align with their goal of having 1 million contributors to the Huffington Post – you can read more in this Forbes article. That means if you’re a first time HuffPo writer, your experience once you have your log in might be a little different to mine. It appears they’ve now made it easier for writers, bloggers and contributors to share news, information, stories and opinions as you can now log in, hit publish and your article will be live instantly (and it will still “count” as being published on the Huffington Post). What you might notice though is that rather than having a ‘writer bio’ on their site, your post will be classified as an “entry” and you may see that the link in your bio isn’t clickable, which is an experience related by people including Mary and Patricia in the comments below this post. You’ll also likely find that if you try and Google your name together with Huffington Post or your article name, it might not show up in the search results. I’m not sure why that is or what they’ve done in the background to make that the case. I’ll see what other information I can find out about this and share it as it comes to light – if anyone has any info, please feel welcome to share in the comments section. In the meantime, with your writer bio you could try typing it in full i.e. http://www.sarahjensen.com.au and see if that works. Sorry I don’t have more definitive information but it’s been hard to find anything much on their new system and most of the information I have received has been through other generous HuffPo contributors sharing their experiences here on this blog post in the comments section.
Share it around your community and celebrate the heck out of yourself for doing an awesome job!
That’s about it. Happy to answer any questions you might have. Sarah x
P.S. here’s a link to my first HuffPo article
Want to Rock Your Guest Posts? Grab your free 10 page guide to getting published on the BIG sites right here!
I’ve been asked a few questions since sharing this post, so here’s a bit of a Q+A section. If you’ve got any questions feel free to ask in the comments below. I’m here to help.
Q: Do Huffington Post pay you if you get published?
A: No. The Huffington Post don’t pay contributors. Think of it as writing a guest post on a really big site.
Q: Why would I write for Huffington Post if I don’t get paid?
A: This varies for everyone and it’s a really personal thing. For some people it’s about gaining confidence as a writer, reaching an audience bigger than you have on your own website or just showing the ‘as seen in the Huffington Post’ logo on your website. For new bloggers it can be a bit of a rite of passage and a personal milestone but for others they won’t write for HuffPo because they don’t pay. It’s totally your choice.
Q: Does it make a big difference to your website traffic? What results do you get? Is it worth it?
A: Again it’s different from person to person, article to article. Some people get huge click throughs and newsletter sign up spikes and other see almost no difference at all. For me it’s been pretty quiet but that’s probably because I didn’t add my bio at the bottom of the post (rookie mistake) so there’s nothing to click through to. Oops!
Q: Will I get published the first time I submit an article?
A: Not necessarily. I got published on my second submission and my beautiful friend Bree took 7 bites at the apple before she landed a post on the HuffPo. The message here is if you want it, go for it and don’t give up! Bree shares what she learned about keeping your eyes on the prize and how to get published in THIS ARTICLE.
Q: What do I put in the subject line of my email to Arianna? Does it have to be clever or attention grabbing?
A: You don’t need to spend hours agonising over the “perfect” email subject line. I wrote “Article Submission” in mine – simple, clear and direct.
Q: Did you send the post as an email attachment or in the body of your pitch email?
A: When I sent the pitch, I sent an email which attached the article in a word document AND included it as part of the email body underneath my sign off. I figured that way they’d have it in the form they prefer. I also figured by writing my “hello, I’m Sarah, I write about xyz, my post is about abc”, and offering up a compliment about her and her work first, then signing off my email and including the article underneath all of that, the editor could get a feel for what I was submitting instantly without reading the whole post. They could then keep scrolling to read the post or they could open the attachment to read the post – I thought I’d cover all bases.
Q: When you pitched your post did you have to specify which section of the Huffington Post your story was for?
A: Not at the time of pitching/submitting my story, no. Once you’ve had the yes from Arianna and you’ve got your HuffPo log in, you can select which section your post fits in at the time of uploading for publication.
Q: So I’ve got a log in, does that mean I can write for HuffPo any time I like?
A: Sure does! Once you have your log in you can submit posts as often as you like. In my experience it took about 24 hours (sometimes longer if they were backlogged) for the post to go live but from what’s been shared by awesome bloggers in the comments of this post, it sounds like the process has changed slightly in the last couple of months (it’s May 2016 today) and that when you hit “publish” it goes live on their site straight away.
