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10 Tips for Becoming a Contributor to Top Content Sites
Contributor
Written by
She Writes
December 2018
Contributor
Written by
She Writes
December 2018

There are a lot of reasons why a writer should be interested in becoming a contributor. Whether you’re an author, a journalist or a freelancer, having your name in the byline of an article on The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Forbes, or any other highly recognizable outlets can work wonders for your career.

Becoming a contributor can:

  • Drive traffic to your business or website
  • Get your name in front of potential clients or customers
  • Build credibility
  • Open up networking opportunities
  • Lead to paid opportunities

If you’re interested in pitching a story to a site with open submission opportunities, here are a few things you can do to get a leg up.

Read the Guidelines

All sites are different so make sure you carefully read the instructions for submission on the site you are reaching out to. Some may want to see the full article, others may only want a 2 – 3 sentence topic ideas. Keep in mind that sending an editor something they aren’t asking for is almost guaranteeing rejection.

Follow The Outlet on Social Media

Start to get a feel for what performs well on the site by seeing the reaction the online community has to varying pieces. Does one brand of content illicit a negative reaction? Does another encourage a ton of commentary? Think about how your article idea will perform both on the site and on the social media platform it will be shared.

Follow Other Contributors

Get to know the people who are already writing for the site. Are they all big name bloggers? Are they predominantly women? Look for commonalities between you and the other writers so you can angle yourself as a good fit for the editors.

It can also help you identify areas that will help you stand out. Is there a gap in the contributors? Perhaps you offer the perspective of a Muslim mother and you don’t see anyone else filling that need on the site. When appropriate, make it clear that you can offer a fresh perspective on the content they are already working on.

Read 20+ Articles

In order to know if a site is right for you and if you are right for a site it is important to do some research. Read at least 20 articles to get a feel for voice, topics, and style.

Becoming a contributor isn’t just about having an interesting topic to write about. You have to be able to match their format and feel as if you are already a part of their team and the only way to do so is to read and get familiar.

Search For the Topic You’re Interested In Covering

Once you feel you are a good fit for the outlet it is important to search for the topic you’re considering pitching. Has it been covered before? Is there a new angle in which you could approach it if it has? Is this site completely lacking in your topic? If that is the case it could mean that your topic isn’t a good fit or it could mean that you have found a really great niche. Try to dig into the outlet’s search bar so that you are sure to offer something new, but familiar.

Pitch Exactly According to the Guidelines

It seems important to cover this twice. You will want to read the guidelines initially to ensure you were able to become a contributor at all. And after some research you will want to read the guidelines again to ensure you are pitching exactly according to their standard.

Check for Typos

When you are sending your pitch whether it is a couple sentences in an email or a complete article make sure you have done your due diligence to edit. Your reputation as a writer could be hanging on the words you put in this submission. Though everyone makes mistakes occasionally it is best if you try to avoid any typos during this first impression.

Follow Up

Once you have submitted your pitch it could take some time to hear back. Try to be patient and then when enough time has passed (a couple weeks or so) follow up to see if the editor is interested in your piece.

Track

When you are reaching out to multiple websites to become a contributor it is crucial to stay organized. Whether you are using an Excel spreadsheet or some other form of tracking make sure you are writing down the dates that you have outreached, editor contacts, deadlines, logins and any other important information that is crucial to your role as a contributor.

Contribute Again

Once you have been accepted as a contributor one time there is no reason to limit your opportunity to a single post. Continue to follow up with your contact at the outlet with new ideas and the results will be exponential.

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