I recently had a major win in my own freelance business after landing a column with a major publication. It’s something I’d been working on behind the scenes for months and I was so excited when my first article for Inc.com finally went live last week.
I get asked a lot of questions about how I went from starting a simple blog in 2010 to having columns with websites like The Huffington Post and Inc. In this blog I’m going to detail exactly what I did to finally land a column with the major publication of my dreams.
Why Freelancers Need to Write for Large Publications
I recently heard Natalie Sisson of The Suitcase Entrepreneur talk about how she wrote a column for Forbes for years for free. Most of the bloggers for HuffPo are writing for free too. In fact, don’t be surprised if a lot of the big guys don’t necessarily pay contributors, yet subject matter experts are still hoping to get columns.
Normally, I’d be up in arms about this. However, I can tell you that being published on places like The Huffington Post has led to more money because it instantly boosts my credibility. Perhaps I didn’t get paid to write that article, but it did get me coaching clients, a spokesperson deal and sponsorships for my own website.
Additionally, it allows me to charge way more money for clients I write marketing materials for. I know exactly what the large outlets are looking for, and I charge a premium for it.
Now we can get into how I got my column at Inc.
I Asked Someone Who Already Had a Column
I met someone at a networking event how they got their column with Inc. They were gracious enough to share their contact as well as what the publication was looking for and what the process was like.
As soon as I mustered up the courage to actually send the email to the contact, I knew exactly what I needed to do in order to craft a winning pitch. I also knew that the process might take a while and to not get discouraged.
As a side note, I ended up paying it forward by walking a colleague through a similar process when they wanted to pitch the major publication.
I Wrote a Killer Pitch
I went to the major publication’s website and took a look around to see what they were missing. I noticed they wrote about millennials on occasion, but they didn’t really have millennial voices writing for them. So I ended up pitching an entire column about millennials, money and marketing complete with sample headlines.
I Followed Up A Lot
Because I knew this publication probably received a thousand queries a day, and because I’d already been told the process could take a while, I made sure to follow up with my contact a couple of times a month. One of those emails must have made it to my editor’s inbox because I eventually got a response asking me to send to come on board as a contributor.
Getting a column with a major publication isn’t rocket science, but it does require some work on your part. Do some digging to find a contact, craft a winning pitch and don’t forget to follow-up. Use these three techniques and you too will get published in the publication of your dreams.