One of the most common questions that I get when it comes to link building and general traffic generation is, "How do I get my content on top tier websites?"
This is often a complex question to answer because it depends on your definition of a 'top tier' website, and how each of those websites operates within your specific vertical.
That said, for most big publishers where you'd love to get some exposure they actually have some very clear guidelines on how to get your content featured. I know this because I've done it time and time again.
I've had links from some of the biggest websites on the web, and I've helped many others do the same. The funny thing is that it isn't as complicated as you may think.
I'm going to share the formal process for getting your content placed on some huge websites and also some tips that will give you a greater chance of a successful placement.
How to Write for The Huffington Post
Most of you reading this will be familiar with The Huffington Post. It's a great site to become an ongoing contributor to because of the fact that it covers such a broad range of topics. Also, if your article hits the main blog - as opposed to the contributor section - you'll be in for some big traffic.
Here's how you can get an article published in The Huffington Post:
- HuffPo has an official pitch form that you can use to submit your content idea. If you go down this route you'll need to submit the full first draft of your post via this form.
- The first draft that you submit has to be between 500 and 1,000 words in length.
- You'll also need to supply a bio of yourself - try to showcase your knowledge on the topic you're pitching here.
- Make sure that the topic is relevant to a topic that they regularly publish content on.
- A second option that you'll probably get better results from is to pitch your idea directly to the editor of the topic that you're content falls under. To do this, first you'll want to find the right person from this list and then you'll need to get their email address. Most of the email addresses at HuffPo follow the pattern of email@example.com.
- Alongside email individuals, you can send an email through to the topic editors. The email addresses for these follow the pattern of firstname.lastname@example.org, for example, "email@example.com".
- As well as all of the above, you can reach out to individual editors on Twitter by finding the topic Twitter account and looking at the bio to see who manages it. Then all you need to do is drop them a tweet. An example is with @HuffPostScience or @HuffPostTravel.
How to Write for Entrepreneur.com
Entreprenuer.com is one of my favourite sites to have content published on. Unlike most top publications, any new post published on the website is shown in the homepage feed, giving it a significant SEO boost. Needless to say, links from Entrepreneur.com articles are very valuable.
So here's how you can go about getting an article published in Entrepreneur.com:
- Similarly to Huffington Post, they have a form that you can fill out to pitch your idea to. Follow this link to find the form.
- You don't need a finished post here; instead, you'll need to send over a couple of ideas in the form of headlines (make sure they are all relevant to Entrepreneur.com's audience).
- You also need to send over a couple of paragraphs on how you're an expert on the topic along with a few examples of your work. I'd recommend only pitching to Entrepreneur.com once you've published on a couple of other relevant publications.
- If you have resources to produce video content then you can go through and apply to become part of "The Entrepreneur Network".
- Another way is to go through and pitch to individual topic editors. You can see a list of the staff here. Their email addresses usually follow the pattern of FirstinitialLastname@entrepreneur.com, for example, "firstname.lastname@example.org".
- If you pitch to an individual, it's worth dropping them a tweet to let them know as well.
How to Write for Inc.com
Inc is another publication like Entrepreneur.com where all new posts hit the home feed. This is great because it means that unlike sites like Forbes, the content doesn't get buried down so deep in the site architecture that they become about as useful as a link from an unknown blog.
Also, Inc has really been ramping up their monetization strategy so it's a good time to get your content over to them. Here's how you can get an article published in Inc.com:
- The best thing for Inc.com is to send them an pitch for a specific idea. You don't need to send a full article, just an outline with a few bullet points. Send this over to email@example.com.
- Within your pitch, you'll also want to send over some background into why you're an expert on the topic, as well as some references of your previous work.
- You can also request to be considered as a regular contributor via their firstname.lastname@example.org email address. For this, you should pitch a few ideas and really get across your domain expertise. It really helps if you have a relationship with an existing contributor here, but it's not essential.
- Their contact page with more details can be found here.
How to Write for Vice
Vice is a rapidly expanding publication that covers a range of different topics across each of their main channels. They have general current affairs/politics covered on their main Vice channel, technology usually lives on Motherboard, art and film are discussed on Creators and they have Vice Sports that covers sports (duh!). There are another 10 or so channels (at the time of writing) that span across even more topics than this, making Vice a hyper-relevant publication for most writers.
