Last January, I received an email from Arianna Huffington herself letting me know that she loved my pitch and she wanted to publish it on The Huffington Post. Since then I have published a handful of posts and fine-tuned my approach when doing so.
Even if you don’t write for The Huffington Post, these tips are also good if you are looking for or currently guest posting on other sites. For more detail on how I was published and what to expect after your acceptance, see the bottom of this post for other helpful links.
1. Didn’t Include Backlinks
It’s great when people read your content on another site. If you have a blog or a product, however, your real goal is to drive traffic to those sources. You are able to add links in your Huffington Post pieces, which is where I messed up the first time.
Try and link related posts from your blog or tell people where they can buy your book, course, etc. so that you don’t lose potential readers or customers. Always think about what an opportunity can do for you beyond the opportunity itself.
2. Posted Duplicate Content
After my first post was published and I saw how much traffic it brought to my site, I went a little post-crazy. I took what I thought were some of my best blog posts at the time and copied them verbatim to The Huffington Post.
Note: Traffic from your first post may be deceptive. See why in this post.
The problem is that Google doesn’t like duplicate content and you could end up getting penalized in search rankings if they realize the same post is on two different sites. I don’t know for sure, but I’m making an assumption that this little blog might get in trouble before The Huffington Post does, so now I make sure to only post original content on both sites.
Nothing has happened yet, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
3. Didn’t Include A Link To My Site
The Huffington Post allows you to include your Twitter handle at the end of your posts, but I didn’t think to include an actual link back to my site at the bottom. Now when I write a post, I will usually put a line at the end in italics that links back to my blog.
I also include it in the short bio at the top, but any way you can take the work out of it for readers to find you makes it that much more likely they will take some time to see what you’re all about.
4. Made It Too Personal
Don’t get me wrong — everyone loves personal stories. The post that got me accepted in the first place was about my journey through addiction and subsequent recovery. The mistake I made in future posts was to write as if everyone in the world who reads The Huffington Post cares about me as a person.
Personal stories with overarching themes such as addiction, eating disorders, overcoming challenges, etc. can be appealing for readers, but when I write about why I started eating gluten again or why I don’t drink, it assumes that every reader has a vested interest in what I’m doing in my life. My readers on this blog may have found that interesting, but millions of people who have no idea who I am certainly don’t.
5. Not Researching Topics
Most of the posts I wrote for The Huffington Post were what I wanted to write about. I didn’t take the time to research the actual site and subtopic that I would be posting in and see what types of articles were being posted. Since the amount of social sharing by The Huffington Post decreases substantially (if it’s shared at all) after your inaugural post, you’re forced to develop posts that fit current topics and trends in order to get your post seen.
Take some time and check out the social media accounts where your post will be published (HP has several different FB and Twitter pages, for example) and see what types of posts are being shared. Note how the titles are worded and what subjects tend to get the most shares and retweets. Think about what your audience may want to read and not only what you are interested in writing about.
Related Huffington Post Posts:
- How To Get Published In The Huffington Post
- What To Expect After Being Published In The Huffington Post
- How To Drive Traffic From Your Huffington Post Article To Your Blog
- What have you learned about/from guest posting?