11/1/2016 EDIT: Huffington Post has closed their contributor platform. When there is an update, I will update this blog post. If you are already a Huffingpost contributor, read on. There are lots of ideas below to maximize your posting!
Hello! I’ve partnered with Tammy Rose-Townsend from Jams and Scones to bring you this guide on how to get published on the Huffington Post. We compared notes on how, despite having different followings, we both got articles picked up and featured on the Huffington Post. We noticed that we have distinct similarities on what we did, and put together this guide to help YOU do the same.
Why Should You Publish on Huffington Post?
Getting published on the Huffington Post has for years been regarded as a huge feather in the cap of any blogger. It has been seen as a mark of credibility and accomplishment for writers and a huge opportunity to gain new readers and drive traffic to your own blog. However, if you participate in any online blogging forums, you’ll get a massive difference in opinion on how beneficial it is to be published on the Huffington Post. Some say it’s a complete waste of time because you don’t get paid, others say it gives you credibility and exposure. Things have gotten even more contentious lately because things have changed at the Huffington Post.
Depending on your niche or industry, a Huffington Post credential can be a big differentiator. For example, in our industry of direct sales and network marketing, very few are using the Huffington Post as a channel in their marketing strategy. Therefore, by adding a platform like the Huffington Post to your social strategy you will help your sales funnel, your credibility, and depending on how you promote, your search engine optimization.
How to Get Published on the Huffington Post
If you do a quick search on Google or Pinterest, you’ll find many articles on how to get published on the Huffington Post. Most of them will tell you to either fill out the submission form, send in a sample of your work and wait. Others will tell you to email Arianna Huffington herself with a sample of your work and cross your fingers. Others will tell you to email the editors of the sections directly.
But here’s the inside scoop – you don’t need to do any of that anymore.
The Huffington Post has a new publishing contributor platform called Athena – and they also have a new strategic agenda. The Huffington Post has a goal of having more than 1 million contributors on their platform. And part of that strategy is making it very easy to publish to the platform.
You want to be published on the Huffington Post? Click HERE to be invited to the HuffPost Contributor Platform.
Then create an account, write your piece and hit publish. That’s it. Rather anti-climatic, actually.
Even though anyone can publish on the Huffington Post, it doesn’t mean you will suddenly reach the great heights of the publishing world and get to roll in the glory of massive traffic to your website. In fact, if you don’t take some very important steps, your moment of glory of being published will most likely go off as more of a whimper than the fanfare of fireworks you were dreaming of.
Like we said, anyone can publish to the Huffington Post now. You do not need your own blog, and you can also publish anything you like. You can even publish your grocery list if you like. Seriously. But let’s make this channel work for you, as part of your overall social strategy.
Making the New Platform Work for You
This is where strategy comes in. In the ‘old days’ articles would go to the editors before they would be published and featured. Now everything is published immediately to the contributor platform. You’ll notice once you hit publish that there is a little ‘disclaimer’ that floats in the left hand column. So basically you are a published Huffington Post Contributor but now you need to do some work.
Articles on the open platform are not indexed by Google they aren’t searchable and the only way any one will find them is if they have the direct link. That means you need to do all the promotion to get traffic to your post. If your post starts to see traffic, social shares and is a good fit then you might get the attention of a section editor and have your article picked up and featured.
How We Did It
Here are our two examples of how we have been able to achieve Google page 1 status, with our featured Huffington Post articles.
Brenda’s article on The Do’s and Don’ts of Facebook Marketing – #5 on Google Page 1
Tammy’s article on Being a Mompreneur – #1 and #3 on Google page 1
So not only does the Huffington Post article rank as #1, but Tammy’s excerpt of the article on her blog ranks #3.
Like we mentioned before, we have very different followings in terms of numbers. I have an established blog with a large following and Tammy has a newer blog and a much MUCH smaller following. However, when we compared notes we found that we both did very similar things when it came to writing and submitting our posts.
So we will take you through step by step what we did to take our posts from the anonymity of the contributor platform to be being featured in the sections and page one of Google.
First things First
Once you have created your account you will be prompted to fill out your bio. Be sure to fill out completely. Your photo and title will show up on each post you publish. You also want to make it easy for people to find you to engage further on your other platforms.
The Athena contributor platform is very easy to navigate and is intuitive. It keeps a record of your drafts and published articles and it is easy to edit later if needed, even after you’ve been published.
