Whether you’re a newbie blogger or a long-time writer, getting your work published in reputable publications is an important way to boost your credibility and overall influence.
Follow these tips and tricks to start spreading your name and packing your portfolio.
1. Develop a comprehensive list of prospective publications.
Keep in mind that this should be more than just a wish list. Research the publications carefully, and scout their guidelines for submission protocol.
Certain publications do not have set guidelines, and instead, encourage interested contributors to pitch the reporter who covers the topic of interest.
Record all necessary instructions and contact information on your list, and don’t leave out any important details.
Many of these websites are highly populated and might be fielding hundreds of emails a day.
If they receive an email from someone who blatantly ignored directions, they’re going to ignore that person right back.
2. Be fully equipped with story ideas.
Many publications request a list of potential topics that you would be interested in writing about, or will ask for an article outline. In some cases, contributor applications will even require a fully drafted piece.
This is often the make-or-break component, as it provides the editorial staff with the most important piece of the puzzle.
Along with showcasing your writing skills and style, it provides an answer to the most critical question of all:
What is this person’s value, and why should we bring them on-board?
Your article topics need to be unique and interesting, but they also need to align with the publication’s overall focus. Before sending off that email, dive deep into their website and confirm that your idea and supporting points would fit nicely.
3. Sell yourself – but do it right.
Although the contributor process varies from site to site, selling yourself is a consistent step. Never put “N/A” in response to “Anything else we should know?” – This is your time to shine!
When it comes to showcasing your strengths, you’ll want to tailor this to appeal to the particular publication.
Share past pieces you’ve written that would resonate with the publication’s target audience.
Reference your experience working with another brand or company who shares similar messaging and values.
Got impressive blog traffic or a significant social media presence? Drop those links!
Here, it’s important to remember that this exchange is mutually beneficial. You’re getting your work published, and they’re getting great content in return.
In order to prove that your contributions are “worthy”, you have to show that you believe it yourself – and the best way to do that is through some tactful bragging.
4. Take your time.
You might be eager to land your first published piece, but make sure you’re not rushing through the process.
Carefully proofread your draft – and then proofread it some more. Small typos can be initially easy to miss, but errors will translate as sloppiness to serious editors.
Along with attention to detail, focus on your look and feel. Don’t submit your piece until you’re confident that it looks like something the publication would promote, and sounds like something that the publication would say.
5. Remember that “no” doesn’t mean “never.”
As with any process of “putting yourself out there,” you’re bound to face a few rejections here and there.
Rather than getting discouraged and taking it personally, remind yourself that “no” doesn’t mean that your window of opportunity is closed for good.
The beauty of being a writer is that you’re continuously growing your influence and arriving at new ideas. You’re always free to circle back and re-pitch yourself or submit fresh topics.
Resilience is key when it comes to getting published, as you’ll learn to accept that your ideas aren’t for everyone.
And when you do find that publication where your contributions truly “click”, you’ll realize that “no” doesn’t mean “it’s over.” In fact, it’s only just the beginning.
It takes a little prep work and a lot of determination, but that accomplishment of being a published writer is well worth it.
Sara Uzer is a published lifestyle writer, with 3 years of experience in public relations and content development. Sara maintains over 100 published articles, with features in HuffPo, Thrive Global, Thought Catalog, and Elite Daily. She has developed website content for various companies and associations such as the Juice Products Association and Lilly’s Fresh Pasta Company.