Guest blogging is a long-term strategy. It can help you build your reputation and establish expertise in your niche, as well as lead to new work opportunities.
However, where you guest post has a huge effect on your results. Sharing your thoughts on a blog with a lot of clout in your niche will make a much bigger difference to your reputation and traffic than guest-posting on your brother’s blog that only your parents read.
For many writers, the ultimate guest-posting goal is a mainstream authority publication such as The Huffington Post. It’s not easy to become published on this site, but in my experience it’s certainly worth the effort: Not only did it add to my writing resume, but my first post as a Huffington Post blogger brought in $800 within a few days.
That’s why I want to share with you how to write for The Huffington Post. Here’s a detailed look at my experience, advice from other HuffPo bloggers on how to pitch for the best results and how to make the most of your new byline.
How to Write for The Huffington Post
While joining the ranks of Huffington Post bloggers isn’t the easiest task, it is doable. Catherine Alford and others who have succeeded say they did the following:
- Modeled their post after the style of one of the bloggers in the targeted section
- Sent a short pitch, emphasizing the most interesting aspects of their idea
- Sent a complete package, with pitch, author bio and head shot
- Commented on The Huffington Post Facebook page until invited by an editor to write something
- Developed a relationship with a current HuffPo blogger by commenting on posts and asked for help submitting a piece to an editor
- Contacted the editor of the targeted section by email
Huffington Post blogger Lisa Arends advocates reading posts daily in the section you would like to write for, and contributing “well-thought-out responses.” She says, “Keep this up for a while and you may get lucky and have an editor you with a blog idea.” If not, at least you’ve built a reputation for smart comments, which may help when you pitch an idea.
If none of the above methods work, simply submit a well-written post using the form on The Huffington Post page. It asks for your “final or near-final draft,” which must be less than 1,000 words.
My experience blogging on The Huffington Post
My story is a little bit different; I was lucky enough to have some help. I had just published my book, 101 Weird Ways to Make Money, and my publisher’s publicist arranged for me to create an article and slideshow for The Huffington Post on weird jobs that can become businesses.
In that article, I linked to my website, which had been seeing between 700 and 1,000 page views and earning between $12 and $30 daily through Google AdSense, with an average of $20 per day.
Here’s the traffic and revenue I earned the day the article ran (Monday, August 15, 2011) and the following days:
After Thursday, the numbers resumed their normal range, though my traffic stayed slightly higher, with 1,200 to 1,500 daily page views. But revenue of $531, instead of the $80 I would normally have earned in four days, suggests the traffic from The Huffington Post link was worth at least $450. Not bad for one post!
In addition, my website includes links to several of my other sites, so I’m sure I picked up another $50 worth of indirect traffic for those sites. And I linked to my book in the article and author bio, so I sold quite a few copies that week.
All together, that article and slideshow on The Huffington Post was probably worth $800 in additional income within a few days. In addition, it helped me attract visitors to my sites and promote sales of my book for several months.
It was a (very busy) year before I realized I had not just a post, but my own blog set up on The Huffington Post. I requested my password and started posting occasionally. The results were never as dramatic as that first post, but I did see increased traffic and book sales. And best of all, the editors never objected to my posts containing relevant links to my own websites.
How to Earn Money by Writing for Free
While The Huffington Post does not generally pay its bloggers, as my experience demonstrates, it’s still possible to earn cash by writing for free. Here are the strategies I used:
Include specific, valuable links
To start, be strategic when choosing links to include in your author bio. For example, if you’ve written a book or created a course, link to that. If you’re a freelance writer, you’ll want to link to your writer website or online portfolio. If you’ve monetized a website with affiliate products or pay-per-click advertising, link to it.
In addition, if any of these links are relevant to your post’s content, include them on related anchor text in the body of your post. I’ll reiterate: the links must be relevant. If they’re not, the editors will likely remove them.
Aim for the front page
For these links to be valuable, a lot of people need to see and click them, which means you’ll need a lot of readers. I was a extremely lucky with my first post; it was featured on the front page of the HuffPost Small Business section, which brought in a ton of readers. Later posts never approached that level of traffic.
With these results in mind, it can’t hurt to aim for this special treatment. Look at what’s being shared on your targeted section’s front page. Are the featured articles controversial or fun? Are they short or long? Do they have shocking titles?
Many big names blog on The Huffington Post, so competition for better placement is tough. When former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich’s post is on the front page of the Politics section, yours isn’t likely to push his aside. On the other hand, he doesn’t write every day. If you’re working in a section with fewer big names, you might have an even better chance to get a good post featured. Study your targeted section to learn the famous bloggers in your niche and how often they post.
Share your post as much as possible
Promote your post to your own networks to direct as much traffic to it as possible, as you would with any guest post. Share it with your Facebook and Twitter followers, write a short blurb about it on your blog or email it to your newsletter subscribers.
With a bit of luck, your HuffPo post might even go viral. Blogger Catherine Alford was lucky enough to see her recent post blow up:
[It] went hugely viral with more than 220,000 likes and 43,000+ shares. That viral post also led to me getting interviewed on Huffington Post Live, which led to tons of emails and new readers. There’s no doubt that it’s beneficial to any writing career to be an author there.
Whether or not your post goes viral, you’ll at least point a few new readers toward your site and offerings and add “Huffington Post Blogger” to your resume.
If you’ve been published on The Huffington Post, how did you do it and what results did you see? If you haven’t, would you like see your byline there?