Do Your Research – Look at other articles on The Huffington Post within your niche.
The first thing you want to do is study other articles in your niche to see what works – from tone of voice, to writing style, to variety and depth of topics. Look at what categories the articles are being featured under. Make your topic evergreen, something that people will want to read for a long time to come. Check out other popular websites and see what is trending there as well. Just like if you are writing for your own blog, do your keyword research. Use Google Keyword Analysis to write crisply for the keywords. You want your article to be keyword rich so that if it does get picked up by an editor and put into a section you can make the most of the Google indexing and get your article ranking.
Write a Great Article
The Huffington Post is swamped daily with post submissions for their site. Does yours stand out? Is your piece something only you could have written? Does your title grab a reader and make them want to finish the story? Is it succinct and to the point? The ideal HP article is between 600-800 words. Save the long form for your own blog. HuffPo readers like it short and sweet. These are just some of the things the editors will be looking for when choosing articles to pick up for their sections. Provide details and actionable examples in your posts. You want your piece to purposeful. Make is something that helps solve a problem and it’s more likely to be shared on social media channels.
Edit Your Article
If you’re like me, it’s been a while since you studied grammar in English class. Brush off the dust on those grammar rules and do some light reading. Editors are not English teachers, and they don’t want to spend their day correcting your mistakes. Before you submit your article, call in a favor with a friend or relative who knows how to edit. You can even use an app like Grammarly.
Include an Image
A picture is worth the 1000 extra words you couldn’t include in your post. The perfect image makes your article eye-catching and sharable across social media platforms (make it Pinterest friendly while you are at it!). If you don’t provide a great photo, they have to. The less work it takes for them to publish you, the more likely they are to accept your article into a section. Include at least an image sized 1200×600. This image will get picked up as the featured image when shared on Facebook. Use consistent personal branding in your Huffington Post images, and use appropriate alt-tags and image names so your images are searchable.
If you can, and its relevant, link to other key articles on your native blog. This encourages readers to go to your blog and check out what else you have written.
There is a section for tags for your article. Use this to your full advantage – tag your article with all Huffington Post sections that it would relevantly fit under (ie. What’s Working, Women, Voices, Entertainment, etc). Tag until you can’t think of anything else – this is what the editors will use to find your article!
Include a Key Funnel Action in your Article (Call to Action)
Get the reader to check out your list, group, social media channels or blog. Ask them to share your content!
Include a bio on the bottom of your written article
While you do fill out a bio when creating your account, HuffPo will not automatically show your bio with your articles so add one to the bottom of your post with links back to your key social media accounts and blog.
After You Publish
Now the hard work starts! You will have no idea of what your statistics are with your post other than the Facebook likes you get on the page so before you start sharing your article create a unique bit.ly or Pretty Link (through your WordPress blog) that is used only for your HuffPo article, so you can track the stats from any source and see what kind of traffic your post is getting.
Cross promote your HuffPo article to all your funnels, including Facebook business page, Facebook group(s), your Facebook personal profile, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. (Make sure to create Pinterest Images and pin – using your Pretty Link as the website source so you can track the traffic).
Getting as much traffic to your article as you can is key in getting your post picked up by an editor and put into a section.
Talk about your HuffPo article on Periscope or Facebook Live. Partner with other bloggers to share each other's articles on key social channels, network in blogging groups and share your link. Share your own HuffPo as evergreen content on a regular basis on your social channels. Add your HuffPo piece as a sidebar link on your blog. Add “As seen on Huffington Post” on your blog.
Time Will Tell
Huffington Post is in transition, so only time will tell how the new contributor platform and its 1 million contributors works out. But if you get on early and start to build a critical mass of content, ride that wave as long as you can and make it part of your funnel strategy.
Huffington Post can be a very effective way to build exposure and credibility in your niche, especially if few others are using that channel. But the true measure of your success will be how you promote the content. Get creative, get vocal, and showcase your hard work and portfolio.
Brenda Ster is a former technology executive, college professor, and direct seller, and now runs her own consulting and training agency teaching social strategies to direct sellers and solopreneurs. You can find her everywhere online @SuiteBrenda, and in her free social media tips community on her Facebook page, Brenda Ster #EmpowerSocial
Tammy is a full-time blogger, mother, and entrepreneur. You can find her hanging out at Jams and Scones writing about blogging and the life of a momprenuer.