One thing to note with Vice is that they're particularly interested in quite obscure takes on a story. Most of their content has an interesting angle to it (or is just plain bizzare), for example, "Inside the Online Community Where People Are Mean to Breakfast Foods" and "We Went to a Cuddle Party on MDMA". Bear this in mind when pitching ideas.
In order to be able to write for Vice, you should follow these guidelines:
- Send either a pitch or a full draft f your article to email@example.com. Don't send pitches directly to editors or they'll mark your email address as spam.
- If you're submitting photography, as opposed to a full write-up, send the pitch and imagery to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If it's a video that you're pitching in, send it to email@example.com, along with some background information.
- Avoid pitching any of these weird things to Vice.
How to Write for The Odyssey
The Odyssey is a popular publication that discusses a really broad range of different topics. What's more, they actively encourage individual contributors to come and write for them. They also offer a small paid bonus ($20) if your article is shared on social media the most at the end of the week.
To write for The Odyssey, there's a formal application process. Here's how to get started:
- Submit your information on their application page here: https://muse.theodysseyonline.com/apply
- Once you've been accepted you can start created new articles and submitting them via your account.
- Work with the editors on any edits and you'll then be given a date that your article goes live.
How to Write for BuzzFeed
People often write-off BuzzFeed as a legitimate publisher but those people couldn't be more wrong. Just take the investment that they've been making into investigative journalism as an example - that alone has resulted in some incredible pieces of journalism like the tennis betting scandal they uncovered.
On top of all of this, they've built an unstoppable viral engine that spans way outside of listicles of cat memes. I previously wrote about my experience of being featured on the front page of BuzzFeed so I can tell you from experience how much traffic links from the site can generate.
There are two ways that you can go about getting an article published in BuzzFeed. The first is through submitting to the community section - here's how:
- Create a free BuzzFeed account (if you don’t have one already) by clicking here and following the instructions on the page.
- Once you’ve created your account, navigate to your profile and click on the option to create a new post.
- Create your new article using BuzzFeed’s post editing tool. It’s really easy to use so just go ahead and choose the type of post you want to create and add in the content. If you’re making a quiz then you may want to check out this quick tutorial.
- Once you’ve finished and you’re happy to go live, tick the box on the right that says “Suggest for a community feature” (very important!) and then press “Publish Now”.
It's as simple as that. You'll receive an email within 48 hours to let you know if it's been promoted for a community feature. If it does well within the community then it will get bumped up for a category feature, then from there it can be bumped onto the homepage.
The second way is to pitch an idea directly to BuzzFeed staff:
- Each topic within BuzzFeed has an individual pitch email. For lifestyle content pitches you can send your pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Send along a few clear, concise paragraphs that outlines your idea, what the general structure will be, and why the readers will enjoy it.
- Make sure that you don't try and reinvent the wheel here - stick to the tried and tested BuzzFeed format but try to find a unique angle for the story.
Here are some examples of pitches that successfully went through the pitch team:
- 5 Ways To Transform A Plain Black Sweatshirt
- How To Make The Easiest, Most Delicious Chocolate Lava Cakes
- Here’s What You Should Do Instead Of Making New Year’s Resolutions
- How To Have An Amazing Christmas For Under $100
- How To Make Easy, Cozy Coq Au Vin
- 26 Life-Changing Things You Need To Know About Costco
How to Write for Mashable
Mashable is one of the most recognisable names in the tech publishing industry. According to SimilarWeb, Mashable receives over 65 million visits every month - if that isn't a reason to have your content published there then I don't know what is!
Here's how you can get an article published in Mashable:
- Mashable have a submissions form where you can send your pitch through. You can view it here.
- You'll need to supply them with a couple of paragraphs of what your angle is - try to keep things nice and concise here.
- You're able to attach two documents to the pitch as well, so if you have a more detailed overview or even a finished article then I'd attach it there.
- If you're looking to get your startup covered on Mashable then you can do so via their email@example.com email address. Make sure that you pitch to Mashable before you've been covered elsewhere, and I'd also recommend giving them access to a private beta.
How to Write for TechRadar
If you're in the technology industry then TechRadar is the perfect place to get exposure fro your product/service. They regularly cover new products and services on their site and can generate a ton of referral traffic as a result.
TechRadar works in a similar way to Mashable - here's the process for getting your content published on TechRadar:
- If you have a specific story pitch then drop it in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Make sure you send a brief outline of the idea and personalize the message as much as possible.
