At some point in your blogging career, you might realize that without a little networking and collaboration, your ability to gain new readers is limited. It’s a huge misconception that other bloggers in your niche are your competition. The opposite is in fact, true. There are countless testimonials of bloggers who were launched into the limelight by a neighboring blog writing on the same topic. Today’s post is a collaborative effort between me, Susan Maccarelli from Pecked to Death by Chickens, and countless other bloggers willing to weigh in — how to get your writing on sites with much larger audiences.
The majority of tips presented in this post will work for any sort of online submission, but the resources provided are geared towards women and lifestyle bloggers who focus on parenting, humor, family, women’s issues, pop-culture, organization, etc.
How Not to Pitch
This might be obvious, but it stands to be said again– do not pitch without including your bio, your headshot, or your contact information. Read the instructions carefully as many editors prefer the pitch or post to be right in the body of the email (you can also attach it as a .doc for their convenience). Other things to watch out for — when you’re sending out a bunch, make sure the email is personalized to the person. Include their name if you can. Keep it short and too the point!
Norinne Dworkin Mcdaniel from Science of Parenthood is a wealth of information about traditional magazine publishing. She regularly shares tips and tricks with fellow bloggers, and this post she shared with me about How Not to Pitch from the Atlantic, was a real keeper. Bookmark it!
Pitching Made Simple
Most online magazines want one of three things:
- A previously published blog post to feature (usually unpaid)
- An idea or pitch that the editor can give feedback on before writing begins (sometimes paid)
- A complete article unpublished anywhere else (sometimes paid)
Know who wants what before you start! BlogHer for example, will happily feature posts that are on your site already. The same goes for Huffington Post. NickMom and Scary Mommy however, want original unpublished work.
Beyond Your Blog
When I originally started my research for this piece, Susan Maccarelli reached out to me and gave me a lot of links and resources regarding publication on other sites. In talking with her, I came to discover a new venture she is embarking on. Here’s what she had to say…
“I am excited to tell you about a new blogging resource site I will be launching this summer. Beyond Your Blog is for bloggers looking to expand their reach and Get Read. When I started my blog nine months ago, I was bummed out at the trickle of visitors I was getting – a handful of friends and family and a smattering of link-up readers. I had almost decided to throw in the towel when BlogHer reached out to tell me they were featuring one of my posts. I watched the number of times the post was read on BlogHer jump into the hundreds and even over a thousand effortlessly. Suddenly I was excited about blogging again. I began to make a concerted effort to get my work onto other sites in order to both expand my reach, and feed my admittedly attention seeking behavior (ASB as I like to call it). Soon I was being published on multiple sites and realizing so many more benefits than I had initially expected.
Expanding your reach and traffic, improving your media kit, feeding your attention seeking behavior, being paid for original content, having a sidebar that makes other bloggers jealous — whatever your reason for wanting to get more eyes on your writing, Beyond Your Blog will share the tips, tricks and strategies you need for successful submissions. We will zero in on the specific websites and anthologies you want to be a part of and tell you how to do it though blogger success stories, how-to articles, and interviews with editors. Sign up on our launch page today to make sure you receive updates. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.”
The infographic at the bottom of this post is a collaboration using her research and my design. Pin it to reference this blog post to keep track of Susan’s blog links, submission resources, and more.
Resource List: Each link goes directly to the pitch or contact page!
Be sure to read at least five or ten articles before you submit something. You want to get a feel for the tone and quality. Another tip? Start commenting regularly on the site. Become a part of their community and readership first. Things like that make a mark. And when you leave comments, keep in mind that if you’re funny (and for example, it’s a humor site), the editor will eventually take notice.
- Scary Mommy Watch the topics they post about regularly.
- Mamalode This is a paying gig after you hit 200 views.
- BlogHer You can get featured (not paid) or syndicated (paid).
- Mamapedia Try getting into the Facebook group to see if you can network that way!
- BonBon Break Val Curtis is the woman who runs this online magazine!
- In the Powder Room Leslie Marinelli from The Bearded Iris is the editor and chief.
- NickMom Funny, and short. NickMom is not the place for longform pieces.
- Erma Bombeck This is a direct email address.
- BluntMoms Small site but growing!
- HuffPo Parents They are strict about including the blog post right in the email, not as an attachment.
- Chicago Now This is an opportunity to have a blog with ChicagoNow. Babysideburns had tremendous success this way!
