How to Position Yourself as an Influencer by Guest Posting on Huffington Post

Getting your blog published on a massive publication like the Huffington Post is every blogger’s ultimate dream.

And so it was mine too.

With hundreds of bloggers, all vying for a spot, I never thought I’d be able to make it.

But I did.

I finally, really, managed to do it.

And you know what?

Contrary to what some might think, it wasn’t impossible.

All I had to do is be systematic in my approach and follow a few simple steps. And it all begins with taking that first step.

After all, it was the first step that enabled this startup to go from a vague idea to a multi-million dollar business.

And taking the first step would be even more difficult if you are a beginner in writing.

Many believe that only those few at the top get that elusive guest blogger spot at Huffington Post.

It’s simply not true.

Why You Don’t Need to Have a Fancy Credential

For new writers, getting published on Huffington Post is the springboard for success.

It opens the doors to exciting opportunities, provides the exposure you want so badly, and establishes you as a credible name in the field of blogging.

But can you achieve, as a beginner, what many experienced bloggers have failed to achieve?

Of course you can.

All you need is well written and engaging content that has the potential to resonate with the readers.

But, more than that, you need confidence.

You need to believe in your ability to be on par with some of the established authors in the field.

And this is extremely crucial.

If you have no faith in what you have to say, why should others have faith in reading what you have written?

In his guide to writing for Huffington Post for beginners, Jon Morrow succinctly summarizes all you need to know to take that first step:

You may not realize this, but the Huffington Post has thousands of writers. They publish articles on every imaginable topic. And you know how much they pay for those articles? Nothing. Instead, they give you things infinitely more valuable: Authority. Influence. Exposure. In exchange, you give them great content. It’s a simple trade…And the shocker: It’s a platform available to anyone. You just have to know how to sneak in.

And here are some of the steps that can help you sneak in.

Step #1: Step One: Find an Awesome Topic

When you’re planning to reach mass audiences, your ultimate goal is to find a way to resonate with the highest number of people.

And that can only happen if you manage to find a topic that’s not only interesting to you, but also to the majority of readers in your niche.

This is where search engine optimization steps in. Through their ranking algorithms, all the major search engines design the first page based on what most of its users want to see.

And if your topic has what it takes to reach the first page, it means that you’re going in the right direction towards attracting mass readership.

But how do you know what works best for search engines?

Harsh Agrawal has the answer:

On the page, SEO starts with selecting the right keyword for your post, and the keyword should be one which has search volume. That means people are searching for that particular keyword.

The most helpful tool that can enable you to gauge the popularity of your topic is Google’s very own Keyword Planner. You can use the Keyword Planner to analyze monthly trends for some of the most popular keywords in your niche.

Here’s how to do it:

Lets hear what the experts have to say about how to find a topic that’s interesting to your audience:

1. Nadya Khoja – Digital Marketing Manager at Venngage.com 

When I’m trying to think of an interesting topic to write about, I use a two step approach. First, I try to solve a problem I myself am having difficulty with.

Not only does writing on such a topic often provide value for my audience, but I end up learning from the research process as well.

The second thing I do is refer to Google Analytics to identify which content drives the most traffic and highest time on page.

Then I try to add onto that content, or replicate the process. An example of doing that in the past is this article about getting more blog traffic.

I continue to update the post in sections, not only adding to its SEO value, but targeting a wider audience.

2. Bill Widmer – Billwidmer.com 

When it comes to finding a topic that’s interesting to your audience, you should be looking at several things:

  • What are your customers or readers frequently asking you about? What are their pain points? Don’t be afraid to get on the phone and call them, or at least send them an email asking how you can help them.
  • Where do they spend their time? Reddit, Quora, Twitter, some forum? Go there and look at the questions their asking (within your blog’s topic). Directly answer those questions in your content.
  • What pisses you off or breaks your heart? What can you talk about that will show your true personality to your readers, and resonate with them (or piss them off)? These types of articles tend to get the most shares and engagement. Just be yourself!

Step #2: Write an Actionable Article

Choosing the topic is only the first step. It’s the warm-up before a grueling game.

And the name of the game is to write the highest-quality article using all the literary forces you could muster.

This is what you’ll spend most your time on.

One of the reasons Huffington Post has managed to rise above the competition in the cutthroat world of online blogging is that it has never compromised on quality.

This is why even some of the popular bloggers have faced multiple rejections. And you will too, if your article is not up to scratch.

Your primary concern, here, should be to write articles that are engaging and informative at the same time.

Your article should be actionable. It should encourage the readers to make their lives better in some way.

For instance, let’s say you’re writing an article about sources of free traffic for your website.

You need to be able to provide specific instructions on exactly how people need to increase traffic.

Here’s what Kristi Hines has to say about the art of writing great, actionable blogs:

If you’re having a problem with something related to your niche, then there’s a good chance that someone out there has had that problem as well.

More people will likely have the same problem in the future.

Therefore, your blog post about the problem and how you handled it will become a great reference for future people struggling with the same issue.

That makes for great topic inspiration and highly valuable content.”

Here’s an example of an article that offers clear, actionable instructions:

Let’s hear what the experts have to say about how to write an actionable article:

1. Amal Rafeeq – Digital Marketing Manager at WowMakers.com 

Here are some things I would do:

  • Know their audience and find out a big issue or a problem that they are facing in that specific industry.
  • Check if the website/blog has already covered the topic. If not, write about it.
  • Write an in-depth article. Wear your audience’s shoes and think of the questions they might be having in mind.
  • Write in a friendly, humane way. But make sure you don’t blabber too much or write something just for the sake of it.
  • Make sure you back your post by facts, figures, and data. Link to the sources.
  • If you’re writing a tutorial kinda post, try to see if you can include screenshots.
  • Using graphical representation is a great idea too.
  • And last but not the last, have a short author bio and a great picture. (Don’t  be spammy when you link back to your website).

