Guest bloggers must do a little homework before hitting send.
Just submitting your article through a generic email address or in an online form almost guarantees your piece will get lost in the noise, which means you’ll have a slim chance of being included on the site.
You are far more likely to succeed in getting it published by first developing relationships with the opinion editor at these publications. This is especially important when you’re hoping to publish articles on high-level sites such as CNN, IB Times, The Washington Post, or The Hill.
By developing these relationships, you may even become a go-to person that editors reach out to with topics they want published in the future. Building these relationships won’t happen overnight, however.
Here are a few key steps you’ll need to take to make them a reality:
1. Understand the publication’s beat.
Before ever reaching out to an editor, you’ll need to take the time to do your research.
Look at the articles they have recently published to get a sense of their tone and style. Research their list of editors and determine which one is the right person to reach out to for your article idea. Decide if you’ll need a relevant time peg to present as the reason why your article is necessary to publish now.
If you show in your pitch to the editor that you understand their style and needs, you’ll demonstrate that you’re a reliable contributor and that you care about their publication’s goals.
2. Carefully craft the first email.
Your first email to an editor is your introduction and first impression, so it’s important to make it a strong.
You’ll be sending along your article idea or a draft of your article, but it’s good to be flexible and open to suggestions from the editor. Show that you are willing to brainstorm with them to come up with the perfect idea.
You might spend more time on getting your first guest submission, but your willingness to work hard and be flexible will pay off in the end. The editor will know that you’re a dependable writer that is open to feedback and suggestions. Don’t forget to include samples of your previous work to show that you’re a strong writer.
3. Use their feedback to improve your writing and pitching.
The editor may or may not decide to publish your piece, but it’s crucial to show that you’re open to feedback and willing to adjust your article as needed. By being willing to adapt, you’ll demonstrate just how easy you or your clients are to work with. Being friendly and personable is a good way to stand out from all the other writers.
Of course, you are entitled to push for your piece to retain your viewpoint. However, it’s important to remember that the editor knows their audience better than anyone else. They receive hundreds of article submissions each week and know exactly what will work for their audience and what misses the mark.
4. Stay in contact.
It’s always a good idea to stay visible to editors. Even if you don’t have another article ready for the editor to look over, let them know that you’re interested in writing for them again in the future.
Don’t over do it by sending annoying, weekly reminders. Just check in now and again, reminding them that you’re available and to see if there’s a specific topic they’d like covered in a new article.
5. Go the extra step to stand out.
An editor’s job can be challenging and overwhelming. You can stand out by being friendly, adding value to your submissions, and thinking ahead to what they might need from you. Always thank them for the ability to work with the publication.
Follow them on social media and engage with their posts. Stand out in order to keep them interested. Yes, it’s more work than just emailing the news desk or submitting your ideas and articles through an online form. However, the results that come from building this relationship will be well worth it when you become the editor’s most trusted writer.
George Bradley is the PR manager at Circa Interactive, a digital marketing agency specializing in higher education.