- For a better chance of success, drop an email through to a specific topic editor. You can see a list of email address on their contact page.
How to Write for the Harvard Business Review
HBR.org is the online publication of the Harvard Business Review, a huge name in the business world. To write for HBR.org you need to demonstrate that you're a subject matter expert, as they state in their guidelines, "You don’t have to be well known to be a contributor, but you must know a lot about the subject you’re writing about."
Here's how you can get an article published in HBR.org:
- Send an initial short pitch (a couple of paragraphs outline) to email@example.com.
- Once they give feedback on your idea you'll need to supply a full written draft before being accepted. I'd prepare this in advance to ensure you can move fast.
- You can also reach out to individual editors (you'll probably get a quicker response here but be sure to personalize the message). Their email addresses follow the pattern of firstname.lastname@example.org, for example, "email@example.com" (a Senior Editor at HBR). You'll find a list of editors here.
Here are some questions to answer when you send through your pitch to HBR.org:
- What is the central message of the article you propose to write?
- What is important, useful, new, or counterintuitive about your idea?
- Why do managers need to know about it? How can your idea be applied today?
- What is the source of your authority? On what previous work (either your own or others’) does this idea build?
- What academic, professional, or personal experience will you draw on?
How to Write for Forbes
Forbes has a huge contributor section on their website that covers a relatively broad range of topics, but they mainly focus on entrepreneurship, tech, financial markets and wider business. Once you get in the door with Forbes you'll have a contributor account set up (here's an example) where you can contribute on a more regular basis.
Here's how you can get an article published in Forbes:
- Submit a finished article through to firstname.lastname@example.org. As they state on their submissions page, they won't accept idea pitches.
- You have to submit an exclusive to Forbes, i.e. you can't publish it elsewhere.
- There's aren't guidelines on the length of the article but you should bear in mind that longer articles take longer to review.
- It takes at least five business days to review our article. If you don't hear back after the five working days, you may want to pitch it elsewhere.
- You can also use this form to apply to become an ongoing contributor (you'll need to produce 1 article per week for Forbes).
How to Write for The Guardian
The Guardian is a tough outlet to get an article published in, but it's not impossible. You're competing with a ton of freelance journalists here and The Guardian themselves say they receive hundreds of pitches every day so you really need to make your idea stand out.
Here's how to get your article published in The Guardian:
- Submit an idea for your article to email@example.com. Make sure that you don't send a complete article through because it's going to be instantly ignored.
- Send through one idea at a time, with an absolute maximum of two.
- Keep your pitch to two paragraphs in length maximum - any more and it will take too long to review.
- Explain clearly why your article should be published right now.
- Demonstrate how you have the acumen to produce the piece.
- Add the title of your pitch to your email subject line - avoid generic "column pitch" subject lines.
How to Write for The New York Times
The New York Times publish quite a lot of opinion pieces, and they even say themselves that it can be on "any topic". That said, it's still not going to be easy to get your pitch through, but if you have success then there's a big reward. They publish a lot of the opinion pieces to their Opinionator column, amongst a few others.
Here's how to get an article published in The New York Times:
- Submit a complete article between the length of 400 to 1,200 words to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Submissions will be checked on Monday through until Saturday but due to the volume of submissions, they can't respond to them all.
- Generally, if you don't hear back within 3 working days then you may want to offer the article out to another outlet.
- You can also go down the route of submitting to section editors if you're looking to get your article published outside of the "Op-Ed" section. You can find a list of section editors here and their email addresses generally follow the pattern of email@example.com, for example, "firstname.lastname@example.org".
- The article you submit must be exclusive to NYT and can't be published elsewhere.
- There's also the option to submit video content (Op-Docs) via this form.
How to Write for Business Insider
Business Insider has a very similar audience to Forbes and a lot of the benefits in terms of links and traffic for when you get published there. Business Insider is one of the easier sites within this list to get a placement as well, so I'd recommend it as one of your first attempts (if it's relevant).
Here's how to get an article published on Business Insider:
- Submit the final draft of your article to email@example.com, along with a short bio, proposed headline and some links to other articles that you've written.
- It's really important to illustrate how you're an expert in the topic that you're writing about so try to do a good job of selling yourself here.