- We Are Teachers Choose the option that says I’m interested in writing for you in the contact form.
- Cracked It’s hard to get accepted, but if you are — your writing will be seen by millions.
- What the Flicka A fairly new site with a diverse range of topics
- Playground Dads This is a direct email address and a site for Dads!
- Stuff Christians Like A humor site with a religious slant. His guidelines are here.
- 12 Most They accept only list posts that start with “12 most…”
- Freshly Pressed The only way to get featured is to blog regularly on WordPress.com
**I will continue to add to this list as I find more interesting places and spaces!**
Below are some tips (from fellow bloggers) about the unique aspects of each of these sites…
“Well, I really like Mamalode. I think they are a quality site and show respect for writers by paying them.” –Stacy from One Funny Motha
“In the Powder Room of a fun place to be published. There’s a new editor and chief too!” –Stephanie from Binkies and Briefcases
“I’ve been working with We Are Teachers; they provide a few paid sponsored opportunities and liked my stuff so much they actually hired me to do some freelancing, which is also paid!” –Stephanie from When Crazy Meets Exhaustion
“Erma Bombeck was really receptive–they want funny, light pieces. So my Ode to Estrogen was a great fit!” –Jennifer from Real Life Parenting Blog
“Bonbon Break would love submissions. We do not pay YET, but hopefully soon. We love promoting our contributors.” –Rebecca, editor of BonBon Break
“Tip for Mamalode: Follow the monthly prompts they give you and share your authentic story, even if it is a twist on the prompt.” –Kim from Let Me Start By Saying
“Yes, definitely BLUNTmoms! We pay in editorial support for now and are sourcing paid opportunities for our regular cadre of writers. We’d love to get big enough to pay people! In the interim we’re trying to be as supportive as we can in other ways.” –Lynn Morrison from the Nomad Mom Diary
“A blog friend invited me to the Mamapedia FB group where you can post links to your posts. If Shannon (the editor) likes it, she’ll contact you via FB. Also What The Flicka? Felicity’s Huffman’s site. Pay attention to their categories also and use the online contact form. Neither of these pays.” –Lisa from The Golden Spoon
“Scary Mommy and BlogHer are two places that accepted my work. I had one featured and two syndicated (aka paid) on BlogHer. I’ve also been on a couple Christian satirical sites (Stuff Christians Like and American Jesus) and the awesome Fabulous Blogging, of course.” –Kate Hall from Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine
“Erma likes funny, well-written stories about the quirkiness of life.” –Helene from Books is Wonderful
“Regarding Mamalode: I find that they can feel voice in a piece. They smell an authentic and emotional piece. Writing for the theme helps, but submit any piece you feel is powerful and they may hold onto it for a few months until they can fit it in. Try and submit an original piece that you haven’t published on social media. It helps get your unique page views up to 200 which means you get paid. I don’t know a magic formula but once they are familiar with your work it’s much easier to be accepted. And always use their submission form. They like seeing people read the other writers work and leave comments. They pay attention to that stuff.” –Chrissy from Full Metal Mommy
“Jill at Scary Mommy is wonderful as well. I appreciate that she always personally responds and tells you if something you submit works or isn’t what she’s focusing on currently.” –Vicky Willenberg from the Pursuit of Normal
“Once you get published on Erma Bombeck, it’s easy to submit more work. I’ve been on Erma several times, and I love it! Email Teri – she’s great!! They will accept previously posted pieces. I email them the link to the post on my blog.” –Vikki Claflin from Laugh Lines
If you are hoping to get published in a book, there are several ways to get connected.
First, network network network. Do blog hops and link ups. Get to know a community of bloggers and ask around. If you like the blogging anthologies, pick up a bunch and read them. Then connect with one or two of the bloggers featured! BlogU is another great place to meet bloggers who are already published (or looking for contributors). They just finished their first conference, but will have another one in June 2015.
Open Call for Submissions – Jen Mann from People I Want to Punch in the Throat has published several anthologies and is also about to release a book through the traditional publishing route as well. Submissions for her upcoming anthology close on September 1st.
Whatever you do, don’t give up! Keep writing, keep pitching. If you have original ideas in your head that don’t fit on your blog, those are the best kind to write, polish, and query. And if all else fails and no one accepts it, you can use it for your own blog or a friend’s. Just don’t take rejection (or worse- no response) as an omen to stop pitching. You just never know, and usually- it’s those that are persistent that see results!