2. Nick Jakubowski – Marketing Manager for Adficient.com 

How to position yourself as an influencer

I spend a lot of time providing feedback on sites like reddit/bigSEO, LinkedIN Groups, Inbound.org, and Moz Community.

Here I help answer questions marketers are having about many different areas. For instance, content, SEO, PPC, link building, conversions, etc.

Also I am constantly sharing my experiences through articles. I write for Adficient.com and other digital marketing websites/blogs. I mention these articles within my comments so users can reference them.

How to write actionable articles.

As always, know your audience, who are you targeting? What do they want to read? Look in tools like ahrefs to see what competitor’s top content are.

ALWAYS write to add value, never to just put up content. Your articles should be adding value to your site and the web, these are the content pieces that people will link to, share, and like.

3. Brian Lenney – Winsomewriting.com 

To keep something actionable, you need to keep people moving down the page. To get them to read the whole thing, you need to hook them right away and I usually do this through a story.

Humans are addicted to story and it works in B2B, B2C, and…everywhere. You also need to write like you talk, not academically or formally.

For example, don’t say- “I am glad that you are here,” because nobody talks like that in person out loud.

Instead, say “I’m glad that you’re here” because that’s the way people talk in real life which makes your writing more conversational and easy to digest.

Also, you need to break things up so people can scan the post before they read it. This means headings, sub-headings, pictures, bold, quotes, etc.

Make it easy to scan because a lot of people scan it before they read it and if they all they see is large block chunks of words, they’ll be less likely to read it.

4. Assaf Dudai – Head of Content of eTraffic 

Never write an actionable article about an action you never carried out yourself. This isn’t a research piece, it’s about experience and expertise.

Think of an actionable guide as a user manual, like those that come with electric products. You are writing one for a process.

The first thing would be to identify and focus on the process you wish to write about. After you identify it, tell yourself it’s too general and focus it more. Repeat.

Use as many example as you can. For every element of the process, provide an example, even two if you feel that opposite examples will make the point you’re making clearer.

Give someone who never carried out the action to read it, even someone from a different industry. If they don’t get it, if they can’t execute the the action you’re explaining, fix it.

The ultimate goal of an actionable article is that readers can perform the process once they finished reading it.

5. Ramona Sukhraj – Content Marketing Manager Impactbnd.com 

The one requirement I give all of our blog contributors, whether they be my peers or guests, is make it actionable.

By this I mean give the reader something tangible hey can actually execute on when they finish reading what you have to say. There are two ways I usually suggest going about this:

  • Give A Specific Tip. Tell someone exactly what they should be doing and explain how it can be implemented with a descriptive example. Hearing how something can be executed within a specific context makes it easier for readers to visualize for themselves and in turn, helps it resonate.
  • Show an Example. Sometimes it’s more effective for both the reader and the writer to lead with an example. Rather than telling your reader how to do something, show them someone who has already done it right and explain why.

In my experience, the latter approach tends to do better these days, but both approaches are worth testing out, depending on your audience.

Step #3: Send Your Post to an Huffington Post Editor

“Good relationships are your key to good content marketing — and often, it starts with an email.” – Sujan Patel

And when your goal is to publish or blog on Huffington Post, that single email can be the difference between success and failure.

For this step, allow me to take a leaf out of my own book and share with you the story of my email to the former co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington.

It all began with my publication request:

Against all my expectations, I received a reply:

Arianna Huffington CCed my email to blog editor Madeline to send me password so that I can start blogging. Here’s Madeline’s email inviting me to join the Huffington Post blogging platform:

Here’s the welcome message to the Huffington Post platform:

And finally…the post went live! (Source)

Update About Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington has actively stepped away from HuffPost and she’s actively moving into the wellness space with her new business, ThriveGlobal.

If you want contacts for Huffpost editors, sign-up on my email list and you’ll receive an up to date contact lists (INSTANTLY) that will help you connect and get published on Huffingtonpost.com

Now it’s Your Turn to Guest Post at Huffington Post

Getting a publication spot on Huffington Post is all about finding a unique way to approach the topic, writing a quality article, and finding the best way to improve your content outreach.

But all of that won’t be possible if you don’t believe in yourself and take the first step.

So what are you waiting for?

Comments

  1. So you just joined the contributor platform which up until a few months ago was open to anyone. They had to close it to new entrants and make all the links nofollow because they were getting an enormous amount of spam posted. The pages aren’t even indexed

    • Bill Acholla says:

      Thanks Barry, Now you need to connect with their editors directly and if they like your pitch or final article, they will definitely invite you to their platform.

  2. Thank you its really good information.

  3. Excellent article Bill. The thing is that many bloggers and writers are having a problem: they want to start from the top, they don’t think on starting from the bottom and then getting to the top. This is why they have so many rejects from websites like Inc, Entrepreneur, Huffington Post or Mashable, because they did not come with value for their community. Great job for doing this article and making this great roundup!

  4. Nice guide! Who wouldn’t want to guest post on a big site like Huffington Post, right? Definitely every blogger’s dream. And I have to agree, sometimes brainstorming for a unique and interesting topic can be the hardest part. I wonder if I should base my topics on what are the most searched content or perhaps on what my readers would love to read. Which do you think works best for you?

  5. Hey Bill, great article and congrats on the Huffington Post article – there are people online offering articles on HP for $1,000’s. You’ve def made it sound more achievable!

    • Bill Acholla says:

      Thanks Rob, Yes its more achievable and no need to fork out $1000 to pay someone to guest post for you.

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