Q: Can I include affiliate links in my HuffPo article?
A: I don’t know the official HuffPo stance on this but I’m going to go with my gut here and say, out of courtesy and professional respect, it’s a no. Think of it this way, if someone wrote a guest post for your website, would you want them selling something in the middle of it?
Here’s some info I rustled up and shared in response to a lovely blogger named Amy when she posted this question:
“I’m not certain about including affiliate links. It’s not something I’d do and I’m guessing that it’s not something they’d allow so check the Blogger FAQ section once you have your post approved and have created your log in. I’ve had a quick read and the references I found are these: “You present to us that any blog posts, photos and any other content you submit is not an advertisement or solicitation of business or contributions” and “In an effort to be as transparent with our readers as possible, HuffPost bloggers should disclose any financial conflicts of interest related to the issue they are writing about. If a blogger receives payment or income from a company, organization, group, or individual with a financial stake in the issue he/she is weighing in on, that information should be disclosed at the bottom of the applicable blog post. Moreover, bloggers should not submit posts that include links that are paid for in whole or in part by marketing firms.”
If you’re in doubt you could email the blog team at Huffington Post and see what they say. Here’s their email: firstname.lastname@example.org”
Q: I got an email from Arianna saying they want to publish my article and that she would forward it to her team to give me the log in info but I haven’t heard back. What should I do and how long does it usually take?
A: It can take a couple of weeks to hear back with the log in and it seems the experience is different for everyone. Some people receive their log in details within a day or two (I had mine within a couple of days) and for others it can take 2-3 weeks. If you haven’t heard within a couple of weeks, send an email through to the blog team email@example.com to follow up.
And here’s Curt’s experience of timeframes which he kindly shared in the comments on this blog post:
“Hey Sarah – Thanks for this article. Was just approved and set up my blogger account on HuffPo! Followed your advice, so thank you.
Wanted to also add my timeline to give others another data point to use when trying to figure out what “normal” is in regards to response time.
Emailed Arianna as you suggested on March 24.
Received a reply from Arianna (at least her email account) on March 26, cc’ing an editor and saying the article pitch was a good fit.
Received a reply and blogger invitation on April 5.
So 2 days for a response, and 10 days after that for a blogger account invitation.
Hope that’s helpful!
Q: I didn’t see a “save” option for my blog post, just a “publish” option and it seems to have gone live without going through an editing veto. Have they changed the way it works since you wrote this blog post?
A: It’s possible they’ve updated their back end since I published my last post for HuffPo. I know they’ve been talking about updating their “blogger” platform to make it a lot more user friendly. When I log in I still see the same old system but if that changes, I’ll definitely update the post with any new information I learn.
It’s six weeks later and it’s time for a traffic report. So just how much difference has being published on the Huffington Post made to my website traffic? Hold your breath dear writer because it’s not what you might think…
I’ve had 8 click throughs from the Huffington Post to my website. Yes, that’s right – 8.
On the flip side of that, 108 people have clicked from my website to the Huffington Post.
What’s been an unexpected win from this exercise is actually this blog post. I hadn’t planned to write a ‘how to’ style post about being published on the Huffington Post; this started off as a quick Facebook group post to help other bloggers and the response was so amazing and overwhelming (in a good way) that I decided to add it to my site as a blog post.
Since I hit publish on this post six weeks ago it’s had over 1,500 views, been shared almost 200 times and has over 80 comments. It just goes to show that writing for the ‘big’ sites might not always bring you the traffic you’re looking for, but writing posts that helps people rock their goals will.
It’s time for another traffic report!
It’s now almost 8 months later (today is 10 May 2016) and this post has become the most popular on my site by far. It’s now had almost 10,000 views, over 200 comments, been shared hundreds of times and has helped over 100 people get published on the Huffington Post (including an Emmy Award winning writer!!). But the biggest surprise numbers wise has been the click throughs from Huffington Post itself. In 8 months just 48 people have clicked through from HuffPo to this website but almost 850 people have visited HuffPo from my website. HuffPo, you’re welcome!
Just goes to show that sometimes you might not get the outcome you expect or hope for. Sometimes it’s WAY better and to me the fact that I’ve been able to help so many people totally rock their goal of being published is so much more awesome than a bunch of click throughs from a website.
If you’ve rocked your HuffPo goal because of this post, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment and share your HuffPo writing experience!