Sunday, December 11, 2016

How To Become a Huffington Post Blogger - by Rana Campbell

Find an editor who likes your pitch, accepts your finished story and signs you up for a blogger account.

Have you always wanted to blog on the Huffington Post and share content with a larger audience that you aren't able to reach using your own platform?
Many people think that it's hard to start blogging for Huffington Post, but that really is NOT true at all.
This is the formula I used to become a Huffington Post blogger (and one you can use to start blogging , too.)
I'll repeat it here:
  1. Find an editor who likes your pitch
  2. Have that same editor "accept" your final story
  3. Have said editor sign you up for a blogger account (and send you your log-in information)
  4. Submit content!
In a nutshell...once all these things are done, you are officially a Huffington Post blogger!

Here are 6 steps that you can use to become a Huffington Post blogger:

I used these tips to get my first blog post "Black Men at Princeton Share Their Experiences" published. This story eventually caught the eyes of a news producers and landed me on FOX 5 Good Day New York.
I was surprised how easily the steps Rana gave me worked. Prior to our meeting, I would have never known how to go about introducing myself to the editors of Huffington Post. After speaking with Rana I felt more confident in my pitch based on the tips that she gave me!Shortly after sending over my writing samples, the editors responded back to me and I was able to get my very first HuffPo Blog post up the very next day! -Bryhana Moore (published freelance writer & journalist)

1. Have an appealing story.

For a few weeks, I had been researching and drafting a story on the experiences of Black men at Princeton. I had compiled interviews from several students and alumni and was working on editing their responses into essay format. I knew this topic was one that would interest and resonate with a lot of people so I wanted to share it on a platform (beyond my personal blog) that would reach people who also cared about the topics of race, gender, and higher education.
I also had some credibility as I had previously posted a similar story about Black women in the Ivy League on the site MadameNoire.

2. Find the appropriate section (and editor) to pitch to.

The person who has the final say on approving your blog to the site will be a section editor, so it's important that you connect with someone directly. The best way to find who you need to send your pitch to will be by visiting the site masthead. Click here to visit the masthead and see the COMPLETE list of editorial staff. Note, use their names to figure out their emails. Huffington post emails normally follow the format FIRSTNAME.LASTNAME@HUFFINGTONPOST.COM.
TIP: Think strategically about who you pitch to. Know the type of content that is usually appealing on each section vertical. Who will your content resonate the most with? What kinds of stories are lacking? What perspective can you add?Which editor will most likely respond to you? (This may be very important if it's your first pitch.) In the beginning , I pitched the Huffington Post Black Voices editor about twice with no response. I decided that the story might also be pertinent to the College section, so I emailed the editor there AND got a response!
You can also submit pitches here using this online form on the Huffington Post Contact us page:

3. Pitch the editor.

When pitching an editor, make sure to include the following:
  • Catchy subject line with the words: SUBMISSION PITCH
  • Who you are
  • What you want to write about
  • How your story is appealing/provides an interesting perspective
  • Links to your writing portfolio (or site)
Here's the actual letter that I wrote to the editor of the college section:
Subject: SUBMISSION PITCH: "Oh to be Young, Gifted, and Black": Men of Color at Princeton/Ivy League Share their Experiences
Hi (Editor's Name),
I have a pitch that I think would be a great fit for the College section!I am currently writing a piece on young men of color's experiences in the Ivy League. I spoke to several men who shared their stories with me and am complying them into a journal-based piece that I like Huff Post's readers would really enjoy. The topics the men discuss include feelings on sexuality, acceptance, self-discovery, worthiness, loneliness, otherness, racism, and more. 
I think a piece on how men of color in the Ivy League feel would be relevant especially due to the media attention black male Ivy League acceptances has been getting of recent. How does it really feel to be a man of color? What will these men (if they choose Ivies) possible experience? My story will a personal insight and reflection straight from men who have (or are) currently students. 
Would you be interested in running the story? If so, I'd love to talk to you more about this.
Here is another story that I wrote for Madame Noire about black women in the Ivy League that can give you a sense of my writing style. "Everything's Not so Pretty At the Top": Black Women in the Ivy League"
Looking to hear from you soon, Rana

4. Wait for a response.

Give the editor a few days. See if he/she responds. If she/he doesn't, follow up. If the follow-up fails, find someone else to pitch! You may have to spin the pitch to fit in with the new section's theme.

5. Deliver the content according to the parameters set by the editor.

One of the main problems with my original story was that it was way too long. The college editor told me specifically to keep the post under 1,000 words. It was a struggle, but I worked to cut the Huffington Post version of the story down to about 1,000 words. I then added a link to the "full version" at the end of the article. (This is also a great way to lead visitors to your personal blog and build the amount of credible external sites that link back to your blog.)
Also, make sure to also send the editor a headshot and short bio. (This will be used when creating a blogger profile for your blogger account.) If you send this stuff all at one, it will show that you are on top of your shit.

6. Get signed up for a Huffington Post blogger account.

Once the editor accepts your story, you'll be signed up for a Huffington Post Blogger account. This is where you can upload and pitch subsequent stories to any of the Huffington Post verticals. More than likely, they'll add the first story for you, but from now on, this will be your blogging play ground.
NOTE: Huffington post bloggers are not paid. However, this is a great way to start developing your online digital presence.

Extra Tips:

  1. It may take some time for you to get an editor to respond. Don't give up. Keep pitching. Pitch to more editors within the same vertical. Just don't become annoying to any one specific person.
  2. Once you have a blogger account set up, you can submit articles/posts every day (or more) if you want. You have access to submitting to any of the many verticals on the site. Within 24 hours, you'll receive notice if your post was accepted.
  3. Posts that you submit to Huffington Post do NOT have to be original content. Do you have a post that went viral on your personal blog? Why not submit it to Huffington Post? It might just go viral there too!
  4. Write QUALITY content. Your subsequent posts won't get accepted if they're trash or lack substance.
  5. Make sure to include an author byline at the end of each post. You'll want to have:
    • Short bio
    • Link to your personal blog (or site)
    • Links to your social media

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