Athena: The New Huffington Post Platform (and Why I’ve Stopped Contributing)
To be honest, I haven’t published anything to The Huffington Post since November of last year. Life got busy, I didn’t want to duplicate posts from my blog for fear of Google penalizations, and I simply didn’t make it a priority.
I always had it scribbled at the bottom of my permanent to-do list, with more pressing things always taking precedence. Over the past few weeks, I’ve received more emails from readers who seemed to have the same questions about their Huffington Post publications:
- Why can’t I find my post?
- Why don’t I seem to be getting any traffic and/or shares?
- Am I actually published on HP?
In doing some research, I discovered that Huffington Post has made some changes since the beginning of the year that makes publishing on their platform not as elite and noteworthy as it once was.
Athena: The New Huffington Post Platform
Earlier this year, Huffington Post launched a beta version of a platform called Athena. According to Fortune magazine, in order to reach its goal of 1 million contributors, Huffington Post developed a new platform that would allow an increase of 900,000 (from their current 100,000) contributors to write for the site.
What does this mean for contributors?
The changes with the new blogging platform are simple: a huge influx of content, no more pre-post editing, and even less of a chance for bloggers to get their content featured.
Previously, writing for The Huffington Post consisted of a few steps:
- upload content to backend of the site
- choose applicable vertical (healthy living, style, college, etc.) and tags
- submit post for editing and approval (anywhere from 1-several days)
- post is published and can usually be located under vertical of choice
With Athena, The Huffington Post becomes very similar to sites such as Medium, where you are able to create an account and publish at will with no oversight. Granted, you still have to be invited to join Huffington’s contributor platform, but one you are, the process is virtually the same.
- upload content
- choose tags (no choice for vertical)
- publish immediately
- post is found on the contributor platform unless picked up and featured under a specific vertical
What happens when the post goes live?
Unless your post catches the attention of editors and they choose to feature it on one of their social channels, the only way that your post will get traction is if you promote it. Hard.
- Share it on your social media channels
- If you have a newsletter, include it in there
- Email the link to friends and family and ask them to share
Why I’ve Stopped Contributing Regularly
Personally, I’ve stopped relying on The Huffington Post to increase traffic to this site or gain me much exposure after I realized what happens after being published. While my first post did substantially well in driving traffic to this site, no post since then has even come close.
There have actually been more clicks TO The Huffington Post than the other way around.
For me, being able to put these publications in my writing portfolio has been great, but I feel that as time goes on, the weight of such an accomplishment will begin to diminish as The Huffington Post approaches its 1 million contributor mark.
After getting the questions listed at the beginning of this post, I decided to see what would happen if I published a post. Although the backend and process was still the same for me, there was an alert that contributor accounts were in the process of being migrated to the new platform, so I expect the process to look different once that happens with my account.
Mine still required editor approval, but once it was published, it didn’t appear in the normal healthy living section and as of three weeks later, there are only 22 likes on Facebook and no comments. This leads to the assumption that it is lost in the sea of publications to the site as I did no promotion of it after it went live.
I’ve decided to stop regular contributions to the site for the aforementioned reasons. I prefer being paid for the quality of the work I do than throwing it into an abyss of words, so I focus more on freelance opportunities and this beloved blog which has been my lifeline for almost three years.
It’s still an awesome achievement to be able to say you’ve been published in The Huffington Post, but I wanted to write this in order to explain the recent changes and my own point of view, which may differ from someone else’s. In the end, if you love to write, just write — and publish it wherever your heart desires. 🙂
For more detailed information during my process of writing for The Huffington Post, make sure to check out these posts: