Publishing an article can be a great way to share your ideas, promote your expertise, and grow your readership. With the rise of blogs and online magazines, it’s easier than ever for writers to get their work out there. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to publish an article, whether for your own site or to pitch to publishers.
Choose a Topic
The first step is deciding what you want to write about. Pick a topic that:
You’re knowledgeable about
Stick to subjects you have experience with. It will make the writing process much easier.
Readers will be interested in
Ask yourself if the topic is intriguing, timely, or fills a gap. Unique perspectives on trending issues or new takes on evergreen topics tend to perform well.
Fits your brand
Ensure the subject aligns with your website or publication’s focus. Writing about something off-topic can confuse readers.
Conduct in-depth research to provide value for readers.
Use trusted sources
Stick to reputable sites and publications when researching. Avoid dubious websites which can contain misinformation.
Don’t just read. Take detailed notes on facts, statistics, expert opinions, quotes, and anecdotes that back up your angle. Careful research will make your article more authoritative.
Look for different perspectives
Seek out sources with varying viewpoints to provide a balanced and well-rounded take.
Craft an Outline
Organize your thoughts by creating an outline before writing. Decide on:
What interesting angle are you taking on the topic? This will shape the content.
List the key things you learned during research that support your angle. These will become section headings.
Put the sections in a logical order building up to your conclusion.
Write the First Draft
With your outline as a guide, start writing your first draft.
Don’t censor yourself
The goal of the first draft is to get your ideas on the page without worrying about perfection. You can polish it up later.
Use clear language
Write conversationally, as if speaking to the reader one-on-one. Avoid overcomplicated language.
Employ active voice
Use active sentence structure for clarity and impact, for example: “The dog bit the man” rather than “The man was bitten by the dog.”
Include images, charts, graphs, or videos if helpful to illustrate concepts.
Refine and Tighten
Set your first draft aside for a day or two, then come back to refine it.
Check the facts
Double check any statistics or data points against your sources. Accuracy is crucial.
Trim the fat
Read through line by line looking for fluff or repetition you can cut to tighten up the piece.
Punch up language
Look for places to vary sentence structure or substitute stronger verbs and adjectives.
Hearing it aloud helps catch awkward phrasing. Reading aloud also ensures a conversational tone.
Format for Publication
Polish up your article with proper formatting and SEO optimization.
Break up large blocks of text with subheadings. This improves readability online.
Include metadata like keywords and a meta description so the piece is easy to find in search engines.
Embed your charts, graphs, images, and videos in the appropriate places in the text.
Link to sources
Provide attribution hyperlinks if mentioning other content, quotes, or stats.
Pick Where to Pitch or Publish
Once your article is polished, it’s time to get it out there.
Know your options
Research publications, blogs, or websites focused on your topic that accept contributor posts.
Carefully adhere to each outlet’s editorial guidelines around article length, format, tone, etc.
In your pitch email, summarize your professional experience that makes you an authority on the topic.
Promote Your Published Article
Don’t let your efforts end once the piece is published. Promotion is key.
Share on social media
Post snippets and links to drive traffic from your social platforms.
Pitch to aggregators
Getting your article onto aggregators like Flipboard expands its reach.
Track traffic, social shares, comments, and backlinks to understand what resonated.
Build on the momentum
Leverage a popular post by adapting it into a longform guide, YouTube video, or other content.
Tips for Publishing Success
Follow these best practices to set your articles up for success.
- Provide value for readers – Articles that teach readers something new or provide actionable takeaways tend to do well. Offer unique insights and analysis rather than just commentary.
- Optimize for SEO – Research keywords and intentionally include them in your headline, subheadings, opening paragraph, and 2-3 times throughout the body.
- Promote like crazy – Count on dedicating as much, if not more, effort to promoting your published article as writing it. Outreach and social media are key.
- Analyze performance – Pay attention to metrics like clicks, shares, dwell time, and backlinks to understand what content resonates. Let it guide future topics.
- Persist through rejection – Some publications will pass on your pitch. Don’t get discouraged. Keep refining your article and pitching to new targets.
Publishing your writing is an extremely fulfilling process. By researching thoroughly, writing strategically, and promoting diligently, you can build your readership and establish yourself as an expert in your field. What are you waiting for? Start crafting your next hit article today!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What tools can help me format my article for SEO?
A: Headline analyzers like CoSchedule Headline Analyzer, BuzzSumo, and Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator can ensure your headline and subheadings are SEO-friendly. Google’s Keyword Planner provides keyword and search volume data. Yoast SEO or Meta SEO Analyzer are plugins that give SEO optimization recommendations right in your editor.
Q: Should I pitch to only one publication at a time?
A: It’s fine to pitch an article simultaneously to a few targeted, non-competing publications. Once one expresses interest or accepts it for publication, withdraw from others. Exclusivity is appealing.
Q: What information should I include in my pitch email?
A: Include a short bio highlighting your expertise, a summary explaining why the article is timely, a list of publications you’ve been featured in, your headshot and links to other published articles. Attach the complete article as a Word doc.
Q: How long should my article be?
A: Length varies widely by publication. Typical online articles range 800-1500 words but review submission guidelines closely. Too short or long could get your pitch rejected automatically.
Q: How can I drive more traffic to my published article?
A: Guest post on complementary sites with backlinks to your piece. Promote it in relevant online communities and to your email list. Run promoted social media posts. Reach out to reporters who cover your topic area. Pitch it as a trend story.