- Check out the list of contributors to Business Insider before sending your pitch (you can view them here) and if you know any of them, get them to refer you instead. If you don't know any of them, see if you can build a relationship with one because having an existing author vouch for you can go a long way.
How to Write for TechCrunch
Getting Crunched is the holy grail of PR for a tech startup. You get some big exposure, a ton of traffic, a seriously powerful backlink and a platform to build out further coverage in other publications. Getting featured in TechCrunch is largely to do with good timing...
There's basically two core ways that you'll get featured in TechCrunch. The first is to actually produce some editorial for them and the second is to have your startup covered - timing is key for both situations. Let's start with getting an article published in TechCrunch:
- Go through the TechCrunch editorial calendar and find out which topics they're covering in the coming months. It's critically important that you only pitch an idea to them when they're covering that topic.
- At the bottom of this page you can submit your pitch using the form - you'll need to submit the finished draft of the article within the form.
- If you have a topical idea then submit it via the form on their "Got Tips" page. You'll need a headline and a few paragraphs explaining your idea.
- You can also email them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a news-lead story.
If you're looking more for a feature on your startup then you'll want to do the following:
- Approach TechCrunch as early as possible before you've been covered by other outlets (via this email: email@example.com).
- Make sure you give TechCrunch an idea of launch timelines in advance.
- Tell them what's special about your business.
- If possible (and relevant), give them private beta access to your product.
- Get across your personality within the pitch but also keep it brief.
How to Write for HubSpot
As most of you know, HubSpot is a leading voice within inbound marketing and pile through millions of visitors to the blog every month - I know this because I have access to all this data! At HubSpot, we do take on guest posts and regularly run content from outside contributors. To be one of those outside contributors you can follow a very simple process.
Just one thing to mention here - please don't drop me emails asking if I can get you published on HubSpot because I'll have to pass you through the editorial team anyway so nothing will have changed.
Here's how you can get an article published on HubSpot:
- You can check out the full guest blogging guidelines for each of the HubSpot blogs here.
- Submit the final draft of your article to firstname.lastname@example.org with any images attached (including attribution), as well as a short bio for yourself.
- Make sure that the content is exclusive to HubSpot.
- Articles that tend to perform best are the "deep tactical" posts that are 1,500 words or more (see more here).
- Ensure that you're not pitching an idea that's already been covered by searching through the HubSpot blog in advance.
- Add some personality to your pitch but keep it brief, attaching the full article with it.
How to Write for Moz
When it comes to publishing content focused on inbound marketing or in particular, SEO, Moz is one of the best place to hit the right audience. Whilst it's not necessarily a 'top tier' publication it has a high concentration of their audience interested in the aforementioned topics. This means that any traffic generated from the article will be much more qualified.
I've written a number of articles on the Moz blog in the past and the quality of the referral traffic has always been very good, but this obviously depends on the audience you're targeting.
Here's how to get an article published on Moz:
- Start by reading through Moz's guest posting guidelines here.
- Go through to this page, tick the box at the bottom and then click the button titled, "Submit a YouMoz" post.
- Using their editor, paste in your final article with any images correctly attributed and any formatting issues fixed.
- Articles on Moz that are more technical and longer in length (1,500+ words) tend to perform best.
- If your submission is accepted, try to get as many upvotes and comments as possible because it could be promoted to the main blog.
How to Write for Fast Company
Fast Company has a diverse readership which makes them the perfect place to get content published in for a number of different companies. They tend to publish a lot of the outside contributor content to their Leadership section, but also publish a lot of op-ed to Co.Design, Co.Exist, Co.Create, or Co.Labs.
Here's how to get an article published on Fast Company:
- Pitch your article by sending a full draft of it through to a specific section editor. You can find a full list of them here.
- Their email addresses follow the pattern of FirstinitialLastname@fastcompany.com, for example, "email@example.com".
- For the Leadership column, you'll want to contact Rich Bellis. Do make sure you send a full article though, they don't take synopsis pitches.
- Don't submit an article that's longer than 1,000 words. Aim for the 600-800 word mark.
- Your article has to be exclusive to Fast Company for the first 24 hours. From there you can go and publish it elsewhere.
With Fast Company, the editors tend to be ok with you following up with them if you haven't heard anything in a few days so I'd recommend doing this. Here's an example of an article that I've written on Fast Company so that you can follow this as a guide.